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Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Whose Fault?
Who Pays?

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

This morning brought the news that health care spending in this country will equal nearly 20% of our national gross domestic product by the year 2017. This means that nearly one fifth of our entire economy will go towards medical and health related spending in that year. Our health care cost by 2017 should reach approximately 4.3 trillion dollars per year. A number that is double what we spent in the year 2007.

This increase is partly due to the number of baby boomers who will be eligible for Medicare in a few short years.

OK, so whatís the big deal?

Well, Iíll tell you. Iím not concerned about those who are supposed to be on Medicare (I am) what concerns me are those who arenít (In my opinion) supposed to be on the government dole.

Take a news report just last night. ABC news reported that several women were suing different medical practices around the country for certain medical operations they had undergone.

Whatís wrong with this, you might ask?

Well, their law suits (against the doctors and hospitals) are the result of surgery and treatments they were subjected to without their knowledge.

Without their knowledge? How is this possible?

Well, it seems these ladies cannot read so when they went to their doctorsí offices they signed whatever forms they were given but were too embarrassed to admit that they were illiterate and did not understand any part of what they were agreeing to have done. Now they feel that they have somehow been Ďvictimizedí and want the courts to restore them for the pain, suffering and emotional distress they have suffered.

Give me a break.

Didnít these women have a mouth? Couldnít they speak up and ask the doctor to explain what they were signing and agreeing to have done?

Iím certain some sympathetic judge and jury will award these women millions and millions with the thought in mind that Ďmalpractice insuranceí will cover the loss.

Guess what happens next?

The doctors insurance premiums will rise and so will his or her fees to their next generation of patients to compensate for their increased insurance cost. So who pays for the actions of people who are too embarrassed to admit they canít read?

You and me, thatís who.

Next case. Just heard about a young woman, who was on several different prescription drugs and goes to a bar. Leaves the bar headed for home when she gets into a horrible traffic accident.

Her fault.

She is going to be in therapy for years to come and it might be years after that before she can return to work. Her medical bills are in the hundreds of thousands.

Her parents tell me that one of the hardest things they had to do was to sign her up with Social Security for disability payments. The forms were long and detailed.

Iím asking why she is eligible for any type of social security in the first place.

They look at me in the same way a calf looks at a new gate.

ďBecause she doesnít have any income.Ē

I understand that, but why is it the responsibility of the government to dispense a check to her for years to come because of something stupid she did in the first place?

So, now I get the news that if you are on drugs or drunk and get into an accident and as a result cannot work, then that makes you eligible for governmental assistance for many years into the future.

How nice.

All of us who work and pay taxes should be proud. We are the life line to those other unfortunate people who are either too stupid or too irresponsible to accept responsibility for their actions.

Do all the drugs and drink you want, the government will take care of you.

Ignore the fact that you are an adult and canít read, just fake it and then when you sign a document that you donít understand or didnít ask what it was about, then you sue those that people.

Itís their faultÖ.

No, itís your fault. We have programs in this country to help people who are on drugs or alcohol. We have literacy programs to help people who cannot read.

Iím sorry you didnít get a chance to read or that circumstances might have prevented you from going to school, but donít blame others for your own shortcomings. There is help for you out here; you need to ask for it.

Iím sorry you were injured and may have to be out of work for some period of time, but how is this my responsibility? I didnít force you to take drugs or drink and drive, why should my tax dollars go towards your continued support?

Perhaps I am too harsh and not showing any compassion, but at some point in time, if projections are correct, we will run out of money to pay for all of the multitude of programs and entitlements we have or are about to establish.

Then we will all be in the same boat, wonít we?

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America

February 28, 2008 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to pperry@austin.rr.com

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