Friday, August 21, 2009

American Medical Conundrum

Not without merit, the insurance and medical industries are notoriously known for unscrupulous practices. There are bad apples in every walk of life. All the same, it is a blatant insult to those dedicated to providing these services that government, from the President on down, believes itself more capable of providing and administrating healthcare to the nation’s citizens. Has anyone bothered to reconcile that idea with the incredibly inept job the U.S. government has done with other government-run programs, most notably social security and housing; they cannot modernize these, and they are to be entrusted to transition healthcare into a new era? Taken as a whole, most would rather have a root canal – that is, if they could get on the list for the government-sponsored dental specialist.

Proponents of universal, government-run healthcare cite Medicare and the Veterans Health Administration (V.H.A.) as model examples in terms of coverage, cost and quality that can be provided by such. Yet, Medicare is on the verge of being a bankrupt program, and is a prime example of the need for change. The V.H.A., on the other hand, has been under fire in recent years concerning routine administrative failures and proper care given to veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. These are the standard-bearers held up as paradigm in reshaping healthcare? Good luck.

Predictably, a major tenet of the leftist agenda is at the heart of healthcare reform: entitlement.
There are those in American society who believe that government is a tool for providing, and should provide, citizens with the necessities of life, without taking any personal responsibility for acquiring such on their own. Yet, the preamble of the U.S. Constitution simply states “…promote the general welfare…”; though it may, debatably, “insure domestic tranquility,” nowhere does it stipulate the specific provisioning of such, nor the outright requirement thereof, by, of or for “We the people of the United States.” This is, and has been, a major source of contention over the course of this nation’s existence, and a constant rallying point between liberals and conservatives.

Nonetheless, by essentially throwing in its hat as a potential insurance provider – the taxpayer funded “public option” – the government’s intention is to offer a competitive alternative aimed at decreasing cost. According to, however, any alleged savings are extremely exaggerated by the Obama Administration. More than likely, it will add yet another layer of federal bureaucracy to an already bloated and convoluted system rather than much needed simplification and streamlining. Instead, restructuring, or outright elimination of, certain regulatory mechanisms that inherently increase cost – most notable being healthcare taxes, the monopolization of drug patents and frivolous malpractice lawsuits – would allow individuals and employers alike to afford private insurance without the need for governmental interference and a complete overhaul of the system.

Undeniably, there are other underlying, yet fundamental, issues in the mix as well that unnecessarily exacerbate the very societal concerns – welfare, housing, healthcare – currently at the forefront of debate. The healthcare system cannot be cured without addressing these root causes, many of which will never be expressed openly, particularly by those setting policy, due to their implications. One is the matter of overpopulation. Certainly, fertility treatments that yield multiple conceptions, beyond and against the Darwinian reproductive model, only compound the problem. One would think, as a moral and biological antithesis, that Creationist and Evolutionist could find common ground in opposition to such practices.

Again, it is about personal responsibility. The so-called obesity “epidemic” is due in large part to people eating unhealthily and without proper exercise. Taking the time to learn how to prevent diseases, especially in the purchasing of harmful and non-nutritious products, along with bans on products that cause disease in the first place, the impact on the healthcare system could be greatly reduced. But in a world of selfish crybabies who run off to the emergency room at a sneeze, there is little room for such commonsense.

In the end, if “Obamacare” does come to pass – with or without the divisive elements currently threatening to sink it – the government will simply be replacing one broken system with another. Until the associated periphery problems are dealt with first, it will not solve the healthcare “crisis.”

©2009 Steve Sagarra

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cynically Optimistic

Yes, it has been a month since I last blogged. I wish I could say that July was so busy that I did not have the time. While there is some truth to it - I did have a lot on my plate during the month - it would not be a fair assessment. I have no less or no more time than anyone else, despite the colloquial "never enough time." The more accurate reason is I simply had nothing to write about. Certainly, I could have written about this or that, ranting and raving with the typical "told you sos" and "can't believes"...but would there really be the need? I mean, how much of that is already in the world? Just take a scan of the daily headlines on any given day, and try not to come down with a bitter case of disillusionment lassitude from all the rape, murder, corruption and conflict. And that's just a single day on Capitol Hill.

See, my problem is I'm a cynical optimist - in general, I'm cynical toward individual humans but optimistic about humanity as a whole. I know, weird if not contradictory. However, every so often, I reach a level where I have to take pause and regroup; otherwise, I'd just turn into a cynic with no hope. I think that's part of the problem with a lot of people - they lose hope too easily, and simply resign themselves to their cynicism. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

Golf is a great example. To be honest, I am not a very good golfer; inconsistent from tee to green, I spray my hits all over the course. Yet, there always comes that moment of a perfect shot - straight, long and in the fairway - that leaps off the club. It’s a little nudge that makes you want to keep going, and to come back. Optimism triumphing over cynicism, if only for a brief moment.

If only life, and our lives, were that simple.

©2009 Steve Sagarra