See Man Hate ACA. See Man Refuse to Get ACA. See Man Whine That he Can’t Get ACA When he Needs it.

by Brainwrap –

luis lang gofundme

Luis Lang, an uninsured resident of Fort Mill, S.C., needs an expensive operation

Yeah, that’s right, I’ll say it: Luis Lang is a fool and a hypocrite.

Over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall has a story about a guy in South Carolina named Luis Lang who’s in a nasty situation due to a combination of bad timing, Republican cold-heartedness and, to be blunt, his own stupidity.

First, the backstory:

As the Charlotte Observer explains, Lang is a self-employed handyman who works as a contractor with banks and the federal government to maintain foreclosed properties. He was making a decent living, enough to be the sole breadwinner in the family. As the Observer puts it, Lang “he has never bought insurance. Instead, he says, he prided himself on paying his own medical bills.”

So far, so good, although I’m not sure I understand how paying 100% of your medical bills instead of buying health insurance is supposed to be a source of pride. Did he also pay cash up front for the $300,000, 3,300 square-foot house which the Charlotte Observer says he and his voluntarily unemployed wife live in? If not, then how is getting a mortgage for your house (or a student loan, or an auto loan, or life/homeowner’s/auto insurance) any more “shameful” than signing up for health insurance?


All seemed good until this February when a series of headaches led him to the doctor. Tests revealed that Lang had suffered a series of mini-strokes tied to diabetes. (It’s not clear to me from the piece whether Lang knew he had diabetes earlier or whether that was the diabetes diagnosis as well.) He also has a partially detached retina and eye bleeding tied to his diabetes. The initial medical care for the mini-strokes ran to almost $10,000 and burned through his savings. And now he can’t work because of his eye issue and can’t afford the surgery that would save his eyesight and also allowing him to continue working.

I don’t mean to sound like an asshole, but this is exactly why people buy insurance in the first place. The whole concept is that you shell out several hundred dollars per month when you’re not sick or injured so that you’ll have your medical bills covered in the event that you become sick/injured. He made a gamble that he’d never become so sick/injured badly enough that he wouldn’t be able to afford 100% of the cost…and it finally caught up with him.In fact, this is exactly the hypothetical scenario which Ron Paul was asked about during one of the GOP primary debates back in 2012 (the infamous “Let Him Die!!” moment):

The difference between the tea party psychopaths in the clip above and sane people with a soul, of course, is that the sane people don’t want to “Let Him Die!” even if the guy in question is a selfish, short-sighted jerk. Those of us with a soul will go as far as reasonably possible to make sure this guy doesn’t bleed to death on the Emergency Room floor. That’s exactly why the Affordable Care Act was passed in the first place: It may have serious flaws, but it does set up numerous provisions to help ensure that as many people receive decent, affordable healthcare coverage as possible.However–and this is key–the person in question has to agree to use some of those provisions.

Now, it’s very important to note at this point that without the Affordable Care Act, this guy would be utterly screwed. His income/assets are still too high to qualify for traditional Medicaid, and every insurance company would turn him down for coverage due to his pre-existing condition if they weren’t legally required to let him sign up.

Thank goodness the Affordable Care Act is around, right? That means that 1) as long as he enrolls during Open Enrollment, the insurance company is required to let him do so; 2) if he needs some help, the federal tax credits are there to smooth things over; and 3) if his income drop moves him below the subsidy threshold, Medicaid expansion will take charge of his dilemma. Yay!!

Yeah, about that…

That’s when he turned to the Affordable Care Act exchange. Lang learned two things: First, 2015 enrollment had closed earlier that month. And second, because his income has dried up, he earns too little to get a federal subsidy to buy a private policy.

Yes, that’s right. He’s in South Carolina, remember? SC is one of the Republican-controlled states which refused to expand Medicaid, even though they wouldn’t have to pay a dime for it the first few years and never have to pay more than 10¢ on the dollar after that. So #3 is out.Number 2 is out because the law was passed with the provision that every state expand Medicaid. Since the Supreme Court allowed some states to refuse expansion but didn’t change anything else in the law, the tax credits for private policies are still cut off at a higher income than Mr. Lang is now at…thanks to the SC Republican Party.

That leaves #1, enrolling in a private policy during Open Enrollment. Even without the tax subsidies, he should’ve been able to find at least one decent policy which would’ve helped him out of his situation (a low-end Bronze plan, perhaps). Unfortunately, due to his misguided “pride”, he missed the cut-off date.

But perhaps he didn’t know about the deadline (despite the massive advertising/outreach campaign), and perhaps he’s a Democratic or non-political victim of SC GOP politics?

Lang, a Republican, says he knew the act required him to get coverage but he chose not to do so. But he thought help would be available in an emergency.

Oh. Never mind.For the record, “thinking help would be available in an emergency” is otherwise known as “BUYING INSURANCE”.

So, this guy spent years refusing to get insured when he could afford to do so, votes for & supports the political party which put him in his current situation, so naturally…wait for it…

He and his wife blame President Obama and Congressional Democrats for passing a complex and flawed bill.

Of course they do.Because, again, if the ACA hadn’t been passed, their situation would be…well, exactly the same as it is now.

In fact, it would be worse because without the ACA, even if his income does pick back up again, pre-ACA insurance companies would still refuse to touch him with a 10-foot pole, whereas under the ACA he at least has a shot at getting covered if he can stick it out for another 8 months.

This, of course, leads to the most jaw-droppingly honest look at the conservative mindset I’ve seen in months:

“(My husband) should be at the front of the line because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues,” Mary Lang said last week. “We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.”

Astonishing.“Screw you, everyone else!! We spent years helping enact policies which shaft the poor, and even deliberately blew off taking steps to help ourselves if we ever fell on hard times, but now that we need help, everyone else should get the hell out of the way and move us to the front of the line.”

As Marshall recaps:

–Lang broke the law by refusing to get health insurance coverage.–He then got sick and actually had too little savings to cover even relatively small health care bills.–He knowingly waited until after open enrollment had closed, figuring he’d be able to buy in if he got in a jam

(note: this mindset is exactly the reason for having a limited open enrollment period in the first place)–If he fell on hard times, the ACA’s Medicaid expansion would cover him…but (GOP controlled) SC refused to accept Medicaid expansion even though the federal government would pay for it.–According to the original news story, his doctor is even providing some pro bono care and a local eye clinic is offering sliding scale payments.–Lang is left in precisely the situation that would exist if the ACA had never been passed…due to his own (& his political party’s) refusal to take part in it.–So naturally, he blames…President Obama.

There’s your party of personal responsibility, folks.

UPDATE: I want to be clear about why I’m so furious about this: Normally, I would simply roll my eyes and sigh deeply about this guy’s situation. We all make poor decisions, and I can see how he got into the situation itself in the first place…and if he had chalked the whole mess up to “lessons learned” and correctly concluded that he and his wife had made a big mistake by not taking advantage of the options available to them, then I wouldn’t be too upset about it.

HOWEVER, he and his wife have, by their own words, learned absolutely nothing from the experience. They’re still trying to blame anyone but themselves for their predicament, pinning the blame on the Democratic Party (which bent over backwards to make sure they were covered) while (presumably) still supporting the Republican Party which did everything in their power to prevent this guy from having any form of coverage at all.

And no, I don’t expect this to change, because it’s baked into their internal “logic”, as actor Craig T. Nelson perfectly illustrated a few years ago:

UPDATE x2: Thanks to cskendrick for the better title. Also changed “idiot” to “fool” in opening sentence, since I don’t technically know Mr. Lang’s intelligence level but I sure as hell know his wisdom level.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

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Posted By: Keith

Writer, political junkie, rabid rock music fan, amateur gardener, astronomer and ornithologist, cook extraordinaire, sipper of fine wine and, more than once, the funniest guy in the room.

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