Is life without Medicare possible?

I recently became aware of an older couple who came face to face with a common and life-threatening medical condition. The details aren’t germane other than to say, the final costs will well exceed $115,000 and if left without insurance they would find themselves bankrupt.

Being bankrupted by America’s “poorest health care system in the developed world” system is nothing new, it happens countless times each day. Researchers recently learned that over 65% of all bankruptcies in America are tied to medical issues and that over 500,000 families file for medically-related bankruptcies every year.

When it comes to medical care the vast majority of Americans could not deal with the ever-rising expenses without some sort of health insurance. Unfortunately, a harsh reality is that health insurance has become both difficult to obtain and difficult to meet the co-pays and deductibles. Examples of such are not difficult to find. I know of one single mother whose insurance doesn’t pay the first dollar until she has met an $8,000 deductible. Even then the co-pay is higher than she can afford. I’m familiar with another family where one member suddenly found themself needing a life-saving medicine that costs $1,500 a month and their insurance won’t cover it. I’ll do the math for you. That family is suddenly faced with an annual expense of $18.000. Now, figure that into your own budget and consider what it would mean for your lifestyle.

What prompted this essay was having woken to more news that the Trump administration is once again, despite Trump’s campaign promises to the contrary, is hard at work on a 2020 budget that will cut the programs that millions of Americans need to stay alive; Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Additionally, Trump has been a major enemy of the ACA and would repeal that life-saving program altogether. If Trump’s budget is passed as proposed, hundreds of billions of dollars will be cut from these vital programs over the next decade and that will mean that untold millions of Americans will just have to face an early and unattended demise.

People don’t like to talk politics or think politics are not important. The truth is, however, that in spite of politics being boring or dirty or confusing, the consequences of the political process often spells the demise of life’s quantity and quality.

We can argue about universal health care and whether it is affordable or whether it is socialistic. But in the meantime, given the wealth of this nation, we cannot turn our backs on trying to preserve the best of what we have and work towards something that is far better. We owe that much to ourselves. All of ourselves!

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