Health care system should focus on helping the masses, not profit

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

It was a different kind of summer. It was a summer when many of my flowerpots remained empty and I spent almost no time sitting outside. The overwhelming growth of the trees, plants and shrubs around my house made me feel like I was living in a forest. It was beautiful in its own way, still I felt overpowered, dwarfed by it all.

Because summer is my favorite season, I feel that I missed much of the joy I normally experience during warm weather. And certainly, I was distracted by the unsettled state of the world at large. The state of the economy, the number of unemployed, foreclosures and bankruptcies made the country a scary place in which to live.

On the issue of health care reform, I feel if people are truly satisfied with the state of health care in America, then they have no one but themselves to blame if they wake up one day and find themselves without the ability to get care. If the fact that thousands of people every year die because they can’t get treatment, doesn’t affect you, you are a stronger person than most of us are. This is an issue that speaks to the humanity of some of us.

While I have nothing but praise for our nation’s progress in the field of medicine, the way the system is run is deplorable. Where finances are concerned, the only real winners are the insurance companies. Anyone who can’t see that simply doesn’t want to. And as far as these legislators and talk show hosts telling lies and frightening people, I’m sure the money they earn from the insurance and pharmaceutical companies will enable them to pay top dollar for their health care.

At this point, the discussion has become so ugly, that I don’t believe an up or down vote will settle anything. Obviously, the anger is personal against the president. And so the nastiness will continue. Hopefully, there will be no racial warfare but the anger on both sides is elevating. The smart thing would be for people to end the discussion before violence occurs.

This recession has shown us how much we are beginning to look like a Third World country. It is not just that we are losing the middle class and becoming a country of the very rich and the very poor, but we are openly thinking and behaving like people who are indifferent to the plight of the less fortunate. Many Americans have no problem saying that even though they are able, they are unwilling to help other people out. Some are convinced that this is the kind of country they want it to be. Just as long as we are not a socialist society if people can’t afford food, then it’s OK for them to starve, if the only alternative is for us to help each other.

If we truly want to go down this path, we can no longer deny that we are the kind of people our enemies say we are. And make no mistake about it we can no longer serve as leaders of the free world. The industrialized countries will not allow it. When masses of people are allowed to die for lack of medical attention, we are marked as an uncivilized society. No civilized society behaves like that.

The words people speak on television are not heard in America alone (where they can deny five minutes later that they said them and members of their political party will believe them) but throughout the world, where the country’s enemies can hold the people accountable for their words. So if anybody thinks that people in rogue nations don’t know that we deny sick people care, homeless people housing and hungry people food, you are wrong. And, we are judged by many accordingly. We can say all day long that we are the good guys, but our actions speak much louder. And they are recorded on tape for the world to hear.

Now that we have no qualms about saying whatever comes into our minds, no matter how mean-spirited, ugly or ignorant it will not be long before we are looked upon with disrespect and treated like a rogue nation. And we don’t have the money or the manpower to wage war against the world. The most we can do is call people dirty names and say ugly things to them and hope they will fall in defeat. Unfortunately, that’s how pitiful we have become as a result of our feelings of superiority and our failure to recognize that we are not the world.

Over the weekend, I went to an auction where guns and ammunition were on sale. Anyone wanting to know where we are going as a nation had only to observe the ardor with which people were grabbing weapons.

At times like these, I try to remember that this democratic republic was only a noble experiment, after all. For the sake of the human race, I can only hope that the hate will end here.

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

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