Monday, April 13, 2009

The Real Problem With The Health Care Debate

I just had to get to this piece in the Nation-A System From Hell- before it disappears from the website. The piece chronicles the tragic story of a woman facing a colossal wave of medical bills on two fronts; Her daughter, who was in a severe accident and her husband who suffers from Parkinson's disease. It's a terrible tragedy, but it's really not a story about health care. What it's about is human tragedy and what response society and government should have to the tragedies of others. The poor woman can't afford to pay all her family's medical bills, but there should be a difference in looking to resolve her tragic circumstances and the shape of health care for everyone.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can't allow expensive outliers to dictate the functioning of a complex system. If and how the government should help this woman is a discussion for another day- For now, all I'm asking is that everyone keep a level head and not screw everyone in the name of helping one person.

It's quite ridiculous, but this is the direction the health care debate has taken. Massive and unanticipated health care expenses should be treated just as other massive and unanticipated expenses are treated. When houses are burned down or flooded away, those incidents are treated in isolation, yet somehow, a tragedy related to health means our system is in crisis.


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