Thursday, February 16, 2006

Totally Disingenuous, 2004-Campaign Style

I just marvel at Bush's ability to tell bald-faced lies to naive people. This little ditty is the latest time he has told people with little money that a wealth-favoring Republican policy initiative will really help people like them.

The New York Times quoted Bush, speaking at a Wendy's headquarters in Ohio, telling a group that Democrats' opposition to his health-savings accounts idea is "basically saying, 'If you're not making a lot of money, you can't make decisions for yourself.'" Nevermind that just to start one of these plans, one needs to also buy incredibly expensive catastrophic health coverage (the article says that would require someone to pay the first $1,050 in yearly medical bills. Talk to someone making $10,000 per year about that total.). And nevermind that one would have to accrue a fair amount of money in one of these accounts (requiring a large amount of disposable income) to make it helpful in case of a health catastrophe. In other words, storing away $100 a year isn't going to do much when your heart attack sets you back thousands of dollars in hospital bills.

Democrats want people to be able to make more decisions about their lives by finding ways to make health care more affordable. It's an ever-increasingly worrisome subject for low-income people because it keeps getting astronomically more and more expensive, giving families less choice on any number of other financial decisions.

The whole idea of insurance is that people for whom money means less (because they have much more of it) help the poor pay for things that should be rights, not privileges. People who make little money should not have to choose whether or not to treat their diabetes. People who make little money should not be forced to live in destitute poverty when they get too old to earn a living. Those are decisions this country made 70 years ago. Granted, some changes are needed to ensure we can continue to afford our commitments, but the underlying idea must morally stay the same -- that we help each other afford life's necessities, a principle at which health savings accounts would eat away.


Post a Comment

<< Home