Facebook lets you stay in touch with people you knew in high school, for better or worse. As a South Georgia refugee, it’s handy most of the time.
Someone I have known forever recently went on a Facebook bender complaining in great detail about Medicare’s inadequacies. While the post garnered support, most of the people complaining about government programs ignored the fact without Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, federal crop price supports and federal crop insurance, South Georgia’s economy would resemble Zimbabwe’s.
Too often, many default to a negative view of government programs. Since the 1980s Americans have been fed a steady diet of examples showing government inefficiency. Few even realize Medicare’s overhead is miniscule compared with the for-profit health insurance industry.
My friend spent decades teaching school. Unless you take an administration track, education has modest income potential, but the fringe benefits are immeasurable. If we choose to pay teachers paltry salaries the least we can do is provide generous health insurance. Our tax bill covers education in two states and I have no complaints nor do I have any children or grandchildren in either state. Suck it up snowflake, someone without kids paid for your education too, “E Pluribus Unum.”
I sympathize with my friend. Moving from a large government employer, like a school district, to Medicare, the insurance degree of difficulty increases … a little. Being a good wife, she was doing all the hard work for her Medicare-eligible husband, but she has no clue the complexities (and expense) of individual health insurance. Medicare ignores pre-existing conditions; people with diabetes pay the same Medicare Part B premium as people without diabetes.
While I am on a roll, Medicare supports Florida real estate prices. Without guaranteed medical insurance the demand for condominiums, lots, second homes and vacations would drop. Florida Realtors benefit from Medicare, end of story.
Recently, much-maligned "Morning Joe" co-host, Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from our District, went on an anti-entitlement rant. Per Joe, Medicare is a middle-class entitlement and to him nothing is worse than an entitlement. In my business, I have seen many wealthy people and Medicare is crucial for them as well. Ron Lieber had a gut-wrenching story (July 7, New York Times) about a woman who retired decades ago with the equivalent in 2017 dollars of slightly less than $1 million. Years of medical expenses exhausted her savings, but one reason her nest egg lasted as long as it did was Medicare, and she was rich.
Medicare is a critical part of American’s social safety net and we all benefit from it. For Medicare complainers, John Prine’s words come to mind, “Stop looking for bad luck and knocking on wood. Signed, Dear Abby.”
You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP can help figure out what you need. For specific recommendations, visit livingstonfinancial.net or come by the office in Redfish Village, 2050 Scenic 30A, M-1 Suite 230.