I got an email today laying out the reality of our current health care debate. Is it a crisis of culture or a health care crisis. I am a firm believer in taking responsibility for one’s actions. I believe those who chose not to practice healthy lifestyles should pay more for the consequences of their actions than those who do. I believe the solution to our health care finance quandary lies not in controlling the cost of treating disease, but rather in upholding the personal responsibility all Americans have to themselves and their country.
What does the distribution of health care dollars look like among the American population? While we know that 50% of our population spends only 3% of health care dollars, we also know that 50% of our health care dollars are spent by 5% of our population, a population of chronic disease sufferers who’s diseases are, by and large, a direct result of the personal decisions they chose to make on a daily basis. For the most part, genetics alone is no longer an excuse. We knew very well that lifestyle directly affects the expression of disease by genes.
We know that 80% of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, most of which carry strong genetic predispositions, can be prevented by the way we choose to live our lives. The funding solution does not lie in our federal government’s desire to bankrupt the National Treasury, kill jobs and stifle growth for decades to come in pursuit of the nanny state. A policy which by the way, will paradoxically hurt the poor the most by killing all prospects for future stable employment.
A government built and sustained on the promise of FREE will always self implode when unable to deliver the MORE. At what point will those who fund this massive government expansion determine their self sacrifices are not worth their efforts? At what point do they end their willingness to fund charitable donations on their own terms when the government becomes their defacto charity out of force. A charity who’s clientele has been infiltrated by the great masqueraders drawn to the promise of FREE=MORE.
Government is nothing more than a grotesquely large and inefficient charity who’s wealth distribution policies are generated by the dirty money of back door politics. I have just one question for those who believe government is the solution to providing for those in need:
If you believe government taxation is the solution to eliminate poverty, should private charities be abolished in favor of fully funded government services? And if not, why not?
Should all churches immediately cease their efforts to help those in need? Should Jerry Lewis shut down his telethon for good? Should United Way end all fund raising efforst immediately? And should those little red kettles collecting money for the Salvation Army stop ringing forever?
If government taxation is the most efficient way to provide services for those in need, should not all private charities be immediately disbanded or federalized? Should not citizens who donate their time, money and expertise to help those in need, on their own terms, now be freed from the civic duty of helping others, knowing that their hard earned tax dollars are being redistributed by their government with perfect efficiency in their community?
Dr. Starner Jones, an emergency room physician out of Jackson, Mississippi wrote an editorial to the Jackson, MS Clarion Ledger on August 29th, 2009 describing his interaction with a great masquerader in need. I received this email from a friend and I verified its authenticity on Snopes. Here is this letter describing the crisis of culture we have in this country.
Why Pay For The Care Of The Careless
During my last night’s shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B tune for a ringtone. Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: Medicaid. She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer.
And our Congress expects me to pay for this woman’s health care? Our nation’s healthcare crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture - a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. A culture that thinks “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Life is really not that hard. Most of us reap what we sow.
Don’t you agree?
STARNER JONES, MD Jackson , MS
Dr. Jones, You can count me in as one who agrees that the forced redistribution of self sacrifice to masqueraders in need under a FREE=MORE society is the ultimate commentary on the loss of personal responsibility in this country. For those who believe that government taxation is the solution to providing necessary services to impoverished Americans, I only have to ask you one thing,
Would you give five dollars to a man holding a homeless sign on a street corner smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer and eating a big mac while talking on his cell phone with a grill full of shiny gold teeth? If your answer is yes, you are either a liar or a fool.
If you wouldn’t give $5 to this man on the street corner, now you can understand why tax payers who are forced to part with their hard earned money, built on their sweat and sacrifice, are angry at the thought of giving away their money to the great masqueraders.
If you need help understanding this taxpayer anger, I simply ask that you imagine your feelings when a police officer approaches your car while you are waiting at a stop light. Contain your anger when the cop smashes your car window and threatens to arrest you unless you give $5 to the homeless man smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer, eating a big mac and talking on his cell phone with a shiny grill full of gold teeth.
Now imagine a cop at every stoplight of every block of every day of every month of every year you drive to and from work. And just imagine if the cop threatened to arrest you every time you stopped at the light unless you donated $5 to the homeless guy smoking a cigarette, drinking a beer, eating a big mac and talking on his cell phone with his grill full of shiny gold teeth.
Then maybe you’ll understand the anger of taxpayers. Yes folks, we don’t have a health care crisis. We have a crisis of culture.
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist Blog*