Let us not confuse health care with retirement.
Providing for old people who no longer participate in the work force and providing for sick people who may be of any age (employed or not) are two different things.
Before we decide how to deal with the sick and injured, we first have to decide whether we are to sincerely adopt an attitude toward as to whether we are responsible, as a society, to provide for people.......or not.
I found Ron Paul's response in the Tea Party Debate somewhat fascinating. With regard to the hypothetical case of a 30 year old in a comma who opted out of health insurance, his response seemed to indicate that, "Hey, that's his Karma!" Presumably, this guy is to be left out on the street until some church group decides to pick up the tab. This from a physician whose oath actually prescribes that this irresponsible 30 year old receive care, regardless. Herein lies a paradox.
Because......in order to insure that the streets outside hospitals are not lined with gurneys filled with the sick and the lame and the comotose waiting for the benevolence of the righteous, we must either institute a mandate, provide for socialistic government involvement or continue to pick up the tab indirectly through ever increasing costs. Actually, the option of leaving them out on the street is not likely to be adopted by many hospitals. It's bad PR! But, our choices, as a society, remain the same.
Allowing the irresponsibile to remain irresponsible is, basically, the status quo. Hence, extraordinaty health care costs and high insurance premiums. Taking care of the irresponsible is a self imposed mandate by the medical community. Therefore, the social ramifications of the existing situation require either a mandate or fully socialized medicine. There is no third alternative.
Because this paradox has a detrimental affect on society as a whole, it falls within the pervue of the federal government. It is, therefore, fitting that the federal government either institute a mandate (which they have done) or implement a single payer system (which they have not). The attitude, which we can call libertarian, right wing or republican, that both remedies are unconstitutional provides no solution beyond the unsustainable status quo.
The answer to retirement, much like that of health care, is that individual retirement and health accounts are great if one has the extra money to put into them. The difference is that old folks homes have no oaths to honor and will leave you to fend for yourself with impunity. The fact that we, as a civilized nation, have recognised that providing for the aged and no longer employable is beneficial to all is a tribute to our heritage. Social Security works. It needs to be sustained.
But the world is rapidly changing. Social Security has to be reformed to reflect current needs and realities in a way that insures it's continued existance. Individual retirement accounts and health reserves, like everything else the republicans advocate, are only a benefit to the rich. Not everyone can afford to do it! Where are they to end up, otherwise?
I'm not concerned about grandchildern or great grandchildren. When they get old like us, the world will have changed so much that we wouldn't recognise it. They will find their own solutions. We best find some solutions of our own....and soon.
Hey doc! I've got this rash..........