It has been a rough few weeks of illness around here, which we finally decided was some undiagnosable GI bug (which is currently giving sweet Linus a fever and stomach pain). As I was sitting in the ER Friday morning with Hobbes, trying to find the source of two days and two nights of stomach cramps every 20 minutes, I thought about a lot of things.
I thought about how much I love my middle son, that impish, mischievous, quirky way he has about him. And I though about how perfect our family is because he is right there in the middle, driving Calvin crazy when he needs to be and bonding with Linus in the most adorable way.
I thought about how much I hate hospitals. I am glad we have such good health care in this country, but I am even more glad that I have rarely needed it.
I thought about how annoying it is that so many ridiculous tests have to be run, so much time and money wasted, just so that malpractice lawyers can't sue doctors, the majority of whom are competent, caring individuals.
I thought about my dad, who was an amazing doctor who loved bringing new babies into the world and caring for women. And I looked at the kind doctors in the pediatric ER and knew that they were there for the same reasons my dad had been, to take care of sick people, to bring healing...NOT to make money. I knew that they would serve my son, screaming in pain in my arms, whether we had health coverage or not.
I thought about this article and how the health care reform could drive some really good people out of a profession they love. Let's face it, how many people would give up the prime years of their lives and many hours of sleep, time with family, and a life outside of work to work in an inefficient system with poor pay? Money did not make up for the time I didn't have with my father, but the lack of fair wages may have kept him and many others out of medicine. Even really good people will not go into a profession that sucks year of a life away if there is no fair compensation.
I thought about our crappy, unethical health insurance provider and wondered if they would pay this bill. We have good coverage through my husband's work, but we have to fight to get every big bill paid, including Calvin's heart surgery, for which we had an approval letter from them. That bill took over six months, and I knew how to navigate the system since I had once filed insurance for a doctor. Still, we had to call my husband's HR person to get it paid. What do people do who don't know how to work the system?
I wondered what that morning would look like under the new health care plan. Would we have to wait days for access to tests to find out if Hobbes' pain was something more serious that a virus? Or would things stay the same? Would people who weren't able to afford good care now be able to get it? We are lucky, I know.
This are the things I was thinking about. I am pretty conflicted on the health care issue, and I have yet to find a good, balanced perspective on it. If you can give me some thoughtful, balanced ideas on this, please do, but don't try to sway me with emotional arguments. I want facts.
I am pretty traditionally conservative when it comes to my view of the government running things. In general, I think more government bureaucracy leads to greater inefficiency and poorer quality. Things generally do better when run on a local level and tailored to the needs of a local community.
I have no problem with going after health insurance companies, which I think are a totally unethical and corrupt group of businesses, with a few exceptions. If they only reason folks are fighting universal health care is to protect these guys, then I say it's not worth it.
I respect and trust doctors and think they give up a lot in order to serve the common good. They should be able to work in an environment that rewards them for their sacrifice and allows them to choose to offer services or not based on their conscience.
I think that all of those 18-30ish uninsured adults out there who have decided the cost savings are worth the risk should be allowed to opt out of health insurance.
I don't believe we have a right to immortality, but I do believe we have a duty to provide basic health care to our citizens.
I am conflicted. But I am very glad that Hobbes only had a virus.