What About Healthcare?

This blog was originally set up so I could blog about our experiences living in the country on a small farm while raising and educating 8 children. This is still my primary purpose, and it is also a way to share with others the things I have learned and am learning regarding matters of health. Though I no longer work as a registered nurse, my college degree in that discipline has helped me understand the way professional healthcare providers do things and approach treating patients, but at the same time, I know that disease prevention is the best way to deal with chronic health issues. That is to say, if you can stay healthy and safe, then your healthcare costs should be minimal.

Now in case this sounds too simplistic to you, let me just say that besides catastrophic healthcare costs (that would be accidents and/or trauma injuries requiring hospital care), the next most expensive things are hospital births and then children born with special needs that require continual care. There are also the times when emergency surgeries or illnesses requiring surgery present themselves. These types of surgeries or illnesses we long to prevent if possible, and generally speaking, that is what we should all aim to do. Nevertheless, sometimes they happen. Keep in mind that I am writing this as a sort of overview for the purpose of addressing the healthcare issues in the current political campaign. Last week Sen. Obama said that healthcare was a right, and Sen. McCain said it was a responsibility (when a questioner asked if healthcare was a right, a privilege or a responsibility). Keep in mind also that we already have in this country, Medicaid for younger people and Medicare for the older people, as a sort of safety net for the more vulnerable people to receive medical attention. I don’t know the ins and outs of these programs, I just remember studying them in school, and I know people who are in these government programs. We also have to remember that we already have Health Departments where people can receive checkups, immunizations, home health visits, WIC program assistance, and other things for little or no cost. Again, it has been a long while since I worked as a student in a Health Department setting, and certain things may have changed, but I do know that they are there and people use them.

So for a presidential candidate to say that “healthcare is a right,” I would say that in this country, healthcare is already practically a right. The problem of payment for health services is the problem we are really discussing. Healthcare availability is everywhere, and accessible to most people on some level. But the real problem is health insurance, or everyone’s ability to aquire health coverage for a decent price. As I was pondering this, it ocurred to me that we have car insurance, home-owners’ insurance, life insurance — why is health insurance so horribly high for people who are either not employed or perhaps self-employed, and why is it so hard to find reasonable rates? I have a few ideas. If Congress wanted to, they could inspire insurance companies to re-design their programs, and maybe insurance companies could be enticed to lower their premiums by tax incentives as a way to help make health insurance more affordable to more people. They could do this without taking over the entire job of forming another government entity to socialize medicine in this country. If you want things to get messed up really fast, and government spending to go through the roof, and at the same time, lowering the quality of care, this is a good way to do it. Our government has too much on its plate right now to even think of doing this. It is irresponsible for Barack Obama to even suggest that he would or could do something of the sort if he were elected President.

One of the things you have to look at when trying to figure out why medical costs are so high, is the cost of medicine. Drug companies are the ones who make out like bandits here. In fact, as our country’s health gets worse and worse, people take more and more medicine. The idea is that the more dependent people are on medicine, the more money the pharmaceutical companies make. They make billions and billions of dollars off of sick people. Sickness is big business. It really is. I am not trying to pick on pharmaceutical companies, I am telling you the truth. It is good that these companies make legitimate life-saving medicines, but the idea that people need to take prescription drugs to stay healthy is, well, not the way we should all want to live. It is not the way God meant for us to live, I believe. Many chronic diseases have come about through poor diet and health habits, as well as nutritional deficiencies. When these things are corrected, symptoms improve and many times diseases are healed. I know of people who have been cured or healed supernaturally by God Himself. It is not a forgone conclusion that everyone is going to need prescription drugs, even as elderly people. It would be good if medical practitioners could seel the value in looking for alternative ways to treat people with less medicine. This in itself is a tall order for the medical community, and one that will take time, no doubt. But people everywhere can educate themselves on good nutrition and take an active role in health maintenance. People can pray for healing and for good health and for wisdom in dealing with sickness. Perhaps this will lead to less trips to the doctor, less prescription medications, and better overall health. Maybe there should be rewards for people as there is in auto insurance, (for not getting in wrecks or getting speeding tickets), that if you don’t need to use the doctor that much, you should pay less in premiums. For example, a family pays $550.00 a month for health insurance. If they go for a certain length of time – say a year -and haven’t had to use the doctor, or have gone only once or twice, couldn’t they lower their premiums? After all, if they are paying that much, and rarely need to see the doctor (even with children), shouldn’t they be allowed to pay less for coverage? Isn’t it a good thing to have an incentive for taking charge of your health? We don’t want to punish people with health problems they have through no fault of their own, or special needs children. That is not what I am talking about. I just know there are better ways and any number of options for people to be able to get quality healthcare at an affordable price without socializing medicine. There are also Christian groups that have cost-sharing which works in the same kind of way as making insurance payments, but it is not a company trying to make a profit. When someone has health expenses, the money is there for payment.

One of the things I noticed during the Republican primaries was that everyone who was running at that time had valuable opinions on nearly every issue. When I saw the Republicans debate, I saw men looking for answers to problems, and debating about the different ways to solve problems. They talked of specific ideas and plans to address different issues. It looked like if you only had that group of men working together, they could probably come up with a sensible solution for everything facing our nation. By contrast, when I saw the Democrats debating, I saw a lot of government-speak, a lot of vague notions and generalizations, a sort of elitist attitude towards the American people. I am not picking on Democrats on purpose, it was just something I saw. If I could have heard something encouraging from them, I would say so. I will give credit anywhere it is due. The fact is, healthcare, like all of the other issues our nation faces, is best addressed by people looking to solve problems by spending the least amount of taxpayers’ money, in the most efficient and legitimate manner possible. Empowering individuals and private businesses or corporations is good for the country as they encourage competition and capitalism. There are probably a lot of illegitimate government programs now, but the Department of Defense is one area that should never be skimped on. It must remain strong, with the best and brightest people working in it. It is a legitimate job of the government as defined by the Constitution. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are some of the inalienable rights that the Founding Fathers said you and I are endowed by our Creator with. These are rights, according to the Constitution. It is our responsibility, then, to take care of our lives, and use our liberties in profitable ways. We can pursue happiness as long as we are not robbing someone else of theirs. We have so much freedom in this country. But with freedom comes responsibility. In fact, freedom demands it. If you have freedom without responsibility, what happens to you? You begin to think everything is owed to you, and you shouldn’t have to work for anything. And in so doing, the lines between right and wrong, good and evil, should and shouldn’t all begin to blur. Everything is relative. The Constitution was not written for that kind of people. This is why a socialist government cannot rightly exist under our Constitution. It won’t work and it doesn’t need to be tried.

I would really be interested in hearing anyone’s thoughts on this matter. I welcome your comments!

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