The meaning of exceptionalism

Health care mandate is responsible course of action.

Larry Bollinger Enlarge photo

Larry Bollinger

Death, taxes, and poor health will come to us all. Someday, each of us will need help when we fall victim to our reckless hobbies, bad luck or old-age. My son was in his mid-20s and at the peak of good health when he purchased catastrophic health insurance for himself. Months later, unexpected illness struck which required tens-of-thousands of dollars worth of medical care. He recovered and, thanks to his responsible purchase of insurance, saved himself a small fortune. He also saved the taxpayers of Colorado that same small fortune. When illness struck he could have presented himself at the hospital without insurance. That would force the taxpayers of Colorado to pay the bill for him. But he felt that a responsible adult should pay his own way. It's selfish to rely on other taxpayers to foot your bill when illness or accident strikes. In a nutshell, this is the reason for the so-called insurance mandate. To argue against the mandat' is to argue that the individual is not responsible for themselves. But medical care is expensive Costs are rising rapidly. Insurance rates are budget-busters What to do? It's the power of the market place to the rescue. The American population is over 300 million persons, each of whom will need health care at some time in their lives. Why not band together and use that same volume shopping power that makes big box stores so inexpensive? For example, we could lower drug prices thru volume buying. Now there's an idea that makes sense. Except that the Bush Medicare Drug Plan prohibits this, in specific language, from ever happening. That deficit exploding plan, which expanded Medicare yet did nothing to pay for it, was voted on and approved by Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president. Can you imagine the savings if we all banded together and contributed to a giant insurance pool that would care for each of us when our time inevitably comes? Every other western country guarantees medical care for its citizens. The U.S. is the only exception. Hey, is that what conservatives mean by exceptionalism?

Larry Bollinger is retired from broadcasting and loves his grandsons. Reach him at