I was sent a video on Health Care Reform that did an outstanding job of identifying the issues that our country is struggling with. It starts, interestingly enough with the story of Walkin’ Tall, the prise winning pig at the Indiana State Fair. Turns out the pig is unable to walk due to his weight and the author points out that the choices ar to kill the pig, put the pig on a diet, or continue to feed the pig and carry it from place to place. This is, as it turns out, a metaphor for healthcare. As is pointed out in the video, what we Americans chose do with our “pig” depends on how we view our responsibility to our fellow citizens. In the video, the question of healthcare as a right versus a privilege is addressed. The view of the author is that though we view it as a right (EMTALA) that we choose not to pay for directly, which is why we have such a convoluted system of getting folks paid when compared to our fellow citizens of the world.
Now that all of the bills are out of committee, it is clear that Congress is a reflection of America. We continue to debate what should be included in a health care package for all Americans. Jon Kyl does not, for example, want to pay for maternity care that he certainly will never need. He is a Senator from the state of Arizona. If you are white (as Senator Kyl is), pregnant, and live in Arizona, your baby has a 6/1000 chance of dying in the first 30 days of life (Kaiser Family Foundation). Although access to prenatal care may not make all of the difference, it likely would reduce this even further as we as a country are 5.7/1000. If you are non white, non hispanic your chances of having your baby alive at the end of 30 days in Arizona is 1.2/100. Senator Kyl may want to rethink his willingness to pay for care for people unlike him if he’d like for the infant mortality of these citizens to be better that the Russians (1.1/100).
Kill the pig, feed the pig, or put the pig on a diet. We as a country will need to decide which strategy to follow. Continuing to feed the pig, some say, will result in further economic decay. Others say the “health care sector” is an important part of the economy. Maybe we need to switch to soy bacon.