Other People’s Insurance

While perusing through some old newspapers, I came across an article by a stepfather about how his stepson was in a horrific motorcycle accident and how the young man was found clinging to life in a Santa Barbara hillside. The stepfather goes on to state how the horrifying boy’s injuries were and worst of all, the young man had no insurance and that the families were thrown into a nightmare of medi-care bureaucracy. The article goes on to say how many Americans, especially young people, are without healthcare. How it is a national problem, especially in a town where it is so very expensive to live and how we, as a nation, should shoulder the responsibly as a community.

Well, this child is not mine. I pay for health insurance for my children. I am happy to do so, since I chose to have these children, and as their parent I am responsible for their care. Especially, when the kids are young and irresponsible as to ride motorcycles without the benefit of health care knowing full well at the tender age of 21, this is when our children are less than careful.

In the stepfather’s argument, the “attitude of indifference towards the young and less fortunate that permeates our society; it will not keep young men from riding fast motorcycles or living life near the edge.” No, it will not. But as parents of these young men, it is our responsibility to protect and give our child the wisdom of our years. We all know that riding a motorcycle is as dangerous as one can get and there is a reason emergency nurses call motorcycle riders “donor wannabes”.

If the young man did not have the money, surely his mother and stepfather could have afforded such a stipend for the young man. The article, titled “The long ride home,” by Otto Layman in the now defunct Goleta Valley Voice, states that Prudential California Realty was gracious enough to host a luncheon, “Dining For Douglas” to help with the enormous medical costs. What the article fails to mention is that Douglas’s mother, Mary Layman, is one of the top real estate agents for Prudential Realty serving the greater Santa Barbara Area. Surely, this very prominent couple could afford to cover their son’s insurance for a few months while Douglas was waiting for his health coverage.

In fact, even in as an “expensive” area as Santa Barbara, the young man could have been insured for as little as $85.00 per month. To quote my insurance agent, for age 21/Santa Barbara area, a $3500 Deductible PPO with Anthem would be $85 per month. First $3500 of eligible medical expenses is applied to the deductible. After that, most eligible care is covered at 100 percent.

As an argument, one would assume that as soon as the child reaches the tender age of 18, we, as taxpayers should cover the cost of this young adults’ insurance whether or not the parents could afford the insurance. However, in this case, we can all assume that his mother and stepfather could very well afford this young man’s health insurance.

Is this not the ultimate insult to us as a taxpaying community? Why should we, as taxpayers, be forced to cover this young adult’s expenses?

The question begs to be asked: When do our responsibilities as a parent end and we allow the young adult to fend for his or her self? For my husband and I, the answer is when our children are able to stand on their own. The young man was a responsible young man with a job with health insurance that would kick-in in a few short months. Should we not expect that parents help out their children when they are trying and succeeding?

I found this very intriguing in the light of our national debate of health care. Am I going to be asking to cover young people whose parents have opted to stop supporting them?

My husband and I were raised by family members that lived through the Great Depression. They impressed on us that you are responsible for yourself and your family. Are we turning into a society that turns to the government for help when we no longer feel the inclination to take care of our own even when we are financially capable to? This can be said for the aging population as well as teenagers having babies they cannot, by any means, afford to take care of.

As we continue on this national debate, where is the line drawn? And how high will all our taxes go? I prefer to teach my children self reliance and protection of family.

On the passing of the national health care reform I am reminded of what my

Great Uncle Bill said about Social Security, that it was the greatest achievement of his lifetime. Asked why, he said “because people don’t always take care of their own.”

My husband and I wish Doug Cicleo the very best and we are saddened by the fact that at this young age, he will be saddled with this debt for many years to come.—Mr. and Mrs. Douglas W. Jacoby, San Jose, California


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