November 14, 2008

Provide Medicare coverage for unemployed?

Over the last few days, I've naturally given much thought to what happens next for me. The answer is distressingly unclear as both Jackie and I work for a paper that's likely to disappear in less than two months.
When I look at the options, it's an ugly picture.
With unemployment and some odd jobs (for which we'll make only $1 for every $3 that we earn while on unemployment), we might be able to pay the bills for the necessities, from the mortgage to car insurance.
But there's no way there's enough money to pay $1,000 or more a month to maintain health insurance while we're both unemployed. That would just go out the window, setting up the potential for financial catastrophe, as so many hardworking people without coverage have discovered to their horror already.
But this strikes me as less a personal nightmare scenario as a national policy choice that can still be salvaged for growing numbers of working people who don't have a job in this sinking economy.
Forget national health insurance for now, or whatever the politicians decide someday. What's really needed is to provide Medicare or Medicaid coverage for people who are on unemployment.
It's a simple step that would make sure that people who are already feeling the blow of a recession they didn't cause don't lose everything.
In the end, of course, taxpayers are going to pick up the tab for any medical care that's needed, one way or another.
Though I've been blessedly healthy, if my appendix decided to give up the ghost in late January, you know I'm going to end up in an emergency room and that doctors are going to use their skills to save me, insurance or no insurance. That would be equally true for more catastrophic scenarios, too.
But if I can't pay the tabs -- and I surely couldn't -- then you will. That's what we do in this country, after all. It's not like I'm going to stay home and quietly die rather than seek treatment on someone else's dime.
It would be better, more just and more efficient for everybody to recognize reality and simply provide the health coverage that unemployed people need.
I hope this catches the eye of somebody in Washington because it would be a simple way to lend a helping hand to millions of Americans who are hurting.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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Anonymous said...

But chances are you won't lose your appendix. It's more likely that you will remain healthy in the short time it will take to find some kind of work. In the meantime, you might want to live very frugally and stash away whatever you can. At our house we called it "on austerity," and we had to do it when we worked six months without a paycheck. We got through it, and everyone still has their appendix.

Anonymous said...

Lucky you to have your appendix intact! I have had a sudden attack of appendicitis, however, and the only thing you can do is have surgery quickly. There is no warning, no risk factors. And it happens to people of all ages. I am grateful I had insurance at the time.
So Steve's concern isn't stupid, but you are for being dismissive of the risk to him of some kind of emergency like an appendix, pancreatitus, a broken limb, chest pain, you name it.
He's not stupid, and he's not only thinking of himself. I am sure that he has stopped whatever spending he can already and is trying to think of ways to economize. I never noticed that he was all about flash, bling or snazzy clothes. It appears he already is well aware of austerity. In fact, given that he and his wife are trying to support two children on meager Press salaries, it's kind of remarkable that he looks as presentable as he does!

Anonymous said...

I was trying to be encouraging, and the point of stashing away is to pay for insurance if possible. You know, a rainy day fund.

Now I understand said...

Thanks Stephen .... This insight clearly shows why you slant your coverage to protect the left/wing liberal extremists .

Steve Collins said...

Yeah, it's pretty wild-eyed and crazy to think that people should get medical treatment when they're sick.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we're all entitled to have some one else pay for our well-being.

Anonymous said...

Who needs to work?

Anonymous said...

Pretty wild-eyed and crazy to think that people should pay for their own medical coverage.

Anonymous said...

Why be employed then?

1) Free health insurance
2) Free education
3) Free college
4) Public transportation
5) Free food
6) Free cable TV
7) Gov't jobs = the best
8) Why not make it law that the
gov't owes all people
personal transportation
(especially blacks)

It'll be the United Socialist States of America soon. Hey Premier Obama is sure to fix things.

Odin said...

The fact is we live in a compassionate society that requires hospitals to treat people even if they have no insurance, and pass the cost along to everyone else. So it would be cheaper in the aggregate to give everyone basic health coverage so people can go to the clinic, and not the ER. This is pragmatic, not socialism.

U Socialist S A said...

Actually Odin when government takes over major industries (like health care), it IS the dictionary definition of socialism.

The fact is that the cost of health care is extreme, whether or not uninsured people are using the emergency room on a regular basis. Single payer health insurance will undoutably be extremely costly because many will abuse and misuse the entitlement.

America was once a place where people came because they were willing to work hard (at a job) for the opportunity for a better life. Today it seems many come here for a free ride courtesy of a government run by liberals.

While government provided health insurance may sound like the answer to many problems it will undoubtably signal the end of this nation's economis prosperity

Anonymous said...

The answer...sharpen up that resume and send it out to companies that provide health insurance. And/or start your own paper.