Arizona has its own health care sys­tem, AHCCCS, that is sup­posed to either take the place of or be sup­ple­men­tal to Medicare. I’m not actu­ally sure what the ratio­nale was for set­ting it up lo these many years ago, and it seems a lit­tle odd just from an economy-​​of-​​scale per­spec­tive. Medicare has to have more buy­ing power than that obtain­able from one sin­gle state, par­tic­u­larly a state that’s hell-​​bent on cut­ting taxes to the point that leg­is­la­tors end up pay­ing for the priv­i­lege of mak­ing laws.*

Evidently there’s been a health pro­gram here, Arizona KidsCare, that’s been meet­ing some of the needs of fam­i­lies in bad sit­u­a­tions; and there’s an exten­sion of that pro­gram for par­ents — really a good idea, since if the par­ents are in poor health, they can’t work, and since it’s safe to assume they’re at min­i­mum wage and prob­a­bly unin­sured, that’s a seri­ous issue — but the pro­gram is going to be cut off.

From the per­spec­tive of those oppos­ing national health care reform, the tim­ing is quite unfor­tu­nate.

Families appar­ently had cov­er­age if they were below 200% of the Federal poverty line (which set the AHCCCS limit at $44K or less for a fam­ily of four; the Fed def­i­n­i­tion of “poverty” is half that amount), and nearly 10,000 Arizona adults will now be fac­ing life with­out insurance.

This is seri­ous, because I know by direct expe­ri­ence that a lot of those fam­i­lies are in rural parts of the state (like where I live), and I know how des­per­ately poor and in need of health­care these peo­ple are.

But what tends to skeeve me the most is the tone of some of the com­ments on the AZStarnet arti­cle. A few posters seem to be of the opin­ion that these poverty-​​ridden adults some­how deserve to live in poverty.

It’s instruc­tive to see the naked face of heart­less­ness, the big­otry against the poor and igno­rant (by those who are arguably every bit as igno­rant, if not more), and the pre­sump­tion of enti­tle­ment in those com­ments. As though hav­ing insur­ance, or even a decent job, is some­thing every­one has a right to, and only per­sonal mis­be­hav­ior can some­how take away those rights. If these indi­vid­u­als are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the anti-​​health lobby, it’s clear there’s some­thing very, very wrong in this coun­try. A nation that doesn’t even care about the well-​​being of its cit­i­zenry will not last.

I think those who believe there’s no need for a pub­lic single-​​payer health insur­ance option should stop their vapid mor­al­iz­ing and spend a few years liv­ing with­out health insur­ance. Particularly if they have kids. See just how easy it is to do with­out for a change.

Until you’ve actu­ally lived like that, I’m not sure you’ve got a right to com­ment on what it’s like, or whether it’s fair.


* Sarcasm.


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