UPDATE March 29, 2012: If you are interested in the ‘national health care’ issue, “My favorite blogger” (see below) has perhaps 10,000 words of summary about the three day circus surrounding the Supreme Court earlier this week (A normal newspaper column is perhaps 600-700 words. My comments below are about 500 words). I’d appreciate your reading my comments, and if you read nothing else, note the first and last full paragraphs of the final (March 28) post of Just Above Sunset. Here are the links: March 26, March 27, March 28. These will take awhile, but are worth the time, and Just Above Sunset is worth subscribing to (it is free, one per day).
My 500 words: If you looked at the subject line and have read this far, you’re interested in and literate on the debate which has culminated in oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court this week.
My favorite blogger, Just Above Sunset, summarizes at considerable length the views on issues of the day, and his morning post late yesterday, “The Supreme Court Disaster”, as the day before and (probably) tomorrow, will cover all manner of definitive speculation about everything related to the case. Everything said by anyone may be meaningful, or, as easily, meaningless. We don’t know.
But the issue is of huge importance, regardless of the ultimate ruling, and I decided to weigh in with the following comment on this piece of text nearing the end of the March 27 Just Above Sunset post: “But Paul Waldman points out something far more absurd, that Americans want something for nothing.”
So true, so very, very true. We Americans generally have one priority: ME, NOW. Makes no difference our ideology: ME, NOW. We’re used to demanding our way, or no way. I’M RIGHT. YOU’RE WRONG.
My wife and I are senior citizens, with accumulating seniority on Medicare. We both have pensions and we’re on Social Security. We live modestly, but don’t have to live frugally. We’re in reasonably good health. We’re the very fortunate ones in this society.
Today (March 28) we visited the tax man. We itemize: in the medical box is $12,705.66 in premiums and out of pocket expenses for a great assortment of insurances and expenses which we feel are necessary, including Long Term Care. Even Medicare has a premium, automatically deducted from our Social Security. It isn’t “free”….
We have no complaints.
I frequently think back to another day, back in 1963, when I got out of the Army and began teaching school. My new wife had also just begun teaching. We were just beginning our life together. She was pregnant with our first child.
I was back home for less than a month when she began to feel sick. She went to the doctor, and had to quit teaching. It was a steady downhill slide from there. She died of kidney disease two years later, only 22.
We had no hospital insurance. Group insurance was unusual in 1963.
Individual insurance was available. Like today’s kids, we couldn’t imagine ever needing insurance at our young age. By the time we did, it was too late. (Most likely, then as now, my wife would have been un-insurable due to her pre-existing conditions we didn’t realize existed.)
We were saved by public charity (several public and religious hospitals), and later I was saved from bankruptcy by public welfare, and embraced by a caring community.
The hell we went through long ago – our son just turned 48 – created my attitude forever. A caring society matters far more than the “free” individual.
But concepts like insurance for all are abstract concepts for our “me, now” generation. We are an immensely wealthy society (even with the laments about unemployment), and we have difficulty imagining that the others, and the future, matters.
Those wishing for the defeat of “Obamacare” might be careful what they wish for.
(I prefer it be called more accurately “Obamacares”.)
Photo is of Dick and Barbara Bernard in early March, 1965. Barbara died four months later. She was very ill. We were sponsors at a Baptism of our friends first child.
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