My Recent Thoughts on Health Care

I'm not optimistic about any decent health care reform going through this weekend. I'm thinking this way for a couple of reasons. One, the health insurance industry makes too much money and is in the business of making it, not helping you with your health expenses. Two, doctors are not really in the business of making you well; they are concerned about getting you dependent on medicine. How many of you have been given "samples" when you confront the doctor with a problem? There never seems to be any concrete search for the actual problem. Years ago, I had a rash on my hands (primarily my right hand) that never seemed to go away. I went to the doctor, and he said it could be one of several hundred things causing it. He prescribed a steroid-based ointment that was $95 a tube. It worked, but once I ran out, the rash returned. I was convinced the rash was caused by something internal. By chance, I came across a magazine article about candida; I read it and it sure sounded like what I was going through. Bloating, trying to lose weight, skin rash. Bingo! So I did what the article suggested and in a week, my rash of several years was gone in a week. I bought a bottle of supplements ($17) ate the foods the article recommended and cut back on my sugar. That was it. My doctor, on the other hand, didn't ask any questions about my diet.

Now, I've developed another problem. Every so often, I throw up in the mornings when I have my first bowel movement of the day. It's a dry heave, because there's nothing on my stomach. I've tried identifying what triggers it. Looks like Coke Zero is the culprit. Too bad, because I really like it, but now I guess I shouldn't be drinking pop after 7 p.m. Probably shouldn't drink pop at all.

Another thing I'm starting to wonder is, do we as Americans truly deserve health care? I'm not talking about the people born with a certain health condition, although I'm sure some would argue it's not worth shelling out $150,000+ for some baby born to uninsured, poor parents. People are naturally selfish. They want to be saved first, everyone else can wait. So how do you decide who gets helped? Especially when that baby's parents are not too bright to begin with, and come from abusive families. That $150,000 "investment in life" might not look so good 18 years from now, when that fragile baby is now a sneering teenager who dropped out of school and has a pregnant girlfriend.

Okay, so I'm all gloom and doom about things, but you have to wonder sometimes. Crime has gone down, and I'm wondering how much it has to do with legalized abortion. If you really don't want a baby, and are forced to have it, how good of a mom do you think you're going to be? It's the anti-abortion people who don't quite understand this. The newspapers and television are chock-full of the latest stupid parents who have locked their kids in the minivan while they go gambling. Or, they forget to drop the baby off at daycare, and let the kid roast in the car while they spend eight hours on the job. It amazes me that everything is regulated, but any damn fool can have a kid, and all too frequently they do.

Another point about how "deserving" we are of health care: we are all a bunch of fat asses. I've struggled with my weight for decades. However, I've learned some things about nutrition and exercise. I'm not an expert, by any means, but I've tried to do some sort of exercise program. I started exercising on a regular basis again once my doctor cleared me to go back to work after my surgery. I've noticed that I sleep a tad better. I also don't feel as depressed about things after I've worked out and I'm cooling down. I also feel like I've been "cleansed" on the inside. So there are definite benefits to exercise. But I do have a problem with food. I love to eat. I hate to cook. When I do cook, it's excellent. I do eat out entirely too much, and if I've had a hard day at work, I don't pick up a beer, I head for a restaurant. I've realized this behavior in myself and I hate it as much as an alcoholic who realizes his or her condition hates what he or she is doing.

So, the fatness of America scares me. I see people I know who literally waddle, and it would probably take them a good half hour to walk the part of the block of my street that I live on. Doing anything remotely physical with them is a bad idea; no laser tag, or walking around Headwaters during Three Rivers Festival or even Putt Putt Golf. I know at least five people who are morbidly obese. If they live, they can expect at the very least, diabetes and heart problems. And if they go on disability, there's another added expense, in addition to hospital and doctor visits.

And let's not forget the young men who function on Mountain Dew, Doritos and energy drinks. They fill themselves with crap and they don't care, and are proud to tell you so.

So the health care issue is a slippery slope. It's going to cost us. But it's already costing us. Everyone who uses the ER to get treatment who can't pay helps drive up the cost. There are other factors involved, of course, but there's no denying health care is expensive.

Would it be out of line to offer "rewards" in the form of reduced health care premiums to those who don't smoke, maintain an acceptable weight for their height and body frame, those who have lost weight, and to those who exercise (although that might be hard to monitor)? I realize that sort of smacks of "earning your health care" but might make those "Doritos and Dew" for breakfast types wake up a bit. I'd feel better if my tax dollars went to save someone's grandma rather than some 22-year-old video gamer who won't amount to much.

And that's part of the problem. No one wants to pay for someone else's health care, yet we want "the system" to step in and take care of US. I don't think there are any easy answers. I don't think government-run health care has to suck, but it's not going to be perfect either. Still, one has to wonder when you look at other countries and their health care systems. Their populations seem to live longer than we do. That's got to count for something.


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