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Rising Health Insurance Deductibles Fuel Middle-Class Anger and Resentment


By Noam N. Levey | 19 July 2019

THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN (THE LOS ANGELES TIMES) — Denise Wall, a Fresno-area schoolteacher with more than $2,000 in medical bills, was outraged to hear she could get free care if she quit her job and enrolled her family in Medicaid.

Brenda Bartlett, a factory worker in Nebraska, was so angry about $2,500 in medical bills she ran up using the coverage she got at work that she dropped insurance altogether.

“They don’t give a rat’s butt about people like me,” she said.

Sue Andersen, burdened with nearly $10,000 in debt through her family’s high-deductible plan, had to change jobs to find better coverage after learning she and her husband earned too much for government help in Minnesota.

“We are super middle class,” she said. “How are we stuck with everything?”

Health insurance — never a standard protection in the U.S. as it is in other wealthy countries — has long divided Americans, providing generous benefits to some and slim-to-no protections to others.

But a steep run-up in deductibles, which have more than tripled in the last decade, has worsened inequality, fueling anger and resentment and adding to the country’s unsettled politics, a Los Angeles Times analysis shows. […]

3 Comments on Rising Health Insurance Deductibles Fuel Middle-Class Anger and Resentment

  1. When I was nineteen, a dentist told me my wisdom teeth were impacted and had to come out. When I got home, I looked at my wisdom teeth in the mirror. They looked okay to me. I also noticed that every time I went for a check up, the dentist would find a cavity. After awhile I got suspicious and quit going. That was thirty years ago, and as far as I can tell, my teeth are fine, including my wisdom teeth.

    Around the time I quit going to dentists, I also quit going to doctors. Whenever I was sick or hurt, I would simply lie down until it went away. I had a kidney stone once — man, that hurt! — but I got some pain pills from the old lady next door and rode it out.

    Now I am not saying we don’t need doctors. I am not saying that! I just think some people overdo the doctor thing, especially women.

    Doctors killed both my parents. They are not getting me.

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