Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Universal Health Care

My wife and I watched Sicko yesterday. As many of you know I am a year and a half away from starting medical school, so the state of our health care here in America is of utmost importance in my mind. Michael Moore presents a very bias documentary of health care horror stories here in America and the lack problems with foreign health care systems, everywhere from Canada to Cuba (he didn't seem to show lower class citizens in other countries). Despite the obvious flaws and holes in Moore's reasoning and research, I was left wishing we had universal health care here in the states. The doctor's in France seemed well off (one of my worries is working for the gov't), happy, and successfull overall. They couldn't dream of working in a system where they would have to turn away sick people because they didn't have insurance to cover the cost. I shudder at the thought of myself in the future being forced to stay my hand in healing those I would be capable of healing, in Christian terms burying my talents. The driving force behind my career path is service, to be a self-less physician. Will insurance companies and hospital administrations deny me of this goal? Is the only reason we don't have universal health care here in America because, as Moore said, propaganda against other countries (the French) and fear of change, fear of socialism? Is the idea of a self-less physician the core principle of social healthcare and an impossibility in the U.S.? Maybe I should move to France.

I guess the purpose of this post is to get more of the story. After watching Sicko I am ery moved. Anybody with any other insights on the matter wither for or against universal health care (especially the plans of Hillary or Obama), your thoughts are encouraged.


Brad said...

I'm opposed to universal health care for a number of reasons. Too many to be listed here. One major problem is that when you take away responsibility from people, you also take away their freedom. For example, what if a family decides that health care isn't important to them and they decide instead to buy a new house and a nice car. I don't agree with this decision, but I do think that it's ok for them to decide what's best for them. I disagree with the idea of the government forcing them to buy insurance (whether independently or through higher taxes). Perhaps health insurance could be mandatory, similar to car insurance, but if so, I think an "auto insurance model" should be followed, where people are required to pay for a "catastrophic" coverage, and then pay for routine maintenance, etc. out of pocket.
While providing health care for everyone is a good desire, a better goal is to help everyone be able to provide for themselves. I think this involves change both in the current health care system, and in the attitude that we all have toward health care. I agree that we should have a system in place to provide for children in general and for adults who are "hard on their luck." But we shouldn't send a message to anyone that health care is always available, no matter how hard you work (or don't work) or how good a job you do of taking care of your personal health.
The goal of good health care is to improve quality of life. But improving health care is not the only way to improve the quality of life. Helping people develop the means/skills/resources to have control over their own lives is a better and more comprehensive way of improving quality of life.
Money and effort should be focused toward empowering and educating people so they can make decisions for themselves and provide for themselves, rather than depending on the state for their wellbeing.

Jake & Rachel said...

You might change your opinion once you are in the field. It would take YEARS and YEARS to socialize health care in the US, meanwhile making it harder for Dr.'s to do their work self-lessly. That being said, there does have to be sacrifice for change. You mentioned hospital administrators and insurance companies, but pharmaceutical companies are a HUGE player as well.
I'm not sure about universal health care. My opinion is somewhat selfish though. It has taken Jake countless years of schooling and training to be a licensed Dr., and we still have residency ahead of us. Not to mention the Dr.'s that choose fellowships. And talk about expensive! Expensive is an understatement. Especially if you start a family. We couldn't have done it without joining the military. Trust me, there are plenty of ways to serve self-lessly as a Dr. right now. The government doesn't inhibit that, the individual does. Jake has participated in medical missions to third world countries and to low income families in the our own country. Plus, our church lends itself to service! You'll see.

Jake & Rachel said...

ah, I forgot to mention that another reason I'm opposed is that socializing health care would definitely mean higher taxes. The economy is in such bad shape right now, I think that higher taxes would be a hard burden to bear.

Aaron said...

thank you both for your thoughts. I agree with both of you to an extent, but I'd be lying if I still didn't like the French and English health care systems portrayed by Moore in Sicko. Have you guys watched that documentary? If so what are your thoughts on it? (I know its bias by the way).

Brad I really like your thoughts on responsibilities being taken away from the individual when the gov't takes control. I think my opinions on extensive well fare systems are on the same track as that train of thought.