Sunday, September 27, 2009

When Health Care Gets Really Costly

I've never really been into the whole health care debate. Not sure why really. In fact this time around I told myself that I didn't have time to get into the details of this convoluted issue and attempt to make any sense of it. Well I've been sucked in. Reading this excellent article made me want to say something small for now.

Near the end of the linked piece Towey says, "I lived and worked in an AIDS home in the mid-1980s and saw first-hand how the dying wanted more than health care—they wanted someone to care." This is my passion in this debate. We want to "solve" a problem by throwing money at it.

I'm all for good health and good health care. Under new insurance in a new state with a newly pregnant wife, it can be daunting and frankly a bit nerve wracking because it's all different. I admit that it's a delicate situation with a lot of considerations. My concern is that the proper considerations are not in view.

Why can't people afford health insurance? Doesn't that seem like a better problem to solve? The reason this problem is not the one that's on the table is because solving the "why" problem would take personal work by people. Economic development of individual families is a family to family, person by person work. Now that's expensive, personally expenssive. And if we're honest, we'd rather open our wallets to more taxes than open our lives to the hard work of helping other families experience the prosperity we have.

Just like the AIDS patients Towey knew wanted more than health care, those unable to afford health insurance around us need more than our tax dollars, they need our personal love and care for them. That's when health care gets really costly, when it costs us ourselves. And yet this is what is really loving, to look at the long term, multi-generational effect of what we're doing instead of "feeling good" by throwing money at a complex problem.

The problem with what is being proposed in Washington is not that it is too costly. It's costly to our wallets, don't get me wrong. But if we want something more than a solution for a single generation that has to be renewed and funded for the next generation, then it will cost us more than tax dollars. It will cost us time, love, and care.