Guy Going Blind Inspires Heated ObamaCare Debate

Luis Lang shunned insurance, now can't get it
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2015 10:32 AM CDT
Guy Going Blind Inspires Heated ObamaCare Debate
This file photo shows the website for   (AP Photo/Jon Elswick, File)

A man named Luis Lang in South Carolina is emerging as the face of a new debate about ObamaCare. As a story by Ann Doss Helms of the Charlotte Observer explains, Lang is a 49-year-old self-employed handyman who has long shunned health insurance and paid his own medical bills. But now he's going blind and can't cover the bills needed to save his vision. Lang, a Republican, knew Obama's Affordable Care Act required him to get coverage but chose not to do so. He tried to sign up once he got sick but missed the enrollment period. His wife now refers to it as the "Not Fair Health Care Act." Because South Carolina opted out of the act's Medicaid expansion, he can't get help on that front, leaving a GoFundMe page as his best hope. Finally, Lang is a smoker who admits he's been lax in controlling his diabetes.

As Helms writes: "Anyone who’s remotely familiar with insurance knows there’s no system that lets people skip payments while they’re healthy and cash in when they get sick." Lang is now taking flak, especially on the left, for blaming ObamaCare for his predicament. Some reaction:

  • John Marshall, Talking Points Memo: "I always try to remind myself not to criticize with stories like (this one), or perhaps better to say, not to forget the core reason for providing a comprehensive national plan to provide health insurance for everyone who needs it. But this story really puts that sentiment to the test, as well as exposing the perverse politics and perceptions on this issue in Republican-run states."
  • Jay Bookman, Atlanta Journal Constitution: "In short, the health-care problem would be a lot easier to solve if it wasn’t complicated by the fact that it involves human beings, or if human beings were actually the rational beings that economic theory likes to pretend we are."
  • Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times: "The most pathetic part of this story may be that while the Langs bear total personal responsibility for their predicament, they're still blaming Obama and the Democrats. South Carolina's political 'leadership' has a lot to answer for."
(More ObamaCare stories.)

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