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Could ‘Obamacare’ Have Saved Ron Paul Staffer’s Life?

By Alex Seitz-Wald  

"Could ‘Obamacare’ Have Saved Ron Paul Staffer’s Life?"

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Paul confers with Kent Snyder, his late campaign manager

Yesterday, ThinkProgress brought you the tragic story of Kent Snyder, Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) 2008 presidential campaign manager. Snyder, who was the person that convinced Paul to run for the White House, died that same year at 49 from pneumonia because he lacked health insurance. His story is getting renewed attention in light of Paul’s exchange with moderator Wolf Blitzer at CNN’s debate Monday night, in which he was asked what should happen to a comatose 30-year-old man who lacked insurance — someone similar to Snyder. When Blizter asked if the hypothetical patient should be left to die, some members of the audience yelled “yes!”

Now, CNN reports that Snyder lacked insurance because he had a pre-existing medical condition, which “made it impossible for him to find coverage.” Watch the segment from last night’s Situation Room:

There are an estimated 50 to 129 million Americans who, like Snyder, have medical conditions that lead to higher health insurance costs or an inability to find any coverage at all. sSolving this problem is one of the core goals of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

By 2014, the law will forbid insurers from charging sick patients more or rejecting them out of hand, a move that is only possible when coupled with the individual health insurance mandate conservatives despise. But even before 2014, Snyder could potentially have been eligible for a federal high-risk insurance pool for people with pre-existing conditions, which was established last year.

People like Snyder, who cannot find affordable insurance, are exactly who the law is intended to help. Even people who hate the law, like Paul — who has said “Obamacare” is “monstrous” and “bad for your health” — may find themselves thankful for it down the road.

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