With Liberty, Justice, and Healthcare For All

I had a small surgical procedure this morning to remove a skin cancer spot above my right eyebrow. The instructions from my dermatologist were to report 30 minutes early “so there will be time for the paperwork.”

So I was there at the appointed time – slightly early in fact – and was handed a clip board with three pages of “paperwork.” I had barely started when a nurse appeared and said, “Why not come on in and you can work on it in here.” So I was ushered into a room with a raised bed and two chairs and invited to sit on the bed. Immediately the doctor appeared and introduced himself and asked a few routine questions. I took the opportunity to ask him about the particular surgery and got very satisfactory answers.

I was then invited to lie back and, while the doctor and nurse fussed about, we had casual conversation about various matters. To make a short story shorter, they were finished in a matter of minutes and sent me on my way. “Bring the paperwork back next week if you want,” they suggested. I don’t need more paperwork in the house, so I took time to do it then but was still in my car and heading home two minutes before the appointed time for the surgery. As I drove home, I pondered the relationship between what had just happened and the current debate over health care reform. Perhaps, I thought, what we need is for everyone to live in a small town and get their coverage through the Episcopal Church.

I’m sure you will tell me that that’s not practical. But I’m not in the business of being practical. I’m not in the business of health care reform either – just human reform. Fact is, that no revised health system can be better than the people who administer it and the people who administer it are unlikely to be better than the god or gods they worship. We need health care reform one way or another, but reformed systems don’t solve basic problems. Things go better when we deal with people as people and remember that they also are children of God.

As to the debate over a national health care plan, we hear from one side that we shouldn’t trust the government to run a program. But we trust the government to defend us “from all enemies foreign and domestic.” How many businesses are better run than the U.S. Army? With banks and businesses from Wall Street to Detroit going bankrupt, would you really want private enterprise to run your health care if you had a choice?

I’m very satisfied with my health care, but I’m not satisfied with American healthcare in general. Too many other countries get better healthcare than we do. Too many people don’t get healthcare at all. We spend too much for too little as a society. It’s time to do something. Let’s hope the nay sayers get outvoted for once and we move forward to better care for all – without everyone having to move to Sharon!

Write your representatives and tell them we need better healthcare now!

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