As I sit here pondering what to write this morning I can hear our President talking to reporters about health care reform. We talk a lot about health care in this nation. The trouble is that we don’t do much to “reform” it. We all seem to agree that what we have doesn’t quite work, but even the experts don’t agree on what to do about it.
A prime example of what needs to change was brought to my attention just last week. Gary had to have a simple lace-up ankle brace to wear for a few weeks until the muscles and tendons in his ankle are stronger. He had a prescription from his doctor and got one at the local medical supply store. Bill to Medicare- $81. We later saw the same brace hanging on a rack at the local pharmacy for $16.99. Now I have absolutely no expertise in this area, but I’m thinking something is wrong! Reminds me of the fiascoes in military spending that have been brought to our attention in recent years.
I don’t want to have a government-managed health care system because, so far, they don’t have a very good track record for managing anything, including the government. If you want a preview of how they would manage healthcare, take a long look at the VA system. I don’t want to spend three hours in a waiting room and see a different doctor each time I have a problem. I want the option to choose my own doctor and make decisions about my medications and tests and surgeries. However, I do think there are some things that need to be regulated by someone, somewhere, just to make sure the poor and elderly aren’t getting mistreated or cheated. And I have the crazy notion that health care should be free for any child under five, regardless of which parents they happen to get stuck with.
I think it benefits all of us as a society if our poor, elderly, and children are getting proper health care. We will save money in the long run because we won’t have so many people in emergency rooms and nursing homes. I think it benefits all of us if people aren’t afraid to go to the doctor! I don’t want the clerk at the grocery store to tell me, as she is coughing all over my purchases, that she just can’t afford to go to the doctor! I want her to be able to go to the doctor without losing her job, and without missing a car payment.
The problem with all of this is that real healthcare reform gets down to an ugly, ugly truth that none of us wants to face. We all have the ability to take better care of our bodies and most of us don’t. I’m fat. I eat too much and I don’t exercise enough. I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol and I don’t do enough to control either one. I take my medicine and cut down on fat and salt, but I could do so much more. I’m blessed to have a super immune system and I very seldom get sick. So if I really took care of by body and controlled my weight I would save myself and the healthcare system a lot of money! I could get by with my annual checkup and a few tests, instead of seeing my doctor three times a year. I think it’s safe to say that most people in this country could do a better job of taking care of their own body so someone else doesn’t have to do it!
As usual I haven’t solved a thing with my thoughts this morning. But perhaps at least for today I will be a little more aware of the part I play in this problem. At least for today I will try to walk a few more steps and drink more water and eat more vegetables and skip my afternoon snack. At least for today I will remember that health care is first and foremost my own responsibility.