Monday, October 15, 2007

Street Walking

I wanted to see what people there had to say about the healthcare woes of General Motors Corp. and whether, like the automaker, they're finding the cost of insurance too much to bear.

In fact, I found only two people within the span of a dozen blocks who even had health insurance. The rest hold steady jobs and work hard but regard health coverage as a luxury they can't afford.

Well there you go. Hard to argue with this kind of reporting.

Wade Lawson should have such troubles. I met him standing alongside a sightseeing trolley, trying to coax out-of-towners into visiting the purported homes of movie stars. The theme from "The Andy Griffith Show" played from a nearby storefront.

As I recalled, no one in Mayberry had trouble paying for healthcare.

In Mayberry folks looked to their insurance plan to cover the catastrophic claims. They didn't feel the need for doctor copays, Rx copays, well visit copays.

They just paid for that out of pocket.

Lawson, 37, told me he used to be very well-insured as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch. Then he came to L.A. and got the acting bug. He landed a few gigs but nothing steady.

Now, he's a part-time tour guide, part-time surfer, part-time snowboarder and aspiring helicopter pilot. If it weren't for his domestic partner's coverage, Lawson said, he has no idea how he'd get insurance.

This is just a wag, but I don't think surfing and snowboarding pay much. I suppose the taxpayer needs to pick up the tab for him so he can continue to act like a 12 year old.

Jones, 30, was smartly dressed and strikingly attractive. She said she arrived from France about a month ago and is hoping to make it in L.A. as a freelance photographer. It hasn't been easy.

"We haven't been able to find any insurance that we can afford," Jones said. "It's so frustrating. This is the first time in my life without insurance."

Define affordable.

Jones said her daughter woke up Tuesday feeling poorly. At a loss for any other course of action, she headed to the free clinic, where she was told to return that evening and maybe her daughter would be seen. Or maybe not.

Sounds like free health care is rationed.

Imagine that.
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