Wednesday, December 07, 2011

House Over Health = ...Hero?

(HT: Josh Yuter)

A lady named Spike Ward penned an op-ed yesterday in the LA Times discussing how she was formerly against ObamaCare, but now that she has cancer, she has changed her mind. In her words:
The time finally came when we had to make a choice between paying our mortgage or paying for health insurance. We chose to keep our house. We made a nerve-racking gamble, and we lost.
Now, she has discovered that ObamaCare has a provision which allows her to get insurance, and this may now help save her life.

From the comments on her op-ed and on Facebook, etc., it seems as if many people are hailing this as a proof that ObamaCare is wonderful. While certainly it is wonderful for Mrs. Ward that she can now be treated without going broke, isn't this absurd? Mr. and Mrs. Ward made a conscious decision to choose their house over their health insurance, and contrary to her statement that "We chose to keep our house. We made a nerve-racking gamble, and we lost", they in fact won: They got to keep their house, and their health insurance tab is now being picked up by the rest of the country (somewhat indirectly, as she is paying premiums, but that is not the point).

Contrast that with the decisions made by millions of people each day who consciously choose to keep their health insurance intact and sacrifice in other ways: Nobody is picking up the tab for their foreclosed (or sold at a loss) homes or their cars. They don't get to keep everything they had and then have the rest of the country cover anything they can't afford anymore. It is a horrible testament to this country that someone's irresponsible and selfish "gamble" is being guaranteed by the federal government* and that that burden is being carried by people who made responsible decisions.

* Note that this is no different than the bank bailouts in that sense, except that at least the argument there was (however much I may disagree) that despite their irresponsibility, a bailout was necessary to avoid others being hurt as well. Here, the only beneficiary is Mrs. Ward and her family, who get to keep their house and have her healthcare paid for by everyone else.