13 August 2009

The central question surrounding the health care debate is so often undiscussed in the current townhall discussions surrounding healthcare reform. That question goes something like this:

Do you believe in the profit motive for companies that provide

healthcare-related products?

There’s a strong case to be made on either side. Nothing happens without money. Nothing. Without a profit motive, wave after wave of AIDS drugs would have been impossible because the virus mutates so quickly and becomes unresponsive to medication in a relatively short amount of time. Companies like Pfizer and Eli-Lilly justify much of their high cost for their newest drugs on the vast amounts of money they pour into R&D, each one dreaming of creating the next Prozak or Viagra… or for that matter, the pill i’m on right now Januvia. Januvia is fantastic. I can honestly say it’s wonderful for people who are diagnosed diabetic. It is, however, without insurance $200 for 30 days supply. With my insurance discount, I pay $30/month, but still. $200 is a big chunk of change. And there are many people living with diabetes who can’t afford it and who are either under-insured or in no drug program that covers it. There’s also a strong case to be made for altruism. It seems wrong to benefit financially because of someone else’s misfortune. It’s goes against our basic ideas of what is right and wrong in humanity. No one can argue that a health insurance company that makes 2 billion dollars in a given year should decline claims of legitimate policy holders who are in desperate need of care, and yet it happens every day. People are denied necessary care for any number of reasons and, yes, it is a national disgrace. But does it rise to the level of “right”? Do those policy holders have any right other than to leave and go get insurance with someone else (if they can)? Does any American… Do all Americans have a RIGHT to healthcare? That is the question we should be asking, but no one is. This current debate consists of highly emotional (mostly women) at town hall meetings crying about how they “want their country back.” No one has “taken” America. It is not dead nor does the current national discuss warrant any bloodshed, but it does warrant a good debate free of disruption. My prayer is for statesmen. On both sides of the debate, Dear Lord give us statesmen who can inspire us to think rationally about the course of our nation’s healthcare system for the next 100 years.