DailyKos has a must-read story about how a woman got (and was cured of) leukemia, and the lengths the insurance companies will go to in order to avoid paying for her care.
This is how it is explained to her by a social worker:
If you worked for a company that offered insurance, if you carried your family’s insurance, next year your insurer would slap a million dollar surcharge on the company policy for carrying a leukemia patient. The company would get the bill and someone in accounting would question “what is this extra million dollars we are being billed?”
The insurance company would explain to them that the million is for you, and it is yearly, but is, ahem, “fixable.” They will say “as long as she is on your insurance (wink, wink) this charge will be there. So what you have to ask yourself (more wink, wink) is whether this employee is worth a million dollar a year salary on top of what you are already paying her.”
Social worker said she had seen small business owners go almost broke trying to cover this charge, and had even heard of one who defiantly did go broke, throwing all of the employees out of work. But more usually, she said, they just fire you.
“Wait, wait!” say you, “Isn’t it illegal to fire someone for their health history? Suppose I’m all well and working?”
She looks at you with more pity, says yes, so of course they will have to find “cause” to fire you, which any employer can always do.
“But I am a very, very good employee!” you protest.
“Yes,” she says, “but they can always find some cause.” The real problem she goes on to explain, is that you will find a new job, that company’s insurer will slap them with the surcharge, they will take their turn at firing you, until you’ve been through six or seven jobs in a year, fired “for cause” from all of them, which of course looks very, very bad to a prospective employer.
“So in a year or so of this, you will not just be uninsurable, you will also be unemployable.”
This is what happens when health insurance is run as a for-profit business. Eventually, the insurance companies force you onto Medicaid, which means that the government picks up the tab for you anyway. So the taxpayers are already paying for socialized medicine (on top of paying for their expensive private health insurance, if they can get it).