Monday, February 27, 2006

Magick Is Expensive

Health care is expensive because now we can do magic. Even in the Middle Ages, magic was expensive. Heck, even in Dungeons and Dragons, magic is expensive. Half the medicines you will take this year did not exist 20 years ago.

One hundred years ago, doctoring largely consisted of setting bones, delivering babies, and giving good advice. Doctors could listen to your heart and tell you if it was healthy enough for you to enter the military or go back to work, but they couldn’t do anything to fix it. They had a better, though not infallible sense of what home remedies were likely to help your stomach or your liver. They could tell you to stop drinking. They often had a good sense of when a daughter should be sent away for a summer in the country – for everyone’s sake. They could tell you you were about to die.

Now, we actually fix things. People live through cancers and heart disease. Kids with CF live beyond the age of 15. Schizophrenics can have the voices in their heads get quieter, or even vanish.

We want some less expensive, and more easily understandable treatment to be available when we are sick. It would indeed be cheaper and very cool if we could avoid disease by denying it, or eating whole grains, or rebalancing our chakras. Ironically, we spend billions of dollars on less expensive treatments that don’t work, because we can’t or won’t afford the expensive ones which do work.

Once a treatment is available, we believe it should be available generally. It seems unfair to us at some deep level that one should live and one should die simply because the former has money and the latter doesn’t. It seems to contradict Life, Liberty, and the Purfuit of Happinefs. Unfortunately, making magic affordable for all is also an excellent way to insure that there will be less magic in the future for all of us, at any price. By removing the economic incentive, we pronounce a death sentence on all those whose disease advances before the cure is invented.

We don’t see those people. They don’t seem real to us. Those who have the need today seem much more real. But the others, waiting for new advances, are just as real. They are in fact us. If you have had a new medicine or new procedure in your life, then the Person Saved by the “heartless” system is, simply, you.


DRJ said...

Well said. I hope we don't go the way of the British and Canadian health care systems, or there probably won't be any more magic for our children's children.

LiquidLifeHacker said...

Yeah, because what would be the long term insentive for men and women to sacrifice years and their own money for an education? So many people don't have a clue how hard doctors and scientists work along the way to get where they are today. I would think if we fell into a socialistic system that we would become just like the Canadians...but then where we would we go for our alternative choice of quicker diagnostics or expert surgeries? ....Mexico?

I know that our health system here in America is not perfect and it's weighted down by abuses but if you spend time with anyone under free medicine, like those in Canada or the UK, they will be honest with you and tell you that waiting 4 months or more for a surgery or whatever is no fun. Free medicine is great until your health problem worsens by forced waiting in line, in other words, what good is "free" if you are getting sicker or you die in the process of waiting for your turn?

I tell you, I thank God for all the blessings He has given us in the medical and scientific advancements. To me, each person that is relieved from physical pain or those given more years from a new radiation treatment or those that get some mental peace via medication are God's mercy. In each unique situation, big and small, when comfort might travel through a pill form or via a laser beam of surgical light, but there is no doubt in my heart that it comes directly from the heavenly source above!