Dave McElhinny: Having healthcare can be bittersweet

Sunday, June 16, 2019 | 12:01 AM


I don’t know about you, but I think “prejudiced people are all alike.”

This is what’s known as an oxymoron, a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear together. I used to think oxymoron was a term to describe a dumb person who has acne. When I mentioned that in language arts class in middle school, my friends were quick to point out that I had just described myself. Then, at the teacher’s urging, I took my place in the hall while the other students learned.

But upon closer examination, I discovered that the oxymoron, which has no business in a logical language, has infiltrated our culture at every level.

Did you know you actually can make a career out of an oxymoron by studying “criminal justice,” teaching “modern history” or by being a “paid volunteer?”

Huge chunks of our country’s history are rooted in the oxymoron, such as “The Great Depression” and “Civil War.”

The cinema embodies this phenomenon with titles like: “Night of the Living Dead,” “Back to the Future,” “Definitely, Maybe,” “Eyes Wide Shut,” “Little Giants” and “Never Say Never Again.”

Well, you get the point. Our language, like our culture, often is a contradiction. And we don’t bat an eye at it. When I told our insurance agent that I was “clearly confused” about the “death benefits” offered, she told me it could amount to a “small fortune.”

Suddenly, I understood.

But one area where the oxymoron falls flat for working class Americans is the term “affordable health care.”

I’d wage “even odds” that few people in that demographic understand that term.

Rising health care costs, high premiums, escalating copays and a dizzying array of limitations with medical plans have financially strapped Americans looking for solutions, like waiting months to get something looked at because of the copay or taking half of the medication your doctor prescribes because the medicine is just too expensive. How many of us have insurance, but still put off getting something taken care of because of a terrifyingly high deductible?

So is “affordable health care” an oxymoron? Ask any hardworking middle class American for their opinion on this.

With breakthrough technology, better treatments and cutting-edge medication available, people can be healthier than ever before, but the cost for working Americans, which is at an all-time high, sometimes inhibits taking advantage of all the progress in the world of medicine.

When it comes to health care, we live in the “best of times and the worst of times.” But that’s just my “unbiased opinion.”