Your response to Kristof's article

Reader comment on: Nicholas Kristof's Roommate With Cancer

Submitted by Matthew Chamberlin (United States), Oct 15, 2012 00:06

Mr. Stoll-

While I am not Mr. Androes and cannot speak for him, I wanted to do my best to respond to your well-made points. So, here goes (in order):

1- As I'm sure you know, COBRA is insanely expensive, especially for one who has just left their job and is looking to pare expenses. Mr. Kristof's whole piece about his friend seemed to paint a picture of Mr. Androes (like so many other young-ish, able bodied males) as whistling past the graveyard, hoping that nothing bad would ever befall him. I can empathize, as I did the exact same thing when I was 30 and was laid off from my job. COBRA was a nice theory, but well beyond what I could reasonably afford, if I wanted to continue to eat, pay rent, etc.

2- Since I am not Mr. Androes, I cannot really answer this one.

3- I would refer back to point one. "Cheap" is a relative term. Plus, imagine if there were signs of the cancer way back when he quit his job, but they had not outwardly manifested themselves. Good luck getting insurance with that pre-existing condition. A total non-starter.

4- I have no idea what Romney's tenure as Governor of Massachusetts has to do with anything. Romney is not running for Governor. I do not wish to appear glib, but it's hard to know what his position is on national health care, as it has "evolved" several times since he left the Massachusetts State House and may change several more times in the days leading up to the election. A cursory reading of Mr. Romney's position regarding pre-existing conditions and coverage reveals that his plan would only cover those who have maintained uninterrupted coverage. That certainly would disqualify Mr. Androes. It's a semantic game Romney plays, one that would leave millions of people in the lurch. Romney's stated goal is to repeal ACA, so, again, I'm unclear what his being Governor of Massachusetts has to do with this particular case. He has spent the last 2 years running from his record in Massachusetts.

5- Your point is well made, but I'm not sure what naming the bad doctor would accomplish. I agree with everything else you put forth in this point.

My takeaway from Kristof's moving portrait was that his friend was negligent, scared, distracted, felt invincible and a whole bunch of other adjectives that describe him, me and millions of others who avoid the doctor precisely because the system, as its currently set up, leaves us all feeling a bit queasy. That queasiness is less about the worst case HEALTH scenario but, rather, the standard case economic and bureaucratic scenario: endless phone calls, paperwork, inefficiency, exorbitant costs and potential outcomes that belie the talking point that we have "the best health care system in the world."

Mr. Kristof's friend's story is a sad one, maybe even an avoidable one had he taken more responsibility. But, unfortunately, it is an oft-repeated one. Change some of the details, but the end result is the same. Something had to be done about the state of health coverage as it continues to be a national disgrace and makes us a laughingstock around the world. ACA is not perfect and rather than be what some have cynically termed a "government takeover," it is the biggest gift to the insurance industry in history. Be that as it may, it is SEVERAL steps in the right direction and had Mr. Androes troubles began in 2014, I wonder if the outcome might not be different.

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Other reader comments on this item

Title By Date
Response to questions about Scott's insurance coverage [627 words]Matt BlumenfeldOct 20, 2012 23:55
Why did he quit job without money to buy insurance???? [44 words]MarcOct 16, 2012 00:11
Government intervention is responsible for his plight [44 words]Harry BinswangerOct 15, 2012 21:18
Brilliant column by Ira Stoll [171 words]Eliot AmesOct 15, 2012 18:08
Why MUST we bear his burden? [85 words]Tibor R. MachanOct 15, 2012 17:36
More Krug "Journalism"
[w/response] [110 words]
Dan CalabriaOct 15, 2012 17:23
[w/response] [9 words]
Dan CalabriaOct 15, 2012 19:10
If only people were forced to share their toys under a Kristoffian dictatorship [136 words]Dan RandOct 15, 2012 02:25
To answer point #4
[w/response] [83 words]
LyleOct 15, 2012 01:00
Is that a one time thing?
[w/response] [61 words]
LyleOct 15, 2012 12:04
answers from my world [715 words]ChadOct 15, 2012 00:54
Government is not your Daddy [72 words]Harry BinswangerOct 15, 2012 22:46
⇒ Your response to Kristof's article [594 words]Matthew ChamberlinOct 15, 2012 00:06
No Dr. Bills [18 words]BillOct 15, 2012 18:39

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