This aspect of health care is one I doubt that we hear on the campaign circuit this year — although it is certainly a subject worthy of treatment by legislative candidates. As the population ages, we will place greater demands on our health care system. As our medical technology improves, we will see more and more diseases being cured or effectively treated. That’s part of the reason that life expectancy has increased by almost 20 years in the 20th century.
To really make “social security” economically sound, the age of eligibility should be raised to almost 80 when about half of the people who might have collected are already dead. That’s one of the reasons why 65 was selected when “social security” was enacted in 1934. I guess that nobody realized then that most of us would live to collect, and that we would collect for about 15 more years than originally anticipated.
How fair is it to see a family bankrupted to treat a chronic condition that requires almost constant medical care? How fair is it to see our parents’ estates depleted to pay for years for treatment of the conditions of aging? How fair is it to see a family do without basic preventive care because they don’t have health insurance? How fair is it to see health insurance denied (or priced so as to be unaffordable) for people who do not work for the government or very large companies? How fair is it to see a family on “welfare” receive medical treatment that a working family can’t afford?
Our Declaration of Independence declares that we have a right to “pursue” happiness, not to “catch” it. Good health can certainly be an important element of “happiness.” This tends to illustrate the adage, “If you can choose between being ‘good’ or ‘lucky’, pick ‘lucky’ every time.” Of course, the harder (smarter) we work, the luckier we get.
The most important asset for a small business owner is “good health.”
In the US, now, health care is really a “privilege.” The best health care is generally delivered by those who are the best paid. (Certainly, there are exceptions to any generalities.) If you can afford “the best” or have health insurance that will pay for it (and a substantial fraction of our population does), you can get the best health care available in the world. Rich people from all over the world come to the US for treatment.
In Canada, Europe and other more “socialistic” countries, health care is a “right.” Medical personnel are paid by the “government.” Patients are entitled to medical care, regardless of ability to pay. Care is (alleged to be) available for all. Rationing and a “black market” are legendary, though. Many people in these countries do seem pleased, anyway. (Before we just “jump on the bandwagon,” consider what has happened to the average quality of “public schools” since the early 1960’s — run by government employees.)
We now have enough medical technology to keep us alive, until — our money runs out.