Those who condemn socialized medicine expect to get socialized nursing home care

nursing home resident

While driving I listen to the local news station. Several times each hour there are commercials for financial services designed to protect the assets of “you or your loved one” should nursing home care be necessary. The advertisements mention the extraordinarily high cost of nursing care, and raise the specter that your money or your future inheritance might (gasp!) be used to pay for it. The planners offer guaranteed ways to protect (i.e. hide) your assets so “you or your loved one” can enter a nursing home, but still keep the money.

As one such service explains:

The Process of Nursing Home Planning is the formulation of a plan that provides for a loved one’s nursing home care while preserving their assets for either their spouse’s use or their beneficiaries’ inheritance.

Evidently, we believe in socialized nursing home care.

We believe that nursing home care for the elderly should be free and the government should pay for it. Not just free for those who cannot afford to pay, but free for those who can afford to pay. And not just free, but unlimited in both price and duration. How is that to be accomplished? Why the government will pay, of course.

According to CDC data, the government already does pay. Close to two thirds of elderly nursing home residents are supported by Medicare and Medicaid.

This curious notion rests on several assumptions. We apparently assume that nursing home care for the elderly is a right. We know it is extraordinarily expensive so we assume that no one can or should pay for it out of pocket. And finally, we assume that the taxpayer should foot the bill.

Wait! That reminds me of something. Ahhh, yes, the dreaded “socialized” medicine.

Many Americans cannot abide the idea of a health care system predicated on the notions that healthcare is a right; that it is extraordinarily expensive so no one can or should pay for it out of pocket; and the bill should be sent to the taxpayer. Yet they expect that the care of the dependent elderly should be fully socialized.

It’s ironic that in attempting to craft a more equitable healthcare system and one that holds down costs, the most socialized and one of the most expensive aspects of medical care is entirely off the table. No one even dares to question the astronomical government expenditures on nursing home care or the fact that the system is essentially socialized.

The elderly are not more deserving than the rest of us. If they are entitled to healthcare than everyone is entitled to healthcare. In fact, as a justice issue, those who have not yet grown old are more entitled to the healthcare that will allow them to grow old than the elderly are entitled to the healthcare that allows them to grow older.

To those who oppose “socialized” medicine, consider: If your mother is entitled to socialized care, why aren’t your grandchildren deserving of the same benefit?

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