Americas are the most generous people on earth. We donate time and money to folks needing a helping hand and support charities working on their behalf. But some government programs are changing the way we give. For instance, “Cash for Clunkers” has reduced the number of vehicles received by organizations using cars as a means to generate money for worthwhile causes. Could establishment of a single-pay health care plan wipe out some of the country’s long-standing and beloved charities?
If we evolve into a single-source system, Christmas and Easter seals, the March of Dimes and various cancer related causes are potential casualties. Then there’s diabetes, sickle cell disease, and the fight against crippling afflictions funded by the Jerry Lewis Telethon. If everyone is on the same health care plan would these efforts be necessary? The government will fund research and treatment for all our medical needs. Right?
How about the hospitals funded and administered by special interest groups such as the Shriners Hospitals for Children, church hospitals of all religions, and other care providers that depend on private contributions such as Saint Jude’s, City of Hope and many more around the country. If we’re all under one plan, won’t we eventually have a nationwide hospital network overseen by the government’s health care czar and his/her team? That means no fund raising efforts will be required to run these institutions.
With limits being placed on charitable giving and taxes rising for the wealthiest among us, contributions will most likely be declining anyway. And for the rest of us, our disposal incomes will be shrinking for years to come as hidden taxes and inflation take their toll. For the increasing numbers of unemployed, working poor and folks on fixed incomes (like pre-boomers and older seniors), charity must begin at home.
If everyone has health insurance and medical care, individual problems will no longer be related through gut-wrenching stories that soften our hearts, and cause us to reach for our checkbooks to help the less fortunate. Instead, we will be multi-digit numbers in a health system administered under the watchful eye of the government through a universal plan that supposedly provides equal treatment for all.
Could this really happen in America? I pray not. It’s time to stop shouting at Town Hall meetings and complaining among friends and family. We pre-boomers need to say to our congressional representatives, “Stop the politics and come up with a bi-partisan plan that addresses those citizens who are uninsured, have pre-existing conditions, are out of work, need to transfer coverage to another state, or have special medical needs. Tackle these and report back to us with the results before attempting to dismantle a health care system that 85 percent of us are satisfied with. And next time, please listen rather than trying to sell us. Thank you.”
Don Potter, a Philadelphia native, was born in 1936 and is a 50 year veteran of the advertising agency business. Now living in Los Angeles, he has written two novels in retirement, frequently writes on marketing issues, and has a blog dedicated to pre-boomers (those born between 1930 and 1945).
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