Although Medicare’s architects were knowingly laying the groundwork for fully socialized medicine, they narrowly proposed to underwrite only care for the elderly — who, after all, were already benefiting from Social Security. Proponents pretended to be removing the aged from “dependency” when they were merely shifting the burden of dependency from its traditional obligors (personal responsibility, the family, and private charity) onto taxpayers.
They claimed to be relieving the young of responsibility for their aging parents when they were actually burdening the young — and the young of future generations — with an ever-increasing tab for an ever-ballooning population of elderly dependents.
And by the way, HTWO? The young are more burdened than ever before with the personal, physical care of their elderly parents, who are “living” longer than ever before.
Demography may not be destiny, but, like the prospect of hanging in a fortnight, it does concentrate the mind. Just take a look America’s aging population and ask yourself: who is going to be paying for grandma’s MRI?
As McCarthy notes, “if Medicare had been on the up and up, proponents could have sculpted a welfare plan for the 15 percent of seniors who arguably needed assistance.”
But helping that small group was never the object of the plan. The goal was “fully socialized medicine” — i.e., government-controlled medicine.
What we need is someone who combines the rhetorical skills of Demosthenes and the political acumen of Cicero to make the case for what should be obvious but which our addiction to liberal sentimentality, on the one hand, and the political status quo, on the other, makes horribly difficult.