Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.
The email said volunteers were needed to help usher at the April 4 Parks and Rec Department's dance recital. Since I was going, thanks to a 5-year-old blossoming hoofer granddaughter, I could help out at the same time. So I said yes.
The dancers were adorable, but the conversation with one of the other ushers was confounding. The nine of us who had volunteered -- turns out by volunteering for the recital, I had actually signed on as a member of the team of regulars who help out on an ongoing basis at Performing Arts Center events -- chatted for a bit before the curtain went up Saturday evening. One fellow usher talked about her knee-replacement surgery of nearly eight months ago, which included 13 days of inpatient rehabilitation. Takes about a year, she said, before her knee would be completely recovered.
Then, for some reason, she moved on to universal health care, saying she was really opposed to "international healthcare." Socialism! I disagreed. Although citizens of countries that have universal healthcare pay higher taxes to cover the costs, everyone was covered. Plus the difference in taxes they pay is less than what Americans pay for their privatized coverage, either directly or indirectly, and 50 million of us have no coverage. Well, she said the care in "those countries" was terrible. Not from what I understand, I said, and related situations I knew about of Americans who had medical emergencies when they were either living in or visiting European countries, and the care they received at no cost to them.
Then it was time to get to work and I kept the rest to myself. I'll share it here, though.
No question the woman was over 65 years old and under Medicare. Who, I wanted to ask her, did she think paid for her knee-surgery and 13 days in the rehab facility? Most certainly it didn't come out of her pocket. Medicare is no less socialistic than England's or France's system, except it's limited to people like her. In fact, all healthcare coverage in the United States is based on a socialistic model. While an insurance company might pay the costs of a surgery -- minus deductbles, co-pays and before caps kick in -- the premiums of those who don't have major or high-cost medical conditions and events help pay for those who do.