A harmless extended family gathering turned into a full-fledged health care reform debate recently, with three generations chiming in on what they thought needs to be done (or not done) to “fix” health care in America.
Coming just a few days after President Obama’s prime-time speech focusing on the urgent need for health care reform (yes, we also discussed the “police acted stupidly” comment), the lighthearted gathering took on a serious tone for about 15 minutes after one of the grandparents present took advantage of a momentary lull in conversation by asking aloud, “So, what did everybody think of Obama’s health care speech?” Most of the time, these invitations for debate are given a token comment or two before being dropped in favor of any other subject without political overtones. But this one struck a chord.
The grandparents of the group stuck together under the banner of “Don’t mess with my Medicare,” and also alluded repeatedly to the problem of illegal immigrants and how their presence further burdens the system. They were all against the perception that current proposals would amount to “getting rid of Medicare” in favor of a government health care plan option that would “compete” with private insurance.
The middle generation – consisting of both baby boomers and Gen-X family members – were split on opinions regarding reform proposals, whether or not they amount to “socialized medicine” and the immediate necessity for reform. All agreed there are significant inefficiencies in the current system.
While a trio of teen-agers were in on the conversation representing the younger generation, they mostly listened and contributed the occasional comment about specific health care situations they were familiar with – and a concern about how decisions being made now will affect their tax burden in the future.