"isms" are bad for your Health (care)

I won’t get into the debate of whether health care is a right or not, or whether the proposed health care reform is an attack on capitalism and an attempt to implant socialism as the dominant ideology in U.S. politics, because that isn’t the issue. In fact that highlights the danger of focusing on ideals and ideologies. People fight to defend whatever ideal or ideology they happen to subscribe to, instead of dealing with the problem at hand. Finding a solution to the problem then becomes secondary to a battle of ideologies.

Asking simple questions to identify problems, creating possible solutions then enacting them is the approach President Obama seems to be taking. This is post partisan politics.

President Obama’s simple question on health care was: Should a 53 year old woman who was dying of cancer have been more worried about paying her medical bills than getting well?

Who that 53 year old woman is, is irrelevant. Could have been anyone across the U.S. His answer to the question was no. I’d answer the same. That answer throws up problems. He is trying to create solutions to those problems. He isn’t trying to find a solution based on socialism. He isn’t trying to find a solution based on capitalism. He’s trying to find a solution that is better than the status quo.

Meanwhile others (including those within his own party) "bicker" about whether that solution is too socialist, not socialist enough, too capitalist, not capitalist enough and set about defending their world views. “Special interests” lobby to achieve the outcome they want, and extremists (on both sides) engage in all sorts of strange activities. All at the expense of finding a solution that works.

Politics has become about defending a world view at the expense of solving problems. As such politics is broken. The president seems to be trying to "fix" that by suggesting something different. A different politics, where self interest gives way to collaboration and ideologies give way to movement to find solutions. Surrendering beliefs and values is not what it's about. Recognises that creating and maintaining relationships is as important as values. That being biased towards actions that makes improvement (whatever end of the political spectrum those actions originate from) is what it's about.

There is much talk about the evils of welfare, about encouraging dependence on the state, even encouraging laziness or lack of responsibility. But it seems that’s more to do with people’s ideological world view than what’s actually happening.

These people aren’t “lazy”. They are people who are simply let down by the current system. There’s millions like them. It isn’t about redistributing wealth, it isn’t about socialism. It’s about asking what can realistically be done to help people like these as well as those in worse situations. Whichever “ism” you subscribe to is of no use to these people. Practical solutions are what they need. President Obama is trying to offer one.

It’s not even about finding a perfect solution, just a solution that has a good chance of working and is better than the current state of affairs. A solution that will most certainly need improvement and refining over time, but is better than the current state of affairs. A somewhat inelegant, rag-tag, socialist-capitalist, democrat-republican mongrel of a solution, that is still better than the current state of affairs. There is a space in between what there is now and the ultra-rationalised, government run, private-sector-killing health care system that people are afraid of. President Obama with the help of congress and the American people is trying to find that space.

President Obama seems to be promoting a message to stop bickering about whether the solution to health care is based on your favourite “ism” and start creating a solution that will work. I tend to agree with that message. After all isn’t that exactly what politics is: practical decision making?

When debate focuses on the defence of ideology, “isms” turn into a barrier, “isms” make creating solutions difficult, “isms” become a pain, “isms” get people killed. What’s needed is less bickering over “isms”. What's needed is more pragmati . . . more problem solving.

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Have Your Say 9 comments

William R. Wilson profile image

William R. Wilson 7 years ago from Knoxville, TN

Right on. The system is broken, and we need to fix it. That's the simple fact behind the health care reform plan. Finding a solution is much more important than politics.


pgrundy 7 years ago

Thank you for saying this. I spent Thursday in my home state taking my 23-year-old son to the doctor. He's been sick for two weeks and was getting sicker and sicker. It turned out he had secondary infections in his lungs and sinuses triggered by a week long bout with Swine Flu.

My son is a cook in a popular restaurant next to a Big 10 college football school. During his weeks sick he worked three times because they were so short-staffed. Like so many businesses now, they run on a constant skeleton crew, so no one can get sick, and Swine flu was sweeping through the staff. They can't afford to subsidize insurance for their employees, and they have no sick pay.

I had to go because he couldn't pay and was too sick to get to the doc anyway. She was great--she reduced her fee and directed us to where we could get his antibiotics free, and wrote him a note for his work so he can recuperate properly.

But my larger point is, this is a public health issue, not an 'ism' issue. People don't realize it, but if we ever do have a serious pandemic, like a real killer, we are toast. We don't have adequate medical access or care, and most businesses pressure people to work sick with highly contagious illnesses. People do it for fear of losing the only source of income they have. If we don't address this problem, we will at some point have a much smaller population, and the germs won't just hit poor people

Thanks for letting me vent.


Don W profile image

Don W 7 years ago Author

@William - Thanks for the read and the comment.

@pgrundy - No worries, feel free to vent any time. Hope your son gets well soon.


William R. Wilson profile image

William R. Wilson 7 years ago from Knoxville, TN

I want to second what Pam said. I have a job where my boss would not care if I missed due to illness - but losing more than a day or two's income would not be a good thing for me. People shouldn't have to make those sorts of choices. It's bad for individuals and it's also bad for businesses, which extends to the economy and the nation as a whole.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, as they say.


Don W profile image

Don W 7 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment William.


Pseudonymous profile image

Pseudonymous 7 years ago

Nicely put. As someone from the UK its difficult to believe some of the issues associated with American healthcare and the way in which Obama's (fairly conservative) plans are being so vocally opposed. Nobody should have to check their wallet before going to the doctor. Universal Healthcare isn't about a free ride but a fair ride.


Don W profile image

Don W 7 years ago Author

Pseudonymous thanks for your input. That's exactley what I was trying to get across.


earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Hey Don. Thank goodness! A bipartisan American! Good on you for speaking the obvious truth.


Litigator4444 5 years ago

you should check out my blog...i can actually help FIX this problem...with the help of a handful of americans...better than ANY politician can. Think of it this way: what is the MOST controversial health procedure you can get? ANSWER: Abortion. EVERYONE has an opinion on this issue...WORLDWIDE, and how did women get the right to choose??? Was it 300+ politicians voting on a bill proposed by a president who was worrying about his re-election campaign 18 months into office? No. The laws are there to start fixing health care...just like they were there to give women the right to choose (like you said...isms aside...its how they got the right to choose...whether one agrees with that right or not)...check out my blog...im gunning for ALL major insurance "providers"

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