The Affluent "Uninsured"

Carol Platt Liebau
Posted: Nov 20, 2009 3:38 PM
The Washington Post is running an unbelievably nauseating piece about young people who stand to inheirit a good chunk of money, but their "progressive values" mean they are "conflicted" about it (perhaps they needn't worry; if the Democrats remain in charge, it'll all be taxed away anyhow).

But as we stand on the brink of the health care bill coming to debate in the Senate, this passage from the piece leaped out at me:

"In Vermont [this year], I broke my finger and didn't have insurance," said [28 year old Janelle] Treibitz, whose father is chief executive of a Colorado company that designs visual presentations for court trials. "I got my X-ray and gave [the hospital] a fake name and walked out. Is that okay that I am doing that -- taking up resources because I am refusing to take money from my parents?"

In other words, a young woman who clearly has the ability to have private coverage -- if she chose to -- remains uninsured.  Setting aside the fraud she committed (no,  Janelle, it's NOT "okay" that you are "doing that"), it's worth pointing out how many other young Americans are in a comparable position.

Jeffrey Anderson has shown that although young people 18-24 are only 10% of the population, they represent 18% of the uninsured.  People like Janelle are not atypical -- and they put the lie to President Obama's claim that we need "reform" (and a public option) because those who are presently uninsured cannot get insurance.

Janelle could have gotten insurance; she simply refused to.  And now people like her are serving as a rationale for destroying the greatest health care system in the world.

Update: Please also note the fact that in this system -- where, we're told, people without insurance cannot get care -- this entitled young woman was able to walk into a hospital, obtain an x-ray without difficulty, and not pay a penny.