August 31, 2012
Why Charity Isn’t Enough
“I’ve been knockin’ on the door that holds the throne
During this political season, we are hearing a lot about how big government should or shouldn’t be, and its appropriate role in our individual lives. For those most vulnerable among us, including the poor, the disabled and the frail elderly, the real question is: will the government be there for me when I need it the most?
As important as private charity donations are, the simple fact is that even when donors are generous as they often are in the Jewish community and other faith-based groups, the collective efforts of all that fundraising can’t come close to the real costs of taking care of people in need, especially so if there are long-term needs. According to the International Federation of Health Plans, the average cost per hospital stay in the United States was $15,734—would your synagogue or church want to foot that bill for every congregate who didn’t have health insurance or Medicare/Medicaid?
And those numbers are chicken feed when we start looking at long-term care.
A lot of disability advocates are very worried about the Ryan (and now Romney) proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher system. Although Medicare is widely known as health insurance for those over age 65, federal law was changed in 1972 to include those with permanent disabilities. As David Lazarus reported in the LA Times last week on how the Ryan plan would work:
“People under 55 would receive a federal subsidy — a voucher — to buy health insurance once they reach the eligibility age, which Ryan would raise to 67.
The bottom line is that we are facing a potential situation of a lot less care for those who need it the most.