How many people do you know who are 65 or older who have turned down Medicare health insurance coverage? A few? None?


My point of view
by Emily Shultz
Dodge City Daily Globe

How many people do you know who are 65 or older who have turned down Medicare health insurance coverage? A few? None?
I have known a number of people in their late 50s or early 60s who are adding up the months and days until they can be on Medicare. Many people at this age are ready to retire or to move to part-time status — but they can't because they rely on their employer's health insurance benefits.
And yet...
And yet, many of these same people who are utilizing Medicare or who want to utilize Medicare will say that they oppose the idea of universal health coverage or "Obamacare," as it has come to be called. The same people who say they don't want government in their lives and don't want "rationed" health care will not hesitate to support and utilize Medicare coverage for themselves or their loved ones.
Medicare, for the most part, works. The system provides accessible health care to people over the age of 65. You need a doctor; you get one. You need to go to the hospital; you are admitted. You need tests; they are covered.
Can you imagine a world where simply by switching employers, you could lose standard benefits? What if your employer were a certain faith and their health care plan covered vision and dental care, but instead of allowing you to have surgery, they instead told you to pray? Or what if your employer were of a faith that didn't believe in blood transfusions, so didn't allow their health insurer to pay for them?
The idea of universal health care is not something that originated with President Obama or with the Clinton administration. The cost-saving measure of providing preventative and portable health care has also come from the administrations of Truman and Nixon, among others.
The two core principles  of universal health care are affordability and portability. It is affordable so that people will seek medical attention when they need it and not wait until they need expensive emergency care. It is portable so that people don't lose coverage every time they move to a different state or change jobs.
Portability also means that there is a standard of services provided to all Americans, regardless of where they work.
The Globe recently ran a column by Kent Bush which stated, "If we elect a person to give Christians favorable treatment, we are giving the right to the next president to treat them unfairly." If we are going to cry "religious freedom" in support of a Catholic institution's ability to limit its employees treatment and care plans, will we be so accepting if the opposite happens?