Now that I have reached the age of 65, I cannot more vehemently express my great relief for no longer having to shop around for expensive health insurance that barely covers my healthcare costs. I also want to unironically affirm my total opposition to the radical political push to ensure healthcare coverage to everyone in the US.
We all know that socialized medicine has never worked, except in Canada, Great Britain, Sweden… well, let me just stop there since it’s like a really long list. But it is well understood that those countries ration care. And by “ration,” I mean they pay for essentially every healthcare necessity their citizens can possibly have at significantly lower costs than what we in the United States pay, and see much better outcomes, like longer life expectancies and lower infant mortality rates.
But capitalism and competition drive greatness and entrepreneurialism. I mean, how would people be motivated to innovate and achieve without the profound existential dread of dying of totally preventable and treatable illnesses? All they have to do is make it to 65, like their forbearers, and they’re home free. That is, if they don’t become one of the hundreds of millions of climate refugees who will be forced to scavenge the earth for freshwater by the midpoint of this century.
Okay, okay, so you think I’m hypocritical for being the beneficiary of one of the few humane, federally funded programs that ensure the well-being of our country’s most vulnerable populations. Don’t you know that it makes my benefits less special when everyone can receive them? How am I supposed to enjoy my taxpayer-funded healthcare knowing a two-month-old infant is getting the same? That infant needs to buck up, lift himself by his bootstraps and work hard for his healthcare like I did. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? If that infant didn’t want his family saddled with medical debt for his birth, he shouldn’t have been born to parents who were laid off during a pandemic.
So what if the entire edifice upholding the employer-based insurance system has been exposed for what it is by the COVID catastrophe? If you lose your employer-provided insurance because of the economic shutdown at a time when the need for coverage couldn’t be more pressing, maybe you’re just not essential enough. Our private health insurance is part of a system that rewards the most excellent among us. If we de-commodify healthcare, what’s next? Food? Water? Housing? It’s a slippery slope and a dangerous game once you start to think of people as human beings and prioritize their “rights.”
Go ahead and call me morally bankrupt for being opposed to debt-free college when I paid two hundred percent less for tuition than what today’s students pay. Don’t be so arrogant and entitled about having your basic human needs met. Young people today are so fragile and lazy. My generation ended the Vietnam War, okay? Well, I went to a protest. Alright, alright, my older brother went to a protest. Okay, he went to Woodstock. My older brother went to Woodstock.
Still, my generation changed the country. We earned our right to have nary a shred of interest in what happens to those younger than us. Or different from us. Or poorer than us. And anyway, maybe millennials would be able to change things for the better if they took a different approach. When it comes to issues like healthcare, you have to be willing to see both sides. On the one hand, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and health insurance during the greatest public health crisis of our lifetimes. On the other hand, people must have the freedom to choose. Did you ever think that maybe someone might want to be able to pay the highest possible deductibles just to be able to afford their premiums? Freedom is what makes the US great!
In my old age, I’ve learned that you have to have standards for your country, and this informs my stance on healthcare. That and I’ve spent many decades absorbing Cold War, Red Scare pablum. So, don’t force your universal programs on me; they have no place in America. Except for Medicare. Oh, yeah, and Social Security, leave that alone too.