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A health-care reform love story

From the New York Times' Vows column:

After the year abroad, Ms. Robbins was reunited with her fiancé in New York, where she subsequently joined Healthcare-NOW!. She threw herself into demonstrations and protests, and spent six months on probation after an arrest for disrupting the Senate Finance Committee last May.[...]

But somehow Ms. Robbins still couldn’t warm to the wedded part of wedded bliss.

“I just never liked the idea of the big wedding spectacle,” she said. “The whole concept of legally binding yourself to another human being freaked me out.”

Mr. Swift did not mind, and the couple remained happily engaged for more than three years with no plans to marry.

But a year ago, Mr. Swift, who had no health insurance and hadn’t seen a doctor in nearly a decade, developed a kidney stone.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 22, 2010; 11:04 AM ET
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I know at least three couples who married or moved up their marriage so that one partner could get health insurance....

Posted by: robinshuster | February 22, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

same here... when people get married for healthcare it really highlights the dysfunction of the system

Posted by: Quant | February 22, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Even for couples that have been married for many years, health insurance can make for unhappy choices. In so many instances, one spouse stays in a job that he or she despises, only because it comes with employer-subsidized insurance, and the family has no affordable alternatives.

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 22, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

same here (about 10). Just as an FYI some states allow domestic partners to be covered although some states require them to be same sex or different sex and different market segments have different allowance and requirements. Another reason we need nationalization of regs.

Posted by: visionbrkr | February 22, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Here's another way to deal with a kidney stone: leave the country. That happened to me. I was on my way to Finland to attend my cousin's wedding and I developed the first symptoms as we descended into Reykjavik where I was to change planes. I was carried from the plane on a stretcher. The treatment I received in Iceland cost me $200. I had to go to the hospital in Finland as well. There it was free. My big cost was rearranging my flights.

Posted by: dfhoughton | February 22, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

My sister-in-law had no plans of marrying her boyfriend at the time. Until he lost his job and the health insurance that went along with it.

Thankfully, they are happily married right now and have a wonderful baby daughter.

But it doesn't take away from the fact that they made a major life change based on a factor that should not have had the deciding vote on the matter.

Posted by: mabkhar | February 22, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse


The anecdote about treating your kidney stone in Iceland and Finland ought to be required reading in some of the other threads on this site, where people who have never traveled (or who also can't seem to do any reading) warn about the horrors of single payer medical systems.

I was really interested in all the stories here about the ways in which people's lives have been arranged around health insurance. It would make a great subject for a longer form article.

I was touched by the story from mabkhar about the happy marriage, but I also wonder how many less happy marriages may have started the same way.

Anyway, thanks everybody...

Posted by: Patrick_M | February 22, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

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