health care costs

If Only Conservatives Would Demonize Health Care Prices Instead Of The Poor

Republican Congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama wants us to "take into account our financial limitations" in providing health care to every American. Some people interpreted his remarks as meaning that we can't afford to provide health care to every American. I want to give Congressman Brooks the benefit of the doubt and assume he meant that not everyone could have unlimited medical care at any price paid for by the government. But I can understand how others would translate his words negatively. Brooks is the same guy who talked about "people who lead good lives" as part of the health care reform debate.

This healthy people lead good lives, sick people lead bad lives is just updated phraseology for the same old moralizing nonsense conservatives use to demonize the poor and revere the rich. This type of thinking is so stupid and inapplicable in the real world. There are millions of healthy people who lead good lives that get sick. My best friend in the world was one of those people. She was active, did yoga regularly, ate organic, had an active social life and had a sharp mind. But one day she was diagnosed with cancer, and I lost her. This is a story repeated many times every day yet we still have jerks like Brooks that would rather use hateful language against the poor than address the unnecessarily high prices charged by hospitals and medical care providers.

You see politicians and doctors want us to believe the problem of unaffordable health care is our fault. If we only lead good, healthy lives, no one would need expensive, government-paid health care, says the politician. If we engaged in healthy behaviors and avoided unhealthy behaviors, we wouldn't suffer from expensive chronic diseases, says the doctor. And these politicians and doctors may have valid points—health care would be less expensive if we all lead healthy lives. But what world do these politicians and doctors live in? Who are these perfect, healthy people who do everything right in life? So instead of promoting this myth of the good, healthy, righteous, never need health care super-human being that does not exist, I wish Congressman Brooks and others like him would join us in the real world. A world where real good people, rich and poor alike get sick, sometimes really sick, and need expensive medical care.

The Alabama Congressman could address the financial limitations of high-cost medical innovations. About how much is too much medical innovation for the nation's pocketbook to cover? He could bring up for conversation why we require American doctors to obtain a Bachelor's degree before starting their medical degree education when many other industrialized nations do not. The cost of a medical education in America is the main justification doctors use for their high salaries. Mr. Brooks could learn more about the impact of socioeconomic factors on a person's health and support public policies to address these issues. He could also say that Americans should not pay
hundreds of thousands of dollars for heart attack treatment. But he doesn't focus on any of these issues. Continue Reading...