Health Care: What a Bother

I saw a report this morning about health care. A doctor who was interviewed said that he was skeptical about President-elect Obama’s plan to bring health care to all Americans. His objection to the plan: there are so many people who are uninsured and who don’t go to the doctor NOW that if we give them all access to health care, there won’t be enough doctors to go around!

Am I to supposed to, then, believe that having 40 million uninsured Americans is a good thing? This doctor seemed to be saying so. Maybe if we triple the cost of health insurance instead of making it available to everyone, this doctor could spend less time in the office and more time on the golf course but still make the same amount of money. It certainly would be less work for him.

Is this really a good reason to purposely put health care out of the financial reach of so many of us— because doctors will have too much work? My own doctor works 4 days per week for 7 hours per day and 1 day per week for 3 hours. My guess is that there are many other doctors who work these types of hours. Perhaps, then, they could join the rest of us who work 40 or 45 hours per week—-which is considered to be a normal work week—–and travel less, recreate less, and run their errands in the evenings like the rest of us. Maybe more people will be encouraged to go to medical school. Maybe by having more access to health care, people will be able to take better care of themselves and thus actually go to the doctor less instead of waiting until there’s a major health problem that requires a great deal of time and energy. Maybe having access to health care will give all of us more peace of mind, thus creating less stress, which is the cause of so many diseases. Maybe there are doctors who would like to help more people but can’t because of the financial burden. Maybe……..

But to not be supportive of a plan to help more people because perhaps he doesn’t want to rock his own boat is reprehensible. It’s especially irritating to hear something like this from a DOCTOR——-someone who has taken the Hippocratic Oath, someone who, we all assume, wants to help as many people as possible. Most of us, I believe, think of doctors (and nurses) as people who have a “calling” to help others. Quite frankly, doctors such as the one I heard today seem to be in it more for the money. Not only that, but I don’t remember hearing him offer a better plan than Obama’s. We should all remember that health is not a commodity to be bought and sold——-although many of us obviously appear to see it that way.


3 Responses to “Health Care: What a Bother”

  1. 1 futiledemocracy November 21, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Here in Britain, we have a universal health care system, the NHS.
    John McCain, during the campaign, referred to our system as “undesirable”.
    My dad had a heart attack not long ago, he’d be dead without the NHS. My grandma has had six heart attacks. She would not be here still, at the ripe old age of 85, if the NHS were not around., my other grandma has had breast cancer, she was saved by the NHS. Universal healthcare, is the right of every citizen. If superior healthcare is available, everyone should have access to it. I will keep a close eye on America during the Obama years, for this very reason.

  2. 2 blahhg4u November 21, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Great post. Maybe if the education required to become a doctor was actually affordable, we would have enough doctors to care for everyone. So, maybe along with making health care accessible to everyone, they need to work on making education more accessible along with it.
    Simply saying that we don’t have enough doctors is a weak excuse to allow people to go without health care.

    Reply: Good point; I hadn’t thought of that. However, I’m sure medical schools, as well as many politicians, would fabricate “good reasons” for the expense of med school, for example, saying that lowering the cost would allow too many people in or there wouldn’t be enough teachers or facilities or the students wouldn’t be the hand-picked best and brightest (or that lowering the cost would eventually end in a medical school bailout!).

    For me, the excuses given by politicians boils down to one thing: greed. What else would keep this “health care is a commodity” system in place, especially when so many other countries have universal systems that work?

  3. 3 thelogicalreport November 21, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Futiledemocracy. You have a different—and much more personal—perspective than many others.

    Yes, here in America, many politicians have decried the health care systems of countries that provide its citizens with, as you well call it, a basic right. I’m sure that you’ve heard the stories being created and passed around to scare us—stories about how universal health care means waiting for months for an appointment, dying while waiting for a doctor, a shortage of doctors because no one will want to go into a profession in which they can’t make as much money as they’re making now, doctors who won’t be as skilled, etc.

    I can tell you this: In America, we can wait months for an appointment (done it), people have died in emergency rooms waiting for a doctor (2 such stories were in the news fairly recently), and we have our share of doctors who would have done us all a favor by becoming plumbers (let’s just say I know people). I believe that no matter what system you have, there will always be horror stories, inefficiencies, and greed, just as there are doctors and nurses who are angels among us. I have run into these wonderful health care professionals as well.

    You’re not the only one who will be keeping an eye on America to see how this develops.

    Good health to you and your family.

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