Sunday, March 21, 2010

On Health Care

So, President Barack Obama got his health care bill passed. I have mixed feelings.

On one hand, I'm hopeful it'll do something for people who want health insurance but can't afford it.

On the other hand, I'm worried that people who can't afford health insurance will get it, and figure out that, hey, it's not as great as people make it sound. I've got health insurance. We've paid the premiums for years. No claims, but the premiums go up, up, up. And we're not anxious to put in a claim, because it'll cost us money. Real money. Not the Monopoly money they play with in Washington. What's nearly a trillion on health care we probably can't afford when we've spent that much on a war in Afghanistan and Iraq that we can't afford? Somebody'll keep those U.S. Mint printing presses going day and night, right?

Is this the time to stop asking, "Hey, what does it do for me," and figure that, "Hey, at least it's helping somebody out?" Floating all those boats? Because right now I get a $1,000 per kid tax credit just for the sake of having the kids, so that's what's in it for me, while those who are single by choice or through nature don't get the break I do. Sure, raising kids is more expensive than living single. But you know what, that tax break means I still get more out of Uncle Sam in tax credits than I pay him in income taxes, just on those three kids alone; forget about the other tax credits and breaks and deductions I get (I know all about this; I've done my own taxes for years and am thrilled each and every time I find a loophole). So maybe it's a time when I can say, well, maybe this'll do something for the other guy.

I can't say I see this lowering my health care premiums. At best, I'll get a subsidy if I opt for more expensive insurance, which I can't say is an option at the moment. And those subsidies will come at the expense of someone, somewhere, you know. I mean, the economy's in the tank, the state is cutting school funding of all things, my job's being propped up with stimulus funds which are going to dry up eventually, putting me out on the street and into a health care system that's reformed but not really doing me much good because I can't afford enough health care to qualify for the subsidies. You see where this is going. I know. Pull on those bootstraps. Lift that bale, tote that barge. I'm willing to do that. Have done it, in fact. Spent half of 2005 and half of 2006 either laying bricks, stocking shelves or answering phone calls from whiners who were upset that their phone bills were way too high. I don't want to have to do that again.

So maybe I'll read P.J. O'Rourke's Parliament of Whores again and remind myself of his premise: When it comes to suckling at the government teat, we all do it, to a certain degree.

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