Milan Vodicka: So-called health care: an open letter to Rep. LaMalfa
May 29, 2017
Dear Rep. LaMalfa,
On the heels of your vote for the "health care" bill in the U.S. Congress on May 4, I prefer to write to you via the newspaper, in addition to directly to you.
Why? Because, by your vote you demonstrated that the truth does not matter to you. To you, the evidence does not matter. To you, the logic does not matter. Compassion for the less fortunate than yourself does not matter. What matters to you?
You see, it is impossible to reason with dogmatics. Dogma, by dictionary (I quote), means "a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as inconvertibly true." Once someone is in that frame of mind, nothing else matters.
Therefore, I wish to state respectfully, yet unequivocally and firmly, that the so-called healthcare system in the U.S., in comparison to what it could and should be, is atrocious. Everyone I talk to knows it. And now, you and your colleagues, rather than improving it are making it even worse.
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With regard to health care — I wrote about it before — I could tell you that every other developed country has a functioning health-care system that works for all, rich and poor. That everyone is covered. That it is affordable. Where everyone participates, indeed must equally participate. That there is a standard of care. No "pre-existing conditions" and other similar nonsense. That all of this is based on the very definition and principle of insurance, on mathematics, and logic.
I could also tell you about pre-existing conditions of my daughter and granddaughter, here in Nevada County. I could tell you that compassion should be a Christian, as much as everyone's, value. That health and well-being of all of our neighbors should manifest itself in something more than a few dollars in the pockets of young and healthy people who "do not need health insurance." Yet, all of this and more and more along these lines, as evidenced by your vote, does not and would not mean anything to you.
Apparently, what matters to you is the "party line," a dogma created by incessant repetition of statements like "Obamacare is in a death spiral," "we promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, therefore we must do it," and so on.
Do you actually understand that those considerations are not important to someone who has cancer or some other "pre-existing condition," who is seriously sick, who has to take care of the sick child or a parent? Someone who is on the brink of financial catastrophe due to some unforeseen health crisis? Such predicaments do not appear to be weighing in for the esteemed lawmakers such as yourself. All of you just celebrated a "legislative victory." Yep, that is all that matters. Plus, perhaps, millions and millions of dollars for some (like insurance companies executives). The party dogma rules.
I usually choose careful and very respectful language, being used to it from my academic career. Therefore, I wish to state respectfully, yet unequivocally and firmly, that the so-called healthcare system in the U.S., in comparison to what it could and should be, is atrocious. Everyone I talk to knows it. And now, you and your colleagues, rather than improving it are making it even worse. You should know. The legal phrase is "he knew or should have known."
I also respectfully and firmly state that your vote is a personal insult to my daughter and granddaughter. They suffer from a genetic disease called CMT. Yes, a "pre-existing condition." They could not prevent or affect this in any way or manner. It is an insult, especially to my granddaughter. She is only 14, yet already — by your law — discriminated against. And perhaps her future children, too.
I sincerely wish people in your position of responsibility would respect and heed the old-fashioned values of honor and honesty. Honor and honesty do not bind anyone to any party, any ideology, any dogma. This was the image of America and its institutions I had in my youth. This should be the image of America today — better for us Americans and the world. This "me-me" mentality and party polarizations do not serve anyone — well, they serve some, those with millions and millions of dollars. Ultimately, it is the truth that should matter.
I know, you perceive the truth "your way." This is a problem. There are causes and there are consequences. And there is causality that ties them together. There are health-care systems that work and there is the U.S. health-care system full of suffering, complexity, redundancies, questionable process quality, high (in some cases debilitating) costs, and access problems (see pre-existing conditions).
And there is data and truth about it.
The honest and honorable truth how to make it work. I wish you would remember and pay attention to it next time you vote.
Milan Vodicka, Ph.D. has been a Nevada County resident since 1978.
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