Emily Schlichting wrote an impassioned and lucid article asking to keep her government mandated or employer provided health care, which is paying for expensive chronic care for her rather rare medical issue. She expresses the value of being added onto her parent’s policy, and because that option will soon end, she wants to be given the benefit directly. The article is complete with an attractive picture of Emily. She wishes to communicate her story and make Republicans understand, so they will move on and quit trying to take away her insurance coverage.
Emily, your words convey that you really want other people to see the world from your point of view. You wonder why anybody can disagree with your position, and believe that the only reason someone could disagree is if they don’t understand your situation. You can’t fathom that anybody would have a reason to disagree with you. However, public discourse is not just about people not understanding you. Half the problem is you don’t understand them, either. Here’s my attempt to bring you up to speed.
- You alternate back and forth between the phrase “health insurance” and “health care”, and the carelessness is offensive to some. Do you know why? Insurance is for unexpected, short-duration catastrophes. Insurance is a self-funded way of distributing risk over a larger pool of people. Health care is a long-term maintenance of your health. Many people see these as very different. Which should other tax payers should be forced to pay for you?
- The title of your article was printed in the paper edition of USA Today as “Why Is Congress Trying to Take Away My Insurance?” This presumes Congress is taking something away that belongs to you. Instead, why are you not asking why you received such a free gift for so many years at no cost? Why do you call it “your” insurance if you are not paying for it? Why not thank others for the gift you have received rather than demand more?
- Yes, health care is about people’s lives. I can’t answer all the deeply spiritual and religious reasons why seemingly bad things happen to seemingly good people. Your articulate words convince me you probably have a lot to contribute into our society, and you’re probably one of the good people. However, there is nothing known to man that can redistribute to others what God (or fate or whatever you want to call it) has dealt to you. You demand that you should not have career options limited due to health concerns. You demand that nobody should live with fear of losing insurance. What right do you have to demand such things? Look around you! Do you realize how many people would love to have your career, or any career? Lose your insurance? That sounds trivial in light of what some people suffer. If examples don’t pop into your mind, read the book titled “A Long March Home” by Clarence K. Larson. Then imagine yourself talking to Mr. Larson and saying, “I’m upset because I don’t get free health coverage.” There is a lot of pain in the world. Why not spend money to alleviate these concerns many other places in the world? Why do you demand that everybody else spend money for your slice of pain?
- Your last sentence indicates a misunderstanding that has been personalized. You wrote “[Health care is] about MY life”. Your capitalization reveals a “me-centric” view of the world. Your last sentence, re-written with full disclosure would read, “It’s about MY life, and I want it funded with YOUR money.” What happened to “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”?
- Benevolence from others to help you bear the burden of life you’ve been given would be a good thing. Benevolence becomes a bad thing when someone wants to exercise benevolence using resources taken from OTHER’S life. In today’s world, the equivalence of dollars and life is very clear. Every dollar I have that government can take or mandate another health care organization to take, represents a piece of my life. It is not money; it is hours of life. If your medical issues require $100,000, that takes about 5000 hours of someone else’s life.
- I don’t judge who’s life is worth more–whether you get to have your life, or I get to have my life. However, I would ask that you at least recognize that your request for free socialized health care throughout life IS taking hours of someone’s life. If you tell me that such a trade is proper to do, we can have a conversation, and try to convince each other what should be done. I’m all for that. However, your words convince me you don’t even recognize the effect of your request.