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View Full Version : Plaintiff challenging healthcare law went bankrupt with unpaid medical bills


Wigglytuff
Jun 25th, 2012, 07:38 PM
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/08/nation/la-na-healthcare-plaintiff-20120309

Plaintiff challenging healthcare law went bankrupt – with unpaid medical bills

Reporting from Washington —*

Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman who owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue.

Brown "doesn't have insurance. She doesn't want to pay for it. And she doesn't want the government to tell her she has to have it," said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation's case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month.

But court records reveal that Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. Those bills could change Brown from a symbol of proud independence into an example of exactly the problem the healthcare law was intended to address.

The central issue before the Supreme Court is whether the government can require people to buy health insurance. Under the law, those who fail to buy insurance after 2014 could face a fine of up to $700.

The business federation, along with other critics of the law, calls the insurance mandate a "threat to individual liberty" that violates the Constitution.

Obama administration lawyers argue that the requirement is justified because everyone, sooner or later, needs healthcare. Those who fail to have insurance are at high risk of running up bills they cannot pay, sticking the rest of society with the cost, they argue. Brown's situation, they say, is a perfect example of exactly that kind of "uncompensated care that will ultimately be paid by others."

"This is so ironic," Jane Perkins, a health law expert in North Carolina, said of Brown's situation. "It just shows that all Americans inevitably have a need for healthcare. Somebody has paid for her healthcare costs. And she is now among the 62% whose personal bankruptcy was attributable in part to medical bills."

Lawyers who represent Brown dispute the significance of her bankruptcy. They say her unpaid medical bills were only a small part of her debts and did not cause her bankruptcy. They say that she and her husband owe $55,000 to others, including credit card companies. And they say her financial troubles were caused by the failure of her auto repair shop.

Brown, reached by telephone Thursday, said the medical bills were her husband's. "I always paid my bills, as well as my medical bills," she said angrily. "I never said medical insurance is not a necessity. It should be anyone's right to what kind of health insurance they have.

"I believe that anyone has unforeseen things that happen to them that are beyond their control," Brown said. "Who says I don't have insurance right now?"

Brown's problems are not likely to affect the outcome in the high court. In January, the business group told the court it had found two new plaintiffs who could take Brown's place. But Brown played a crucial role in the case reaching the Supreme Court.

"There was time pressure" to find a plaintiff for the case, Harned said. "And candidly, it is not as easy as it sounds" to find someone. She recalls that Brown was outspoken and stepped forward as a volunteer. The lawyers found a second plaintiff in Kaj Ahlburg, a retired New York investment banker living in Port Angeles, Wash.

But when U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson declared the mandate unconstitutional in January 2011, he pointed to Mary Brown's complaint. "She is a small-business owner" who "does not believe the cost of health insurance is a wise or acceptable use of her resources," he said.

In August, the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta agreed. Florida and 25 other states were suing, but they needed an individual to contest the mandate. "Mary Brown has standing to challenge the individual mandate," the judges said, and "as long as at least one plaintiff has standing to raise" the claim, the court can rule. The Obama administration appealed, and the Supreme Court said in November it would decide the constitutional challenge.

But by then, Brown's small auto repair shop near Panama City, Fla., had closed, and she and her husband had filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Brown said in the petition that her only income was $275 a month in unemployment benefits.

Her bankruptcy came to light in December, when a Wall Street Journal reporter interviewed her about her role in the historic case. In a video interview, Brown said freedom from government was the issue. "I'm not fighting just for me," she said. "It's my choice to have healthcare, not theirs."

Shortly afterward, lawyers for the National Federation of Independent Business informed the court of Brown's troubles, and sent along a copy of her bankruptcy filing.

The couple owed $2,140 to Bay Medical Center in Panama City, $610 to Bay Medical Physicians, $835 to an eye doctor in Alabama and $900 to a specialist in Mississippi.

"This is a very common problem. We cover $30 million in charity and uncompensated care every year," said Christa Hild, a spokeswoman for the hospital center. "If it's a bad debt, we have to absorb it."

The business group's lawyers say they weren't backing away from their bankrupt plaintiff. "She wants to continue in the case. And as long as she doesn't want healthcare, she qualifies as a plaintiff in our mind," Harned said.

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HA! well at least we know that no matter what happens with obamacare mrs. Brown got what she wanted and what she deserved. :bounce: :bounce: :worship: :worship: :worship:

wta_zuperfann
Jun 29th, 2012, 03:48 PM
right wing hypocrisy at its worse

ALIEN
Jun 29th, 2012, 06:17 PM
But she is still one of those "soon to haves" right? :lol: At least that's what Romney says.

Vlover
Jun 29th, 2012, 07:38 PM
http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/08/nation/la-na-healthcare-plaintiff-20120309

[QUOTE]Plaintiff challenging healthcare law went bankrupt – with unpaid medical bills

Reporting from Washington —*

Mary Brown, a 56-year-old Florida woman who owned a small auto repair shop but had no health insurance, became the lead plaintiff challenging President Obama's healthcare law because she was passionate about the issue.

Brown "doesn't have insurance. She doesn't want to pay for it. And she doesn't want the government to tell her she has to have it," said Karen Harned, a lawyer for the National Federation of Independent Business. Brown is a plaintiff in the federation's case, which the Supreme Court plans to hear later this month.

But court records reveal that Brown and her husband filed for bankruptcy last fall with $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. Those bills could change Brown from a symbol of proud independence into an example of exactly the problem the healthcare law was intended to address.

The central issue before the Supreme Court is whether the government can require people to buy health insurance. Under the law, those who fail to buy insurance after 2014 could face a fine of up to $700.

The business federation, along with other critics of the law, calls the insurance mandate a "threat to individual liberty" that violates the Constitution.

Obama administration lawyers argue that the requirement is justified because everyone, sooner or later, needs healthcare. Those who fail to have insurance are at high risk of running up bills they cannot pay, sticking the rest of society with the cost, they argue. Brown's situation, they say, is a perfect example of exactly that kind of "uncompensated care that will ultimately be paid by others.
"This is so ironic," Jane Perkins, a health law expert in North Carolina, said of Brown's situation. "It just shows that all Americans inevitably have a need for healthcare. Somebody has paid for her healthcare costs. And she is now among the 62% whose personal bankruptcy was attributable in part to medical bills."I'm :haha: at the irony that Obama used the idea from the Republican "think tank" Heritage Foundation, implemented by the Republican nominee in MA and upheld by the Republican appointed Justice to bring about what all other Presidents have failed to do.

Anyway after my laughter subsides it is sad it is people like this woman who Obama and wealthy Democrats like Kennedy have been fighting for the last 70 yrs and yet they will side with Republicans thinking that they don't deserve any better.:help:

I've been lucky I've always have insurance coverage but recently had to take a relative who was visiting the US to the emergency room. It cost us $1500 to see the doctor and $250 for the prescription because the person was not a resident of the US. Luckily there was no need for an over night stay in the hospital because then a couple more thousands would be added.

Anyway most of us know this has very little to do with healthcare and using every aspect of the government to deny Obama a victory.

Vlover
Jun 29th, 2012, 08:03 PM
These are the evil things that the socialist Obama wants to happen to Americans:rolleyes: I guess Romney and majority MA residents who like their healthcare are also socialists. Which state would you rather be a model for health care, MA where 98% are insured or TX where majority are uninsured?
For instance, young adults can still be covered under their parents' insurance plans.

"[This allows] the 2.5 million young adults up to the age of 26 who gained coverage under the law to stay on their parents' health insurance policies," Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement.

Many other Americans will be able to get health coverage through subsidized health insurance exchanges. And insurance companies can no longer exclude people from plans because of preexisting conditions.
This provision is already in place for children and will be applicable to adults starting in 2014, said Dr. Michelle Huckaby Lewis, a research scholar with Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in Baltimore.

The law will also preserve discounts that Medicare recipients (generally people over the age of 65) receive on prescription drugs, Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, said in a statement.

And, in general, the expanded health coverage will boost preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Insurance companies will now be required to provide "first dollar" coverage for preventive and screening services, explained Dr. Glen Stream, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Stream said he has seen many patients decline a mammogram or a colonoscopy because the co-pay or deductible was simply too expensive.

"It was not at all uncommon to decline important wellness and preventive screening because they couldn't afford the co-pay or the deductible," Stream said. "Now, the whole cost of a mammogram is covered because it fits into this category of preventive screening services."

The only part of the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court took issue with was penalizing states that didn't expand their Medicaid programs.

"The court said the federal government does not have the power to penalize states who decline to expand their Medicaid programs," said Devon Herrick, a health economist and senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas.

It's unclear whether states will decide to pursue Medicaid expansion or not, but this part of the ruling could affect the poor.

Lewis explained that prior to the Supreme Court's decision, [B]"the Affordable Care Act would have required that states expand Medicaid programs by 2014 to cover all individuals under the age of 65 with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level."

wta_zuperfann
Jul 1st, 2012, 01:16 PM
Stupid right wingers threatening to leave USA because of "Obamacare":

http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2012/06/tk-countries-idiots-are-moving-to-because-of-obamacare/#page/1


And where are these idiots going? To countries that already have health care reform.

wta_zuperfann
Jul 1st, 2012, 01:20 PM
The real face of "Obamacare":


http://cdn.front.moveon.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Obamacare-face-full.jpg


Now, she and many like her will live much to the right wing's disappointment.

Wigglytuff
Jul 1st, 2012, 02:58 PM
You know these people want nothing more than to see those children die. Remember the republican debates where those people said "let him die" about a man going to the ER without insurance.

That's what these people want. "let him die"

tennisbum79
Jul 1st, 2012, 08:21 PM
Had she focussed on guiding and running her business through these difficult times, instead of getting involved in the law suit preparation, maybe she would still be in business and free of medical debt.

tennisbum79
Jul 1st, 2012, 08:30 PM
Shortly afterward, lawyers for the National Federation of Independent Business informed the court of Brown's troubles, and sent along a copy of her bankruptcy filing.

The couple owed $2,140 to Bay Medical Center in Panama City, $610 to Bay Medical Physicians, $835 to an eye doctor in Alabama and $900 to a specialist in Mississippi.

"This is a very common problem. We cover $30 million in charity and uncompensated care every year," said Christa Hild, a spokeswoman for the hospital center. "If it's a bad debt, we have to absorb it."

The business group's lawyers say they weren't backing away from their bankrupt plaintiff. "She wants to continue in the case. And as long as she doesn't want healthcare, she qualifies as a plaintiff in our mind," Harned said.


So does she care that the hospital call this a bad debt they have to absorb?

Which means someone else is paying for her health care, whether it is via charitable deduction or otherwise.

Vlover
Jul 1st, 2012, 11:02 PM
This is one of the main things why the insurance companies spent over $200 million fighting against the bill. Something you will never see mentioned by right wingers.
Insurance companies to ‘give back’ $1 billion+
By The Associated Press, Herald-Tribune / Thursday, April 26, 2012 By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR

WASHINGTON — Insurance companies will have to return more than $1 billion this year to consumers and businesses, thanks to a new requirement in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, a report released Thursday concludes.

Florida is due to get back more than $33.5 million, from six plans that cover 768,000 people, according to the report. That’s a little more than $43 per policyholder.

That’s real money, says Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which analyzed industry filings with state insurance commissioners. The law requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect on medical care and quality improvements — or issue rebates to policyholders.

“This is one of the most tangible benefits of the health reform law that consumers will have seen to date,” said Levitt, an expert on private health insurance. The nonpartisan foundation is an information clearinghouse on the nation’s health care system, and its research is widely cited.

The report comes with a caveat. It lacks data on the nation’s most populous state, California, because complete filings there were not available.

Nonetheless, the analysis estimates that consumers and businesses in other states will receive rebates of $1.3 billion, in some cases in the form of a discount on next year’s premiums.

The insurance industry says consumers should take little comfort from the rebates, because the companies expect premiums to go up overall as a result of new benefits and other requirements of the new law.

“The net of all the requirements will be an increase in costs for consumers,” said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the main industry trade group.

“Given that health care costs are inherently unpredictable, it’s not surprising that some plans will be paying rebates to policyholders in certain markets,” Zirkelbach added.

But backers of the rebate requirement say it will keep the industry from padding its profits at the expense of unwitting consumers. They say an efficiently-run insurer should not have any problem earning a healthy return after devoting 80 percent of premiums to medical care. Indeed, the law sets an 85 percent requirement for plans that serve large employers.

“Millions are benefiting because health insurance companies are spending less money on executive salaries and administrative costs, and more on patient care,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., a leading advocate of the rebate provision.

The study found the largest rebates will go to consumers and employers in Texas ($186 million) and Florida ($149 million), where Govs. Rick Perry and Rick Scott, respectively, have been among the staunchest opponents of the federal law. Both states applied for waivers from the 80-percent requirement and were turned down. Hawaii is the only state in which insurers are not expected to issue a rebate.

Here’s how the rebates break down nationally: More than 3 million individual policyholders will reap rebates of $426 million, averaging $127 apiece. Consumers in Texas, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Arizona are most likely to be eligible for the payments, due starting in August, from 215 insurance plans that did not meet the standards in the law.

In the small-employer market, plans covering nearly 5 million people will receive rebates totaling $377 million.

The study found that plans in the large employer market were more likely to be in compliance with the law’s requirement. Nonetheless, 125 plans covering 7.5 million people reported to state regulators that they will give back a total of $541 million.

The report says the rebates are only one of the ways in which consumers may benefit from tighter scrutiny of the health insurance industry under the federal law, which provides funding for state regulators to monitor the companies more closely.

Self-conscious insurers may be hesitating to push state regulators for premium increases as large as they were able to win in the past.

“This ‘sentinel’ effect on premiums has likely produced more savings for consumers and employers than the rebates themselves,” the report said.

Fly-speck scrutiny of the insurance industry won’t solve the problem of rising health care costs, the report acknowledged, but it “can help to ensure that consumers and businesses get greater value for their premium dollar.”

The numbers in the report are estimates. Final totals won’t be issued by the federal government until early summer.

Seventeen states applied for waivers from the 80-percent standard, producing evidence that it would destabilize their private health insurance markets. Federal regulators granted adjustments to seven states, usually meeting each state’s request part way.

tennisbum79
Jul 1st, 2012, 11:15 PM
Is ;t just me or has anyone else noticed that FAUXNews coverage is limited to only individual mandate and other perceived negative effects of the ACA?
I have yet to see see their on-air reported list the benefits that matter to individual of facilities.

And when the measure the popularity of the entire law, their poll question is only limited to the individual mandate.
While the latest Gup show 46-46 tie of is is for and against the law, FAUXNews poll limited to individual mandate show 60% against and 36% pro.
But when FAUXNewsx explain the poll result to their viewers, they said present is as the entire ACA law.

They have not mentioned the Gallup poll results.

miffedmax
Jul 2nd, 2012, 02:28 AM
You know these people want nothing more than to see those children die. Remember the republican debates where those people said "let him die" about a man going to the ER without insurance.

That's what these people want. "let him die"

But don't you dare get an abortion. Or birth control. Or even learn about birth control.

tennisbum79
Jul 2nd, 2012, 02:34 AM
I see motivational speaker at Tea Party gatherings in Mary Brown's future.

She could spin this story to somehow attribute he bankruptcy to ACA, ....before it took effect.
Her audience will not bother with the facts.

tennisbum79
Jul 2nd, 2012, 03:39 AM
Stupid right wingers threatening to leave USA because of "Obamacare":

http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2012/06/tk-countries-idiots-are-moving-to-because-of-obamacare/#page/1


And where are these idiots going? To countries that already have health care reform.
It is possible they do not know other countries may have national health care. In fact most of these countries do.
I think they are looking for few years of free loading

I see some of these people moving to country where people do not speak English and demanding that the local address them in English.

wta_zuperfann
Jul 2nd, 2012, 04:17 AM
It is possible they do not know other countries may have national health care. In fact most of these countries do.
I think they are looking for few years of free loading

I see some of these people moving to country where people do not speak English and demanding that the local address them in English.


It is more likely that these right wingers are just plain stupid by showing their ignorance and double standards.