A Friday Chat on the Latest Healthcare News

Photo credit: Zechariah Judy, CC BY 2.0.

NICOLE: Happy Friday the thirteenth!

STINA: Thank you.

NICOLE: Are you doing anything lucky and/or unlucky today?

STINA: No, I am doing nothing of the sort, daring fate to do it’s worst.

NICOLE: Fate or politicians, perhaps. I heard the latest healthcare news this morning. NOT GOOD. As the Washington Post put it: “Throwing a bomb into the insurance markets, Trump now owns the broken health-care system.”

STINA: Yep. But a small bit of good news for the immediate future is that most plans assumed he was going to this, so they included that risk in their estimates for the next year. So most rates will remain the same and a few additional plans will drop.

NICOLE: I guess it’s nice that the health insurers were thinking of us? A tiny silver lining that also costs us a good chunk of money?

STINA: Yes unfortunately. But I think that by doing this they are really hurting their own goals of strengthening private markets.

NICOLE: What’s the endgame? Yes, getting rid of Obamacare, yes, deregulating health insurance, then… what? It can’t just be “let’s make health insurance harder for poor people to get,” even though that’s a major side effect.

STINA: Yes, in terms of the immediate endgame. However, they aren’t really replacing it with anything substantial and aren’t really doing anything to decrease costs for anyone but young, healthy people who were mandated to buy individual insurance. Senator Chris Murphy is suggesting people could be allowed to buy into Medicare, which I think will really appeal to people.

NICOLE: Let’s hope. Anything else on your mind for this weekend? Besides thinking of how high the cost of living has gotten, which is something that’s been on my mind ever since I read that huge report about Washington State?

STINA: Well, sort of off-topic: I currently have a fractured ankle and use a crutch and this has made me appreciate the automatic door-openers/buttons that are made available to people in buildings. Plus the little carts in stores. Although it’s made me sad that when I use them often people comment “Wow someone is using it that needs it” when there are so many invisible illnesses (MS, Lupus, chemotherapy patients) etc. that really are too tired to walk around a store.

NICOLE: Agreed. Invisible illnesses are—I was about to say they’re important, but I think what I mean is that they should be recognized. Also, if you need to use the cart, you need to use the cart! You don’t have to pass a certain “you must be this sick to ride” threshold.

STINA: Heck they are pretty fun too actually. Use it!

NICOLE: I’m glad there’s a silver lining to having a fractured ankle, and I hope you heal quickly and thoroughly.

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