Saturday, August 23, 2008

This man is the poster child for universal health care in the US?

His name is Gibson Glass, and his interview led off Al Jazeera's coverage of the issue of health care in America:

Gibson Glass, 58, enjoys his jogs though New York City's Central Park.

But he is not just running for fun. Gibson is one of more than 40 million Americans who does not have health insurance.

So, for Gibson, regular exercise is a form of health insurance. He is a freelance picture framer, and he says he simply cannot afford to pay about $600 each month on insurance.

He says that the United States' healthcare system is "totally messed up" because, as he puts it, "everybody should be able to afford health insurance, whatever their income, and I have a pretty good income, I just can't afford it."

Gibson has worked out the odds and is making a rational decision, based on his circumstances.

Seven years from now, when he is 65, he will qualify for Medicare, government-funded healthcare for the US's elderly.

But sometimes, a rational decision for one person would not be viewed quite the same by others.

Gibson can't afford $600/month for health insurance, so the government should provide it, right?

Well, actually, not. Not what he says in the next segment of the article:

In the meantime, he would rather spend his precious money on going to the theatre and concerts and seeing friends for dinner.

These are things that give his life quality, and, as he says, "make him a healthier person".

So what Mr Glass is actually saying is that I am supposed to subsidize his health care so that he can afford to eat out and go to concerts.

Sure, Gibson, I'll be glad to.


Hube said...

Aw c'mon Steve, you heartless, cruel bastard!

Don'tcha just love they bury the all-important caveat several paragraphs down in the story?

Anonymous said...

I wish I could afford to live in Manhattan, dine out regularly, attend concerts and plays, and have someone else pick up my essential life expenses.

Then again, I s'pose I'm one of those boring sorts who pays his own way and doesn't expect others to subsidize my consumption and life of luxury in one of the world's most expensive locales.