Humans are pleasure seeking animals.
We have a strong biological desire to do that that makes us feel good. Of course, often what makes us feel good is contrary to what is good for us. This is why pain is a gift. I do not like pain. To state the obvious, pain hurts. But pain is a mechanism that encourages us to not do things that are harming us. It is nature’s red flag, a declaration that shouts, “Stop! Do not proceed!”
I believe in pain’s ability to teach and find its natural consequences to be so effective that I once allowed my then toddler son to endanger himself. Now, before you call the appropriate government agency in charge of politically-correct child-rearing be assured that I did not understand the scope of the lesson that I was watching unfold before me.
My wife, sister, brother-in-law and my then two-year-old son and I were visiting a children’s zoo in Atlanta. (This is a zoo for children featuring young animals, not a cut rate babysitting arrangement.) My son kept putting his fingers through the wire mesh fence separating we human animals from the nonhuman ones. After telling him to stop and plucking his hand from its position of vulnerability a couple of times I stopped doing so. Kevin put his hand through the mesh where the geese were, and my sister and her husband got big eyed when I did nothing to change this.
My brother-in-law said, “You know, those geese might bite his hand: Aren’t you going to stop him?”
“No,” says I. “I’ve already stopped him enough times, and if the goose bites him then maybe he’ll learn to listen to me.”
“Uh, you know the goose could bite his finger off; right!?”
“Nope,” I say as I grab the boy’s hand away, “I didn’t know he could lose a finger, I just thought he might get a pinch.”
Though I believe strongly in the power of Natural Consequence to teach vital life-lessons, permanent disfigurement and a life of three fingered handicap was too dear a payment for a two-year-old to bear. I wanted my son to learn, not to suffer a lifetime of disability. (Pity my poor children who were reared by a man such as I. It is amazing they survived, let alone thrived.)
This reminiscence leads me to our current healthcare situation. Let me state for the record that I am absolutely in favor of universal healthcare. Our family greatly appreciated the change in health insurance that allowed us to keep our two sons on my wife’s policy until they reached twenty-six-years-of-age regardless of whether they were full time students or not. This is a wonderful change from the bad old days where young adults had to sink or swim in regards to health insurance coverage and this extended coverage makes great sense on all levels and in all regards.
Of course, some aspects of universal healthcare do not make as much sense.
One of the things that bothers me is when folks call healthcare a “right.” If it is a right does that make healthcare practitioners our servants? They worked hard to get where they are and frequently they are helping people who do not care enough about themselves to act in ways that lead to greater health until the natural consequence of pain and its dreadful life lesson comes screaming at them at the top of its lungs. If then.
Another unmentioned aspect of Universal Healthcare problem is that the demand for healthcare is nearly infinite while the supply is very limited. There goes that darn supply and demand/market value clap-trap rearing its ugly head again.
We all know that proper care of self can lead to a much higher quality of life and reduced dependence on medicine; all of which helps keep costs down for everyone, but does our healthcare system really promote good choices by using both a carrot and a stick?
If natural consequences are precluded (i.e. fiscal pain) then a tremendous learning tool is going unused. People who take better care of themselves should be financially rewarded for doing so. People who engage in horrendous healthcare habits should have to pay more for health-care, yet this is anathema in a world of political correctness; a world that ignores reality lest it offend.
I was pleased as punch when more folks got healthcare under Obamacare than had been covered in the past, but rising health-care costs are related to our lack of self-care. It is unfortunate how few people take the reins for self-care into our own hands and make life-style choices that advance health. As insurance coverage rises we have seen a rise in the already absurd usage of using emergency rooms as our primary healthcare provider; a paradigm that is inefficient and expensive. If we the people cared enough to look after we ourselves then our medical partners could help us create a healthier population.
We could see a drop in healthcare costs if we’d all try to take better care of ourselves in our everyday lives; we could start making better choices that would put us on a road to better health. We could, we should, but will we?
Choosing not to take proper care of self is a smack in the face to Natural Consequences and believe me when I say that is one lady who will only take so much nonsense before she turns around and cold cocks us.