I have seen a lot of discussion recently about health care reform, and I wanted to go ahead and add my two cents. I am not necessarily against a health care reform, but I also recognize that all change is not always good change. Obviously, as a conscientious individual I am concerned about whether or not we can afford it as a country.
However, my main concern is that if the government becomes too involved it could hurt us morally. People need the opportunity to fail. I know that sounds harsh, and I did not use to feel this way until I worked in some of the poorest school districts in the country. I have visited their families at their crack trailers and lean-to's and seen the world that those children live in outside of school, and my heart broke for them. However, it was not until I listened to those children that I realized that our nation has enabled this kind of home environment to exist.
I worked with several large groups of children. I once asked my sixth grade group what they did on the weekends for fun. They said, "We go on dates." I said, "Oh. What do you do on your dates?" They said, "We go to this house with couches on the south side of town and have sex." Then they continued to explain to me that their parents had them when they were 12 years old, and that they planned to as well because you could get a check for the child, you got a bigger check if you beat them till they were stupid, and you didn't marry the daddy so he could be a truck driver and you could pool your welfare check, crazy checks, and truck driving money. Unfortunately I found out that what I was being told was the truth and that this attitude of "I don't have to work" is a lot more prevalent than I used to believe.
I realized that the reason this attitude has developed is because we have removed the consequences for irresponsible behavior. Now there are people who find themselves in situations where they need assistance. They accept it, and they work hard to get off of it. I am not talking about those people. What concerns me is that if we give people all of the necessities, what incentive do they have get off of that assistance and be a contributing member of society? With all of the government assistance programs out there, many of these children's families were able to have things that I could not afford for my own family even though we were working.
Ideally everyone would have equal access to food, water, health care, shelter, clothing, etc. Unfortunately this has been tried in many different countries and communities, and it has never lasted very long because people loose the will to work and become a slave to the entity, system, government, etc. This side of heaven a utopian society fails every time. We learn from history that man needs the consequences of inaction to teach him responsibility. Does this mean that I am unconcerned for anyone needing assistance? Does this mean that I think I will never need assistance. No, but I believe that should come from local communities. Giving people the opportunity to give and help their fellow man directly is also necessary for teaching us valuable lessons in morality, compassion, etc.
As far as health care, specifically, is concerned, I have done all three: paid out of pocket, paid for catastrophe insurance, and paid a reduced rate for group insurance through an employer. I know what it means to be well below the poverty line and have to make the tough choices, but it is because of those tough choices that I am the person that I am today. As I am sure you know, some children seem to have to learn lessons the hard way. Adults can be that way too. By shielding them from the consequences they need to learn those lessons, we are only hurting ourselves as a nation.
Do there need to be changes in health insurance? Quite possibly, but we need to be careful that we don't want change so badly that we are willing to accept seemingly good changes that may or may not turn out to be best for us as a nation.