There is a solution to the health care debate that is now occupying the center stage of American politics. If I knew what it was, I’d write a book and make a fortune. The problem is that the combination of our polarized political system, the introduction of health care as a political issue, and a skewed perspective of health care as a commercial, profit-making enterprise rather than as a humanitarian, life-enhancing basic human benefit has the debate stymied.
The recognition of inherent problems in the delivery of health care is not a new issue. It has been on the table for a long time, in various forms. I commend those in our elected government, both Democrats and Republicans, who, over the years have recognized that escalating costs and a rapidly changing system of delivery would eventually reach a critical point where change would be necessary. We’ve probably been there for longer than we really want to admit. If I’m going to talk about the issue, I want to at least offer some kind of constructive suggestion for a resolution, rather than just complaining about the problem.
What we currently have is a system which is essentially based on demand, with some element of risk, and the need for delivery of services that increases as people grow older, while their financial ability to pay for them diminishes. Demand has pushed prices up. Corporations have replaced religious groups and charitable organizations as owners and operators of hospitals, and insurance has become an absolute necessity to have in order to pay for health care. If you don’t have insurance, the resulting debt from unexpected medical care will either ruin you financially for the rest of your life, or the quality of the care you receive might put your life in jeopardy.
Government has been at least a partial solution to some of the worst problems. Medicaid and medicare have helped to equalize the increased cost of health care as people grow into the years where they need it the most. Legislation has required service providers, pharmaceutical companies and insurance providers to cover things that supply and demand ignores, including production and distribution of drugs needed only by a few people, because of a rare disease (Orphan drug act) or requiring extended benefits for things such as prosthetic devices for children and teenagers, which most insurance won’t provide. Sometimes, the private sector doesn’t do things without the prompting of government.
But, does the current situation warrant a complete overhaul by the government? Personally, I don’t think so. But if I do join in the debate by attending a town hall meeting, I will not exhibit the rude, disrespectful behavior to the member of Congress who is conducting it. Aside from the sheer rudeness of it, and the fact that screaming when you don’t get your way is immature, you are not helping your cause by doing it. Not only that, but it is preventing a workable, reasonable solution from making its way to the table.
Health care is more than just another business in the corporate marketplace. It is a humanitarian issue. I look at it this way:
If you were dying, and I had the cure….
…and I looked at it strictly from a business perspective, driven by supply and demand, I would see the cure as a way to make a fortune off your misfortune, because I know you will pay any price to get it, and this would be my chance at the wealth I have always wanted. If you can’t pay it, that’s not my problem.
…and I looked at it from a humanitarian view, I would feel obligated to help you find the resources you needed to be able to afford the price I would ask you to pay for the cure.
…and I looked at it as I should, from the perspective of being a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, then it would be my pleasure not only to share the cure with you, but to make a personal sacrifice in order to be able to do so.
Maybe that will give you something to think about.