My father commissioned as a U.S. Army officer the same month I was born, so I am literally a cradle (possibly to grave?) recipient of socialized healthcare, education, job placement, housing and food. I’m shocked that many conservatives, with their demonization of socialism and their allegiance to the military, don’t seem to connect the two.But then again, for nearly twenty years, I had no clue that other people didn’t live like me, or that my family enjoyed a protected status.
I’ve been married to someone who works for the military for a year, and I’ve been shocked at how many military personnel (and I’m talking officers, not even enlisted, who enjoy fewer privileges) will mention how grateful they are to be getting their obscure health problem treated for free by TriCare, then decry “Obamacare” in the same breath. Seriously, people? You’re not drawing any parallels, here?
When I was 17, I briefly dated a young enlisted man who offended me when he made a comment about how my parents couldn’t afford to have so many children (ten, to be exact, but that’s a whole “˜nother post) if they weren’t in the military. I initially took what he said as an insult against my parents or something, but it got the ol’ cognitive wheels turning. I had another awakening when I graduated college and was financially self-sufficient for the first time. I found a decent-paying job and was able to afford my own (teeny-tiny) apartment and a cell phone, so I was living large. Then I turned 21 and my TriCare coverage ran out. My parents urged me to get disaster coverage, but I shrugged it off.
It probably looks like I’m setting this post up to reveal that I was hit by a bus and am now in deep medical debt. Thankfully, nothing of that magnitude happened during the eight-month period I was without coverage. However, I had some nasty colds and a lingering UTI, didn’t go to the dentist, experienced a bunch of unpleasant side effects from hormonal birth control, and forwent seeing a counselor about depression. Obviously, I lived, and most of those issues resolved themselves.
Despite the minor nature of my ailments, I will never forget how trapped and desperate I felt during those eight months. Especially in regards to the depression, I felt entirely devoid of hope. Now I thank my lucky stars that I have TriCare, and I honestly, truly cannot understand why other people in my position (read: military personnel and spouses accepting “government handouts”) oppose the universal healthcare plan. There is the much-trumpeted issue of cost, but the non-partisan Congressional Budge Office determined universal healthcare will actually reduce the deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years.
Maybe I’m just a big, bleeding-heart socialist, but, above and beyond the financial benefits, I support universal healthcare because I think it’s the right thing for a developed nation to do. And, for a portion of the population, American is already doing it.