Monday, June 16, 2008

Why I'm Against Universal Healthcare, Only Not So Much

I called my Dad on Father's Day, and we had a nice long talk about religion and politics. He is in his early 70s and is disabled with a bad heart. He has an implanted pacemaker and defibrillator and takes gobs of meds. He was a working stiff all his life in a "right to work" state and wasn't in a position to put much aside for his golden years what with doctor bills for sick children and foster children to take care of. His wife, who died last year after a long illness, took a lot of resources for her care. In fact, Dad worked a full time job right up until about 18 months ago, mainly for health insurance. Now he's on Medicare, and boy did he give me an earful about Medicare and how tough it is to get by on the what he says is an all but worthless drug plan. My brother and his family moved in with him and help with household expenses. Dad helps with the grandchildren, so everybody's a "winner".

Dad reckons that universal health care would be a boon to working class families, but he worries that the legislation will be written by insurance companies and will be a boondoggle for insurers rather than a benefit to the working class. If we're going to do it, we should do it whole hog and have a single payer system as far as Dad is concerned. Will there be lines and waiting like in Britain and Canada? You bet, but at least there'll be something to wait for, and when you are not affluent, there are already lines and waiting aplenty.

Of course, I'm not a big advocate of government programs, but I'm not going to argue much about health care for working people until we get rid of all the corporate welfare and the programs that enrich the already enriched. I'm sure not going to tell my Dad that he's a wannabe moocher for advocating universal health care or that he's already a moocher for taking Social Security. At least not on Father's Day. Also, I'm going to go with solidarity for my working class brethren nad fathren, and if politics is about getting the most for your class, then I say good luck with the health care thing.

I used to argue against universal health care on the basis that it would give the government an excuse to regulate every aspect of our lives. Now I realize that the government doesn't need an excuse and that it already claims to have the legitimate authority over even the most minute detail of my life. So that argument is shot all to hell.

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