National Healthcare

Interesting speech last night by the President. I'm not sure if I'm on board with this set of national healthcare ideas but I think it's something that needs doing enough that we should just get the process underway.

I can't say that I'm in the mainstream on why I want national healthcare though. Personally I think way, way too much money is spent on those last few weeks of our life. Heroic measures, extraordinarily expensive meds, around the clock care, etc. Spending all that money only extends life a few hours, days, maybe weeks. Is it worth it? In this country the answer has usually been yes---anything needed to keep someone alive is worth it. I don't agree.

There's only so much money available for healthcare. Ugly? Perhaps, but true. I think that money would be better spent on lifestyle measures. Adequate prenatal education and care, nutrition programs like WIC, education and support for lowering weight, cholesterol, smoking, salt intake, etc.

An enormous burden is placed on our healthcare system due to behavior that affects our health long before the problems become manifest. Not much is done about it because there's no financial incentive. Our healthcare system is largely motivated by short term profits. While profits can be a good motivating force in many areas, healthcare isn't one of them. This is a place where sprinkling money early on in a patients life can reap great benefits in terms of reduced healthcare costs later on. But in a business model those early costs would appear to be wasted since the payoff might not be for decades. Think diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular problems---many of these can be mitigated with behavior changes but that's not happening now.

Anyway, how about the already infamous burglar case in Cambridge? I think it's high time for President Obama to start speaking out about the race problem in the US but this might not have been the ideal case to start with. I guess the President had little choice due to Professor Gates prominence in the academic community and his being an early supporter of Obama's campaign. Howver it wouldn't surprise me that the investigation ends up showing that Dr Gates was intentionally uncooperative to make a political point. I can't blame Dr Gates a whole lot since he was arrested at his own house---but his "jimmying open a damaged front door" definitely was suspicious behaviour. And since he was arrested for "loud and tumultuous behavior in a public space" and not burglary, it would appear that Dr Gates was a wee bit peeved and not afraid to show it.

Trying to imagine myself in his situation, that is being found trying to break into my own home, I'd be very cautious and polite with the police. Anybody that carries a gun is somebody I'm very loath to get upset. Having police investigate a possible burglary is a good thing for a homeowner---pissing them off in the course of their investigation is short sighted. So, if you're a burglar in Cambridge, there's one house that you know police are going to be slow to respond to. Not such a good thing if you own that house, y'know? It certainly will help to fire up discussions of race and police profiling though and that's always good for some media coverage. At least it'll get dead celebrities off the screen for a while.


jan said…
I think Gates thinks he has won the victim lottery and will play this out as long as he can.

I'm a volunteer with our local police department and they are bound by protocol in how they handle situations.

The police officer who was investigating a break in by himself, confronting a deranged man, did what he had been trained to do.
Teresa said…
You don't quite get it, but I'm not going to explain right now. I do want to say something about preventative care. While I do agree that some money thrown at keeping people healthy does help with early detection and less treatment costs, the idea that you can stop people from doing things they shouldn't is silly. Imagine the sugar-cessation course that would have broken you of the sugar habit years ago if only someone would have provided you with information and resources to stop that sugar from turning to fat when your metabolism slowed down in your 40s. You wouldn't have gained weight and be at higher risk for diseases that most people experience anyway when they get older. Even the guy who works out and eats healthy drops dead unexpectedly... or finds himself suddenly needing heart surgery... or is diagnosed with diabetes. Maybe I'm wrong... and you could have been spared your sugar addiction... if only someone had educated you about the dangers of too much sugar.

At an early job, they found they could get a reduced rate on insurance if a certain percentage of employees partook of a health club membership. So we all were offered reduced memberships to a racquet club, which was pretty much all that was available in the area. It was fun, but a lot of people ended up injured -- several broken fingers, a few sprained ankles and twisted knees, and a dislocated shoulder in my area (of about 20 people) alone. It turned out keeping us healthy was dangerous. And insurance rates went up.

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