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Real cost of health care is human


The debate over health care reform continues, and each day there seem to be more ridiculous claims that have nothing to do with the plight of everyday Americans who need access to a doctor for preventive care or unexpected illnesses. As I watch and participate in the conversation I feel as though something is always amiss. There is finger-pointing, name-calling, correcting and defending—all of which distract attention from the core reason we are having this conversation. Accessible and affordable health care will offer Americans peace of mind to live creative, productive and whole lives. Health care provides a peace of mind needed to fulfill one’s unique potential. The matter of peace of mind and its value is getting buried under the debris of lies, confusion and compromise.
I can gratefully boast that at the age of 40 I have never had any physical health issues, but for those who have found themselves debilitated by pain and illness, the true cost of our current health care system is apparent. Those Americans who have fallen into the spiral of worry, fear and isolation due to illness know very intimately how being sick can force you to confront your physical and emotional limitations. The current debate about the cost of health care seems to have overlooked what the individual and the collective forgo when a person is emotionally crippled under unaffordable health expenses. What poor health care costs our nation in creativity, productivity and innovation is enormous. This scenario applies as much to the individual quality of life as to businesses struggling under the pressure of rising health care expenses. Money that could be invested in training and providing an environment geared towards innovation and growth is currently being filtered down the health insurance drain.
There is no value one can place on peace of mind. When my toddler was born with Downs Syndrome I fought tooth and nail to make sure he’d have state-funded health insurance. I wanted to sleep at night knowing his every medical need would be provided for, knowing that such a safety net would allow me the freedom to focus on preventive measures crucial for his development. Losing my own health insurance has been a by-product of leaving my job to care for my son. Honestly, sacrificing my health care was a low price to pay considering what may have been at risk.
This health care debate has focused on the issue of cost without addressing the price of peace of mind, and the mind, body and spirit connection. When my son failed several hearing tests during the first year of his life, without concern of cost, we were referred to the best facility for hearing in California. I was very worried about the probability of my son suffering from hearing loss, but having access to the necessary care granted me a peace that allowed me to show up in my parenting and as his advocate. Not being forced to worry about funding freed me to care for my child. Offering access to the millions of uninsured and underinsured will likely free those Americans to nurture their inherent talents and lead more productive lives that will benefit the collective.
Our citizens are our greatest resource. Providing an atmosphere that maintains capable, innovative and creative citizens is the cost of living in a free and civilized society. As Americans we often claim to be best and the brightest in the world. Truth be told, the statistics say otherwise. We’ve all heard that the US is trailing and in some cases near the bottom of infant mortality rates and life expectancy. That can change now if we are willing to consider the real value of health. What can you create without your health? What can you give without your health? Can you serve without your health? For the millions of Americans who live in fear of getting sick and not being able to afford seeing a doctor, what is the cost of sacrificing the gifts and talents that are untapped within them?
Our nation is young and we are at a pivotal point in history. We have an opportunity under the leadership of President Obama and the millions who went to the polls last November to begin creating a society that understands and values human beings. We have an opportunity to build a nation that is at its core compassionate and safe for all. We will profit as a society from the cures and inventions that propel us forward medically, environmentally and socially. These cures and inventions are presently undiscovered within a child who only needs the proper environment and nurturing to realize his talents. As the health care debate wages on, let us consider the creativity and genius we are currently sacrificing under the current health care system.
Just the other morning I heard a quiet ringing. It hadn’t occurred to me it may be the phone until my son, who is now 2 1/2, placed his hand to his ear and started saying hello. He, unlike his mother, recognized the quiet ringing as our home phone. I simply couldn’t hear the phone clearly, so the answering machine beat me to it. I’m deeply grateful my son can hear perfectly. Ironically, I have no insurance coverage to obtain the hearing test my son was able to receive, clearing him of any hearing loss. God bless America.


  • Eugene Hamburger 5 years ago

    Peace of mind is not a right. You have no right to selfishly demand that your neighbors pay for your peace of mind. Caring for your family, maintaining your own mental health is YOUR responsibility. I am sorry your family has suffered hardships, but that is what life is made up of.

    Did it ever occur to you that lots of people will LOSE their "peace of mind" if forced into a state-run healthcare system? A system run by czars, pencil-pushers and morally reprehensible politicians who are more concerned about re-election than the rights of the people the supposedly represent? I doubt you even considered such a scenario even for a moment.

    How typical of a Democrat: play the humanitarian card while attempting to expand the state and diminish freedom. I submit that forcing people into a system they do not want is oppression - and YOU are the oppressor.

    This is a nation of individuals and individual rights; with that comes a high degree of individual responsiblity.

  • monica b. 5 years ago

    Beautifully written! Hmmm....I wonder if anyone else would like to give back their peace of mind that comes from our collective willingness to care about and pay for other minimum standards: food, drug and water safety, a hazard-free workplace, a police force, a fire department, interstate highways, K-12 education, on and on it goes. Damned selfish humans with all your greedy needs!

  • Eugene Hamburger 5 years ago

    Monica: Why does it always feel like I am teaching Civics 101? The purpose of government is to protect one's liberty: not provide "minimum standards of living" for its citizens.

    Also: schools, fire departments and police forces are paid for by the individual STATES, not by the federal government.

    I also notice that you could really give a damn about the 85% of Americans who don't want to be forced into a Government-run plan.

  • Rhonda Kuykendall-Jabari -LA Higher Consciousness 5 years ago

    The debate continues! Thanks, Monique, for lots of food for thought.