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Health care reform opponents need a reality check

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 11:15 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 3, 2009

I have known several people who, when diagnosed with terminal illnesses, neglected to seek further medical treatment. In the first place, some people accept the fact that death is inevitable. And though many people have failed to understand why some make these decisions, I have always understood. Health care in America is expensive and complicated. And as far as I'm concerned, the medical profession and the insurance companies are totally out of control.

Even some doctors who went into the profession for the right reasons know this is true. For one friend who was well admired in his community, doctors made house calls to care for him at no charge.

Still, at the price of health care, I can understand why some people are fighting reform. But I have to ask myself if I want to live in a country that seems indifferent to those who are ill and suffering. And actually, I don't. Those who constantly talk about Christian and family values and don't care that millions are without health insurance really need to shut up. Everyone can see through his or her claims.

I know many are against a national health care program because they consider it socialized medicine. Frankly, if anyone was willing to take the insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital technology and equipment supply companies to task to try to find ways to lower costs, it would certainly help the situation. But if these companies are allowed to continue to commit highway robbery at the expense of human life, we need to quit calling ourselves a nation committed to human rights or at least admit that we are for human rights as long as they don't cost anything. Having a health care system that only people with money can afford is inhumane.

In the final analysis, we are probably going to become a divided nation simply because that is a proposition that some of us are morally unable to afford. Those who have good health care and can afford the best doctors also need to know that some of us do not envy them. We know that those who would deny everyone good health care are probably so morally damaged that no amount of medical expertise can save them from their fate.

It is unfortunate that the health care industry has not monitored itself and found some way to work with government to provide health care for the uninsured. I don't know why it is so hard for businesses to understand that if they find solutions to problems affecting their own businesses it would not be necessary for the public to demand that government step in. Of course, when Wall Street needed help, they had no problem appealing to Washington.

These lawmakers in Congress who refuse to vote for a reformed health care system have no problem at all going to sleep at night with the full knowledge that they and their families have good coverage if they get sick.

And as far as government interfering with free enterprise, well, until free enterprise understands that it is not free to defraud individuals at will, and comes into compliance with some rules of fair play, then I can't see that government has any choice. Does anybody really think that any part of the health care system from nurses to insurance companies is really hurting financially?

It seems to me that we are down to the wire on this matter. And we need to honestly point the finger at the responsible people. Of course, many small businesses cannot afford to have health care plans for their employees. Does anybody ask why? The government did not create this situation, in spite of the fact that it's an easy target. People in the business of caring for the medical needs of the public are responsible for the high cost of health care, and these are the people who need to be brought under control.

How expensive is it to get a medical degree? Now this is where government needs to truly intervene. We need doctors, so people should receive big medical scholarships to attend school without having to acquire major school loans. The price of medical equipment should be examined, and perhaps the government should take on the business of manufacturing it, so it could be less costly. At the risk of having to duck the raw eggs, what I'm saying is, if private enterprise is unable to deliver health care for every American at an affordable price, perhaps it should become the business of government.

We have to make choices, and we simply can't leave it to the richest people to make the decisions. The people in the middle class are the most affected, and therefore they should make the choices.

The question is, do we want decent health care or not? Stay tuned.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at nolen@iland.net.


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