After Shooting, Conversation Turns To Health Insurance

(Sysmatic/flickr)

The heated debate over gun control following the July 20 movie-theatre massacre in Aurora, Colo. has quickly evolved into a discussion about health insurance. Kaiser Health News reports that some of the victims most seriously injured in the shooting rampage have no insurance coverage, so in addition to struggling for their physical lives, they are also fighting to pay their medical bills. Carol Eisenberg reports:

The most seriously wounded continue to fight for their lives and may face medical bills in the hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars. Among them is 23-year-old Caleb Medley, who is in an induced coma after being shot in the head, and whose wife, Katie, gave birth to their first child last week. The couple has no health insurance, and their friends and family are raising money online to pay their medical bills.

Like Medley, many of the victims are between the ages of 19 and 34 – a group with a 28 percent uninsurance rate in Colorado, the highest among any age group, according to a 2011 survey by Calonge’s group.

Calonge notes that many young people are employed and have the opportunity to buy insurance through their jobs but decline coverage because they are making comparatively low salaries and see themselves as young and healthy.

“One of the things the tragedy points out is that assessment of risk isn’t always right,” he said.

…Some believe the discussion about the victims’ medical bills may change attitudes about the 2010 health care law. “It will make the issue of people without insurance suddenly needing care more vivid,” said Norman Ornstein, resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Last week, in a column in The Boston Globe, John McDonough offered his own health insurance perspective to the Aurora story:

Here’s another thing you can do: remember, next time Mitt Romney talks about how he will “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act/ObamaCare (with no replacement in sight), that if fully implemented in 2014, the ACA guarantees that no American citizen will have to go through the second assault Caleb is now facing because of our nation’s despicable health insurance system.

If Mitt succeeds in repealing the ACA, it’s only a matter of time before Caleb’s story is repeated in the next massacre.

Maybe the National Rifle Association should start a line of health insurance people can buy if they are uninsured and the victim of a shooting massacre. Hey, why take risks?

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  • Jlambert50

    Just tell people they don’t have to be responsible.  The government will take care of all the babies in this country.  He probably has a color tv, new car now a child instead of being responsible and having health insurance first.  Why should my money go to pay for one who makes these stupid decisions.