I’m not sure if President Obama hit a home run with his speech last night, but his message seemed well modulated between passion and reason, toughness and tenderness. As someone who spent most of my life without health insurance, I am grateful finally to be covered by that great American single-payer system, Medicare. Although I’m skeptical that anything less than a similar program will get the rest of us to affordable universal coverage, I accept that America may not be ready for such sensible but radical change. What passes this year may only be a first step to the change we need.
While all of this is important, readers of this blog do not need to be reminded that health and health care are not the same thing. Doctors and hospitals do not create health. Our health depends on who we are, how we lead our lives, what we believe. And frankly, on who our parents were and how they cared for us. Health is not so much a matter of health care, as it is of clean air and water, whole foods, creative thoughts. When more of us awake each morning appreciating each breathe, loving our lives, excited about our work and caring for each other, that will be a sign we have achieved the health reform we need.
These matters will no doubt be one of the major topics for discussion on this blog, and you are welcome to add your voice.
Gary Alinder, September 10, 2009