Andrea and I found this solicitation today at the annual Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Washington. (Click on the photo for a better view.) A local shopkeeper gave us the back story: This young cancer sufferer was a classmate of the shopkeeper's son. She couldn't afford health insurance, and now she is battling brain cancer.
This young woman's plight reminded me of something Obama's critics are loathe to acknowledge: How many young people today manage to land jobs that provide or even subsidize health insurance? I know that our son, age 32, would be up the proverbial creek if his employer didn't provide it. I also know that entry-level jobs with benefits are even harder to come by today than when our son got out of college ten years ago.
Sometimes, when I'm driving, I find myself listening to the conservative pundit Michael Medved. I recently heard him challenge the administration's number of the uninsured. Sorry, I don't recall Medved's exact numbers. But Medved claimed that a large percentage of the uninsured are old enough for Medicare but are choosing not to pay the modest premiums that program requires. Fair enough, I suppose. But he also went on to subtract a large number of the people in the 18- to 30-year-old range--most of whom are in good health and many of whom, according to Medved, choose to spend their money in other ways. True, the majority of these young uninsured people probably win this actuarial gamble. But many don't, and I think we have a moral obligation to help them get the care they need.
Medved always starts his show by proclaiming that this is "the greatest country on God's Green earth." If that's true, no American should have to beg for the money to pay for health care on the streets.