“Who is a wise doctor? He who knows to warn his patient how to avoid becoming sick. Whereas he who does not know how to forewarn [though he heals] is not a wise doctor.” – Medieval Sefer Hasidim, section 592
“The more you demand for your service…the greater will it appear in the eyes of the people. Your art will be looked upon as insignificant by those whom you treat for nothing.” – Isaac Israeli, tenth-century Egyptian physician and philosopher, Doctor’s Guide
“One may not rely on a miracle.” – Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 64b
So what does all this mean? First, that our medical community of professionals need to help us change the mindset in America that we can treat our bodies however we want to because medicine can counteract anything that happens. Americans are destroying our bodies through addictions: sugar, caffeine, alcohol, excess prescription drug intake, illegal drugs, couch potato syndrome, video gamers anonymous, and more. We do not have healthy lifestyles. Doctors, physicians, nurses, and dietitians need to lead the way in chastising their patients while encouraging them to make lifestyle changes. Maybe we should deny health care to someone with diabetes who choose to continue stuffing sugar in excess into their system. I don’t know if that would work to curtail the problem but something has to be done to get Americans thinking healthy and living healthy.
Second, because of our dependency on the medical community to keep us alive despite our lifestyle we have made them indispensable, thus the excessively high prices. The entire community is inflated right now. With that comes the government support in our local communities for taking care of those without insurance. We have programs in place to where people can get seen for free. I have used the local health clinic to get checked out a couple of times when I couldn’t afford to go to a private physician. Great service, great staff, reasonably priced (I made too much to be seen for free but not enough to be able to pay for private insurance). However, if our system wasn’t so inflated then I would have been able to afford insurance or to remove insurance altogether and just pay for the physician’s services up front. When did insurance come on the scene? When consumerism took off and we started getting inflated egos that demanded things we couldn’t afford. I am of the persuasion that health care is a privilege not a right, even for my 8.5 month old little girl. It is a philosophical statement at this point, not a matter of experience.
Lastly, for those of us who are miracle believers I am not sure what to think or believe. The example from the book where I got all of these quotes (Jewish Wisdom, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin) makes note that for the past 3,000 years the Jewish community has had physicians of some caliber. They believed in divine healing and man’s ability to supply healing. One of the examples that is cited includes two men fighting where one of the men ends up confined to his bed due to the extent of his injuries. In this case the author points out that while God could heal the man of his injuries the injured party should not expect it. So it makes me wonder, “when we bring the disease, the sickness, the injury on our self, then can we pray for and expect God to heal us?” I can already hear some saying, “But that is what Grace is all about, getting blessed with what you don’t deserve!” But at what point does God’s justice no longer take effect and only his mercy is shown?
These are my thoughts on health care at a time when our nation is up in arms over our rights and privileges. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed thinking.