The following was shared with me by a third party, who says it is the text of a two paragraph letter of a young emergency room physician named Dr. Starner Jones. I don’t know if this is a true letter or an urban legend letter. However it’s perspective about health care reform as a “Culture Crisis” rather than a “Health Care Crisis” is thought provoking – at least with regard to those Americans who claim they can’t pay for health insurance coverage or pay for the cost of health care for themselves or their families but can find money to pay for other “Necessities.”
The letter as shared reads as follows:
“Dear Mr. President:
During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ring tone. While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as “Medicaid”! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer. And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman’s health care? I contend that our nation’s “health care crisis” is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a “crisis of culture”, a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Once you fix this “culture crisis” that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you’ll be amazed at how quickly our nation’s health care difficulties will disappear.
STARNER JONES, MD”
When deciding to tax or otherwise collect money from some Americans to pay for health care for other “needy” Americans, should some consideration be given to why the person asking for or being given the help “needs’ the help and why the person being asked or forced to help is able and expected to help.
Some Americans who need more health care than they can afford to pay for are in a tough position despite their honest hardworking efforts. Many of these individuals have worked hard, scrimped and saved, purchased health insurance, and done their part only to loose their job or be hit with an illness or injury requiring more care than their budget can handle.
On the other hand, many people holding out their hand for health care assistance could have purchased health care coverage or better health care coverage but chose not to guard against a rainy day or don’t pay their health care coverage or medical expenses because they choose to buy other things that are more satisfying. Many of these people making these choices also may make other unhealthy choices.
Should the help given depend on these choices? How does personal responsibility weigh into the health care reform debate? Share your point of view by joining the discussion at http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3049544&trk=hb_side_g.
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