A South Carolina conservative who refused to sign up for Obamacare is going broke and blind – and he blames Obama.
Luis Lang learned in late February that he had suffered a series of mini-strokes that left him with bleeding in his eyes and a partially detached retina caused by diabetes, reported the Charlotte Observer.
The 49-year-old Lang, a self-employed handyman and Republican who works with banks and the federal government to maintain foreclosed properties, has never purchased insurance and always prided himself on paying his own medical bills.
That never posed much of a problem when Lang and his wife – who does not work – were healthy, but he has already exhausted his savings paying for medical bills related to his eyes.
His vision has worsened so much that he hasn't worked since December, which could put the couple’s $300,000 Fort Hill home in jeopardy along with his health.
“He will lose his eyesight if he doesn’t get care -- he will go blind,” said Dr. Malcolm Edwards, an ophthalmologist who has given Lang injections at a discounted rate to control the bleeding.
Lang, a smoker who admits he has been inconsistent in controlling his diabetes, said he has sought help from charities but found he was either too young or too old for most agencies.
So he turned to the Affordable Health Care exchange – which he had previously chosen not to do in violation of the law, believing help would be available in an emergency.
“(My husband) should be at the front of the line because he doesn’t work and because he has medical issues,” said his wife, Mary Lang. “We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act.”
Lang found he was a month too late to enroll for 2015, and he now earns too little to get a federal subsidy to buy a private policy.
Lang and his wife blame President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats for passing a flawed law – although not even private insurers allow people to forgo payments when they’re healthy and cash in benefits after they’re sick.
Obamacare was designed to cover those whose income falls below the poverty line through Medicaid, but South Carolina is among 21 Republican-led states that declined the federal government’s offer to pay 100 percent of the costs to expand coverage to low-income, able-bodied adults.
Lang has reached out to reporters to help publicize his case, and he has set up an online fundraiser – but he doesn’t have enough money to pay for surgery to save his eyesight.
The doctor said he has offered to provide care at no cost, but he said Lang needs costly treatment beyond his expertise.
“He’s in a very bad situation,” Edwards said, with Lang’s consent. “The longer he waits, the poorer his results will be.”