Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Elitist View of the Health Care Crisis

The other day, I had the misfortune to listen to Neal Boortz ranting about health care reform.

Boortz believes that even employer-provided health insurance should be cut to the bone and not cover any type of routine medical care; that it should be reserved solely for complications from routine medical matters and catastrophic health problems.

As an example, he asserted that one's health insurance should not cover routine childbirth and prenatal care, because people "choose" to have children. He estimated that a garden variety vaginal birth costs about ten thousand dollars nowadays and that if people cannot come up with ten grand over the space of nine months to pay for having a child, then they had no business having children in the first place. He went on to say that with the cost of raising a child to age 18 estimated to be about a quarter of a million dollars (in his estimation), that ten grand is a "paltry" amount.

Where to begin? For one thing, even if his estimate of the cost of raising a child to 18 is anything at all realistic, it wouldn't be that high for everyone and it's a cost that one doesn't have to come up with all at once. Ten thousand dollars is a big chunk of change to come up with in a limited time frame for many people, even those in the middle class,

Boortz betrays his elitism and implies a belief that only those above a certain income level have any business having children at all. He's being rather shortsighted here, because I'm guessing he doesn't expect the little spoiled scions of the blueblooded families he so reveres to grow up to flip the burgers, fix the cars, drive the taxis, and so on.

He believes that people should save their money for routine health care and personally pay for such care out of their own pockets. Never mind that people nowadays are having trouble paying their mortgages and even basic survival expenses in an economy beset by massive layoffs and cutbacks in the employment sector. This might have been a valid argument in 1945 when my much-older brother was born and the entire cost of labor, delivery, and a ten day hospital stay for my mother was a whopping $73, but it's highly unrealistic today.

For more serious illness, he believes that everyone should buy private health insurance with a high deductible; five thousand dollars was his suggestion. Again, he assumes that it's no big deal for anyone to come up with that sum, either not realizing or not caring that this would be impossible for many people. I can only assume that he thinks those who cannot cough up five grand should do the world a favor and quietly crawl into a hole and die.

Boortz also has the curious convoluted belief that government supported health care is "stealing" parts of people's lives from them; in the form of the taxes they pay represented by the time it took them to earn the money that is paid in such taxes. He views it as nothing less than putting a gun to the heads of taxpayers and taking their money. I never hear Boortz make this argument about the taxes we pay to fund the military, for example. I guess it's only an outrage when one's tax dollars go to help the less fortunate. It's fine with him when it comes to things such as the military, though the time spent to earn the tax money that is "stolen" is just the same. It's the fact that it's going to help people that galls him about government assistance with health care costs.

He also went on a tear about his belief that a big reason why GM is going under is because of all the money they have to spend on health insurance for their employees, which in turn makes them less profitable and unable to compete with foreign automakers..

The man blithely stated this opinion, unaware that he'd painted himself into a corner with this reasoning. Did it not ever occur to him that the employees of such foreign automarkers live in countries with GOVERNMENT provided health care and that it would help American automakers similarly if we followed suit with our own health care?

After this point, my head was about to implode from listening to him, so I didn't hear what else he had to say on the subject.


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