Good morning, fellow mortals!
At this pivotal moment in American policymaking, I’m here to remind you of our individual and collective doom. Wellness, like youth, is temporary. In the end, you either get sick, then die—or you die before you can get sick in the first place. It bears repeating, apparently, at a time when the health-care debate in the United States has become so partisan as to imply the population of sick people and well people is just as cleanly divided as Americans are politically split. But this isn’t the case.
You can’t choose to be healthy or ill the way you can choose to be a Republican or a Democrat. You can’t choose for your babies not to be born with medical problems.
You can do everything right to stay in good health. You can be one of “those people who lead good lives,” as the Alabama Republican Representative Mo Brooks put it in a television interview, explaining why healthy people should get to pay less for insurance than sick people. And you’re still likely to find yourself facing unexpected medical costs at one point or another.
If you’re lucky, it won’t be catastrophic. But eventually, everyone’s luck runs out.
On top of the massive bills that can result from unexpected injuries or illnesses, each of us who continues to get older every moment of every day is marching inexorably toward needing more (and more expensive) health care as we age. More than 60 percent of all nursing home residents rely on some Medicaid funding, for example.