The need for Universal Health Insurance

America is the land of opportunity, but what about the opportunity to access affordable healthcare? Why have medical costs and doctors fees become so outrageous? Do you have healthcare insurance?

What does it cost you to be healthy – stay healthy – or return to health, once you get sick in America?

I believe the medical field and insurance companies have some explaining to do. The Hippocratic Oath was once a model for ethical behavior among healers. I wonder how many in the medical field even know what it means today. And that includes insurance brokers, agents and companies.

All people deserve equal opportunity to health care and most would pay a reasonable price to any doctor for care. Yet, what if you lose your job and your health benefits? What if your medical insurance runs out? What if you can not afford private payer health rates? What if you did not have the resources or cash to save your child, or even give your child a possible future through medical treatment?

That is a lot of “what if’s” that are all to common for over 45 million Americans.

Once upon a time in America people took care of each other. If your neighbor’s mother died you took food to the house and asked if there was anything you could do for them.

Once upon a time in America, when someone was injured another person would pick them up and take them down the street to the town doctor. It didn’t matter if they had insurance or not!

Once upon a time in America politicians pledged to provide health care for all people, especially children at a reasonable cost that could have cost caps.

Once upon a time American medicine was affordable.

Once upon a time health services were a part of life, not a fringe benefit only the rich can now afford.

Perhaps this version of the Hypocratic Oath, I found is fitting in our present moment of debating the need for universal health insurance.

“I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.

I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a patient’s recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick.

I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help.”

Written in 1964 by Louis Lasagna, Academic Dean of the School of Medicine at Tufts University, and used in many medical schools today.

This modern medical oath should be attached to the oldest medical oath in recorded human history( Hypocratic Oath) and be the standard upon which the medical health and treatment of humanity is based along with an oath not to be greedy and charge millions for medicine and surgery.

My family doctor treated many with little or no payment many times; it was her “calling”, she said. It was never about money or insurance or lawsuits! She mended broken bones, sewed up deep wounds, packed you in ice when your fever was too high and gave shots when infections couldn’t be fought off by your body alone; then rendered a bill that she waited sometimes months for people to pay off. She called specialist doctors when she needed help to treat you and she always visited her patients in the hospital many times more than once a day. It was her way to have her staff or nurse check on you by calling you at home after surgery or a serious illness. You paid her as you could afford it, if you did not have insurance. She was a true healer!

Unfortunately, my Doctor passed away 10 years ago and with her death, I see America passing on a legacy of overpriced health care, medicine and medical equipment to my children’s generation. How dare we! How dare we say we need 1.7 trillion dollars for socialized medicine. How much is too much and how big should the medical field live?

Health care should be affordable and available to all with regulated prices on services and meds. Who do you think will get the best medical care in a world of socialized medicine? Think, America! The average person will take a number and wait in line for surgery they may need immediately, while the wealthy will still pay cash and get the surgery immediately.

The present Universal Healthcare programs being put forth to the American people are a poor excuse for what the Hypocratic Oath calls healers to provide and be! We do not need government regulated health programs. Instead we need a conscious and a cost cap on fees, services, proceedures and meds. STOP THE GREED!

There once was a time when America was not ruled by greedy pharmaceutical corporations and medical hospital monopolies. I have almost forgotten when that was? Is a Universal Health Care program the answer to our lack of moral judgement and does it really answer the health problems of a society that places money above the pursuit of health and happiness?

I think not.