Affordable health care system imperfect, but beats no system

Dick Stingley wrote an interesting response to a letter I wrote in which I was extremely thankful for having signed up for affordable health care. I think maybe he got a little confused. I didn’t really take a few trips a year for the last 40 years because of Obama Care, I only signed up for it a year ago. I had been fortunate to have been healthy enough that I went without health insurance and saved some money so that I could do fun trips. 

For those who don’t know me, a fun trip is likely to be a week of kayaking out of Seward or a road trip to Deadhorse for some birds. My Hilton is nylon, about 30 square feet, and the room service sucks, but hey — it is perfect for me. It was a choice of that or getting a different job so that I could buy insurance that in my case probably would not have covered me by reason of pre-existing conditions. 

Yes my current affordable health care is probably partially subsidized by the federal government, just like virtually all the other developed countries in the world do. But I’m confused why Mr. Stingley makes  a claim that he is  the government.

I thought elected officials were the government along with everyone they hired. To put things in perspective, I have been working since I was in 10th grade. I’ve been self-employed in Homer for 35 years. Yes, I always paid taxes. No, I’ve never needed federal assistance. Yes, I had always paid for my medical visits. No, I had never previously  needed prescription drugs. (Is that the problem?) 

But if it is his take that he is resentful because he is the government and is paying some portion of my affordable health care, I am going to relieve him of that horrible thought. Instead how about: I paid for my own affordable health care insurance (40 years of taxes) and he paid for some bombs we dropped on bystanders in a desert somewhere. His bill for that is more than $800 billion every year. My affordable health care subsidies are less than 1/20th of that amount. 

Even Dick should be able to recognize that something is out of kilter when his yearly military budget is more than the next eight highest paying countries in the world —  combined — and yet we have some people whining that we shouldn’t spend anything to have affordable health care like the rest of the developed world has.

I suspect he has had health insurance his whole life. I doubt if it has cost him a third of his income. Imagine his resentment if it did. It may surprise him to learn that lots of Americans could not afford health insurance.  

Fifty million Americans were without. And they were not all irresponsible slacker small business owners like I apparently am. 

Until about last year, health insurance was so expensive that you’d probably have to be a drug seller to afford it. Anybody with a medical emergency was forced into bankruptcy and government health care. Not sure why some think this is a preferable system. 

Affordable health care is a given in almost every other developed country in the world. It’s about time America did something other than just criticize its broken health care system. The new system is not perfect but it is a good start. 

Lee Post is an owner of the Homer Bookstore where he has been a partner, owner and employee for the last 35 years.

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