My friend posted this crazy editorial on Facebook. Here’s the first line, “Joining the military has its perks, but the value of those benefits is at risk.”
You should read the whole thing, but if you don’t feel like it, here’s the gist: Christie Vanover (USAG Benelux) is saying that if people want free health care, they should join the military. They can have all the free health care they want in return for serving their country. And if health care is going to be available to everyone now, then soldiers will need something more to make their sacrifice worthwhile.
I tried writing a response, but I went on and on, and Facebook’s comments only have so much space. So here’s my rebuttal this ill-formed opinion.
I’m not sure I’m down with the logic that anything is at risk, except a common recruiting tool. As a former service member and dependent, I can certainly agree that the medical coverage was the best of the benefits. However, I don’t think that the plan to include a public option would mean “free”…so far, the term used by the Obama administration has been “affordable”, and I certainly don’t think it has ANY bearing on whether or not service members are justly compensated for their service. There are clear bullet points of what the health care reform plan will and won’t do here.
This commentary (which I believe really has no place on the US Army’s official site) really muddies the water. Let’s not start pitting people who can’t afford health care against soldiers.
I can see how an affordable option for health care for everyone would scare recruiters…I would wager a lot of people join just for the health care. Just like people join just for the college money. Or just for the bonus. Or whatever.
But this is really an apples and oranges kind of situation. Making health care affordable for everyone can only add to the well-being and prosperity of this country. To say that making health care coverage available for people who have none somehow diminishes the excellent health care system the military currently offers, or that the military now needs something additional to make their service worthwhile is nonsensical.
The majority of enlisted soldiers come from lower and lower middle class families. Do you think they want to keep their extended families from getting healthcare coverage? I seriously doubt it.
I think people join the military for a million different reasons – because a parent or sibling or grandparent served, because of 9/11, because they want the GI Bill, because they hate their town and want out, because they want to see the world, because they think they need structure, because they LOVE THIS COUNTRY or because they have no other options. Whatever the reason, CHOOSING to serve is awesome. For me, wearing that uniform with pride was so important. I can’t really express how proud I felt when my dad called me his “little soldier”, or knowing that I was the first female in my family to serve, with ancestors serving in the military in every generation back to the Revolutionary War. None of that would be lessened if there was affordable health care available to all Americans. None of it. It would all still be there. Wearing the uniform, making the sacrifices, serving my country would still be just as worthwhile.
Let’s not muddy the waters.