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Going blind, an Obamacare critic now needs a bailout

By Marilyn Malara
Waves of health insurance supporters are donating to conservative Luis Lang's GoFundMe page alongside messages of well-wishes and hopes that he will change his mind about insurance. Lang did not receive any donations until 24 days after launching his campaign, when his story went viral online via the Charlotte Observer. Photo by Luis Lang/GoFundMe
Waves of health insurance supporters are donating to conservative Luis Lang's GoFundMe page alongside messages of well-wishes and hopes that he will change his mind about insurance. Lang did not receive any donations until 24 days after launching his campaign, when his story went viral online via the Charlotte Observer. Photo by Luis Lang/GoFundMe

CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 13 (UPI) -- Luis Lang is on the road to blindness, but can't afford surgery because he chose not to purchase health insurance.

The now-unemployed South Carolina handyman said he prided himself on paying his own medical bills, but that was when he and his wife, Mary, were healthier and better-off, the Charlotte Observer reported.

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Lang, 49, believed that the Affordable Care Act, which he did not agree with and decidedly ignored, would still help him in the case of an emergency -- that is, pay his bills. He thought wrong, however, as 2015 enrollment is now closed. And when it comes to private coverage, he now earns too little to receive a federal subsidy to afford it.

As for Medicaid, South Carolina is one of the 17 states that opted out of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, making Lang ineligible to receive those benefits.

Because it's too late for Lang to take regular avenues, he started a GoFundMe page to raise money to cover his medical expenses. He expects to owe between $18,000 and $30,000 if he successfully receives the surgery and writes that when he reached out to "every [charity] organization out there," he was told he is either too young or too old.

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Lang and his wife apparently blame President Barack Obama and Democrats for "passing a complex and flawed bill."

"[My husband] should be at the front of the line, because he doesn't work and because he has medical issues," Mary Lang told the Observer. "We call it the Not Fair Health Care Act."

Diabetes is the cause of Lang's health woes, as the disease caused multiple mini-strokes and a partially detached retina, prompting his impending blindness. His physician, Dr. Malcolm Edwards, is treating him at no cost for now, but isn't skilled enough to perform surgery. He said, "[Lang] will lose his eyesight if he doesn't get care. He will go blind."

"He is in a very bad situation," he continued, after Lang reportedly signed a privacy release. "The longer he waits, the poorer his results will be."

Lang is a smoker who is reported to be "inconsistent in his efforts to control his diabetes." For now, he qualifies only for a limited South Carolina Medicaid plan that covers only checkups and family planning.

He did not apply for Social Security disability benefits because he said it takes too long.

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