Saturday, October 1, 2011
Republican on Health Care
After visit to the Italian Fest in Denver - and watching people "enjoy" plenty of pizza and cannoli -I felt a slight philosophical shudder, a shift in my political center. All I need to do is go to a food festival or go to the mall or even go to the supermarket, and I feel an urgent need to "go Republican" on health care.
By that I mean, the issue of personal responsibility for health care is becoming more and more significant to me. Americans who give little thought to their diet, exercise, and health are literally costing me money. And, as cold as this may sound, I don't want to pay for their Medicare. And it may not even be about retirement - the poor eating and exercise habits of many Americans are clearly driving up my private sector premiums right now as well.
Obviously, increased demand and consumption - and advancements in technology/treatment - is what is driving up prices. And, on the national level with Medicare, it is only going to get worse. The biggest problem with our deficit is the millions of Baby Boomers who are retiring and signing up for their "all but free" health care for the next twenty or so years. And, let's face it, millions of these people are doing nothing to decrease their health care costs. They're not trying to get off their blood pressure medicine, they're not trying to decrease their risk of coronary hearth disease, they're not doing anything. And, we're going to be paying for it for decades and decades. And that really bothers me.
Now, of course, there is another side to this. I am under no illusion that this problem is entirely the fault of consumers - especially people like me and my family. Insurance companies are posting record profits, and they are jacking up premiums simply because they can. Some state governments are considering legislation that forces companies to spend a set percentage of medical services and lowering premiums. The insurance companies are certainly taking advantage of the fact that we are all terrified of getting cancer or getting in a car accident or tearing our ACL. And, so we could all get amazingly healthy, and the companies might still raise rates.
But, still. With the survival of Medicare in mind, I'm thinking, "Come on, people. Get a clue." Even conservative Bill O'Reilly has argued for years that we all have a interest in the health of others because their behavior directly affects our pocketbook. As much as a the libertarians want to whine when people seek to restrict and regulate consumption of "crap," one man's heart attack or high blood pressure or type II diabetes is certainly my business. So, lay off the fast food people. Period. Enough with the sodas. I'm serious. Stop plying your kids with processed versions of food, and get a clue about a little exercies.
Recently, after I criticized President Obama's jobs plan, I friend of mine said, "You're turning into a Republican." I laughed, knowing it's not about party for me. It's about money.
Now, go take a walk. And ask someone to go with you.