I speak with people from across the country about health care programs, delivery of service, availability and cost and there is an underlying theme to much of the discussion. I DESERVE the best. Well, I ask, what about those other guys?
We live in such a selfish culture.
In the mainstream news, print, e-print and television the magic number 47,000,000 million is cited repeatedly as the number of people in the United States that do not have any type of healthcare coverage. I don't know if I care if the number is correct or if it is half that. I know that many health care dollars are wasted on cover your butt care and that waste is built into the system. Meanwhile, people are suffering and dying from lack of care.
When a person does not have basic coverage to see a family doctor many things can happen. Here is what I've seen. Some wait, hoping to feel better. Many use home remedies and hope to feel better. Others run off to the ER at the first sign of illness while others are rushed to the ER when a fulminating illness breaks loose like a festering wound. I think watchful waiting and home remedies are fine but when that doesn't work, and before someone ends up terribly sick, there should be other options. Our emergency rooms should not be used for basic health care.
Some hospitals have a fast track option and a nurse or other health care professional will do an intake triage and point the person in the right direction. If it appears you are having a heart attack or your toe fell off you get rolled into the emergency room area. Otherwise, if you have a fever and feel crummy and don't appear overtly contagious you get sent to the fast track clinic.
This triage is cost driven but it also keeps you from spending time in an area of the hospital that is more likely to have contagion, trauma and long wait times. Whether people like it or not resources are parsed out to make the best use of skills, time and money.
Still, either of these options will probably cost more money than if you could call up your own doctor and be seen by someone who has gotten to know you. When people drift from one provider to another continuity of care is lost and sometimes the bigger picture is harder to see. Having an ongoing relationship with your health care provider might save your life.
I said we have a selfish culture. What makes your need outweigh the needs of others when it comes to getting coverage and care? Are you smarter, richer, more disabled, older, younger........
What makes you special? Our society devalues the elderly, the fat, the homeless, the poor, the homely, the addicted, the unkempt, the undereducated, the alcoholic, the mentally ill and the chronically ill. (Thanks Eric for the edit)
"Well, they did it to themselves...." is a popular comment on why some people don't deserve care. What secrets about what you do are you hiding? What makes you special?
There are medical procedures and care I would prefer, on a philosophical level, not to have my taxes fund. But, being a realist, for the basics of care it doesn't matter.
Having basic health care should not be a privilege in this country. And people need to focus on more than themselves. Use those skills you learned in kindergarten. Share. Care.