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Romney to folks with pre-existing conditions and no health insurance: drop dead

The fact is that our health care system is in crisis and neither party can stand up to the money-loaded health industrial complex to do what needs to be done — single-payer. So, realistically, with that out of the political picture in the U.S., we see changes around the margins — the better-than-nothing Obamacare, and Mittens running away from his own RomneyCare.

But for millions of Americans representing the long-term unemployed who have lost their coverage, those who never had health coverage, and those whose pre-existing conditions that emerge at the “wrong time,” it’s pretty clear what Mitt Romney thinks. It’s your fault for not getting insurance while you are healthy and maintaining it without a break in coverage. (ABC):

The former governor said this week, reiterating a position he’s articulated in the past, that only Americans who have had constant, uninterrupted insurance coverage should be guaranteed access to a health plan, regardless of any pre-existing conditions.

Asked to clarify his position on Wednesday, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul confirmed that the former governor does not support the across-the-board consumer protections for pre-existing conditions as written into Democrats’ health care law.

“Governor Romney supports reforms to protect those with pre-existing conditions from being denied access to a health plan while they have continuous coverage,” she said first in a statement to the Huffington Post later obtained by ABC News.

As for Americans with pre-existing conditions who may not have had continuous insurance coverage or spent a period of time without, Saul said Romney “supports reforms that empower states to make high risk pools more accessible by using cost reducing methods like risk adjustment and reinsurance,” but suggested there would be no guarantees.

Wow. That’s cold. Mitt Romney isn’t stupid, he knows pre-existing conditions can lead expenses that can bankrupt a family. We’re talking Big Pharma and the cost of staying alive for many people; to have access to essential medications and having to choose between paying bills, eating and having those meds if you have to pay out of pocket. I added up all of the meds I take, and with the latest calculation was stunning (if I had to pay out of pocket): more than $2300/mo. If I had no insurance and had to drop my expensive, but effective RA med and narrowed it down to the meds I need to stay alive, then it’s still $800/mo.

He doesn’t give a damn, it’s too hard to make the numbers work so the view is just, well, these Americans are just S.O.L. An exchange with Jay Leno makes it clear.

LENO:  ”Well, suppose they were never insured before?”

ROMNEY: “Well, if they’re 45 years old, and they show up and they say ‘I want insurance because I’ve got a heart disease,’ it’s like, hey, guys, we can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you are well.  And so and then if you get ill, then you’re going to be covered.”

A game? I am one of the fortunate with a job and health care coverage and prescription insurance. Since I’ve had several pre-existing conditions, starting at age 16, my life has been about a series of  choices — not taking jobs at small companies (learned that the hard way when one place I worked wouldn’t cover me), staying in jobs solely because of the health care coverage, limiting professional freedom (not being able to freelance, or take term-limited positions to advance) — for those with chronic illness, you become professionally risk averse to protect your access to health care.

In the end, tying it to employment is insane; it hampers workers who could contribute to the in many creative, dynamic ways to the economy if they are not tethered to jobs simply for health benefits. For many workers, if you become partially disabled, your benefits are in play if you cannot continue working at a certain percentage of your position’s capacity, usually 75% or 80%. That’s all conditional, of course, based on whether your employer is willing to have you continue at 75%, or shift you into another position, or, as many have shared with me, find ways to slowly move you out the door, despite the Americans With Disabilities Act, which allows the loophole for “employer hardship.”

So it is quite easy to find plenty of Americans that fall into this limbo that Mitt Romney sees as “not playing by the rules” and therefore ineligible for any kind of health care coverage for those pre-existing conditions. Yes, just drop dead; that’s the ticket.


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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding