Sunday, March 5, 2017
Dorothy Rice, a government...
I had never heard of Mrs. Rice, but her obituary in the Times is one that every young, earnest Republican ideologue -- like Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, for example -- who want to create some Ayn Randian utopia by eliminating government entitlements such as Medicare, should read very carefully.
I would recommend this passage in particular (all emphasis mine):
Mrs. Rice was an analyst at the Social Security Administration when its study on aging highlighted how about half the population 65 and over had no health insurance — and that those who needed it most were the least likely to be able to afford it.
The 8.5 million uninsured older people, she wrote in 1964 in Social Security Bulletin, “include disproportionate numbers of the very old — particularly women — those in poor health, and those no longer engaged in full-time employment.”
The high cost of hospital and nursing home care, she added, “presents special problems for the aged because of their large and often unexpected bills.”
Like me, Sen. Paul, who was born in 1963, and Rep. Ryan, who was born in 1970, have little or no first-hand knowledge of America before Medicare. And also like these two individuals, I've read all of Ayn Rand's novels and were captivated by them (even the doorstop-like Atlas Shrugged!). But, unlike these two, I realized at some point that they were novels and not necessarily a good representation of reality. The reality is that as Mrs. Rice's obit says:
...before Medicare half the population 65 and over had no health insurance — and that those who needed it most were the least likely to be able to afford it.
Now, who in their right mind would want to return to a world like that? Especially when Medicare works so well? If anything, we should be talking about how we can extend Medicare to everyone.
Maybe Messrs. Paul and Ryan should talk to someone who was actually around before Medicare was passed and ask them what America was like when half of all seniors had no health insurance. It might be more edifying than reading Ayn Rand novels.