Why are old people the only ones guaranteed health care?

Seriously? Why is it that in order to be guaranteed health care in this country you have to be in the last third of your life? The most expensive part of your life in terms of medical and healthcare?

Medicare was established in 1965 and was for adults over 65 years old when lifespan of the average American was 70.2 years. The average life span for an American is now 78 years old (and watch the Today Show to see people over 100 every day). Then in 2003 Medicare was expanded to provide a prescription drug benefit. The rest of us got nothing. More and more employers are not providing insurance, part time positions are generally not eligible and forget about it if you have a "pre-existing condition".

Medicaid? HA! If you are an adult, the income limit to qualify for Medicaid are incredible. I live in the state of North Carolina, for an adult to qualify for Medicaid they can not have a monthly income of more than $317 dollars for a family of two. Yes, you read that right, $317 for a family of two.

If you’re sick enough you can apply for disability but even then, no Medicare for TWO years. Well how does that work? If I am sick enough to qualify for disability which means I can’t work what am I supposed to do for the next two years?

When Medicare was approved there had been a national survey that found that only 56 percent of those 65 years of age or older had health insurance. The CDC reports that about 65 percent of non-elderly Americans had private insurance in 2008, the lowest it has been in 50 years.

Am I missing something? Is there a rule somewhere that says that it makes more sense to allow people of working age to be healthy and maybe even be able to work better or longer? That suffering through financial ruin to pay medical bills builds character? That late diagnosis and increase death is good for the soul?

So what’s it going to be? Do we have to wait until we’re at 56 percent, (which could be the end of the year if the economy doesn’t improve) or can we actually fight for ourselves and others to have a right to health care like the rest of the industrialized world?


You're very courageous to have come through all your troubles

and I hear your anger and understand. I'm one of those old people, and you know what, I didn't ask for Medicare and when Congress passed it I was off in a jungle...also at the behest of our government, and I wasn't too happy about that either.

I want what you want. Congress and all federal employee's have it...and it's better than anything available on the market and lots less expensive. Focus your anger on the people who can do something to change our system. We elected them. Why do they keep smacking us in the face? Why do we keep letting them get away with it? We need to get them out of our government.

Stan Bozarth

Well said. Amen.

Aside from all the good reasons you offer, the real underlying tragedy of our nation's approach to healthcare is the fact that we tie care to having a job. Presumably, older people get coverage because they're no longer working ... which as you eloquently point out makes no freakin' sense whatsoever.

In my view, healthcare should be a right, not a privilege reserved for those wealthy enough to afford it. De-linking healthcare and employment is a critical step that we are nowhere near taking.

The half-assed public plan that came out of the HELP committee does nothing to address this gross distortion in health policy.