Something scares me about yesterday, and today. And it’s not primarily what the US Supreme Court said in their ruling that upheld most provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, so-called Obamacare.
What scares me is deeper, and it has to do with how we could come to be here in the first place.
I’ve been a person without health insurance. I’ve been a small-business employer who paid for most of my employee’s health insurance. I’ve been a physician in private practice who had to employ someone to struggle with patient’s insurance companies for payment, and talk with patients about the costs of what their insurance would not pay for. I’ve worked in a large public hospital where the vast majority of patients were on government-sponsored health care. I’ve had a spouse with medical problems and no health insurance to cover the costs. And I’ve struggled to find him a physician that would accept Medicare when he became eligible for that benefit.
SO – I’ve seen this healthcare discussion from many different perspectives. And I can tell you that simply throwing more tax money at the problems in the healthcare system will do very little if anything to improve the health of people in this country.
Yes, government has a place. But government programs can’t make you healthy. Taxing the rich to give health care to the poor can’t make them healthy. And even having the best medical care in the world available will not make anyone healthy.
What scares me about today is the mindset so many people have that says, “As long as someone else is taking care of me, I’m OK.”
They don’t care all that much who is taking care of them – just let somebody else do it. If the government will pay for my healthcare, I don’t need to know anything else. If my employer pays for my health insurance, I don’t care how much it costs. If my health insurance will pay for this particular medication or test or procedure, I don’t even care to know what the cost is.
Health care costs will continue to rise until people take individual personal responsibility for:
- Their own health – living a healthy lifestyle
- Knowing the costs of any healthcare item
- Making their voice heard
I for one am not relying on the government or anyone else to take care of me. I am taking personal responsibility for doing all I can to live healthy today and for the future. That’s no guarantee of good health. But if I DON’T do what is in my power to do, I’m pretty well assured of bad health. And I’m not banking on anybody being there to take care of me!
Your turn: Do you think government programs or health insurance lead to less personal responsibility in the area of health? What would a better option be? I’d love to hear from you.
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