Argument #4 for supporting the ACA


Imagine a world in which one out of 6 homes did not have fire insurance. And in which people who lived in fire-prone areas, who were regularly burnt out of their homes, refused government aid to buy affordable fire insurance. "We'd rather live on the street than protect our homes from catastrophic fires!" they'd scream. "Better dead than fire-engine Red!"

Alas, when it comes to health care, that's the world in which we live.

But why should it be?

Why should I be the only kid on the block who maxes out his health insurance when he turns 6, because of some dumb ol' childhood leukemia? Later, when I need my tonsils out at age 8 and my wisdom teeth out at age 12 and a broken arm set at age 15, my folks will have to pay full boat. Then I get to miss college and skip birth control (can't afford it) and end up stressed with a houseful of kids, but can't get therapy because that's out of reach too.

Why should my folks lose their home because Mom's hysterectomy and chemo, needed to kill her ovarian cancer, wiped out her savings and lost her a job? Should the children of such as mother have to live in poverty and go to substandard schools because of an accident of biology?

Why should my hard-working friends, who had the bad luck to have their car rammed by a drunk driver, and have to spend months in hospitals and rehabs, see their retirement fund wiped out. Not only have their plans for travel after retirement gone out their window, but also their hopes to retire in modest comfort. They hope they can scrape by on Social Security and the charity of their kids. Speaking of which, the kids never intended to have Mom and Dad on their hands.

From a completely selfish point of view, the potential for all of this suffering should make people cry out for a system that can ease the burden of those burdened by bad luck. And don't let anyone fool ya: bad luck (and bad genes and bad timing) get everyone to some degree at one point or another.

200 years ago, wise old Ben Franklin organized a system of fire insurance in Philadelphia. Everyone paid a little to compensate the few whose houses burned. Today, there might not be a large chance that fire will burn down your house, but if it does, the effects without insurance are catastrophic and far-reaching. Yet the chance of getting seriously ill are far higher than having your home go up in smoke. Between cancers (pick your favorite) and diabetes and emphysema and heart problems, our chances of getting pretty sick are almost 100%. Why should we be the ones whose families gets wiped out because we refused to participate in a plan that would protect us from the worst ravages of illness?

And why would I wish that on anyone else?