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Barack Obama Health care

The Selfishness of Reform’s Opponents

[digg-reddit-me]It’s not good politics to attack “Grandma,”* but…

Everyone has noticed that many of the opponents of health care reform are the elderly and near-elderly (especially the older batch of Baby Boomers). They rail against “government-run health care” – but of course, that’s exactly what they enjoy – and enjoy it they do, professing higher levels of satisfaction with their insurance than any other group.

So why are they so anxious about health care reform then? It’s simple: Their rants about “tyranny” are just a cover for the fact that they realize their health insurance could barely get better – and so they have little incentive to support any changes, except to benefit their children.

The system we have now works well for only a few groups of people; it works poorly for many people (who lack choice and security while paying large sums) and not at all for about 47 million. It is estimated that 18,000 Americans die each year because they lack health insurance. Insurance premiums are rising exponentially and are forcing companies to forgo giving their employees raises. Millions more each year enter the rolls of the uninsured as fewer and fewer can afford it. Those who have health insurance often fear what would happen if they lose it and have little choice in picking their plan. Our current system is self-evidently unsustainable.

Yet those who benefit under our current system – especially those with government-provided Medicare coverage – are adamantly opposed to any changes, even should they benefit the rest of us. This is the classic Baby Boomer mentality: Put off every difficult decision and wearying task to the next generation; sacrifice nothing yourself, take everything. It is this attitude that George W. Bush with his massive tax cuts and massive spending increases signified; and it is this attitude that leads men and women enjoying government health care financed by the rest of us to adamantly refuse to even consider changes to our unsustainable health care system that would benefit their children based on the fear that any change might hurt them (even if it is designed to avoid any such thing).

There are other reasons to oppose health care reform – ideological reasons to oppose any government involvement and pragmatic ones to oppose these particular reforms – but the “movement” has clearly been dominated by these selfish Baby Boomers concerned, as always, only for themselves.

Here’s my message to those selfish opponents of health care reform: Shame on you. You’re not even being asked to sacrifice anything. You only oppose this out of the fear that you someday might be so asked. Your parents sacrificed for you – and left you with a better world. They paid 90% tax rates, went to war, worked hard and made America the most powerful nation in the world. Now, you won’t even support simple reforms. Shame on you…

*And mine is great, so y’all better leave her out of this.
[Image by The One True b!x licensed under Creative Commons.]

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