At age 10, Julius is playing outside during recess when he begins coughing. His cough persists and worsens for several days, so his mother decides she’ll take him to their long-time family doctor at a private clinic. But when she picks up Julius at school the next day, she learns about a government-run community health center located inside his elementary school.
A few days later, Julius’s mother gets him out of class to see a doctor at the school clinic and pays for the visit using tax dollars through CHIP. While there, his mother learns she can get many other medical services at the school, so she sets up appointments to have Julius see a dentist about an aching tooth and a family doctor to see about getting herself some contraception.
A week later, they attend their appointments and afterward she picks up pain killers and birth control pills at the pharmacy which is also located in the school. She’s glad that getting medical care is so convenient, but because she’s so used to using government programs, it doesn’t cross her mind that her neighbors – and other taxpayers – are paying for it, or that, if needed, she could also get medical help from a private charity care clinic located two minutes from their home. She also doesn’t know that the government-run facilities are supported by a Capital Development Grant received through President Obama’s health care takeover.
At age 15, Julius goes to high school each weekday and eats “free” breakfast. A few hours later, he eats “free” lunch in the school cafeteria. His mother knows that in hard times she can take Julius to the local Boys & Girls Club where they offer meals provided through private donations, but she told the volunteer workers they probably won’t come anymore because the public school is covering Julius’s meals for her.
Occasionally, in better times, Julius likes to drink a soda pop as a treat with his lunch, but he makes sure to bring one from home or buy it from the school vending machine before lunch. All the school vending machines are shut down during the lunch hour because the school was recently fined thousands of dollars for leaving them on.
Julius is surprised to discover the soda ban and fine came all the way from Washington through the federal Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010, and that these efforts to control the consumption of certain foods in schools are aligned and coordinated with the White House’s Childhood Obesity Task Force and “Let’s Move!” campaign designed “to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.” Julius values healthy eating and exercise and is not obese, so to him it’s strange that government workers 2,000 miles away feel a need to say what he can or cannot eat for lunch.
During his high school years, Julius receives instruction in sexual health, which the federal government also influences. First, he participates in a typical abstinence-only class at his school where he learns the benefits of abstinence before marriage and fidelity after. A month later, a friend invites him to another abstinence-only class held at a local non-profit. Both of these courses make sense to him, especially because they line up with what his mother has taught him all along.
Then another friend invites Julius to a different non-profit clinic, one where they teach a “comprehensive” approach. He learns in depth information about STDs and contraception, including how to use a condom. The instructor makes it sound like sex before marriage, even in teenage years, is normal and fine – a matter of preference, not right or wrong and not a physical and emotional risk. These lessons confuse Julius a bit and seem to contradict what his mother has taught him.
Julius speaks with his mother about the “comprehensive” course and they agree it would have been better for him not to attend it, and that the abstinence-only courses were probably also unnecessary because she had already taught him what she wanted him to know. What Julius and his mother don’t realize is that both courses at the non-profit organizations were funded through grants from President Obama’s health care plan.
As Julius graduates from high school and takes responsibility for his personal health care decisions, the federal government’s influence on his choices grows even more.
To be continued…