Thursday, December 17, 2009

OPINION: There Are No Guarantees

The Right Emphasis
By Doug May

I received another notice in the mail reminding me that my automobile warranty had expired, but that I was eligible to purchase an extended warranty to guarantee that I would be able to handle any major repairs that might happen in the future. That is a very tempting offer because, like many others, I want to be sure that I can handle every situation that might arise.
It is the desire for certainty, which is common to all of us, that fuels the insurance industry and motivates politicians to make promises. Workers are looking for job security and a guaranteed annual wage.
It is this desire for certainty that motivated a woman, writing to the editor of the Albuquerque Journal this past week, to argue for a single payer government health care program. She wrote, “I would give every last dime I had if it meant that my family would forever have access to affordable health care so that they wouldn’t have to either be bankrupt or die because they can’t afford coverage.” If a 100 million people gave their last dimes, the government still couldn’t guarantee it. If we are looking to the government for our certainty, we are looking in the wrong direction.
Human promises, especially by those running for public office, are alluring and we would like to believe them, but experience and common sense tells us, “Don’t count on it.”
The reality is that there will always be uncertainties. Five years ago, who would have guessed that General Electric would close its jet engine plant in Albuquerque, leaving many out of work? There are no guarantees that there won’t be problems in the future. Rather than hoping that someone else will take care of us, we should take steps to reduce the possibility that misfortune will ruin us. The important word is WE.
Each of us will face days of testing in the future. We don’t know what kind of testing or when they will come, but we should prepare. Take care of your health. Look for opportunities to improve your skills and learn new ones. Continue learning; choose good teachers and role models. Make many good friends. There is an old proverb that says, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them’."
We can learn much from the experience of other people. Note how those people, who have been knocked down by some disaster, get back on their feet again. What kind of reserves did they have to help them recover?
In our later years, there will be some help from government agencies, but it won’t be nearly enough to take care of everything. The average yearly supplemental medical cost for those on Medicare now is $4,400.
After Medicare pays the bill, each senior pays another $4,400 per year for medical expenses. An OP-ED article in the Sunday Albuquerque Journal states, “On Jan. 1, 2010, Medicare will implement a broad-reaching set of reimbursements cuts for physicians, nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants across the country.” This is part of the new proposed health care reform. It would reduce physician payments by 21.5 percent. Not all doctors now accept Medicare and this might cause many more not to accept Medicare.
Don’t forget to save for the rainy day.
I didn’t accept the offer for the extended warranty on my car, but in my heart, I thanked them for the reminder and I put a little more in to savings.

Doug May is a retired Lutheran pastor and his views do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

No comments:

Post a Comment