And I mean that in the broadest sense. But let's first go back to that poor deluded South Carolinian who shouted with perfect naivete'--"Keep your government hands off MY Medicare!" (At one of these ever more contentious Town Hall meetings) His feelings of contentment, complacency, and security about his health-care situation totally negated his ultra-right-wing proclivities. He took for granted the predictable efficiency of this 45-year-old, single-payer public program, caring little whence it came.
Three years ago he may have been one of those around the country shouting--"Hands off my Social Security!" But no, wrong target. Those protests were directed against Bush/Cheney and the Congressional Neo-Cons who were threatening to privatize Social Security. Bad mistake, they admitted after-the-fact. Among voters, that perceived danger to this 70-year-old, single-payer public program--along with The War, which was of more concern in those days than now, alas--helped bring about the Great Republican Downfall of 2006. They lost control of Congress and a lot of other things, inevitably including the White House three years later.
As a result, no politician with any sense of self-preservation at all will dare propose any sort of meddling with these two venerable institutions ever, ever again--in our lifetimes anyway. Yet in their time there was considerable opposition to both. Coming out of FDR's "New Deal," Social Security was declared "welfare-statism" (aka communism). And coming out of LBJ's "Great Society," Medicare was declared "socialized medicine"--as is the Public Option today by retro-wing-nuts.
I wish I'd said, "We're all born with a pre-existing condition: mortality," but Hendrik Hertzberg already did in the Aug. 3rd NewYorker. Great line--ironically excoriating the insurance industry's favorite scam. However, We the people of the United States, good tax-payers all, have established two time-tested single-payer ways, so far, of ameliorating the effects of human mortality. Social Security covers old age, and Medicare covers, um ... old age. Wait a minute. Isn't that discriminatory "age-ism"? I wish I were younger--I'd protest.