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Robert Musil scoffs at this article from the New York Times about middle class people losing their health insurance.

These people are not poor, and they are not unaware of the costs and risks connected with the decision of whether to purchase or not purchase health insurance. They are making consumption choices - and they quite clearly view health insurance as of a type with other ordinary goods. Indeed, in the case of Ms. Pardo, health insurance seems to be an ordinary good that is of less signifiance than economizing on rent, car payments and insurance, day care and utilities.
And it's difficult to disagree with him, when you read anecdotes in the article such as this one:
Lorenda Stevenson said her choice was between buying medicine to treat patches of peeling, flaking skin on her hands, arms and face and making sure her son could continue his after-school tennis program. "There's no way I will cut that out unless we don't have money for food," she said.

Mrs. Stevenson's husband, Bill, lost his management job at WorldCom two years ago, when an accounting scandal forced the company into bankruptcy. They managed to pay $900 a month for Cobra, the government policy that allows workers to continue their coverage after they lose their jobs, but when the cost rose to $1,200, they could no longer afford it.

When their son, a ninth grader, needed a physical and shot to take tennis, Mrs. Stevenson turned to the Rockwall Area Health Clinic, a nonprofit clinic in Rockwall, a city of 13,000 northeast of Dallas. The clinic charged her $20 instead of the $400 she estimated she would have paid at the doctor's office.

"I sat filling out the paperwork and crying," she said, tears streaming down her face. "I was so embarrassed to bring him here."

A salve to treat her skin condition costs $27, and she pays roughly $50 a month for medications for high blood pressure and hormones. She does without medication she needs for acid reflux, treating the conditions sporadically with samples from the clinic.

Apparently tennis just takes priority over medicine. Which is fine -- but isn't it obscene to ask that the rest of us pay for this woman's medicine when she could afford it if she chose?


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Comments (3)


Maybe American Express can feature her in a new commercial.

A trip to the clinic $20.

A salve to treat her skin condition $27.

Tennis lessons for her son - priceless!


I dunno... wouldn't MasterCard get a little upset?


D'oh! I guess MasterCard has wasted its avdvertising dollars on me.


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