Health Care Reform – A Sign Of Maturity

by Mark Lovett on August 10, 2009

There are few subjects more complicated than how to fix America’s health care system.  Those who say the status quo works just fine are, without question, individuals who have: 1) Very good health plans 2) No need to see a doctor 3) The money to pay for any illness.

For those who don’t fit into one of these convenient categories, the need for changing the health care system in America has never been more apparent. I recently saw this video which featured a variety of physicians speaking about health care reform and it got me to thinking about coverage for all.

YouTube Preview Image

This post is not about providing an answer to the situation, but instead, offers insights on the topic of Universal Coverage. Let’s be clear up front…universal coverage has never meant government provided health care…despite the plethora of lies to the contrary (and you wouldn’t believe the lies being told these days) the true meaning of Universal Coverage is that everyone in the country has some sort of health care plan, and thus, access to doctors, nurses and hospitals.

Consider the Uninsured

For the sixth consecutive year, the number of Americans living without health insurance has risen, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data. Approximately 2.2 million people were added to the uninsurance rolls in 2006 — the largest one-year increase in the number of uninsured Americans since 2002. Census Bureau, January 2008

In 2006 there were 47 million uninsured Americans – 2.2 million were added in that year alone.

Some would say, “So What?”, following that response by explaning that health care should only be provided to those who can afford it, or those who have it provided through their employer.

To those who don’t fit in this category, the 47 million cited above, they simply say, “Tough Shit!”

I must admit that I understand this viewpoint – as it speaks of “pure capitalism”, a state in which goods and services are bought and sold without any measure of human emotion or government interference. Similar to how life was in the wild wild west, if you didn’t have money, or at least a chicken to barter with, you didn’t get health care and typically died before you reached age 40.

A Question of Maturity

But as I ponder this philosophy of “pure capitalism”, I also ponder the very nature of humanity.

Is our life on planet earth only governed by money, weighing the financial impact of every decision,

or is there a aspect of being human that relates to caring and compassion?

Healthcare ROI

Healthcare ROI

Is society stuck in the primordial role of “I got mine, you get yours!”, or does there exist an alternate dynamic that matures over time, allowing us to consider the welfare of others within the totality of society, instead of only thinking of ourselves?

In this light I don’t believe that health care is a right of the individual, nor an obligation of society, it is simply a sign of maturity, a point at which the human race feels – deep in their heart – that the world is a better place when the health of all has become a priority.

It is my profound wish that we can put politics aside long enough to save lives!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

cstante August 19, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I don’t know if health care is a right or not. To me it doesn’t matter. What matters is how we as human beings with hearts and souls chose to take care of our brother and sisters who are in genuine need. I am a psychiatrist working on an inpatient psychiatric unit in a fairly small community hospital.

I see people who are on the whole unable to care for themselves. Most insurance companies want an update on a patient even after only a day or two in the hospital. This is absurd. No one with a serious psychiatric illness gets better in two days. Frequently I have to do what is called a peer review. This means that I have to talk to a doctor at an insurance company to justify why I think the patient needs to stay in the hospital.

Mostly what that doctor is looking for is whether or not the patient is suicidal. A patient has to say he or she is suicidal and thinking about actually killing himself or herself to be allowed to stay in the hospital. If the person is only thinking suicidal thoughts, then it is out the door. Frequently the patient is not ready for discharge. Many of my co-workers and I wish for a time when we could keep the patient in the hospital long enough to get better, truly better. As it is, I feel a pressure to get people better and have at times increased medication too fast.

The point of all this is, as I see it, that money is not everything and that cherishing life can encompass everything including our relationship with money.

Reply

Global Patriot August 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm

A very insightful statement : “What matters is how we as human beings with hearts and souls chose to take care of our brother and sisters who are in genuine need.”

How we accomplish this – privately or with government involvement – is secondary to the notion that as a society matures we figure out, as human beings, how to take care of each other.

Reply

cstante August 19, 2009 at 9:29 pm

I don’t know if health care is a right or not. To me it doesn’t matter. What matters is how we as human beings with hearts and souls chose to take care of our brother and sisters who are in genuine need. I am a psychiatrist working on an inpatient psychiatric unit in a fairly small community hospital.

I see people who are on the whole unable to care for themselves. Most insurance companies want an update on a patient even after only a day or two in the hospital. This is absurd. No one with a serious psychiatric illness gets better in two days. Frequently I have to do what is called a peer review. This means that I have to talk to a doctor at an insurance company to justify why I think the patient needs to stay in the hospital.

Mostly what that doctor is looking for is whether or not the patient is suicidal. A patient has to say he or she is suicidal and thinking about actually killing himself or herself to be allowed to stay in the hospital. If the person is only thinking suicidal thoughts, then it is out the door. Frequently the patient is not ready for discharge. Many of my co-workers and I wish for a time when we could keep the patient in the hospital long enough to get better, truly better. As it is, I feel a pressure to get people better and have at times increased medication too fast.

The point of all this is, as I see it, that money is not everything and that cherishing life can encompass everything including our relationship with money.

Reply

GlobalPatriot August 19, 2009 at 9:57 pm

A very insightful statement : “What matters is how we as human beings with hearts and souls chose to take care of our brother and sisters who are in genuine need.”

How we accomplish this – privately or with government involvement – is secondary to the notion that as a society matures we figure out, as human beings, how to take care of each other.

Reply

Skovi August 10, 2009 at 10:05 pm

To me is not only about insuring the uninsured, but making sure that everyone receives the health care they need when they need it. The problem lies in the “profitable” side of this matter, when insurance companies make money by denying health services for whatever reason. This is the scary part that unfortunately and unethically has taken the lives of many and has left families bankrupt. That is mainly what’s wrong about the health system.

Reply

Global Patriot August 10, 2009 at 10:39 pm

The “maturity” view stated in the post supports your statement: “everyone receives the health care they need when they need it” – what is interesting is that even those who support this notion differ on how to actually make it happen – private industry, government, or a combination of both.

Reply

Skovi August 11, 2009 at 5:05 am

To me is not only about insuring the uninsured, but making sure that everyone receives the health care they need when they need it. The problem lies in the “profitable” side of this matter, when insurance companies make money by denying health services for whatever reason. This is the scary part that unfortunately and unethically has taken the lives of many and has left families bankrupt. That is mainly what’s wrong about the health system.

Reply

GlobalPatriot August 11, 2009 at 5:39 am

The “maturity” view stated in the post supports your statement: “everyone receives the health care they need when they need it” – what is interesting is that even those who support this notion differ on how to actually make it happen – private industry, government, or a combination of both.

Reply

JenK August 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm

How is being healthy not considered part of the rights that the forefathers guaranteed under life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? You can’t HAVE ANY of these unless you have the ability to utilize wellness programs and get treatment prior to there being a catastrophic health event that lands you at the automatic doors leading into the emergency room.

Ask anyone who they themselves, or a loved one, have received a life threatening or terminal diagnosis whether or not healthcare is a luxury? Good luck finding someone who has been lucky enough NOT to be have been touched by chronic disease either themselves or through their family. Healthcare is not a luxury it’s a requirement – you literally cannot live without it.

If anything, the economic crisis and unemployment statistics should shake everyone up that they may not always have that cushy insurance that a company is paying for. What would you do then? For the uninsured that’s where they are and you could just as easily be one of them especially when they are still predicting double digit unemployment. We need to wake up and stop listening to the special interests who only care about making their profits at the expense of the true health of this nation.

Reply

Global Patriot August 10, 2009 at 9:17 pm

You make a number of good points Jen, and anyone whose life has been saved by medical treatment will say much the same thing. But I have spoken with many who say that our health is a matter for us to take care of as individuals, and not a “right” that our government should take care of. Definitely a contentious debate on the topic.

Reply

JenK August 11, 2009 at 2:39 am

How is being healthy not considered part of the rights that the forefathers guaranteed under life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? You can’t HAVE ANY of these unless you have the ability to utilize wellness programs and get treatment prior to there being a catastrophic health event that lands you at the automatic doors leading into the emergency room.

Ask anyone who they themselves, or a loved one, have received a life threatening or terminal diagnosis whether or not healthcare is a luxury? Good luck finding someone who has been lucky enough NOT to be have been touched by chronic disease either themselves or through their family. Healthcare is not a luxury it’s a requirement – you literally cannot live without it.

If anything, the economic crisis and unemployment statistics should shake everyone up that they may not always have that cushy insurance that a company is paying for. What would you do then? For the uninsured that’s where they are and you could just as easily be one of them especially when they are still predicting double digit unemployment. We need to wake up and stop listening to the special interests who only care about making their profits at the expense of the true health of this nation.

Reply

GlobalPatriot August 11, 2009 at 4:17 am

You make a number of good points Jen, and anyone whose life has been saved by medical treatment will say much the same thing. But I have spoken with many who say that our health is a matter for us to take care of as individuals, and not a “right” that our government should take care of. Definitely a contentious debate on the topic.

Reply

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