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Commentary: Government promises subsidized health care to attorneys

Yesterday, I discovered that I am no longer young.

Yes, I know, those of you in the Milwaukee Young Lawyers’ Association or the Milwaukee Conservative Young Professionals, or other organizations like that, could have informed me of this fact long ago.

But I didn’t realize it until yesterday. Two things triggered the discovery.

First, I was talking to a young woman who also happened to be a big Chicago Bears fan, when I discovered that she wasn’t even born yet when the Bears won the Super Bowl in 1986.

For whatever reason, it had never occurred to me until that moment that there are people in this world who simply didn’t even exist on the greatest day of my life. Oh well, call me self-absorbed; I’ve been called worse.

The second thing that happened was that Governor Doyle announced an emergency rule for the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, forcing insurers to allow their insureds to include their adult children on their health insurance policies until they are 27.

At first, it just struck me as officious and regressive meddling with the market that would force lower-income families to forego any insurance for the benefit of wealthier families.

Obviously, the emergency rule will raise the price of family coverage policies. So for every upper-middle-class 26-year-old who gets to ride on his parents’ insurance pursuant to the rule, X number of children under the 18 will lose their insurance because their parents can’t afford the increase.

I’m no economist, so I don’t know whether X equal 3 children, or 0.3, but it’s definitely not zero.

After my initial disgust with the government faded, though, I started sorting through the cobwebs of my ancient mind and doing some calculations. Let’s see… I graduated from high school at 17; then college at 21; and then law school at 24. And 24 is a lower number than 27.

It hit me then that this rule doesn’t simply force poor young children to go without health insurance for the benefit of adults; it infantilizes my fellow members of the bar.

Way back in the olden days, when I was only 26 years old, the state didn’t think twice about permitting me, and even appointing me, to represent defendants who were looking at spending the rest of their lives in prison. Clients didn’t think twice about entrusting me to handle hundreds of thousands of dollars that belonged to them.

Apparently though, these young lawyers today are such irresponsible children that an “emergency rule” is required to force their parents’ insurers to pay for their annual checkups.

I don’t know how I never realized this. The young woman I met last night seemed like a very competent adult to me. Since she’s still an undergrad, I assume she is covered by her parents’ insurance. But I also assume that, if she were not in school (or when she graduates in a couple years), she would be competent to pay for her own health care.

And whenever I’ve been socializing with the young attorneys from MYLA and MCYP, they’ve always struck me as very accomplished and responsible people.

But apparently, I’m just a stupid old fool who no longer remembers what it’s like to be a poor helpless attorney of only 26 years of age and in need of government coddling.

I’m so glad the politicians are so much wiser than me.

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