A Personal Note About Everyone’s Health

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Worrying about centralized control of healthcare is one of those things that doesn’t occur to me to worry about. Each of us should have access to adequate medical care. If this means that some of us lose choices in the bargain, in reality it means that those who are poorer will have fewer choices – the wealthy will continue to afford healthcare characterized by greater access and flexibility – and that is perfectly fine. We are all paying indirectly for those without adequate medical care now, whether we agree with it or not. Our current system isn’t going to fix any of those problems. A shift is going to occur in our focus, whether we wish it so or not. Economics and limited resources are going to continue to push us toward a different way of helping each other with medical care.

If you can pay for greater flexibility, who am I to stammer and complain about it? It’s my hope that people with greater means focus on gratitude toward their health, or the ability to afford treatment anytime that it is needed. If you have a good life and the ability to help the rest of your society provide basic access to everyone else, I think this is one of the best civic undertakings you can aid. Instead of focusing on the potential for abuse or the unfairness of having to pay for other people’s care, please focus instead on the idea that you are doing your fellow human beings a great service. The future is uncertain and economics can swing against your fortune most inopportunely. While I can’t say with certainty that we don’t need another fleet of billion-dollar jets, I can say in good faith that a lot of people in Northwest Arkansas and elsewhere need better access to healthcare. As a society, I think that basic healthcare is something that we should be willing to pay for. If it means that infrastructure or defense priorities decrease for a greater investment in people’s health, I’m ready to vote for it tomorrow.

When I go to the doctor, I don’t expect or demand to be treated by a specific doctor or worry that my care will be less. I’m assuming that my insurance and healthcare system is looking out for me. I would gladly give up choices of my own if it means that people have any access at all to medical help. I’ve been lucky so far in my life that nothing catastrophic has happened to me. It’s happened to people I love, a few times with no warning whatsoever. I know that the pendulum of misfortune can hit me – and anyone else even when we do everything right.

No matter how well you live your life, spend your money, and make personal choices in your life, tragedy and circumstance can befall any of us. Whether it is pancreatic cancer, stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, or any other life-altering illness, I would want each person to have access to healthcare, even if it is unable to be paid for. Anyone needing it should have the medication necessary to sustain their lives. I want it not only because it could just as easily be me one day, but because it is the right thing to do. Thinking about everyone’s healthcare is one of those things that future generations will be astounded about when they look back at us and question our priorities.

Going forward, I think it is only fair that everyone who knows me understands that I believe each citizen should enjoy universal access to medicine, even if they can’t pay for it. Doctors, nurses, and other necessary medical professionals should be trained without concern for paying for their education and training. These professions, among others, need to be designated as “public good” and encouraged with our resources.

While any system governed by bureaucracy would certainly have significant pitfalls, I’m ready to see us prioritize our healthcare system in such a way as to encourage and reward those who choose it as a profession – and find it in our collective hearts and conscience to help anyone who needs medical help without looking first into their wallet.

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