This letter to the editor was printed in today’s Kansas City Star:
I recently have had two separate conversations with self-proclaimed tea partiers. They each admitted that they do not have health insurance and they refuse to buy it under any government mandate. They told me that when they or their family members get sick, they go to the doctor or hospital and “wheel and deal” with the service providers to get breaks on the costs.
They think this is saving the country money. What they do not realize is that the portion they don’t pay gets thrown back at the rest of us in higher insurance premiums and health care costs.
In so many words, they said that their method of “personal responsibility” would save the country money. The fallacy in this form of logic is clear: Even responsible people get sick. Even responsible people get hit by drunken drivers.
When that dreaded serious medical condition comes for them, how will they pay for it? They won’t. The rest of us will. This is not the solution. This is the problem.
First, I’d like to congratulate and thank Ms. Edwards. Instead of ignoring tea partiers and calling them names, she’s having civil conversations with them. That’s a big step.
Now, my responses to her letter:
“They think this is saving the country money. What they do not realize is that the portion they don’t pay gets thrown back at the rest of us in higher insurance premiums and health care costs.”
I disagree. How is it that a tea partier bargaining for health care services is any different than an insurance company doing the same? I think Ms. Edwards is confusing tea partiers that receive health care and pay with those who receive health care and do not pay. The former does not increase our overall health costs. The latter does.
“The fallacy in this form of logic is clear: Even responsible people get sick. Even responsible people get hit by drunken drivers.”
It is not evident that Ms. Edwards asked the tea partiers what they would do if stricken with illness or injury that would have medical bills they could not afford. Her letter reads as if she assumes they are not prepared for a such an event, but it is not clearly established whether that assumption is true or not.
If it is true that they were not financially prepared for such an event, then these people are not exhibiting the personal responsibility.