The Individual Mandate

Kage Baker had no medical insurance for the last several years of her life. Even before she left commercial employment for the free, mad life of a free-lance writer, the various companies she worked for could no longer provide health care benefits.

And since they didn’t have to if they were small enough – and living where we did in the wilds of the Central Coast, most companies were that small – they didn’t. Private health coverage was too expensive (those insurance companies have to make a profit, after all), and of course she didn’t qualify for any public assistance. Because she had a job.

And when she had no job but was instead self-employed, Kage made too much money.  The sale of a book a year disqualified her, and she generally sold more than that. So, no insurance.

By the time she was sick enough to have spent her savings, sick enough to qualify for medical programs designed for desperate women with dangerous diseases – well, by then, she was too sick to survive. Too bad, so sad, worse things happen at sea. She wouldn’t have gotten any help at all, except that her gynecologist lied and said he was afraid of a breast cancer involvement to her existing uterine cancer. That got her enrolled in the program that tried to save her life.

But for Kage, the only individual mandate was a mandate to die.

Today, the Supreme Court decided that President Obama’s health care plan is, yes, Constitutional. This will be of enormous help for many, many people like Kage; people who would certainly have died will have a chance at living. At least, that’s what will happen  once all the inevitable appeals and stalls and road blocks and plain black-hearted greedy subterfuges are defeated, and the program is permitted to go forward.

I’m glad for those people who will be helped. I wish Kage had been one of them.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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7 Responses to The Individual Mandate

  1. Neassa says:

    I am already being helped by the ACA. Because of my cancer diagnosis 3 years ago I am, of course, uninsurable in the normal course of events. But I now have coverage through a CA state program, funded by the ACA, that allows me to purchase decent coverage at an affordable rate. PCIP – Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan – is a temporary program to tide over people like me until the provisions kick in that will eliminate pre-existing conditions as a reason to deny coverage. As of yesterday, I am on medication for dangerously high blood pressure. I have a good doctor (same one my parents have!) and it is all a great relief.

    It is a shame and a disgrace that it’s taken so long for us to get even this far with health care.


  2. mizkizzle says:

    This is a marvellous victory for all Americans. It will save lives.


  3. Athene says:

    The lengths to which people will go to avoid helping those less fortunate than themselves consistently amazes me. I have only three words for them: It’s legal, b*tches.


    • Kate says:

      You’re right, Athene. The amount of energy and money expended on trying to destroy this would have been much better spent on nearly anything else. Speaking as one of the chronically uninsured, it would be a lot cheaper to just let me have my pills and trundle on quietly, than leave me to collapse every year and end up in the CICU.


  4. Tom B. says:

    ” . . . plain black-hearted greedy subterfuges . . . ”
    I’m seeing some pretty-well chromed-up and up-tarted subterfuges spun out, as well.
    But then again, Orly Taitz lives down here.


  5. After our COBRA ran out June 1st, I had to go through the maze of insurance companies to try and get covered by a new policy. Blue Shield was useless, and Aetna and Blue Cross marked me up double because I take prescriptions (one for 30 years) and have some minor back issues. Although I don’t usually cuss online, it’s flying bullshit. I hope the new law survives, adapts and improves and no one else has to go through what so many people (especially women) have had to.


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