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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Luis Lang would like you to send him some money.

He has taken to GoFundMe (, the crowdfunding website, trying to raise $30,000. Lang, who is 49 and lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina, is slowly losing his eyesight to diabetes. Without surgery, he’ll go blind. Those grim facts notwithstanding, some may not find Lang the most sympathetic candidate for charity.

In the first place, as some observers noted after reading about him in a Charlotte Observer story by Ann Doss Helms, he has a $300,000 home and a wife who doesn’t work; why, they ask, can’t he raise the money from them?

In the second place, Lang has had diabetes for years, but has not always followed doctor’s advice to control it.

In the third place, he’s a smoker who is still smoking despite his bleak prognosis.

But there’s a bigger reason some may find it difficult to feel his pain and therein lies a tale. It seems Lang, who is a Republican, knew the Affordable Care Act — the dreaded “Obamacare” — required him to buy health insurance, but he refused to do so. He figured he was making a pretty good living as a self-employed handyman and prided himself on paying his own medical bills.

Then came 10 days of grinding headaches, an emergency room visit, and a diagnosis that he’d suffered a series of mini-strokes. Then came $9,000 in medical bills, an empty savings account, bleeding in his eyes, a partially detached retina and an inability to work.

At which point he tried to buy him some “Obamacare” only to discover that he was outside the open enrollment period and that with zero income, he makes too little to get a federal subsidy that would help him buy a private policy. “Obamacare” offers expanded Medicaid coverage to help people like him, but South Carolina is one of 21 Republican-led states that have refused to participate in that program.

So Lang is, well … screwed. And who does he blame for that state of affairs? Well obviously, it’s President Obama’s fault for passing flawed legislation.

You see, though he refused to buy coverage, Lang thought it would be available to him in an emergency. His wife, Mary, feels he “should be at the front of the line, because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues.” Which is not unlike refusing to buy auto insurance, but expecting Geico to sell you a policy after you total the Toyota.

Still, if Lang doesn’t exactly tug at your heart like baby seals do, he is getting traction. At this writing, he’s over half way to his goal, most of it raised from liberals taking the occasion to rip his and his party’s failings. Many skip the donation and go straight to the scorn.

“Sorry,” writes Joel, “I’m way too busy thinking only about myself.”

“Call Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush,” writes Jeannie, “they have plenty of money.”

“I want to donate enough to really help you out,” writes Ed, “but I can’t figure out how to get GoFundMe to accept bootstraps.”

Lang’s response? “It turned into a political thing,” he complained. “That wasn’t my intention when I reached out.”

But how could it not be political? Lang’s party claimed health care reform would send death panels after Nana, that “self-reliance” could cure cancer, that emergency rooms provided all the health care poor people need. In a nation of government-funded police, fire departments, schools, libraries, and road maintenance, it argued that government-funded health care was somehow a moral crime.

Lang apparently bought it all. Now, the bill comes due, and whatever he thought of “Obamacare” as a model for financing health care, surely Lang must concede that GoFundMe is even worse. Yet, that’s the fix he finds himself in.

So yes, he’d like you to send him some money. Do what you can.

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL., 33132. Readers may contact him via email at [email protected])

Photo: Will O’Neill via Flickr

  • FireBaron

    It’s hard to have sympathy for someone who dug the hole he has placed himself in, then realized he can no longer reach the top of the hole to get more dirt out.

  • Carl Sdano

    Your article is spot on Leonard. It’s simply put, the logic of which even a staunch conservative should be able to understand, though probably not. I wonder if Mr. gofundme has a homeowners policy for his $300,000 home. Hell probably never need it.

  • itsfun

    He has no gripes coming. He had options and he refused all of the options that would have helped him. Saying that, I hate to see anybody go blind or die because of a sickness. Maybe there should be a program in place that would allow a medical provider to put a lien on property like his house in these types of cases.

    • hicusdicus

      I have a plan, a free life time supply of candy bars , cigarettes and sweet wine. Maybe a bible written in braille.`His sickness was greed and stupidity.

  • pisces63

    Does sending a crow work?

  • Alvin Harrison

    We all make choices…but we all do not want to live with the consequences. Remember this when it comes time to vote in 2016…what will be the consequences of having a House, Senate and White House controlled by the GOP lackeys and minions of the Corp/1%. This is no time for apathy..those days are past. The rich and powerful are working hard to gain control of America…do nothing and they will bury you.

    • hicusdicus

      It won’t be any different no matter who is in control. The rich and powerful, Ha! Do you think the poor and uneducated are going to run the country,

      • dpaano

        And who keeps them poor and uneducated??? Look at the states with the lowest graduation records….it certainly isn’t states run by Democratic governors!

        • hicusdicus

          Who keeps them poor and uneducated? You and you friends do. Give them what they want with no requirements to get a job or better their education. Just money for a 30 pack, cigarettes, cell phone so they can call their dealer and an ambulance when they OD. The only difference between a Democrat and a Republican is how you spell it. Why don’t you concentrate on a real cause. Getting honesty and common sense back in our government before we lose everything.

          • dpaano

            Perhaps you aren’t aware, but Reagan was the one that signed the bill to provide low cost cell phones to low income people so they could get jobs and communicate…..apparently, that one slipped by you! President Obama and the Democrats had nothing to do with the cell phone situation despite all the BS you’ve heard on FOX News…try researching this before you make such an inane comment. As for ambulances and patients that OD….apparently you’d prefer to just let them lie in the street and die….such a compassionate person!!
            Getting honesty and common sense back into our government is a great idea….perhaps it would work if we could get rid of Citizen’s United and quit allowing big business and the !% from “buying” OUR government and our elected politicians! Most of them (on both sides….I don’t discriminate) are so afraid of losing their jobs if they don’t do what the lobbyists tell them….they don’t give a damn about what their constituents want!!! Until they start listening to the people who actually elect them and quite kowtowing to those “buying” their services…there will never be any honesty or common sense in our government!!!

          • hicusdicus

            What makes you think that I care what Reagan did? I certainly don’t want bodies left in the street I could hit them with my car and damage the under carriage and get gore in the grill. How many times do I have to tell the Nigerian Mensa person that the only difference in democrats and republicans is how they are spelled. Other than that you are correct. The problem is it may be to late stop the financial flush. Although a major financial melt down may be the only way to disperse the lobbyist and scare the bejesus out of our elected officials. Maybe this country could use a catastrophic calamity to wake this feel good population to the fact that think things not earned are not appreciated. There can be no honesty and common sense in our government as long as it directed by human nature. You know just between us fellows you should really work on your sense of humor. Drop the I am smarter than you act because you are not and even if you were nobody cares. Other than that you could be interesting.

          • Ran_dum_Thot

            Actually, The Lifeline program was started in 1984 to provide low cost phone service. It was expanded in 2005 to include cell phones. Reagan was not President at that time. The program does not provide free phones. Cell phone companies provide the free phones in conjunction with Lifeline. In 2012 the FCC implemented a multi-year program to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the Lifeline program.. Can you imagine that?

        • Ran_dum_Thot

          Of the ten states with the lowest graduation level 4 are Democrat states. Ironically, the District of Columbia has the absolute worst graduation level far exceeding any state. Of the 10 states with the highest unemployment, 4 are Democrat. There is little correlation between the 2 lists of losers.

    • Ran_dum_Thot

      One should ask what are the consequences of having a government that increases our debt to astronomical limits and keeps giving money to the non-productive to stay non-productive. Look at the debacle, known as Greece, if you want to see the future USA.

  • Dominick Vila

    I feel sorry for this guy, mostly because I believe we have an obligation as human beings to help others in their time of need, regardless of cause. However, I can’t say that I am sympathetic towards those who know better, and who reject desperately needed changes, not because they are not worthy of support, but because of political and ideological reasons. There are times when we have to choose between what is best for us and our families, and what is best for the political party we belong to.
    The states that rejected the MEDICAID expansion, and the voters whose indifference or prejudice allowed such rejection to be implemented, are now responsible for the health of the citizens in the 21 RED states where situations like this are becoming commonplace. First they reject Obamacare because it represents evil socialism (the real reason is the fact that it was proposed and signed by a man they loathe), now that they are seeing the consequences of their intransigence they blame the program that would have helped them get the medical care we all need sooner or later.

    • hicusdicus

      I feel no sympathy for him at all. He brought it all on himself and now thinks medical science can undo all the damage his arrogant stupidity brought to his door step. Obama care represents buying votes and there is a good chance it will destroy a lot of people. We supposedly live in a free country How does forcing people who don’t want to pay for insurance or even have it I make this free country? I have had health insurance for the last 45 years and the premiums all came out of my pocket.

      • Dominick Vila

        I had health insurance paid for, mostly, by my employer throughout my professional life. I have been paying hefty MEDICARE fees and supplemental insurance premiums since I retired. The fact that I was fortunate to work for a corporation that provided healthcare insurance to its employees, and that I now have the financial means to pay for everything I need, does not prevent me from feeling sorry for those who for a variety of reasons, including a sense of invincibility and ignorance, did not take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their families.
        As a Democrat, it would be easy for me to say tough, that guy chose not to take advantage of the benefits afforded by the ACA and he is not getting what he deserves, but that would be contrary to everything I believe in when it comes to human values and social obligations.

        • hicusdicus

          The only person who is responsible for their health is that person. Doctors, hospitals and drugs can not undo an irresponsible life style. I don’t feel sorry for anyone who is usually the culprit behind his problems. I get the picture, you have gone through life on someone else’s nickle. That’s why you are a liberal.

          • dpaano

            Where in heck do you get that idea from Dom’s posting??? He worked for a company that provided hospital plans, and I’m pretty sure he had to pay for a portion of that plan. And, he pays into Medicare and supplemental insurance….neither of those are on “someone else’s nickel.”

          • hicusdicus

            You are pretty sure???? So you don’t actually know? From most of his posts I have read, it seems he has spent his entire life on someone else’s nickle. From your comment you are also a liberal. You have no idea what it takes to produce money so you can pay the salaries of those who show up each day and follow the directions of the people who are investing the capital and taking the all the risks. The first part of my comment seems to have gone in one ear and out the other . All you could comprehend was anti liberal. I see from your profile you have spent your life on other peoples nickles.

          • dpaano

            Where on my profile does it indicate that I’ve spent my life on other people’s nickels? I’ve worked since I was 16 years old, went into the military right out of high school and stayed in for 4 years during the worse part of the Viet Nam war. When I left active duty, I went into the Army Reserve, and I retired with over 25 years of service to my country. I earned my Army pension. I’ve worked all my life for everything that I have and have NEVER had to live on someone else’s dime, so to speak. I not only work full-time, but my husband and I both run a catering business on the side, and we have employees that we pay. So, we also know what it takes to produce money and pay salaries! As for my comment that I’m “pretty sure” that Dom has to pay for a portion of his medical…..most companies (at least all that I’ve worked for) have required me to pay a share of my medical insurance, including vision and dental. I pay it gladly and am glad that I work for a company that provides us with the choice of medical plans. Also, your comment about my being a “liberal” is erroneous. I believe in fair play for everyone, and I’ve been know to vote for a Republican a couple times in the past….I vote for the person that I feel will do the most good for the nation as a whole….not for a party! For the past several years, I haven’t seen a single GOP candidate that isn’t for his party despite what the constituents care for! I’m actually a centrist if the truth be known. So, please don’t feel you need to attempt to intimidate me with your comments….your “assumptions” about me are totally incorrect!

    • dpaano

      And the funny part, Dom, is that this particular healthcare plan was originally proposed by Republicans!!! They were just peeved because they didn’t get it through themselves and couldn’t take the credit!!!

      • Dominick Vila

        You are right. The ACA concept was devised by The Heritage Foundation and beta tested by Romney when he was Governor of Massachusetts. Like you said, what upsets them is that a Democrat stole their thunder, and had the courage of doing what they were afraid to pursue.

  • jamesowens

    health care haters are like the climate change deniers – don’t want it now but when the heat hits the fan they scream and cry the loudest for help and whine when it is not forthcoming.

  • Thomas Martin

    I have empathy for his problems, no sympathy for his stupidity. He is suffering from the stupidity of his state government as well. This is the classic situation where everyone should be required to have insurance instead of leeching off the public to save someone.

  • Redmond Jennings

    I hope that Mr. Lang gets the medical attention he needs and not the medical attention he deserves.

  • Justin Napolitano

    I’ll send him an anchor with instructions to hold onto it and go jump in the lake.

  • Rippie

    While I am among the first to admit that the ACA is a giant Lego-built mess waiting to break apart, and that MANY things were done wrong in conceiving and executing it (like letting the insurance companies have control over the rate structure, which is clearly predatory), this is an argument I’ve had with many people in “Health Savings Account” programs.

    These people, which this numbskull is apparently even less prepared than they are, believe that socking away a couple hundred bucks a month is going to offer them returns that will handsomely grow and cover them even in a protracted cancer battle or after a catastrophic accident.

    This could not be further from the truth, AND they whinge about having to pay for bandaids and meds, etc, with insurance, but that they can cover it with their HSA and a discount plan.

    Those are not insurance, and once the HSA balance is used up, so are you.

    The common response?

    “Oh, that’s okay, then I’ll just get Freecare.”

    People like this Luis Lang show just how stupid, selfish and uncaring the GOP are when it comes to regular people issues.

    A $300K house is no great shakes in today’s market, but it’s a resource he SHOULD have tapped instead of opening the can of whoopass he’s justifiably getting on GoFundMe.

    I can see that others are doing a fine job of giving him the what-for, so I don’t feel compelled to pile on.

    And that’s good. I can offer discounted tissues and a cheap cassingle of Cry Me a River to the cheapass dumbass morons who do likewise that I know, since I know they don’t have a clue about MP3s or OGGs, and likely didn’t invest in CDs… that fad.

    I lived in Charlotte for years. Driving south into SC half an hour is also a trip backwards in time and downwards in smarts.

    Lang is the living, squinting proof.

    • dpaano

      I agree, especially when you see the cost of medications….even the one they advertise on TV here in So. California to cure Hep C. Twelve weeks of daily pills = $100,000 and insurance companies won’t pay for it. How in heck do they expect people to be able to afford that unless they are in the 1% (and are not the ones who usually suffer from Hep C)? It’s ridiculous….the costs of hospitalization and medical care is astronomical, especially if you have something as critical as cancer! There was a great article in the TIME Magazine (March 10, 2014) entitled “Code Red,” which was about the “inside nightmare launch of HealthCare.Gov and the team that figured out how to fix it. The article was by Steven Brill. I recommend everyone to read it as it’s a real eye-opener, especially on how the ACA was put together and where the main problems lie. There was also another article in the TIME Magazine about the costs of hospitalization, how they figure out how much to charge you for your little “visit,” etc. Very scary, but very true! Not sure when that one came out, but also a great article.

      • hicusdicus

        Maybe the real problem is the monopoly the health care system has. The prices they charge are criminal. What doctors have to pay to get their training is asinine. But I am sure it doesn’t bother you with your government pension and VA health benefits. You have been living off taxpayers money all of you life. When the financial system financially tanks you will the first one to cry what happened to all my money this isn’t fair.

        • dpaano

          Ah…..I don’t use the VA healthcare system, and I worked 25+ years protecting this country to earn that pension! It wasn’t just “given” to me! I don’t live off any taxpayer’s money that wasn’t earned by my hard work and service. As for the financial system tanking….we can figure that’ll happen if we get a Republican president in office!! We might as well all just move to Canada! Additionally, I have been saving money for years in a 401(k) plan, my husband has an IRA, and we save money each month in our savings account….even a little helps after a while. We will be fine! By the way, we also pay our federal and state taxes each year both personal AND business.

          • hicusdicus

            You not using the VA health care system proves your a little smarter than average. Thank you for your commitment to keeping me safe but it was still taxpayers money. At least you earned it. These people around here get 2500 to 3500 welfare dollars a month to buy cigarettes and 30 packs. The average income for working people here is 20000.00$ a year. This is what I have read I did not go around polling people. Something does not seem right about this. You really need to stop hammering on Republicans it does not matter who gets elected nothing much is going to change. Big money has gamed us out of a democratic republic. Obama has been a disappointment just like all his predecessors . I guess this is what happens when emotion sweeps people into office. You keep saving your money. I keep spending mine on anything I think I will need [ not want] in the future while I can still afford it.

  • dpaano

    I sent him $1….just wanted to show him that most Democrats weren’t hard hearted like his favorite GOP’s.