Health Care and Young People

Topics: Health care, Health insurance, Health Pages: 1 (336 words) Published: February 19, 2014

Health care is a basic human right. The idea that healthy young people shouldn't have to pay as much for insurance is rooted in the notion that people should pay the cost of treatment when they get sick or old or injured. Insurance is just a way of separating people into groups of similar risk; it's still basically charging people the cost of treating their ailments. We're all in this world together with all its diseases and afflictions. We should bear the cost collectively, making allowances for income and ability to pay of course. The key is that not everyone uses their health insurance at the same time, or with the same frequency. Sick people use it more than healthy people. The elderly use it more than the young. Women use it more than men. The trick to making any health-insurance system work is to attract enough healthy and young people into the insurance pool. Their low costs offset the care provided to elderly and unhealthy people, who drive costs up. This is the task that obsesses the Obama administration. It’s also the task that has begun to obsess its opponents.

Those young, healthy rich people will need a functional system in the future when they become older, sicker or poorer. So even for those least in need, health-insurance premiums are an investment not in someone else’s future, but in their own. Only a cramped and narrow view of self-interest assumes that the status quo lasts forever. When it comes to health, change is inevitable. The only question is whether you’ll have insurance when it comes. For a lot of young people, it's a great deal because they get large subsidies, or because they're already sick and locked out of the system. But for the remainder, it's worth remembering that being young, healthy, and rich now doesn't mean you won't be old, sick, and poorer later and if and when that time comes, you'll need a health-care system willing to accept you.
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