I liken universal health care (and government in general) to my kids. Back when they were young, we paid for everything. As a result, they “needed” this and “needed” that. It got out of hand, and my husband and I realized we were creating little entitlement junkies. It was time to teach them a serious life lesson about responsibility. We gave them chores that allowed them to earn money for their “needs.” As I suspected, our jaunts to the mall still consisted of those same “needs,” and it was a lovely moment when I reminded them that they had their own money.
“WHAT?” they screamed? “You want US to pay for that Barbie/G.I. Joe with OUR money?” The indignation nearly melted the paint off my car.
“Absolutely,” I replied, enjoying the moment. “This is called fiscal responsibility. Money doesn’t grow on trees, and you have to spend your money wisely. Ask yourself whether you really need this toy. Of course Dad and I pay for your basic needs, but if you want to add one more Barbie/G.I. Joe to the bursting-at-the-seams toy box that’s filled with hardly-used toys, then knock your bad selves out. Only you’ll have to do it with your money.”
“It was a lot more fun when Mom bought all the toys,” they grumbled while deciding they didn’t really need a new toy after all.
And that’s the way I see this push for a national health plan. Spending is a lot more fun when the government can raid our wallets via taxes and garnished wages (if Hillary gets her way) in order to provide something that “feels good” but is structurally unsound. Just like my kids, there’s no accountability or concern for quality. Anyone been through the DMV lately? But where I was able to reign in my kids’ spending habits, we continue to vote in politicians who foster wasteful pork barrel spending so that “the little people” will continue to support them. And they use my hard earned money to do it.
I noticed that when my kids paid for toys with their own money, they took better care of them. They made sure the toys were put safely back in their toy chest, kept clean, and in good working order. Toys that we’d bought were left outside for the dog to eat and barf up on the carpet at three in the morning.
Being a parent isn’t a popularity contest, and I’ve made thousands of unpopular decisions in their lives. But I said no to my kids because I wanted them to understand that they are responsible for controlling every aspect of their lives – that, for example, it’s no one else’s job to ensure that they have medical insurance or even pay for their medical care. If you’re sick, you go to the doctor and you pay for it – just like you do when you buy a new G.I. Joe.
Why on earth can’t we say no to the politicians who promise Coke in the drinking fountains and “free” health care for all? Since it’s “somebody else’s money,” there is no incentive to be fiscally responsible. They’re Robin Hood on crack, and they’re killing our free will along with our overworked ER docs. How long will it take until our ERs become every bit as inefficient as the Department of Motor Vehicles and my kids’ toy box?
And what about the docs? If you listen to the politicians, they are always talking about how doctors “make too much money.” Docs are already making less because insurance companies have decreased their payouts. None of my doc friends went into medicine for the money, but my GOD, considering what they go through to become docs, I think they should make whatever they damn well like. But then again, I believe in a free market and healthy competition to keep spending in control.
In my personal circle of friends, three docs left the ER, and one left medicine all together. Multiply this across the nation, and you have a serious strain on the medical community. I understand that many who aren’t insured aren’t lazy or looking for a free ride. But looking at my tax bill, I find it difficult to contain my frustration and anger. I thought very hard about my future and took special care to get a good education and seek jobs that offered good insurance. When we were unemployed a long time ago, we still paid for our insurance. It ate at our savings, to be sure, but we viewed medical care as vital as breathing. If I worked hard and thought ahead so I wouldn’t be a burden to society, why can’t others? Isn’t this responsible? It’s not my neighbor’s job to see that my kids got their puppy shots and check-ups. And can someone please tell me why I have to pay for someone who’s in this country illegally?
Nothing is “free.” The money has to come from somewhere, and that ‘somewhere’ is our out-of-control taxes. The more we make, the more we pay because it’s our “duty” to take care of those less fortunate. Is it also my duty to pay until my personal money tree has been picked clean?
It’s a given that the government is all too willing to step in and to implement their social programs funded with our sweat. It’s all about control and votes. But I think what bothers me the most is society’s compliance in letting it happen. How many people out there have long forgotten our independent American spirit that believed in making all things possible through our own hard work? We make our lives happen – not the government.
Many are unwilling to take personal responsibility for their lives and expect those who produce to pick up the tab. If you have a cold and fever, do you go to your PCP and get checked out – knowing you’ll have to pay for the services up front – or do you clog up the ER and get treated for free? If you live in any American city, the answer is yes.
In the end, I’m less concerned about the reasons why people have this “it’s your job to take care of me” attitude. I’m more concerned with protecting what little I have remains mine. And my kids? They buy their own toys.