Thursday night owls: America's private health care system could make coronavirus worse

Night Owls, a themed open thread is a regular feature at Daily Kos.

Nicole Karlis at Salon writes—America’s patchwork, for-profit healthcare system poised to worsen coronavirus outbreak:

There’s a reason that the story about a Miami man receiving a $3,270 medical bill after fearing he had the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) is going viral: it is a relatable cautionary tale for Americans accustomed to our piecemeal, overpriced, for-profit healthcare system. Despite the good news that Osmel Martinez Azcue tested for the flu, not the virus, Azcue is left with a significant financial burden. (The Miami Herald reported that hospital officials said he will only be responsible for $1,400, thanks to his limited insurance plan from National General Insurance. However, he will have to provide three years of medical records to prove that the flu, which he tested positive for, didn’t relate to a preexisting condition.)

“How can they expect normal citizens to contribute to eliminating the potential risk of person-to-person spread if hospitals are waiting to charge us $3,270 for a simple blood test and a nasal swab?” Azcue told the Miami Herald.

He’s got a point. Certainly, Azcue’s story foreshadows the kind of havoc expected once COVID-19 begins to spread in the United States, which experts now think is inevitable. Lacking the universal healthcare plans of other developed nations, the United States’ piecemeal, for-profit system essentially disincentivizes the uninsured and under-insured from seeking out testing for COVID-19, or even going to the doctor if they are sick in the first place. […]

Highly Recommended: My colleague Mark Sumner’s post—America is about to get a godawful lesson in why health care should never be a for-profit business.



“I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don’t trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honestly out of countenance any day of the week, if there is anything to get got by it.” ~~Charles Dickens, Hunted Down (1859)


The #TrumpVirus will be a costly curse, and Larry Kudlow will fastidiously calculate the financial damage to America. #COVID2019 https://t.co/IThs3USbUh

— Stephanie Kennedy (@WordswithSteph) February 27, 2020


At Daily Kos on this date in 2013—John Roberts has always had it in for the Voting Rights Act: 

Three decades ago, when John Roberts, now chief justice of the Supreme Court, was just a Reagan-hired grunt in the conservative movement’s efforts to roll back the clock on progressive achievements, he became the point man for defeating the 1982 renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Which has led close observers to expect that he will be part of a majority of five that will all but demolish the act based on the case the court heard oral arguments on Wednesday. […]

Now, with Shelby in the dock, the hope of activists is that perhaps Roberts has moderated his stance. But in a ruling in 2009, he seemed to echo Reagan’s view that there could not forever be “punishment” of the South for past behavior. One modification of the law that leaned in the critics’ direction in the 1982 renewal gave jurisdictions the option of bailing out of Section 5 if they could prove they no longer needed to be under federal supervision. Roberts stated in that 2009 case that the Justice Department had made the bailout provision “all but a nullity.” But in the years since that decision, more than a hundred jurisdictions have bailed out. Shelby County hasn’t been able to argue it deserves a bailout because in 2006, it gerrymandered away the district of the only black city council member in one county town.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Trump botched the coronavirus presser in most of the predicted ways, plus some novel ones. Problems mount for Grennell: a Never Trump past; unregistered foreign agent work; meddling in Assange case. Hyde hides from House probe.

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