Their only alternative right now is the individual market, where insurers scrutinize applicants' medical histories, looking for reasons to turn them down or charge them exorbitant premiums. Have hay fever, asthma, a cholesterol pill prescription? Are you a woman of child-bearing age? You're virtually uninsurable at an affordable cost.
Even if you're accepted, your carrier reserves the right to cancel your policy retroactively if it finds that you left even a tiny condition from years back off your application.
The public option may be your lifeline -- if it's enacted.
Signs of the industry's mobilization against the public option are everywhere. I don't claim clairvoyance for having predicted this development back in March; given the industry's record on reform, a child could have done so.
You've heard of the Blue Dog Democrats, those mostly rural conservatives who blocked a summertime vote on reform legislation on Capitol Hill? According to the Center for Public Integrity, the biggest backer of the Blue Dogs' political action committee is the healthcare industry, which is on the path to pumping a total of $1.2 million into the PAC's maw in the current 2009-10 election cycle.