Today we consider some preexisting conditions besides the ones medical insurance companies are required to cover, at least until the Supreme Court convenes shortly after the election and decides whether or not this is constitutional.
Poverty, for instance, is a preexisting condition. It is a condition with which billions of people in this world live, a number of them right here in western Sonoma County.
The condition of poverty can spread into homelessness, of which we have a sizeable amount in western Sonoma County. In homeless camps, cooking and heating often comes by way of open fires in the tinder dry woods, which is a threat to the whole region. Still, for at least two generations, we have not come up with a sensible solution to homelessness. Does it mean that an underlying preexisting condition is a lack of imagination, or a lack of will, or a lack of basic goodness as a society? Let’s hope not. Underlying preexisting conditions are hard to deal with.
One of the main causes of poverty in America, wouldn’t you know, is medical bills. They which can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars for an ordinary family, and his happens a lot. Most of the bankruptcies in the United States are the result of medical bills. This will only get worse if the Supreme Court decides insurance companies should not be required to cover preexisting medical conditions. At least a third of us have a preexisting medical condition, and, in the age of COVID-19 it’s likely most of us do.
The bankruptcy debts deriving from unpaid medical bills are often bundled into investments that are sold for pennies on the dollar. Lo and behold, churches and other benevolent groups are buying some of these investments and then forgiving the debts, setting stricken families free from the financial burdens ruining their lives. Praise be to these benevolent groups, but this is a heck of a way to run a medical system. And a financial system. This system raises medical costs for everyone, causes medical providers to lose lots of money and brings anxiety and heartbreak to thousands on both sides of these unhealthy arrangements.
So, it appears that another preexisting condition may be a general lack of good sense when it comes to medical care in this county. If everyone had health insurance, this condition could be greatly alleviated. In a variety of ways, other countries provide medical coverage to all their citizens, and they do it with far less expense per person than we do. Why haven’t we found a good old American way of doing the sensible thing when it comes to providing and paying for medical care in this country? We’re about the only first world nation that hasn’t.
One wonders if there is some underlying preexisting condition that gives rise to our less than sensible and terribly harmful ways of dealing with medical care in America. I’m thinking we may suffer from an overly active sense of individual liberties and a diminished sense of the common good. I’m thinking our “Don’t Tread on Me” has grown far out of proportion while our “Out of Many, One” has all but shriveled up and died. We need both these organs of our national life to be well and strong.
If everyone casts a ballot in the coming election it may help.