From Think Progresshttp://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/03 ... ical-debt/
“Plaintiff In Health Care Reform Files For Bankruptcy With Medical Debt”
“The lead plaintiff in the legal case against the Affordable Care Act filed for bankruptcy after accruing nearly $5,000 in medical debt. According to the Los Angeles Times, plaintiff Mary Brown was uninsured last fall when her husband’s medical bills stacked up to $4,500. That, combined with other debt they had accumulated, led the couple to file for bankruptcy:”
And still she doesn't get it!
This woman pisses me off. GrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrGrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrGrrrrrrrrrr!
From the above link:
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?”
Mary Brown does not
have health insurance. But hey, it was her husband's medical bills that weren't paid; how dare anyone ask her about her medical bills!
snip.....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.
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. [For a total of about 60K in debts.]
snip.....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.
Brown wants to continue as a Plaintiff in her lawsuit. She was quite pissed that the media contacted her about this.
I think that those who want to fight the mandate need to sign a legally binding agreement that blocks them from discharging medical debt through bankruptcy. It is unfortunate that Mary Brown's business failed. But she has blatantly stated that she doesn't want to pay for health insurance.
What does Mary Brown really think? She thinks that her healthcare should be free and covered by taxpayers. She is the poster child for why America needs the Affordable Care Act.
I could slap this woman.
The Wall Street Journal
has an interesting article that delves into the legal implications of Brown's bankruptcy on her ACA lawsuit.
The suit, brought by 26 states and joined by the National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business lobby group, is set to be heard by the Supreme Court next year. It relies in part on the story of Mary Brown, an auto-repair-shop owner who argued in court filings she would have had to divert funds from her business to comply with the law's requirement that, beginning in 2014, most Americans obtain coverage or pay a penalty.
Without owning a business, it could be harder for Ms. Brown to argue she is harmed by the legislation. Meanwhile, her recent financial woes suggest the possibility she would be exempt from penalties for noncompliance with the individual mandate. That raises questions about whether the suit can be based on her experience.
Mr. Katsas acknowledged the bankruptcy "throws some more wrinkles into" the case, but he contends that "the critical facts are that she doesn't have health insurance and doesn't want to be forced to buy it."
Cynthia J. Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the NFIB in Washington, said Ms. Brown remains a member of the organization and added that she believed the bankruptcy "has absolutely no impact on NFIB's standing in our case challenging the health-care law."
These hurdles to challenging the law are among the reasons Ms. Brown was asked to join the case, because she was better able to show she was harmed by the law today. In a May 2010 filing, Ms. Brown and the states cited the "profound and injurious impact" of the law on her and other business owners. These proprietors would be forced to divert resources from their endeavors even if the added costs threatened their ability to maintain their businesses, the filing said.
According to the article, Brown and her husband had health insurance previously, but dropped it because they were paying $1,100 each month. Hmmmm. Seem like the ACA is a perfect fit for Mary Brown.
So, Mary Brown doesn't want to pay $700 a year to be exempt from the AHCA, doesn't want to pay a monthly premium for health insurance and doesn't want to pay her medical bills at all. Poor Mary.
Brown adheres to the former point of view
: “No one has the right to try to control how you spend your money,” Brown told the Journal. But the bankruptcy filing that she and her husband made, and which TNR obtained via online court records, lists among the couple's unsecured creditors several providers of medical care – a hospital and a physician group in Florida; an anesthesiology group based in Mississippi; and an eye care center in Alabama. The total, based on the court filing, appears to be a little less than $5,000. The bankruptcy filing also indicates that the couple has $400 in expected monthly "medical and dental" expenses.
snip.....Brown told the Journal that the costs of health care are one reason she opposes the law
; if the Affordable Care Act takes effect, she said, more businesses will "close because they can't afford health care, and more people will be out of work."
But I think the predicament of small business is more an argument for the Affordable Care Act than against it.
The first time I ever heard about Brown was more than a year ago, when Harris Meyer, the veteran health care reporter, wrote about her decision to file suit. As Meyer explained then, a small business owner like Brown likely would be eligible for substantial subsidies.
Depending on Brown's specific financial circumstances, those subsidies could allow her to obtain insurance not only for herself but also for her employees, to whom, according to Meyer’s story, she had not been able to provide coverage. Better still, starting in 2014 Brown could buy insurance through one of the new exchanges
– where all plans must include an essential benefits package and where insurers cannot discriminate against people based on medical condition.
In June, 2010, Mary Brown was contacted
and asked to discuss why she was joining the lawsuit against the ACA.
I particularly wanted to know how these two uninsured people have paid for health care for themselves and their families in the past and how they plan to pay for it in the future. So I asked David Rivkin, a partner at Baker Hostetler in Washington, D.C., who is representing them and the NFIB and serves as outside counsel for the states, if he could put me in touch with them.
“They aren’t public persons and don’t want to give up their privacy,” said Rivkin. He did say they are both around 50 years old – an age when most Americans are anxious to have good health insurance. That made me even more curious about their motives for joining the suit. I also found it funny that two people jumping into one of the country’s biggest political controversies expect to maintain their privacy.
Rivkin’s privacy claim may or may not be true for Mary Brown, the repair shop owner. She initially told me in a brief conversation that the attorneys didn’t want her to talk to the media. Then, after calling Rivkin’s office, she called back and said she’s so busy with her business that she doesn’t have time to talk to reporters. She very courteously indicated she actually would like to talk to me, perhaps at a later date.
According to NFIB spokeswoman Melissa Sharp, Brown has co-owned the Brown & Dockery auto repair shop for four years and is “struggling to keep the doors open.” She does not have health insurance for herself and doesn’t provide it to her two employees. Brown has two daughters and two step-daughters; Sharp said she didn’t know the ages of Brown’s children or whether they have any health coverage.
When I asked Brown herself how she pays for health care for herself and her children, she said she gave all that information to the Baker Hostetler lawyers and that I should ask them.
Harris Meyer, the author of the above article, was interviewed on NPR
about the 2 Plaintiffs.
I hope Mary Brown is booted from her lawsuit for no longer having standing. Every single argument she has for wanting the mandate gone is now moot.