Artvoice: Buffalo's #1 Newsweekly
Home Blogs Web Features Calendar Listings Artvoice TV Real Estate Classifieds Contact
Previous story: Lit City: Literary Events
Next story: News of the Weird

Healthcare: Give the People What They Want

James Freeman Clarke once said “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.” So it is with the so-called debate concerning healthcare reform. First and foremost, we as a country need to take a step back from the “debate” and allow for more time to really find out what it is the American people want. They need to be surveyed before a bill is presented to Congress not as something that is foisted upon them as a fait accompli. Furthermore, no one can tell me that the United States does not have the money to provide healthcare to all Americans when it continues to waste $12 billion dollars per month on a frivolous “war on terror” in Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally, in spite of the angst exhibited at the town hall meetings across the country, it is imperative that all constituents continue to demand they be held. The electronic age has removed what is perhaps the most effective element of politics: confrontation. It is healthy for the country (no pun intended).

As for the debate on healthcare reform, can anyone explain to me why it costs what is does for medical care? Is it possible to provide the same care at less cost but at the same quality? What efforts have been made by the medical community to promote preventative medicine? How is it that the American diet has become so corrupted in the last 50 years? Should those profiting be held more accountable in some way? On the other hand, what monetary incentive has been established for the consumer to govern their own health practices? Should someone who refuses to take care of themselves be charged more than someone who chooses to try to live a healthy lifestyle? If I switch to the public plan, will I receive the cash equivalent from the difference of my salary and my health benefits? Or should my private sector company just keep the windfall profit?

As for private healthcare, all I can comment on is my own experience. Once I had the occassion to report to the emergency room located inside MetroHealth Hospital in Cleveland. I was suffering from a musculoskeletal sprain causing me severe pain in the lower left abdomen just below the rib cage. The injury was caused by slipping on the last stair of my basement steps. From the moment I entered the ER several nurses and doctors kept repeating to me how they were going to examine me for “chest pains”. I kept telling them it was not chest pains but a pain in my abdomen just below my rib cage. Well, after three hours of tests ranging from X-rays to EKG, the doctor finally confirmed that I was suffering from a musculoskeletal sprain and I’d just have to suffer through it. The cost for the medical care was $3,500. My co-pay was $100.

There are truly some strong positives and negatives to both private and public medicine. Some say there are “islands of excellence within a sea of mediocrity” while others indicate we live in a “vast waist land” consuming a “hi-fat, hi-fad” diet, preventing us from “fitting into our jeans by not fitting into our genes.” Perhaps the private-public healthcare reform debate is just a big blob of gray, from which hopefully we can successfully integrate the best parts of the black with the best parts of the white.

Joe Bialek

Artvoice reserves the right to edit letters for content and length. Shorter letters have a better chance at being published in their entirety. Please include your name, hometown, and contact number. E-mail letters to: or write to: Artvoice Letters, 810 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

blog comments powered by Disqus