Monday, October 12, 2009

News Talk Online October 12, 2009: Getting Or Staying Married For Health Care Benefits

Young with Pres. Obama: PNHP


Paltalk News Network

A Cincinnati woman is estranged from her husband. They should get a divorce. But they don't. She has health issues and fears that should she divorce her husband, her pre-existing conditions would preclude her from getting health care. So with him she remains.

A man in Pennsylvania gets married. Congratulations should be in order. But, while they have a wedding and a party, there's a disingenuous air to it all. He didn't get married for love. In fact, he admits that he doesn't love his new bride. He married her, he acknowledges, for her health benefits.

It almost seems like a, you should pardon the pun, a sick joke. But sadly, these stories are true. And they aren't so unusual.

"This happens," says Dr. Quentin Young of the group Physicians for a National Health Program.

"People who are under 65 and have no insurance who can only get it by either staying in a marriage they wouldn't otherwise or, in the alternative get married."

The alternative, Young says, is to risk leaving oneself destitute.

"Over a million people go personally bankrupt every year due to health costs," Young says.

That's why the PNHP is pushing for a single payer option in any health reform bill that Congress passes. But the campaign, he acknowledges, is an uphill battle.

"Insurance companies are spending 10s of millions of dollars in disinformation. They have 35 hundred paid lobbyists and it's just overwhelming."

The PNHP is pushing a single payer bill that has 85 sponsors. The organization doesn't expect it to pass. But Young says that if it garners 150 votes it will have sufficient traction to live to see another day.

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