Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A disturbing trend

Yesterday I watched a clip from a health care town hall meeting, and it doesn't really matter where this took place and who the senator was. I can't remember word-for-word what was said, so I am paraphrasing the question and the answer.

An elderly lady asked this no-name senator if there might be help available for her husband who was gravely ill. During her question she started to cry. The senator's reply was that she might be able to find some help by calling his office. But then he seemed to change his mind and he said that it would be best if neighbors were there to help her. The whole room full of people applauded as a response to the senator's advice.

Yes it would be nice if neighbors could help out. But the whole room including the senator grossly missed the point. Did they really not get it? Was that lady attending that meeting to find comfort in the possibility of her neighbors lending her the thousands and thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars? The first question came to my mind was whether she actually knew her neighbors. And if I look around my neighborhood I would have to say that I have no neighbors that I could go to for help in a medical emergency even though they live in really expensive houses.

I happen to have health insurance. What if I didn't have any, would my neighbors chip in? I doubt it. Here was a room full of people who didn't like socialism. They seemed to think that there should be neighbors to help out in a pinch. Surgery, kidney dialysis, radiation, x-rays, and hospitals cost money up front. Some entrepreneur has to first invent the machines, and then build them and then put them in hospitals and stock the hospital with qualified help. The risk in accomplishing all that can only be taken if there is a chance of a return in the form of profits. These technological marvels would not exist without socialism. Let's call it what you want, but health care the way we prefer it can only be delivered when a large portion of the population believes that there is strength in numbers. Does no-name really think about that? Does he really think the neighbors ought to chip in?


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