Thursday, September 17, 2009

a sure to be regretful post

love and loyalty... and percocet

Thursday, September 3, 2009

a solid point


Why We Young Folks Are So Supportive of Health Care Reform
by: Robert Cruickshank
Thu Sep 03, 2009 at 08:00:00 AM PDT

Crossposted at Daily Kos

There's an interesting generational phenomenon at work here. The age group that currently enjoys the benefits of a single-payer system, those over 65, are among the least likely to support health care reform. The age group most likely to support reform is the other end of the spectrum - people age 18-29, as the LA Times reported yesterday:

Adults 18 to 29 are the group most supportive of President Obama's plan to overhaul healthcare, according to a recent poll by SurveyUSA. They are also the age group that most supports creating a government-run health insurance option.

Young people account for 30% of the uninsured population, according to a report by the Commonwealth Fund, a health policy research foundation. They are least likely to be offered health insurance through employment benefits -- just 53% of working young adults are eligible for employer-based coverage. And since their incomes tend to be low, buying coverage on their own is usually too expensive.

As the article explains, much of the support for health care reform among younger people is as function of our drearier economic prospects. We tend to have high debt loads or low wages - or both. We don't have assets to fall back on, we couldn't buy a house during the affordable years and have that asset be subsidized by Prop 13.

And yet there are deeper factors at work here. The health care crisis affects every generation, especially those who thought they were living a comfortable middle-class lifestyle until medical debt their insurance didn't cover wiped them out. Many of those older homeowners are barely surviving the recession with their finances intact. We younger folks may be feeling the recession's bite harder than most others, but there is plenty of misery to go around.

So why is it that younger people are more supportive of reform? Part of it is that we are more progressive than virtually every other age group, by virtually every measure out there. Because we weren't raised in an era of McCarthyism, because those of us under 30 have only vague memories of Reagan, and because we have recoiled so strongly from the Republican who has dominated our conscious lives the most - George W. Bush - we are not trained to see government as the enemy. We are more willing to see government as the solution because we aren't carrying around the burdens of the 1950s or the 1980s, because we do not take the New Deal state for granted.

But there's another factor at work here as well. We can call it the boiling frog effect. Older generations of Americans were socialized into a society where the economy generally worked, at least for most people middle-class and above. If you had a job, you could expect to have health care. You could expect to own a home, and enjoy a basic level of economic security.

That is not true today, not for any American outside the wealthiest percentiles, no matter what your age. But for folks who were socialized to think of America as the awesomest economy in the world, where you could expect to have security and health care if you held down a job, the present crisis snuck up on people the way heat snuck up on the frog in what had been a cold pot of water. They didn't expect it, and they still haven't adjusted their expectations to the new reality. They still see the present crisis as a temporary but difficult spot.

Us younger folks, though, have been thrown right into the boiling pot. We're entering an economy that doesn't offer anything of use to anyone who isn't rich, and we can see that right off the bat. Unlike older generations who may have seen the system as offering realistic opportunities for security and advancement when they first entered, we are under no such illusions. We know things are fucked and that we are not likely to see any meaningful improvement in our fortunes anytime soon.

Moreover, we're thrown into this crisis at a crucial moment in our lives - when we want to build lives, families, communities. The number of people I know who have delayed having children because of dire economic straits is staggering. And when you take away someone's future like that, you create a cohort of people who quite clearly and instinctively understand the need for fundamental, root and branch reform.

We're the natural foot soldiers of reform. But we're not being spoken to by the reformers. More on that below.
Robert Cruickshank :: Why We Young Folks Are So Supportive of Health Care Reform
The LA Times article also examined how the current reform proposal might affect the young:

Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, says a requirement to buy insurance would hurt young people most, forcing them to subsidize the healthcare needs of older people without making health insurance more affordable for them.

"Young people are probably one of the groups that's going to come out the worst on this," Tanner said. "They're going to pay more in the short term because they're going to have to go out and buy health insurance. And they're going to pay more in the long term."

Genevieve Kenney, a health economist at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank, disagrees.

"I think many more uninsured young adults stand to gain from healthcare reform than stand to lose," Kenney said, citing plans in Congress to provide insurance subsidies for low-income people, many of whom are young.

As much as it pains me to say this, the guy from Cato is right. Mandated insurance without a public option offers nothing of value whatsoever to younger people. That's because it's not designed to help us. It's designed to extract even more money from our already meager bank accounts and deliver us virtually nothing in return. It is a classic case of screwing over the young in order to preserve a zombie economy that is dead, but is still being clung to by those who refuse to admit it, who cannot envision a new economic policy, and who are deathly afraid of change.

Because the Obama Administration seems to have repeated the flaw of most Democratic political leaders that preceded it and chosen to ignore younger voters, even though we were by far the group of voters that backed him the most strongly in 2008, we are feeling left out of a debate that is primarily focused on appeasing seniors and right-leaning boomers. The more transformative approach, to build a coalition of change that unites seniors, the young, and those in the middle under stress in support of an expanded Medicare for all, has been ignored.

Obama will suffer the consequences for that. Us younger folks will stagger on, even more determined to build political movements and to assert political power. Eventually we will be the ones to lead the implementation of a universal single-payer system in America.

I only hope it comes sooner and rather than later. I don't intend to become a part of a new Lost Generation.



Single-payer health care insurance is a public service financing the delivery of near-universal or universal health care to a given population as defined by age, citizenship, residency, or any other demographic.

Single-payer health insurance operates by arranging the payment of services to doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers from a single source established and managed by government. This source replaces private insurance companies with a single, public entity which would provide health care financing, which in wealthy nations is typically extended to all citizens or legal residents. A single-payer national insurance plan, H.R. 676, the "National Health Care Act," is expected to be voted on and debated by the U.S. House of Representatives as a replacement to H.R. 3200, the "Affordable Health Choices Act," in September.

The fund can be managed by the government directly or as a publicly owned and regulated agency. Australia's Medicare, Canada's Medicare, and healthcare in Taiwan are examples of single-payer universal health care systems.

The term 'single payer' refers to funding and does not imply a socialized medicine system. A socialized medical system is one "in which all health personnel and health facilities, including doctors and hospitals, work for the government and draw salaries from the government," an example being the U.S. Veterans Administration, while U.S. Medicare is a single payer system which is not socialized medicine.

In Canadian Medicare, which is a single-payer insurance available to all citizens, doctors may work in private practices or for public or private hospitals, each of which is in turn paid by government health insurance. Under the United Kingdom's National Health Service, which also uses a universal single-payer fund, the public owns the health systems and facilities. The term single-payer thus only describes the funding mechanism—referring to health care being paid for by a single public body—and does not specify the type of delivery, or who doctors work for.

As regards health care reform in the United States, it is the only high-income industrialized country in the world that does not have some version of national universal public health insurance; although every state has a public health care system of some kind, they do not provide guaranteed universal coverage. The majority of physicians in the United States are in favor of national health insurance system. A recent study published in 2008 in Annals of Internal Medicine, a leading medical journal, showed 59% of physicians “support government legislation to establish national health insurance,” while 32% oppose it and 9% are neutral. This represented an increase of 10 percentage points as compared with a similar survey in 2002 in which support for such legislation stood at 49% of physicians. Among the general U.S. public, recent polling ratings for single-payer are apparently dependent on wording, ranging from 49% to 65% in favor.

no one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick.

love and loyalty