Tuesday, May 12, 2015


When he was gainfully employed, Luis Lang refused to buy private insurance and refused to sign up for Obamacare. Now he's going blind, and it's all our fault:
Lang, a 49-year-old resident of Fort Mill, S.C., has bleeding in his eyes and a partially detached retina caused by diabetes.

“He will lose his eyesight if he doesn’t get care. He will go blind,” said Dr. Malcolm Edwards, the Lancaster, S.C., ophthalmologist who examined Lang.

Lang is a self-employed handyman who works with banks and the federal government on maintaining foreclosed properties. He has done well enough that his wife, Mary, hasn’t had to work....

But he has never bought insurance. Instead, he says, he prided himself on paying his own medical bills.

...[He's] suffered several mini-strokes. He ran up $9,000 in bills and exhausted his savings. Meanwhile, his vision worsened and he can’t work, he says.

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.

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. He and his wife blame President Obama and Congressional Democrats for passing a complex and flawed bill.
As Josh Marshall notes:
Since Lang now has no income, he should be eligible for the ACA's expanded Medicaid coverage, for which the federal government picks up tab. But Lang lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina. And South Carolina refused to accept Medicaid expansion. So he's out of luck on that front too.
We've met Luis Lang before -- but when we last met him, he didn't have a name. Luis Lang, you see, is the real-life version of the hypothetical uninsured individual Ron Paul was asked about in a 2011 Republican presidential debate. As you'll recall, Paul said the hypothetical man should just "assume responsibility for himself," because "That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks." And the crowd cheered.

WOLF BLITZER: Thank you, Governor. Before I get to Michele Bachmann, I want to just -- you’re a physician, Ron Paul, so you’re a doctor. You know something about this subject. Let me ask you this hypothetical question.

A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, you know what? I’m not going to spend $200 or $300 a month for health insurance because I’m healthy, I don’t need it. But something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it.

Who’s going to pay if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?

PAUL: Well, in a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.

BLITZER: Well, what do you want?

PAUL: But what he should do is whatever he wants to do, and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major medical policy, but not be forced --

BLITZER: But he doesn’t have that. He doesn’t have it, and he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?

PAUL: That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody --

Paul went on to talk about two possible options for his hypothetical patient: charity on the medical community's part and charity from the churches:
BLITZER: But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?

PAUL: No. I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s, when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio, and the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals.


PAUL: And we’ve given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it.
There's your answer, folks. Obamacare was designed to make it unnecessary for Americans to have to beg for medical care -- yes, there's a price to pay if you don't obtain coverage during the enrollment period, but Lang should be able to obtain coverage through the expansion of Medicaid now that he can't work. Unfortunately for him, his party doesn't want him to be able to do that in his state.

Since conservatives have made Obamacare more porous than it was intended to be in South Carolina, we should be looking at the remedy conservatives recommend in this situation. You guys reshaped the health care landscape to the extent you could, and you guys encouraged people like Lang to be Obamacare refuseniks -- so you solve his problems. Churches should take up a collection for him. Doctors and hospitals should treat him and not expect payment. That's the system you think is better. So show us it's better.

And then repeat as necessary for all the Luis Langs who can't get the press to write about them.

Or back the hell off and let Obamacare do its work.


Victor said...

This man chose "freedom."

Instead, it turned out to be freedumb.

He chose the freedumb to go blind.

He decided not to get into the PPACA, and now he's mad at Obama that he's going blind, and has no medical coverage.

Maybe Nikki Haley will send him some money.

As Michele Bachmann said, 'That's COOOOOOOTHSPAH!!!'

I feel sorry for him.
But, he made his choice.

If he started an internet fund-drive, I wouldn't contribute.

I'd save my money to help some poor child in SC who needs help because their Governor is a heartless conservative imbecile.

retiredeng said...

If this man had Diabetes (a preexisting condition) and refused (or thought he didn't need) health insurance, it's his mistake. I don't feel sorry for him. He should have had coverage as soon as the ACA was available to him.

Never Ben Better said...

He's got a GoFundMe page set up where he whines semiliterately for help. As of today he'd received about $1600 of the 30K goal. Most of it appears to be from compassionate liberals who chide him gently for his foolishness but still offer help.

The photo of him there shows him sitting in his $300,000 home with a pack of cigarettes in his short pocket.

PurpleGirl said...

For various reasons related to being unemployed and having no income I currently do not have insurance. But I have health care. I live in NYC -- yes, we have high taxes -- and because of that I looked at my options and became a patient at a NYC hospital's clinic. I see the doctors there and get my meds there. There are also reasons I stayed in NYC. One of them is that this City decided a long time ago that its citizens deserved health care and it started its own hospitals and clinics. There may be problems with them at times, but they are there. I'm glad I've paid NYC taxes for years and years. NYC cares about its people.

Never Ben Better said...

Taxes are the dues you pay to live in a civilized society. I wish more people understood this.

Glennis said...

Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it.

Friends, neighbors and churches aren't going to do much about a detached retina.

LostSoulsStar said...

If good people want to donate to a person deserving of charity, this 15yr old Special Olympics gold medal winner needs a vehicle that can accommodate his wheelchair. http://www.gofundme.com/RE8MUG Hell if you know of a program or car dealer that can work with this family please let them know!

John Taylor said...

This guy is begging for help he would happily deny the poor uninsured.