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"Isms" Are Bad for Your Health (Care)

Updated on May 19, 2019

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?

His answer to the question is no. I’d answer the same, but there are problems that cause mean worrying about medical bills instead of getting well is the reality for many people. He is trying to create solutions to those problems. Not a solution based on socialism or capitalism. Just a solution that was 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 is broken. It has become about defending a world view at the expense of solving problems. President Obama has suggested a type of politics where self interest gives way to collaboration and ideologies give way to movement to find solutions. Not surrendering beliefs and values, but recognizing that maintaining relationships can be as important as values. A politics where bias towards actions that make an 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 worldview than what’s actually happening.

Millions of people have been let down by the current system. What can realistically be done to improve the situation. Whichever “ism” you subscribe to is of no use to those 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 will most certainly need improvement and refining over time, but is better than the current situation. 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”. More pragmati . . . more problem solving.

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  • profile image


    10 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 gunning for ALL major insurance "providers"

  • earnestshub profile image


    11 years ago from Melbourne Australia

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

  • Don W profile imageAUTHOR

    Don W 

    11 years ago

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

  • Pseudonymous profile image


    11 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 imageAUTHOR

    Don W 

    11 years ago

    Thanks for your comment William.

  • William R. Wilson profile image

    William R. Wilson 

    11 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 imageAUTHOR

    Don W 

    11 years ago

    @William - Thanks for the read and the comment.

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

  • profile image


    11 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.

  • William R. Wilson profile image

    William R. Wilson 

    11 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.


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