Let me finish tonight with the fight that’s going on here in Washington. You’re the ones who started it, after all, you the voter.
You know why we have a divided government? Because you elected one. The Democrats believe in government, the role it can play in providing a safety net for people - especially for health challenges, especially for older people.
Republicans tell us less is better in this department. It’s better for the government to get out of health care, including health care for older people.
There’s a hitch, of course, in that thinking. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know but older people have health problems. Health problems are what you deal with late in life. That’s what we used to call “a fact of life.” You get heart problems, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancers. Nobody wants this stuff but it happens. And we do our best to deal with it - thanks to some great doctors and nurses and hospitals and good equipment.
That’s what we do and, yes, it costs money. Nobody’s getting rich in this country betting that old people won’t get sick.
That, ladies and gentlemen who just joined this conversation, is why we have a safety net in this country, why we have Medicare, and, yes, Medicaid, especially for long-term care.
Everyone once in a while someone comes along - maybe it’s a gang that comes along - and forgets these facts of life and thinks we can short-change or even abolish programs like Medicare.
We’ll see. I know retired people like Medicare - and, guess what! - they think they deserve it after spending forty or fifty years busting hump to keep things going in this country.
So I’m not betting on anybody - or any party - that thinks they can win by busting up Medicare - and doing the same thing to the health care bill the President just spent a huge amount of his political capital bringing from promise to reality.
People get old. They get sick. They believe in this country, and they don’t want politicians out there - men and women who have good health insurance from the government – killing it for them.
But I’m not telling you something you don’t know.