SEARCH BLOG: OBAMA and HEALTH CARE
This post from Dr. Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University really puts the national health care crisis ... particularly with regard to insurance companies ... into a different perspective:
An Open Letter to President Obama
8 March 2010
Mr. Barack Obama
President, Executive Branch
United States Government
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. Obama:
CBS radio news this morning ran a clip of one of your recent speeches. In it, you criticize insurance companies because they “ration coverage … according to who can pay and who can’t.”
My first thought was “not exactly; coverage is rationed according to who pays and who doesn’t.” Ability to pay isn’t the same thing as actually paying, and what insurers care about is the latter. Many folks – especially young adults – have the ability to pay but choose not to do so. They get no coverage.
But what if those who don't pay do so because they have to make a choice? Perhaps it is the choice between sacrificing the wants of the present for the needs of the future? For example, living in a tiny place and barely eating enough to get by on so that they can obtain a college education and have a brighter economic future where they can choose to buy insurance... I did that when I finished my undergraduate work while living in a one-room converted garage and working full time in a hot, Florida warehouse during the day.
Of course, those "choices" are not available to the poor in America.
- Forty-six percent of all poor households actually own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
- Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
- Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
- The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens, and other cities throughout Europe. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
- Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.
- Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television; over half own two or more color televisions.
- Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.
- Seventy-three percent own microwave ovens, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.