Friday, August 14

Remember What Your Grandma Told You: Play Nice

I marvel at my fellow Americans. In our individual pursuits of happiness, we some times forget that we are also a nation of individuals that rely on other individuals to keep us free, to keep us well, to care for our kids, to educate us, and on and on. In other words, despite our dependency on each other, we don't always play nice.

Yet, time after time, I have seen the good of our coming together in times of trouble. A neighbor's house catches fire, everyone on the block is there to lend a hand to the family. If a person passes away, family, friends, and even strangers come together to mourn. When a soldier goes off to war, other people look in on their families. If there is a natural disaster, people line up to help. We have a great compassion and obligation to others in our country's fabric.

As I think about the future of health care reform, I see that things are not likely to get better unless we can agree on a plan that works, even if it is incrementally instituted. And to arrive at a place where our elected representatives can do their jobs and practice due diligence, it is good that real people with real concerns are attending the townhall meetings as well as sycophants to the either side of the free market divide. I'd actually like to have more opportunity to hear what those in need have to say than those who are fundamentally opposed to any changes to our current system.

Our representatives should hear what people need in the way of health care for their families, but more than that, the rest of us need to hear it too. We need to listen and think about what we can do to support our neighbors, members of our communities and the agencies, like local free medical and dental clinics, that are often the difference between some people being treated and no care. We need to push against anybody who would get in the way of health care being limited to a person in need and support those, in the meanwhile, who are stepping up and filling a gap to the best of their ability.

And we need to commend those in the health field that bend the rules. When I was unemployed a year ago, I was extremely thankful for my medical doctor's creativity to treat me such that we didn't end up in bankruptcy court. For us it also meant buying prescription drugs that we needed through a pharmacy in Canada that imported them from a pharmaceutical house in India. Yes, I'm admitting that we broke the law, but we needed the medication and we could not afford it otherwise. You'll forgive me if I'm not apologetic about it.

When I attend a townhall meeting in the next week or so, I'll ask why any industry should hold that much sway over what you and I receive in the way of health care. Personally, I think having a universal insurance exchange with a public insurance option is a reasonable compromise so that neither the insurance companies nor the government receive our complete confidence in their abilities to do what is best for us.

If you live long enough, you realize that everybody needs help. Everybody deserves to be able to be as healthy as they can be. The problems that we are facing call for our shared responsibility and we need to play nice with others. That is the only way health care reform can and should happen.

1 comment:

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