November 20, 2019

Compassion On a One-Way Street

When my mother was dying of cancer, one of my brothers and I decided to pay for twenty-four-hour nursing care in her home. What little insurance she had did not provide such coverage. We did not want her to die in a hospital, or, worse yet, in a nursing home. My mother lived for another month, and the cost was $20,000. It was well worth the price.

During her illness, it occurred to me that, at my age (62 at the time), I needed to plan for a possible long-term injury or illness that would prevent me from functioning on my own. I am single and have no children, so the only reasonable alternative was to take out a long-term care insurance policy, which I did. The yearly payments are steep, but that’s the way it has to be. By this coming September, I will have paid the insurance provider a little under $40,000 in premiums. I must say that, until recently, I felt pretty good about my foresight.

But then the debate over repealing and replacing Obamacare began to heat up, and I had to reconsider my decision. One of the major issues in this debate is the coverage of people with pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is one that exists prior to any purchase of health insurance on the part of the ill person.

For example, let’s look at fictional Bob. Bob is 30, works out regularly, and appears to be in excellent condition. Being so young, he has never purchased insurance because he feels he doesn’t need it.

However, during a routine physical for a new job, Bob’s blood work indicates a potential problem. After further tests, Bob is diagnosed with leukemia. His doctor believes it has been caught early, and with chemotherapy and radiation, his chances of survival are quite good.

Now remember that Bob has no insurance. However, the majority of both major political parties believe that Bob, who now has a pre-existing condition, should be covered for the expense of his costly future treatments.

Let’s be clear: This is not insurance. Insurance exists when one pays premiums to protect against a major loss. For example, if a drunk driver without insurance slams into my car and causes major damage, my insurance company will pay for repairs, aside from whatever deductible I have. Everyone with half a brain knows that if I had no car insurance and then went to Liberty Mutual to get insurance to get my damaged car fixed, I would be laughed out of the office.

And, yet, apparently the sense of entitlement is so strong in this nation that most people think it would be an injustice for the government not to pay for the care of someone with a pre-existing condition. Currently, there are several options being proposed to cover such people. However, the money for this government largesse would come, one way or the other, from taxpayers, those silly fools who were wise enough to purchase true health insurance that would cover some major medical issue.

So, as I was mulling over this disturbing situation, it suddenly occurred to me that I have a pre-existing condition: I am aging. I don’t need a doctor to confirm this. Today I am seventy. Last year at this time, I was sixty-nine. I may not like it, but that is the reality, and although I may not be the mayor of Realville, I still live there.

Unless I die suddenly, my pre-existing condition will continue. Now we all know that, as I age, there is a good chance that I will suffer from some kind of major medical crisis. I may need long-term care. So, why am I paying over $3,000 in yearly premiums? Why have I already paid almost $40,000 in premiums? What a sucker I have been! I could have used that money for a fancy car, several nice vacations, a down payment on a new home, or just given it to my church. There are a myriad of things I could have used with the cash. But, no, I had to be stupid and prepare for the future.

But, of course, aging is not considered a pre-existing condition, and should I need long-term care some day and not have such insurance, I will be given a minimal of care based on what some bureaucrat thinks is sufficient. So, I wince and pay the premiums.

Last summer I was at a graduation party and ended up sitting at a table with ardent Obama fans. When I mentioned what a disaster Obamacare was, a woman sneered at me and said, “Helping people in need is called Christian charity.” But forcing taxpayers to pay for people who refuse to plan ahead is not charity. It is robbery. If I choose to give money to help those in need, then I have practiced true charity.

In the name of true compassion, why is there so little concern for responsible people who play by the rules, delay gratification, and sacrifice for their families in order to provide them with the best health care they can afford? And why must their premiums or taxes rise so that the government can take care of the moochers? Where is the justice in that?

Under Obamacare, many families lost their insurance. Who mourns for them? Apparently, very few politicians in Washington.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Written by
Thomas Addis

THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children's book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.

View all articles
3 comments
  • Amen Thomas!

    I wish more people especially Catholics thought like you do. I’m also tired of hearing petitions at church asking government to take care of the “poor” versus encouraging charity.

    It’s a myth that the Democrat Party is the only answer to solving human problems when their only solution is government dependency vs subsidiary. It is also fair to say that when the Democrat Party cited baby murder as their fundamental issue, then nothing else they have to say matters

  • I can’t argue with your logic, nor would I want to. I wish I had a solution to this national quandary but I do not. No one knows what to do, it seems, which leads me to conclude that the government should forego the idea of nationalized health care. The Catholic idea of subsidiarity is the organic approach, in my estimation. For what it is worth, is it better to have the means to pay insurance premiums, which millions of Americans do, than not to have the means, which many others do not, regardless of whether the government tries to provide “free” health care for everyone, regardless of ability to pay? Might a glimmer of hope be possible if national policymakers eyes’ were to open as the population ages thanks to abortion, contraception, and advances in medical science while the workforce supporting the tax base plateaus? Neither thought is very consoling. I suppose that is me living in Unrealville, on the other side of the proverbial tracks from policymakers, isn’t it?

  • I have long believed that one should never be denied the opportunity of doing something good. When an entity, the government, in this example, takes over the individual’s options for charity through funding entitlements, it denies the individual the opportunity to do a charitable work – either personally or in community – church, philanthropic organization, etc. Additionally, many government programs are counter to Christian morality and go against the dictates of conscience. The forced taxation needed to fund some entitlement programs removes the individual from the charitable equation as well as the discretionary funds that individual may have to help others. One can truly say ” I gave at the office” – or the IRS.

Written by Thomas Addis
Click to access the login or register cheese