Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Wisdom to Do No Harm – Article 2: The Living Being

The Wisdom to Do No Harm - Article 1: The Doctor was published on American Thinker earlier this month. Below is the second article in the series.  With recent announcements of a health care bill rollout and upcoming vote in the House, I have decided to publish this second article here on Kish Collections.

The Wisdom to Do No Harm – Article 2: The Living Being

Let’s step back for a moment and take a look at the current U.S. health care system from the footing of common ground.  I think that everyone, short of Einstein, would agree that the health care system is highly complicated.  We could also all agree, that like the human body, very few people completely understand all aspects of its function.  In fact, there may be some areas of the health care system, similar to the human brain and the disease of cancer, for which no one on this Earth may ever fully understand or adequately remedy.  This is a sad situation- but such is life.

In the current system, there are at least 700 thousand doctors serving a population of at least 265 million people. Each member of the system is currently dealing, as only they can, with the burden and responsibilities of each unique health care problem, crisis and decision.  When you look at it this way, from the bottom-up, this body becomes much more than a mindless populous under the rule of an all-knowing and all-encompassing government.  The health care system itself can be viewed as a living and breathing organism.  A body of millions of educated and informed individuals- each vested, committed and dedicated to victory over each of their individual health care problems.  It is arrogant foolishness to think a handful of pedant politicians can set up a better system from inside the stone walls of the capital building.

Yet, citizens continue to watch as elected leaders attempt to sell a false premise- “If the government does nothing, then the health care system (the patient) will surely fail (die)”. 

In contrast, consider for a moment a true premise- Federal entitlement programs, which were greatly expanded in the years of prosperity following World War II, are currently running out of money.  For more on the subject- look here, here, here, here and here.  At its root, the health care crisis is an economic problem. 

The politicians pushing national health care reform simply want more money from more people in order to create new, larger and more complicated governmental systems.  The well-meaning hope is that larger systems can financially prop up and bail-out the existing governmental systems, which are already insolvent.  Yet the underlying hope simply appears to be more governmental control over the U.S. economy.  This hope, for many of our leaders, is driven by a firm belief in command and control government. A system in which elected leaders are the brains and citizens are the brawn.  Good citizens, under control, mindlessly carrying out the seemingly benevolent wishes of the dear leaders- always supporting and always re-electing. Yet, socialist conspiracies set aside, health care reform is just another government bailout.

Although in this case, it’s government bailing out government. At its core, health care reform is a massive tax increase.  The task is to continue feeding the morbidly obese Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security entitlement systems.  Politicians know this truth is a hard sell.  It is much easier to present a false premise.

Has anyone ever heard the story of the family doctor?  The one where the doctor explains to the patient, “I have the easiest job in the world.” The patient asks, “Why would you say such a thing?” The doctor replies, “Because ninety percent of my patients will get well all on their own.”
Reasonable people should consider this lesson and begin to apply it to the health care system as a whole.  Earlier I defined the health care system as a living organism consisting of millions of intelligent individuals each vested and committed to success.  Let me reiterate- this system is not a machine.  It is a living being.  And because this is true, as with all living beings, it has the wonderful capability of healing itself naturally.  Let me ask you:  What specialists have diagnosed the entire health care system as a terminally ill patient?  What are their medical credentials?  What tests were run to arrive at such a conclusion?  How certain are you (as the patient, the consumer, the financier, the taxpayer) that our elected leaders are competent and trustworthy in the task of reform?

At this point, we can’t even get the health care reform “sales force” to explain in detail what the proposed treatment entails.  The way I understand it, right now there are four or more different large-scale health care reform bills floating around the halls of the legislature.

Recently, I watched a Senate committee markup of the Baucus Health Care Bill on C-SPAN.  During the session, one of the Senators read a newspaper headline and presented it as the fact-basis of his position.  Observing this, I thought- don’t our leaders have access to better information than the newspaper they read over brunch? Additionally- if this bill is passed, who will appear at the top of the org chart of the newly formed governmental enterprise- the editor of the New York Times?

The people in command, the people making our decisions- our legislators, have stated publicly that they do not understand what they are writing or reading. If this weren’t such a serious situation it could serve as a comedy. From the outside looking in, our leaders appear to be better suited to address the topic of steroids in baseball.  How can anyone reasonably expect these same people to devise and administer a treatment (a reform plan) that will work?

It is more likely with this bunch, that the health care treatment itself will cause death.  In a hospital, would you allow you’re doctor to administer a dangerous and painful treatment without first fully explaining the procedure, including all the known benefits and risks?  The clear answer is NO.  Why then do so many people continue to accept this kind of treatment from their elected officials?

We need a different approach.  Instead of a sales pitch, we need to attack our problems as a doctor would- by diagnosing and treating each ailment separately. Einstein said- “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Many of the health care efficiency answers already exist in the nature of the living being.  In the future, I will list and explain these underlying solutions in greater detail.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves- before our politicians can even begin to attempt a successful overhaul of the health care system, they must first fix their own problems.  It is foolish to expect a politician to think or act as a doctor.  With respect to health care reform, clearly the doctors have the wisdom, the patients have the motivation and the politicians are in the way.  Unless the voters are able to replace all politicians with medical doctors, government should not make our health care decisions.  Allow me to state these again clearly- Politicians should not be allowed to structure our health care systems.  The task is beyond their scope of work and clearly exceeds their skills.  We, the people, need to find the wisdom, the courage and the method to speak the words- “first do no harm”. 

J. N. Kish – Industrial Engineer, Part-Time Author, Full-Time Thinker.

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