Friday, December 17, 2010

Taking the best action takes courage Do We the People have any?

Every time I reason out what the best solutions are to our health care “crisis” (dilemma is a far more apt term), I return to this: Without individuals taking responsibility for their families and themselves, we cannot solve our dilemma.

One of the favorite PowerPoint slides I developed is the circle of healthy traits that makes up a healthy life. I’ve included these: weight, exercise, diet, no tobacco, sleep, reduced stress, family, and the spiritual element. There are more, of course, but when these eight factors form a basis of life, we can expect that, barring genetic illness or accidental injury, we will live relatively healthy lives.

“Which of these can the government influence,” I ask each time I show the circle of healthy traits slide. After a moment of silence, I hear, “Stress. They can reduce taxes and we’d have less stress.”

Reducing health care spending will result from consuming fewer health care services. Consuming fewer health care services is a natural result of better health.

Each time I show the healthy traits slide, I follow it with another stark object lesson -- an obese man, lying on the couch with a TV remote at the ready on his bulbous belly. He symbolizes how most Americans view health care. We allow ourselves to become fat, lazy, and unhealthy, then we place an enormous burden on the health care delivery system to fix us when (not if) we fall ill.

Government responds to all this by “giving” us “free” preventive health care services. Government fails, because the only preventive service that works is beyond governments’ control – individual choice.

Now we face the health care dilemma. Collectively, without coercion, we the people have decided someone else is responsible for our health. Collectively, with subtle seduction, we have made the [im]moral decision to require others to pay for our own lack of courage.

Lack of courage? It takes courage and discipline to care for oneself. This is true with family, finances, faith, and especially personal health.

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” President John Adams – Second President of the United States.

When Adams spoke this truism, he lived among a courageous people that rested their actions on a foundation of faith. Lacking the trappings of trillion dollar governments, the brutal injustice of bureaucratic oversight, and focused on families as the centerpiece of governance, Adams and his peers saw government not as a provider, but a protector. Provision arose out of a moral imperative to do the righteous thing, and that took courage.

At the root of our health care dilemma, then, lies this question: Is there a strong remnant of moral, courageous behavior among our people? If not, we have but one ultimate solution to our health care dilemma – a single payer, government-run system with regulatory rationing of care.

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