Gut feeling not good enough reason for universal health care

A gut feeling is a funny thing. Gut feelings drive us to decisions, to conversations, to votes.

Americans are compassionate, in-touch-with-their-gut people, and when we hear of millions living without health insurance, we want to fix what seems to be a very large problem. We get swept up in the urgency of it, and are driven by our gut feelings and our natural drive to hunker down and start “fixing”.

Of course, there is always the risk, when fixing one problem, that we cause yet another, and many are nervous that this is precisely what may happen with the current big debate–health care reform.

One of the biggest issues in the health care debate is that no one seems to really know the practical steps that President Obama wishes to take to “fix” our current system. Columbia Journalism Review made a good point the other day: “The public needs to know—and soon—how this requirement will affect their pocketbooks. Flowery words only go so far.”

Plus, once the system is “fixed”, how are we going to pay for it? Plans have been floated to tax everything from sodas to the “rich” to the uninsured, none of which seem to answer the call of less expensive, better quality health care. Someone will have to pay for it.

But all politics aside–I completely understand the push for universal health care. I get the “gut feeling” aspect of it. I understand how important health is, and how the thought of uninsured people dying for lack of care is sad and scary.

However, I’m not sure that it’s government’s job to subsidize such a project, and–based on what’s happened in Massachusetts–such plans may be unsustainable. Even Physicians for a National Health Program has pointed out the problems with Massachusetts health care. While I don’t agree with their solution, it’s not just conservatives who see the public system as broken. It’s fascinating to see what’s happened on a small scale in one state–I think it’s worth thinking if this is what we want nationwide.

It’s also interesting to note that veteran health care is not succeeding so well either. If that’s the care we provide for our military heroes, what will the rest of us get?

Many doctors have concerns about the new plan, including Dr. George Watson, a Kansas physician and president-elect of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, who talked to on Thursday: “This is a bureaucratic boondoggle to grab control of health care,” he said. “Everything that has been proposed in the 1,018-page bill will contribute to the ruination of medicine.”

Those are strong words, but health care is big deal and we shouldn’t take such concerns lightly. One thing that I also find a bit disturbing about the bill is how large it is, yet how quickly it’s being shoved onto the American people.

Health care reform is being treated as a crisis–something that needs to be fixed now. As I said earlier, I understand that feeling–but I still think we need much more information before we can feel confident in a decision.

However, before you make a big purchase or a life-changing decision, what’s the age-old wisdom you remember? “Sleep on it,” our friends and mentors said. “Think about it.”

In effect, this is the same advice that Mitt Romney, who helped create the Massachusetts health care, gave to the President in an interview recently: “Slow down.”

There are people in this country who choose not be insured. There are those who fear too much government control over such a vital part of life. Without the promised transparency from this administration and our elected officials, We the People don’t have an opportunity to know and make a decision about the issue, so we may be stuck with a health-care plan that we never wanted.

I believe that we need to trust our guts, but we also need to think long and hard about our solutions to this problem. We need to do some research on government-run health care, and look deeper than the headlines.

In doing so, we may find different conclusions than the first gut feeling. “The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15)

Be First to Comment

  1. imabeliever said:

    The whole National Health Care discussion is troublesome to me. I don’t think that’s the answer to our situation.

    July 29, 2009

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