After spending the time necessary to digest the initial draft of H.R. 3200, that bastardizing socialization of American medicine the U.S. House is calling “health care reform”, not only do I find I have a severe case of heartburn, I am even more deeply angered at the state of this great nation under the current adminstration. I am also flabbergasted at the depths of ignorance calculatingly displayed by those unrepresenting representatives in Washington and dismayed at the ignorance unintentionally displayed by Americans in general.
When you strip away all the rhetoric, a truth is that we are each responsible for our own lives. You can’t spin the fundamental fact that, with the extreme exceptions of abortions and executions, no one makes our choices for us; all they do is offer us various options. It remains up to us to take something or to leave it, or to take something else instead. Speaking philosophically and literally, even choosing nothing is still having made a choice.
When it comes to our health, our choices in this country are nearly endless. Every breath we take (or do not take), everything that enters our bodies through our mouths, our ears, our eyes, every movement or non-movement (as with tv-slothing or sleep) is a health-affecting choice on our part. Sure, some things like breathing are, in the main, unconscious choices but remember the last time you caught yourself holding your breath in eagerness, anticipation, or fear and reminded yourself to breathe again?
Truly, all bodies are marvels in and of themselves. They are an ultimate machine, capable of both creation and destruction even when simply existing, and such is mirrored every second through continuous regeneration at the cellular level. But, like all machines, each one of our bodies was apparently designed for a limited period of service and as we age our regenerative abilities slow down until, in the end, it stops altogether and so we die.
There is nothing bad, nothing shameful in all of this. It is, as in popular vernacular, the circle of life. But Man sees himself in the mirror and believes that the recognition of Self somehow makes him superior to other species. Yet the whispers of his instincts can never be suppressed for long, and it is those whispers – ever-reminding him that man, too, is ruled by natural law – that cause him to vainly create a phantom, parallel world within his own species. A world where his physical inferiority is replaced by some pseudo-intellectual or material superiority.
Life will never be anything more than a competition, a survival of the fittest. Certainly, as a species man is more willing than some to assist others, to assist the collective but this latest Obamanation of forced equality, particularly this religious zealotry aimed at the idea of health care reform, will fail. As it has forever failed. For it goes against natural law and no matter how “smart”, or how much techology we can create, we are now and will be forever subject to our humanness.
Ask the antelope in the jaws of the jaguar if life is fair. We would be better off to accept our place in this world and enjoy the fact we get a life at all. Return to the foundations upon which this country was birthed and let its inherent support of natural law take care of things like the auto industry, the banks, people who bit off more mortgage than they can chew, and also take care of “health reform”. Anything else will simply accelerate our inherent propensity for self-destruction.
If you take the time to read and to understand what is being proposed in H.R. 3200, it is clear that the Obama administration intends to wholly assume not the business of health insurance but to flat-out control every aspect of the practice of medicine in the United States. The campaign rhetoric endlessly spewing forth vaccilates and confuses care with insurance and perhaps this is done on purpose, but without understanding the difference it is easy to get swept up in its destructive fervor.
It is well-known that health CARE in the United States is the best in the world. As a result of our capitalistic, free-market economy, innovations in the field of medicine have resulted in understandings of human health and the manifestation of health CARE that allows us to live far more comfortably and far more productively than anywhere else in the world. We have the best doctors, the best facilities, and the best equipment. Period.
But everything comes with a price and medical technology is no different. Whether it is a Viagra capsule that gives an old man past his reproductive prime the ability to pursue nothing more than simple carnal gratification or the MRI machine that gives doctors the ability to diagnose the presence and extent of a tumor in a young child, each and every thing we use or do has cost someone time and money to create. They pursue these things out of a combination of altruistic and financial motivations and…you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
With the help of more and more technology, the collective mindset of the modern era has served to steer us further and further away from the basic understanding of nature’s cycles and somehow given rise to a belief that we, humans, have a fundamental right to, for lack of a better term, physical immortality. Or at least the right to die in a body that looks like a plasticized 20-year old. Fearing death, we cling to the notion we are immune from the processes of aging, that we may exist above the mandates of natural law.
But, again, the truth is that we are not now, nor will we ever be. And the sooner we let go of this dangerous belief, the better off we will find ourselves.
Now, this does not mean that if we get sick, we shouldn’t bother going to see a doctor. It doesn’t mean that medical CARE should never be provided. What it means is that medical CARE can only do so much for us and the responsibility to choose that CARE is entirely our own. And this is where the business of health INSURANCE enters the picture.
Health INSURANCE is simply a financial risk agreement between two parties. It’s a lot like a bet. One person bets that they’ll need expensive medical care at some point and the other is betting they won’t. If the payer stays healthy, the insurer keeps their money; otherwise the insurer shells out what is needed to get the payer back on their physical feet. Frankly, it’s a rather nifty and interesting arrangement. The problem is that over time the payer has come to believe that the sum they pay to the insurer is a replacement for the choices that they make for themselves in terms of what they put into and how they treat their body. Like les enfants terrible, it’s come to be expected that everything needed will simply be provided, promptly and without question.
Nice thought, but dangerously naive. Everything comes with a price, remember? If, for example, you ask me to watch your house while you’re away and agree to pay me to do so, the cost for me to stop by every day and bring in the mail is going to be a lot lower than asking me to spend additional time to water your plants, feed your cat, scoop its litterbox, etc. If you travel a lot and want to keep the costs down, well, you won’t keep either houseplants or a cat, will you? Health insurance works very much the same way. If you want me to pay your doctor(s) for every little thing you want done, you’re going to have to pay me more money. Now, it makes sense for me to help you pay for preventative-type screenings, those early warnings that you, the individual, need to change your couch potato, greaseburger, fries, and beer gut ways. But if you choose to do or continue to do things proven risky to you, with your unique historical combination of DNA, then you’re going to have to pay me more to cover your body’s sooner-than-later eventual breakdown.
What we need in America is, in my mind, not health CARE reform but to take another look at health INSURANCE. Medical CARE is available and, for the most part, guaranteed. Sure, there are situations like in Chicago, where Michelle Obama’s infamous “Urban Health Initiative” was found to be turning away the poorer, less-insured patients in favor of the well-heeled genteel folks, but that’s a business and a moral problem, not a medical CARE problem.
Bottom line: it’s more than time for the federal government to just get out of the way. It’s time to stop unsustainable federal medical programs, cut out all the pork-funding taxes, and let Americans look for different and better ways to take care of themselves. Let Americans place their own bets on what kind of medical care they may need; one thing that comes to mind is having more walk-in clinics or small general practices for all the garden-variety cuts-scrapes-sore throats and even preventative-type care (there is one here in my area that even without any insurance is affordable). These old-fashioned, less-expensive, priced to pay-as-you-go practices could be combined with health insurance to cover only catastrophic illness, the kinds of illnesses that most of us never experience but that hurt families the most. And then have a menu of available coverage running the gamut between the two for the more cautious and the hypochondriacs. I suspect that tort reform would have to accompany such an idea since our sue-happy society has yet to get a grip and stop blaming everyone but themselves for their individual stupidity, but I know from talking to them that there’d be far more general practioners/family doctors if it wasn’t for all the stinkin’ government-related paperwork and the price of insurance against the constant threats of lawsuits. It would also be good to quit advertising drugs on television with the insistent, cheery message that people should “ask their doctor” about them. Someone savvy could easily set up an information clearinghouse that provides a searchable list containing all the same caveats as the commercials. (Am I the only one who’s noticed that for some of the advertised drugs, the list of side-effects takes longer to read than the actual “buy me” part of the commercial?!)
I look at it this way: doctors (and lawyers) practice. To expect guarantees from their efforts, then, is ridiculous. But they do serve a purpose, for the probability of healing as a result of their efforts remains higher here than anywhere in the world. We should be encouraging doctors by taking back ownership of our health and working with them as our counsel, our partners, not handing the responsibility for our medical care over to the federal government and its proven track record of program administration failures.