Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Health Care Debate: Ultimately Flawed

Someone once asked, “Should I pray for good health, for prevention of cancer and heart disease, or should I pray that my habits be healthy, and that I might have the will power to exercise and eat well?” I replied that both were admirable prayers, and worth speaking to the heart of God, but one very important prayer should be added: “Pray for good veins. No matter how healthy you are, eventually you are going to need blood drawn or an IV inserted. If your veins are lousy you are going to be in for a heap of misery”.

The inevitability of illness requires careful consideration as we go about our lives. My advice to pray for good veins was a form of “supernatural insurance”, preparing for what each and every one of us has or will face in our lifetime. As the health care debate rages on it is important for us to examine our priorities and understand that sickness, decline and death are unavoidable for all but the statistically few who die suddenly or unexpectedly. Most of us will experience poor health. This requires prudent decision making prior to the event.

Prudence is not a gift in our culture. We are a culture that values spontaneity, encourages living in the “here and now”, grabbing “life by the horns”. Many have made imprudent decisions regarding health care. Many who have access to care have decided the cost of medical insurance was not a priority for understandable reasons, others ignoble. Perhaps the money deducted for health insurance was thought better funneled to rent, food, or some other necessity. Perhaps it was determined better used for travel, leisure, or entertainment. Whatever the reasoning, when one is sick, it suddenly becomes a priority, and often at that time it is unavailable. For those who must choose necessities over insurance for the survival of their families, I support providing assistance. For those choosing leisure over prudence, I do not.

As a child I listened attentively to the story of the grasshopper and the ant as they prepared for winter. The ant was industrious, the grasshopper concerned with entertainment and “grabbing life by the horns”. When the harsh winter set in, the ant was prepared, the grasshopper was not. Our nation is full of grasshoppers. There are millions upon millions of able-bodied men and women who choose to rely on the government for their daily needs, and ultimately, on the taxes of those who work prudently to provide for themselves and their families. For those who are disabled, diseased, mentally ill, or otherwise unable to care for themselves, I support providing assistance. For those unexpectedly in need of temporary help because of job loss or injury, I support assistance. For those imprudently choosing sloth over industriousness, I do not.

Ultimately, I believe the health care debate is flawed. I believe the debate should really be about what responsibility the men and women our society have for their own well-being. I believe the underlying reality that we are a nation that has enabled those who would choose imprudence by supporting them in their poor decisions with broad, unsustainable public assistance programs should be the true discussion regarding universal health care. There is little regard for personal responsibility among vast populations in our nation, a reality that has kept many in political power. Personal responsibility for one’s well-being must be considered carefully…or we will continue to reward sloth and poor health choices on the backs of hard working men and women of this nation.


  1. Praised be Jesus Christ!
    Now and forever!
    I appreciate your insights, and I must say that I apperciate your input on my post
    ,,on facebook
    .. about end of life issues.. Thanks a million..
    You see, we are in a battle
    After all,
    We are the Church Militant!
    God bless,

  2. Thought-provoking reflections from someone within health care. Thank you for sharing them.

  3. I agree with what you say--and I think the major problem with our healthcare system is that we have divorced the cost from the service. There are very few people who have to consider the cost/benefit ratio involved in any medical care and hence no incentive for any provider to look at how to provide quality care for less money. Our local imaging center now offers internet access and plush robes but no one is advertising that their MRIs cost less than the place down teh street.


I am always interested and appreciative of your comments and thank you for taking the time. God bless you.