Maggie Gallagher

But even The New York Times cannot admit the real "free rider" problem here. It's not that the health care needs of uninsured twentysomethings like Brandy are bankrupting the system. It's that not enough twentysomethings like Brandy are paying for the health care of fortysomethings and older. That's the only way insurance makes sense: We pay into it when we are young and healthy, and we get something out of it when we are older and more likely to get sick.

But try running on that as your platform: Make the young people pay more!

Here's the other dirty little secret: National health insurance is going to cost Brandy and other taxpayers a whole lot more than either Hillary or Obama admits. Just ask Gov. Deval Patrick in Massachusetts, where just two years into operation, the state's mandatory health insurance plan is already costing $400 million more than budgeted.

Meanwhile we have a Medicare system that is going to go bankrupt.

Here's a question neither Hillary nor Barack will answer: How can we justify spending billions to insure the Brandys of the worlds, when we haven't yet secured the health care financing for our existing promises to senior citizens?

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.