I'm not sure what to do about the "less fortunate". I've traveled enough in less-developed countries to know that the US will allow you to be as "fortunate" as you want to be whereas there are other countries where the truly unfortunate only get old and broken down from working hard.
I guess I was fortunate - enough at least to buy a soapbox to stand on. My parents couldn't afford to pay for my college so I took an alternate route giving Uncle Sam a few years of my time in exchange for a GI Bill.
I used every stinkin' educational benefit to earn two degrees. Uncle Sam has been repaid many times over by my increased earning being tax beyond what I would have made otherwise.
That education allowed me to work for a company that provides decent healthcare. My wife, a legal immigrant, worked her way through school also but without any assistance. Within 3 months of arriving in the US, she had a job that included healthcare. Within 1.5 years, she had moved to a Fortune 5 employer whose healthcare is on-par with mine. She's increased her pay by about 60% since starting work in 2003.
Now, we're both going to the gym at least 5 times a week to work ourselves into better shape. That'll save healthcare dollars now and in the long run but isn't required. Look at the obese walking around in public these days. **************** them - they'll die a long and painful death that the majority could have prevented.
I could sit on my ass and watch it grow fatter but I have a dream to do a particular trip that never been attempted before. When we start this particular trip in 2010, it'll be 7-10 hours of extreme physical output every day for about 25-30 days. I'll be well over 50 when this trip starts.
Personal responsibility starts at an early age - I am sick of tired of people telling us that the poor need assistance. As far as I can tell, they were given the same schooling opportunities that I had as a kid. The military offered them the same benefits that I had at 18. The US is still the land of opportunity but don't count on life's lottery to make you a winner - you have to do that yourself. With success comes easy access to healthcare - at least in our system - but you have to position yourself to obtain it.
This is an impressive record- I have to admire the level of hard work.