Don’t Break Your Hand in Seattle. . .

and if you do, be sure you have health insurance:

In Seattle . . . access to orthopedic surgeons is virtually nonexistent for uninsured people and Medicaid enrollees, because a single group of orthopedic surgeons has a virtual monopoly in the community and does not accept Medicaid or uninsured patients.

Fine, you might think, I’ll just hop on the web and find some individual health insurance. But that game of roulette may not work out, either: “Findings from a survey of individual insurance shoppers show that 15% of people looking for insurance online were deemed ‘uninsurable’ for standard coverage by most insurance carriers.” And the more radical advocates of health care deregulation are still pressing for sales of insurance policies across state lines, even though that would mean “insurance companies offering more-comprehensive policies for individuals would . . . [risk] . . . losing healthy young workers to cut-rate plans from the least-regulated states[,] . . . further unravel[ing] risk-sharing and increas[ing] prices for the sick.”

As all that was solid melts into the air of financial crisis, the last thing we need is less risk-sharing. Market-worship may lead us down that path, but now we have a much better sense of where that idolatry leads. As Thomas Edsall noted in Building Red America, the cornerstone of an ideological movement for an “ownership society” is increasing individuals’ appetite for risk and gain. We’d be better off acknowledging, with Martha Fineman and Alasdair MacIntyre, the vulnerable subjects and dependent rational animals that we are. And bio-cons advocating a “caregiving society” need to acknowledge the fiscal foundations of such a commitment.

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