Why do TEA Partiers and other neo-Cons point to government programs like Medicare, the Postal Service, and Amtrak to “prove” that anything the government tries to do is doomed to failure? In the first place, Medicare is an astonishing success. Just ask any of your relatives who are over 65, and they will tell you how great Medicare is. Government programs work the way they are supposed to 98.36% of the time, according to the U.S. Department of Hypothetical Statistics, and they are much less likely to cheat us than private businesses. Any government role in providing health care is more likely to improve quality and availability than to cause deterioration.
Amtrak loses money now, but this nation was built on economical rail transportation. If we got smart, we would stop relying on cars and trucks so much and go back to rail transportation. The Postal Service may not make money, but to whom do you turn when you have to send a letter to Aunt Alice in Ass-End-of-Elsewhere, Alaska?
Whether Amtrak and the Postal Service make money is not the only measure of their success. Police and fire departments don’t turn a profit, either; should we do away with them? If we served up public services the way we do health care, only a dues-paying member of municipal services could get the fire department to come and put out their fire or the police department to investigate the arson. Get real!
I do not want my neighbor to lack health insurance any more than I want him or her to lack fire protection. In the absence of fire protection, if my neighbor’s house catches fire and burns to the ground, that hurts my property values. Furthermore, if the fire department won’t come put out his fire, it will spread to my house.
If my neighbor lacks health insurance, he or she has to rely on the emergency room for the unpaid emergency services that I pay for. Furthermore, if my neighbor doesn’t get treated for communicable diseases, they will be passed on to me.
Mandatory health care coverage is the only fair answer. If some of that coverage is under a government-run plan, I’d sign up in a minute. Wait, I already have a government plan. I have Medicare, and I’m damned glad I do!
John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
©2011 John B. Payne, Attorney