Tuesday, March 10, 2009

On Being Single

It sucks!

Oh, I know you are going to assume this is some endless bitching about not being able to find someone. You are wrong. I actually like living alone.

No, being single sucks because the world revolves around couples and does not see the challenges single people have. And now that we live in a nation that assumes two income families, it really sucks.

Why? Because my mortgage is not half of yours. My grocery shopping takes just as long, and I don't get a discount on a gallon of milk. Cleaning my house takes twice as long as when two people do it. I don't get to pass off cooking dinner (no, I don't just eat carry out or fast food all the time). I pay more taxes than you do for the same amount of money. When I finish mowing my lawn, I still have to do all the indoor work. I can't even bitch about the partner who isn't doing their share of the work.

And then of course there is the church. You know, that institution that really does not know what to do with single people (despite being headed by one!). Or young people. Or seniors. Or children. Wait! Who exactly does the church serve well? Oh, I suppose that's another column.

Show up somewhere without a partner and you completely throw off the plans for the evening. Go out to eat and you get stuck at the table by the kitchen or stared at by half the room.

So what actually started this rant? Yesterday, I heard a presentation about high deductible insurance programs with attached health savings accounts. The idea is that your employer pays money into the HSA with couples/families getting more money than singles because they will (presumably) have to pay more out. I'm fine with that. I think everyone should have access to health care, and sadly, in this country, that means insurance.

The problem comes with money that might accumulate if you are healthy. If you get to age 65 with money left over in your HSA, you get to spend it. Any way you like. On your boat or Fiji vacation. Now, put aside the notion of rewarding people for things that may not be in their control (which is still most of our health concerns). What this has the potential to mean is that the married employee can accumulate much more money than the single employee does. Put another way, married employees (potentially) get paid more than single employees for the same job.

Fortunately, at this time this does not look beneficial for my neck of the woods. Our current insurance plan is actually a bit cheaper. Thank God.

Someone will probably quote the workers in the vineyard to me. I don't think that's relevant because the real issue here is that our screwed up health care system just got even more screwy with this new idea.

If the word socialism wasn't brought up every time anyone speaks of needing a fundamental shift in the way we provide (or don't provide) health care in the country, we might actually be able to do it and stop paying twice as much as the rest of the world without the best results. So maybe that's what I'm really pissed off about.

We keep propping up an fundamentally unfair health care system out of fear of things that the New Testament actually commends to us (i.e. pooling our resources for the good of those who have need.) We're so sure it could only be horrible, and you hear stories of how bad it is in some countries. Funny how there are plenty of other countries with national health care that never get mentioned in those tirades. You know why? Because people generally like their health care in those countries (try most of Scandinavia, for example).

Yes, I know how families with children can say various systems discriminate against them in many ways. There are plenty of voices out there making that clear. And I like kids, so don't think this has anything to do with them. It took adults to create the various inequities we have developed in our culture.

But say a prayer for all those single people out there. And please don't pray that our lonely existence will be ended. Plenty of us are not feeling lonely. Pray that we don't lose our jobs because we don't have a second income to fall back on when times get tight. When that happens, our health insurance, if we have it, will disappear with the job, and let's face it: bad health care is better than no health insurance.

No comments: