Home > Uncategorized > The United States of [Entitlement]

The United States of [Entitlement]

Everyday on my way in to work, I punish myself with the stupidity of others. It’s called C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal.” I’m sure some of you have seen it; the rest of you lead interesting lives. I only listen because it reminds me who I’m working with — and against — on a daily basis as a press guy in the United States Senate. (Notice how I didn’t specify my title? See, I’m trying to keep this whole blog thing somewhat anonymous; by press guy, I could mean press secretary, communications director, press aide, or deputy press secretary, and since most offices have three, if not four, of these positions, I could be one of 3-400 staffers over there. Good luck.)

My point:

I heard a 20-something fella complain yesterday about the annual cost of his health care. He said he spends about 10 percent of his income on it (about $112 every two weeks in premiums). Ten percent, he emphasized, as if this were an inordinate, criminal sum. He added, as if this bolstered his case, that he’d had two complicated, serious surgeries — the first to separate a five-pound tumor from around his spine and the second to remove it. This, he said, adds to his medical costs about $2,500 annually.

Modern medicine saved this man’s life, for about what — according to this graph, which might not be authoritative but feels about right — the average person his age spends on entertainment and “apparel and services” combined (whatever the hell the latter term means).

It’s enough to make you want to wring the man’s neck (unless that’s where his tumor was; we wouldn’t want to aggravate the area if it’s still tender). What did he expect to pay a group of specialists to save his life by carefully unwrapping a ticking time bomb from his spine?

How can such a society possibly function — a society comprised of citizens like this man, who doesn’t feel he owes his life to the doctors who saved him, but — to the contrary — feels these doctors owe him a little more, or perhaps that his neighbors should pay higher taxes so that he doesn’t have to waste his own money on nonsense like lifesaving medical procedures?

I’m not sure it can.

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