Not since the abortion debate have I seen an issue as hotly contested as health care reform has become. Maybe because both are highly personal and both involve matters of life and death.
A number of recent letters to The Advertiser-Tribune have supported and commended the government's push for health care overhaul involving a public (government-run) option. It has been suggested that only the rich have access to insurance/health care under the current system, and others are dying from a lack of medicine.
I do fully agree our system needs some fine-tuning; costs are high, dealing with insurance is like running through a maze, and those with pre-existing conditions are at times denied coverage. However, our government, which seeks to manage health care in this country (including providing abortion services and provisions for illegal aliens), has recently demonstrated with "cash-for-clunkers" how utterly inept it is at managing a nationwide program. The program was started, abruptly halted, restored with a cash infusion from the stimulus (our grandchildren's money), strongly promoted, and now is coming to a close with a whopping 2 percent of clunker claims reimbursed, a majority of profits going to Toyota and Honda, and an outlook of showrooms that will be empty of buyers for a considerable length of time.
In essence, the government created a "car bubble," which now is popping. Did we not learn anything from the housing bubble, the dot-com bubble and others which have soaked the country with debt and confusion? Somehow, watching this program unfold has not reassured me that President Barack Obama and his administration possibly can run a program as vast, complicated and expensive as health care.
Addressing the claim that only "the select" can get medical care and insurance opens a deep chasm of personal/moral obligations, poor choices, mismanagement, a sense of victimhood and a country that is shunning its history of Christian values and reliance on hard work and sacrifice. But, here's a little perspective from one of "the select."
My family has health care. Thank God. We are not rich. We do not belong to some elite group that is hoarding its health care and watching others struggle with illness while we walk comfortably arm-in-arm with insurance companies. We sacrifice to have that health care. Every month, we budget in approximately $400 for insurance/health care. Some months it's less than that; other months, it's in the thousands. Every two weeks, I require an injection medicine with a price tag of $1,450 per dose. The cost hurts worse than the shot, but thank God for the insurance we planned for and budgeted to have.
If it weren't for that high monthly health care cost, my husband would not drive a 15-year-old truck that makes awful noises; the family budget wouldn't be as tight; we could take nicer vacations; we wouldn't still be relying on (help!) dial-up Internet service. This is where traditional values, personal responsibility and planning/sacrifice come in.
When we got married, my husband and I knew we'd need health care, so we planned accordingly. When we started a family and I stayed home to raise our children, we began to make financial/lifestyle sacrifices and carefully plan for the needs of a growing family. Thus the old truck, a modest house, shorter vacations, little extra money for extras, and a tendency to rejoice in and treasure life's simple gifts. We made sure we could afford children before we had them. We made responsible decisions to ensure our family's medical and other needs would be covered.
Simply, it is an individual's/family's responsibility to ensure basic needs are met, and to make decisions in line with the ability to pay for and manage those decisions, including providing for health care needs, having children, and ensuring food and shelter are provided.
However, I realize the expectation of smart, balanced decisions often is a rosy view that doesn't reflect reality. That leads to the fallacy people are dying from denial of health care. That presumption is absurd. Every hospital posts a statement that no one who is seriously ill or in labor can be denied medical care, regardless of ability to pay. A discount on services even is offered to those without coverage, and many times medical debt is not expected to be repaid. Sheds a little light on skyrocketing prices, doesn't it? And, because a government insurance program already exists for children with no other coverage (just as WIC provides basic food), the "death from lack of care" argument is sunk by the reality of available, sometimes free, care.
I acknowledge government assistance/programs are needed at times as a temporary crutch due to unforeseen circumstances. That was their original intent. It is the continual reliance on such intervention, and the sense of entitlement that often accompanies it, that has contributed to the landslide of increased costs and the perceived "need" for bailouts.
Maybe what we need is not government-run health care, expanded handouts and more failing programs. Maybe what we need is an overhaul of our government/personal priorities, and a return to the roots of Christian values and capitalism that still anchor this country, even in the face of leftist attacks to morph the United States into a socialist, Christ-empty land. Maybe what we need is more individual/family pride in standing strong, pride in provision, and a final farewell to the sinking ship of victimhood.