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“If the Government Owns My Health Care, Do I Still Own My Body?”

Updated on May 7, 2012

This is a question I saw on a Facebook political ad. It is a question that comes from fear of the future. Questions like these are based on the idea that unless the Universe unfolds in a way that conforms to some preconceived ideal, bad things will happen. Sages from Jesus to Buddha have advised that we should not worry about the future. Jesus bids us look at the birds of the air and the flowers of the field as examples of how well God provides for His creatures. Buddha says that we should concentrate on the present moment because life only occurs in the present moment; in order to do this, we must avoid regrets of the past as well as fear of the future.

Fearing the future is irrational because no one knows what the future will bring. Sometimes it brings something that may seem bad and sometimes it brings something that may seem good. Sometimes the bad thing turns out to be great and the good thing, well, not so much. The point is that we can never tell how things will turn out for sure until they are upon us. It is irrational to fear what may (or may not) turn out just fine.

Besides being based on the irrational fear of the unknown, the implication of the question is illogical. The question is meant to imply that if the government owns your health care, then the government will own your body. Of course there are many other possible outcomes. The logic used is the same as, “If not white, then black.” In reality every color of the rainbow exists between black and white, including many shades of grey.

To be owned is to be a slave. People who get health insurance through their employer do not own their insurance; their employer does. If an employer pays for health insurance without any employee contribution, the employees may have a strong incentive to stay with the company. In this company an employee may not like their job but may be afraid to leave because of the health care situation in America. They know that if they leave they will most likely have to pay more for their health care. One might say they are a slave to their fear of living without health care, or having to pay more for it. Perhaps if health care were nationalized they would feel liberated because they would no longer be beholden to their employer for health coverage. To this individual, government takeover of health care might be the opposite of slavery; it might be freedom.

On the other hand, people who are happy paying for their own health care may feel threatened by a government takeover of the industry. They may be afraid that the quality of their health care will be compromised, or that they will be paying for someone else’s health care. One could say that these people are slaves to their attachment to what is. People who are attached to what is will always be on the edge of being a victim of change, because life is change. Their only hope for liberation from the slavery of attachment is detachment. Detachment is achieved by training the mind to be attentive to the present moment though a daily practice of meditation.

Those who have invested heavily in the health care industry may be fearful of governmental takeover because they may lose their investment. Attachment to wealth is one of the most difficult forms of slavery to escape. Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of heaven. The first step the Buddha took on the path to enlightenment was away from his privileged existence. People who are slaves of wealth deserve our compassion.

Living in fear is a choice. If others choose to worry about where their health care (or their money) is going to come from, I respect their choice. I choose to live in gratitude and joy as much as humanly possible because I have learned that doing so is more enjoyable. I would rather enjoy life than worry about it.

How about you?


Nationalized Health Care?

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    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      7 years ago from United States

      I believe that the Canadian and similar nationalized health care systems can help to free health care providers from some of the obstacles to providing excellent care created by money-based health care decisions. Thank you for your perspective, Shawn

    • Shawn May Scott profile image

      Shawn May Scott 

      7 years ago

      As a Canadian I find it interesting from both points of view. Our health care is covered for the most part and as a child growing up here everything was covered except the dentist. I do not feel that the goverenment owns my body, I feel well cared for by a great team of health care providers and I also feel very lucky to have most of this paid for through our taxes and for the fact that our government does this on behalf of the tax payer. It is a burden removed from our shoulders when we really do not need to be overloaded with the stress of whether or not we can pay for health insurance.

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      7 years ago from United States

      I am glad my article attracted this discussion. I will go ahead and fan the fire.

      I look at the arguments on both sides, and both seem to arise from the premise that the world is broken and needs us to fix it. This premise seems to discount the basic compassion of the universe. The universe unfolds through all means, including seemingly uncaring corporations and unlikely institutions like government. I will continue to trust that the outcome will be exactly as it should be.

      I would like participants in the argument to begin to differentiate more clearly between the terms "health care" and "health insurance." Health care is the actions of individuals in response to the needs of others. Health insurance is the anticipation that individuals who need health care will need to pay for this care.

      The more fearful one is of needing health care, the more they will pay for health insurance. If one is fully prepared to accept whatever the universe brings, health insurance becomes irrelevant.

    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 

      7 years ago from usa

      Larry Fields

      ''One reason poor people cannot afford health insurance is that we have an incredibly inefficient system.''

      The US is the biggest healthcare provider in the world.The number 1 denyer of claims is the federal government. we need the government to stay out of the private marketplace, allow the states to control their own laws and restrictions.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 

      7 years ago from Northern California

      Jon, I'm skeptical about Obamacare, but I did not understand the Fox News article. It struck me as mere hand-waving.

      Regardless of the Supremes' decision down the road, my impression is that the Democrats have killed meaningful health care reform. They're robbing Peter (seniors) to pay Paul (non-seniors who can't afford health insurance).

      One reason poor people cannot afford health insurance is that we have an incredibly inefficient system. We Americans pay a higher percentage of our GDP for health care than any other developed country. And our health stats are mediocre at best. Our infant mortality rate, for example, was on a par with that of Poland, the last time I checked.

      Because of the Faustian bargains that the Dems have made with the pharmaceutical industry, with the insurance companies, and with physicians, Obamacare will do precious little to bring down health care costs. Essentially, the Dems have rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic. Shame on them!

      I can afford good health insurance; so I'm not worried about myself. However I am concerned that health care theater is being peddled as health care reform.

    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 

      7 years ago from usa

      Tom Rubenoff

      Check this link and be the judge.

      Obamacare, Taxing jobs out of existence

      WHY are companies not hiring?


      Study claims Obama's health care law would raise deficit


      Obama’s Supreme Court Remarks

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      7 years ago from United States

      I love the wisdom this article has attracted. Robie, it is so hard to choose what to worry about. There are so many possibilities that the odds of choosing the 'right' thing to worry about are terrible :)

      Nellieanna, that is beautiful. Thank you.

      Worry is an awful waste of time, isn't it, Ruby? Thank you. :)

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      7 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Your line of thought is so close to mine. I do not worry about health care. Every country that has health care provided by the government appears to like it. I am quite sure if the USA goes that way and we the people do not like it, it will be reversed. Why are we so afraid of change? Why are we so fearful? It is a God given right that all people are equal. I feel like going into my room, closing the door and meditating. Worry is such a waste of time. You must know this hub is thought provoking by my response..Cheers

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      My first thought in reply to the question in the title: Only if you claim it & live in it.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      7 years ago from Central New Jersey

      I find that in terms of health care and everything else in my life it is better to stay in the present moment and not try to project about what will happen in the future-- mainly because it has been my experience that I always worry about the wrong things. That is, the things I worry about never happen and what does happen comes at me from out of left field, and is usually something I never, in a million years could have predicted.

      Personally, I would like to see a single payer government run health care system for the USA-- Government may be inefficient, but it is not as inhumane as turning people into profit centers which is what the current system does. What will happen? I don't know. I'll find out when it happens. Nice Hub, Tom

    • Tom Rubenoff profile imageAUTHOR

      Tom rubenoff 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thank you for your knowledge.

      You have stated a basic truth. "There will be change."

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 

      7 years ago from Northern California

      I think that we should clone a successful health care system, rather one a margin one, like the Massachusetts plan. The real issue is that our present non-system is the least efficient one in the developed countries.

      I've read articles suggesting that some of the Supremes are not just talking about the constitutionality of Obamacare, but whether they should rule out the 'broccoli mandate', or chuck the entire package.

      If that happens, cloning the German system and related systems would probably be out of the question. That would leave us with the Canadian single-payer model.

      Voted up.


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