Like ripping open a freshly healed wound in our nation’s flesh, members of the newly Republican-controlled House of Representatives said over the weekend that they want to attack health care reform yet again.
The Republicans are looking to quickly pass a change or repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that became law in March of last year. Such a maneuver would be only symbolic since the Democratic-controlled Senate or President Obama himself would easily shoot such an attempt down.
But, the Republicans know Americans are dissatisfied with Obama’s health care reform. A Rasmussen poll released on Monday found that 60 percent of Americans favor repeal of the national health care law, including 46 percent who “strongly favor” repeal.
My prescription for America is a change of perspective. Everyone is talking about “health care reform,” “health care repeal,” “health care dollars,” “health care law,” health care this, and health care that. The government has even created a website called Health Care.gov.
But what does health care mean? What is at stake in Obama’s legislation is how Americans interact with their hospitals, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. Is “health” as we know it confined to these interactions?
Not at all. The legislation passed in Washington last year dealt with physical health, but had little to do with mental health, a less easily defined and vast topic. Mental health may be treated by a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor, and easily branches into the realm of alternative and holistic medicine.
Not only is “health care” confined to physical health, it is mostly confined to treating physical health only when something goes wrong. You don’t usually go to the hospital when you are feeling good; you go when you are feeling bad.
From this perspective, a more accurate way of representing “health care” might be to call it “bad physical health care.” That is what people are actually talking about.
Health is a powerful idea that shouldn’t be abused. If you don’t have your mental and physical health then it doesn’t matter how much money or power you have, you can’t enjoy it. Healthy living is something typically under your direct control and it has a direct impact on your future wellbeing.
Americans, unless they have chronic illnesses, are lying to themselves if they think that their health is primarily controlled by national laws, overblown bureaucracy, doctors, hospitals, nurses, and pharmacists. Americans’ health and care for that health is controlled by them first and foremost.
The inflating of bad physical health care into all encompassing health care has misled Americans. In 2009 and early 2010, when there was much ado about the health care issue, Republicans tried to scare Americans by saying that Obama’s health care reform would bring about death panels and would reduce the quality of America’s health care.
Yet, even if our bad physical health care quality goes down to let’s say Canadian standards, is that something to be afraid of?
While Canadians sometimes complain of waiting lines, Canada has a higher life expectancy rate and a lower infant mortality rate than the United States. Meanwhile, Canada has a lower obesity rate and smoking rate than the United States—perhaps because they’re inclined to be healthier rather than wait in a long line at the hospital. But forget about hospitals, by taking better care of their own individual health, Canadians actually have better health care.
Of course, the Democrats aren’t blameless either. In the name of “health,” penalizing people who do not pay large amounts of money for bad physical health care is unjust—Americans instinctively know this.
Democrat or Republican, feel free to sugarcoat bad physical health care as “medical care” or “physical care,” but please stop fear-mongering about “health care.”
Evan Mantyk can be reached at email@example.com.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.