If the health care system in America is broken, it has nothing to do with the government or insurance companies. It has to do with human beings unwilling to take responsibility for their lives.
The system does have one huge flaw, no doubt, and that flaw should be addressed. That can be done with a few simple steps – steps that will not take trillions of dollars or 1,000 pages of new regulations administered by bureaucrats who do nothing efficiently other than waste money.
For too many years the system has afforded people who live like slobs and practice dangerous lifestyles the right to expect other people to take care of them when that behavior produces sickness or disease. And to make matters worse, they expect it free of charge. As if it is a right. It is not!
But that is the way the country is going.
Run a bank into the ground, and the cries of "too big to fail" terrorize politicians into ignoring the voters and passing TARP legislation to bail them out. Car companies who allowed bad union contracts and lack of innovation to cripple their business need not worry. Government loans and "Cash for Clunkers" programs paid for with taxpayer dollars will always be there to save their companies.
And so the story goes in a land where the people now expect bad behavior to be rewarded. Soon expect the government to be responsible for all the irresponsibility in the nation and at a huge expense to each of us who is productive.
Look at obesity in America. It is a national shame. Maybe reductions in health care costs can be passed on in additional food stamps to fat folks. That way they will become more dependent on the government. Food is a right ... right? Let's give heroin addicts free needles, and the savings will allow them to buy more heroin. The right to the "pursuit of happiness."
Is this a great country or what?
If we eliminate personal responsibility from all areas of our society, we might as well close up shop as a nation. We can start kissing the country goodbye because the founders based our whole system on people taking personal responsibility. They understood that true government begins in the heart of each citizen to do the right thing. That is our foundation. Take that away and the slow and painful process of failure begins.
My wife and I have excellent health insurance through our company, but we seldom use it. We have probably used it less than anyone on the program for the same length of time. Why?
We exercise daily, watch what we eat, get six to eight hours of sleep and do not participate in dangerous activities like smoking or binge drinking. It does not surprise me that many people who do the opposite use doctors a whole lot more than we do.
We need to have compassion for the few people who, by no fault of their own, get sick and need help. The rest should have some consequence for their bad behavior or else we can expect more of it. It is as if we breed bad behavior in America. If we could only translate that into GDP the economy would recover over night.
People need to choose to do what is right or pay the price themselves for not doing so. Why should I have to pay for the mistakes of some fat dude who stuffs his face with Big Macs and washes them down with a gallon of beer and a pack of cigarettes? Why should I have to pay for someone who embraces sexual behaviors known to cause life-threatening diseases?
If we really want health care reform in America, reform the people. That cannot be a legislative process. It is a moral process. Doing the right thing is always and has always been the right thing to do – except in America.
I am sure one day I will face some type of illness. We all will. But in that moment, I will be able to say that I did my part to keep myself healthy and not burden my family or fellow citizens with the costs associated with illness-causing reckless behavior.
Am I perfect? No. But I am accountable, which is what every one of the 300 million of us should demand from each other. The rest should have to suffer the consequences of their actions. They should not burden you or me.
I don't expect the government to feed, clothe, shelter or heal me. That is my job, and I take that job seriously.
How about you?
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