Welfare for the rich? Shame on us

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Posted 6/27/17 (Tue)

By John M. Andrist

Make no mistake about it: For those who can afford it, Americans have access to the most advanced medical care the world has ever known.
The only problem is that it is simply too costly for all Americans to have access.
What Congress is dealing with is deciding who will be the winners and losers. They might wish they could give it to everybody, but they can’t.
That said, I’m confessing I have some measure of guilt. I’m not only on the winning side, but I’m an old guy -- one of those who hogs more than my share of benefits.
Some of my contemporaries have the idea that they have paid for it.
If they are north of 80, they are dead wrong.
We get so much entitlement that we have a tendency to not realize it is a gift, not something that is owed to us.
My little secret is I am supposed to be dead. Gone because of a congenital issue that has surprised two Mayo Clinic cardiologists every time they see me. 
But here I am, using up the wonderful health care dollars that might otherwise provide better care to others.
Not only that, but I’m one of the big liabilities that threatens our Social Security system -- using up benefits for the last 25 years.
Why? Because it’s free.  Who doesn’t accept gifts and take free stuff, just because he doesn’t need or deserve it?
Congress could change it. But they won’t. Old folks always vote.
But that’s just part of the reason medical care must be out of reach for some of us, because of the cost.
Most Americans will accept any entitlement offered to them. And Congress is so much more adept at spending it than they are at managing it responsibly.
I’m not sure, but I think the only time in my four score and six that we were not outspending revenue was in the Clinton years.
I can only imagine how much more we could do for the needy if we wiped out entitlements to me and Donald Trump, and scaled back part of the much larger beneficence that goes to middle-class folks.
One thing they are now fighting about is Medicaid assistance to the poor and the aged.
We let old people dispose of real assets, mostly gifting it to children, so the government can pay our nursing home bills. 
Once upon a time, we believed in families taking care of parents and grandparents instead of heisting their accumulations so the government will take care of them.
How many of us believe we are entitled to any wealth our parents accumulated? And how many old people believe what they have is owed to their children? Hey, there is that “entitlement” word again.
I have friends living in nice homes who also have a second place in Arizona and a third on the shores of a Minnesota lake. Some of them have mothers in a nursing home thanks to Medicaid.
I’m not even gong to suggest that they could live without Social Security and Medicare.
I don’t fault them. I just don’t understand the priorities of a government unable to pay bills and stop growing our national debt.
Meanwhile, the rest of you must hope you can be a health care winner, and not one of the losers.
But make no mistake: There isn’t enough for all of us. “Obamacare” has already taught us that much.