A poignant, touching story. But there’s more.

by David Safier

The Star has a lovely, feel-good story this morning about an uninsured woman, Rosie Armenta, who needed treatment for cancer. The community stepped up and helped her, donating $17,600 in six weeks. My heart goes out to the woman, and I'm impressed by the generosity of friends and strangers who helped her in her time of need.

But there's a back story missing from the article. This story has a time stamp on it: December 31, 2013. After that, Rosie and others like her will have insurance through the Affordable Care Act. She makes about $25,000 a year, so the subsidy should cover most of the cost. Cancer treatments will be part of the package, and no insurance company can manufacture some preexisting condition to take away her coverage. True, depending on the coverage she chooses, she may have a deductible that runs into the thousands, but it certainly won't be the estimated $30,000 her treatment will cost — or the hundreds of thousands she and others could be responsible for in a more extreme medical situation.

An American exceptionalist might say, "Only in America would we see such generosity!" That may or may not be true. What's deifinitely true is, among the industrialized countries, only in America would Rosie have to worry about medical bills that could bankrupt her along with her concern over her illness. Everywhere else, she would know she was covered. And as of January 1, 2014, Americans will have the same comfort, unless they consider themselves invincible or think Obamacare is the spawn of Satan and decide to opt out of the program.

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