Readers React: He donated a kidney to his wife. Pre-Obamacare, that gave him a preexisting condition

A supporter of the Affordable Care Act at a speech by then-President Obama on Oct. 30, 2013.
A supporter of the Affordable Care Act at a speech by then-President Obama on Oct. 30, 2013.
(Yoon S. Byun / EPA-EFE/REX)

To the editor: My wife needed a kidney years ago. Luckily, I was a decent match. (“Since lawmakers now agree on protecting people with preexisting conditions, here’s how you do it,” Dec. 17)

After her recovery period, she considered a job offer that would strip us of our family medical plan. She contacted Blue Cross to get a quote for coverage just for me, as she was on Medicare. This is where the “guess how much the premiums on me would be” fun starts.

But we didn’t even get that far. Blue Cross told us it would not be able to provide insurance coverage. We discovered after the fact that being rejected for insurance was not unusual for organ donors.

Of course, my wife stayed at the job that provided healthcare for me, and her kidney has been a champ, only now winding down, starting the search for a new one.

There is a single word for the Republican effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act — evil. All of the maneuvering to change the law for change’s sake makes our healthcare system less viable.


Greg Hilfman, Topanga


To the editor: I start with the premise that we should provide quality, affordable healthcare for all.

Given that, using traditional Medicare as a model would fail. For as many years as I can remember, the trustees of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds have been asking for Congress to address shortfalls sooner rather than later.

A better model would be Medicare Advantage for All. This would allow beneficiaries to select an insurer (contracted with Medicare) with premiums paid by Medicare. Everybody who wants a fee for service plan would pay a surcharge. This way, the market would set reimbursement rates.

To further expand the risk pool, the employer-paid premiums could be taxed as income to the beneficiary and non-deductible by the employer. The revenue raised by these changes would go toward the cost of the program.

Alas, that would take leadership.

Kevin Minihan, Los Angeles


To the editor: Healthcare — or more accurately, our system of paying for it — is complicated only because insurance companies make fortunes out of it. They pay themselves lavishly and buy politicians with what’s left over.

Everyone knows that the greatest return on investment in America comes from purchasing politicians.

Other advanced nations have solved the healthcare problem. We haven’t, and not because we are dumber or more complicated than other countries are, but because insurance company money and politicians prevent the adoption of single-payer universal healthcare.

Chuck Almdale, North Hills

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook