My compatriot Amanda and I were having breakfast this morning and somehow the topic of health care reform came up. I said was pretty apathetic about the whole thing, which she disapproved of and so we got the chance to discuss it. As a result, I now have a much more concrete concept of what my opinions on health care reform are.
I think we all agree more or less that our current health care system is broken or at least, far from the ideal. Thus, everyone is trying to come up with ideas of how to fix it. The goal is apparently for everyone in the country to be able to get the healthcare they need. This is a good goal. But I have a hard time getting enthusiastic about any of the solutions being proposed, mostly because I disagree with their foundational assumptions.
The first foundational assumption is just what health care needs to include. Our nation is obsessed with health, but this obsession often times seems to a) have much more to do with comfort than survival and b) be solving problems that are a result of unhealthy lifestyles. And so, when we expect health care, we expect much more than is necessary or reasonable. We want a pill and a cure for everything and we want it now, thank you. This is not to say that all health care is like this; there are legitimate health concerns and health needs in individual lives. I’m just saying that in a lot of cases we expect much more than what we actually need.
The second foundational assumption is that if people do not have access to healthcare, that it is the government’s job to do something about it. (sidenote: we expect the government to do everything else to keep us happy and comfortable, why not this?). For centuries, the responsibility for health care did not fall on the government, but was picked up by the church. Who cared for the sick and the dying? The church. Why not today? Did not Jesus tell us to love and care for the least of these?
So, my response to health care reform is, let the government do what it will do with the health care game. The game is broken; they’re trying to rewrite the rules. My solution? Get out of the game and help those who can’t afford to play.
We don’t need institutionalized health care was much as we think we do. Our bodies have an amazing capacity to stay healthy; they’re designed that way. Every day our body successfully defends us against millions of physical and biological threats often without us knowing it. The best healthcare reform we can have is reforming the way we care for our best medical resource: our bodies.
Your body is the best doctor you have, and common sense is the best medicine. Take care of your body (healthy food, lots of water, regular sleep and exercise) and it will take care of you. Granted, it’s not wrong to access healthcare when it’s really needed and to go to a doctor in some situations. But we don’t need it as much as we think we do.
Good health care reform would be this:
- To reform the way we take care of our bodies
- To reform our expectations about what healthcare we really need
- To reform the church’s lack of responsibility towards the poor, needy and sick