Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Is This A Healthcare Crisis Or A Culture Problem?

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?

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*

You may also like these posts

    None Found

Read comments »

Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »