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September 3, 2009

Lower the Volume

Michael Kurtianyk

In response to all of the rhetoric about health care, we can agree on one thing: not reforming the health care industry is not an option. We need to do something.


I see these town hall meetings where groups are bused in to attack our politicians. The people yell with vociferous rants and I think: this isn’t the way to get the message across to our leaders. Don’t misunderstand me: it’s not the fact that people are expressing their opinions. Not at all! I am glad that we live in a country where free speech is a founding principle. I am also pleased that the groups are there to speak passionately to our leaders. This doesn’t happen in all parts of the world.


My concern is that the rhetoric is too violent and too negative. At Sen. Ben Cardin’s meeting (and others throughout the country), hecklers jeered, laughed, and booed their way throughout the meeting. Senator Cardin was interrupted numerous times by those whose minds were already made up. This utter lack of respect is uncalled for. It’s more of a reflection of the individual’s character than anything else.


Now, these same people will justify their behavior by saying that they’re fed up with the health care plan. I get that. However, is it necessary to behave in this ridiculous manner towards our leaders? What does this accomplish exactly? That many in this country are fed up? Fine – but there’s no need to be so extreme in the responses, and completely disrespect the offices that our leaders hold.


Moderation is the best approach. We have those, mentioned above, who scream and yell and interrupt, contributing nothing towards a serious discussion on this issue. There are also vehement supporters of the government’s health care plan. So, what do we have left?


There is a vast middle in our country that is not so extreme. These are the voices that need to be heard. A representative form of government is just that: representative of its constituents. We can’t get caught up in the rhetoric of either extreme. The majority of Americans are in the middle on this issue.


What do we do about health care reform in our country? America has the highest rate of chronic diseases, second only to Australia. Supporters of reform feel that health care has become too expensive for employees and businesses. They also say that the medical profession should concentrate on healing, rather than malpractice liabilities, insurance, etc. Those against health care reform feel that a government controlled system would increase wait times at medical facilities and lower quality care.


Let’s read the words of President Barack Obama:


“Making sure every American has access to high quality health care is one of the most important challenges of our time. The number of uninsured Americans is growing, premiums are skyrocketing, and more people are being denied coverage every day. A moral imperative by any measure, a better system is also essential to rebuilding our economy – we want to make health insurance work for people and businesses, not just insurance and drug companies.”


Many chronic ailments among American patients could be reduced dramatically with a change in diet and exercise. Diabetes and obesity are at extremely high levels among the nation’s youth. With over 45 million Americans uninsured, and health care costs rising, we need to do all we can to help our fellow Americans.


President Obama’s plan includes a government-run health insurance program that would compete with private insurers, requires companies with more than 25 employees to provide medical coverage for their workers and sets up an "exchange" that would let people choose among a variety of insurance options.


We can debate all we want about the pros and cons of a universal health care system in America. However, this limiting argument gets us nowhere. What we really need to focus on, as a nation, is to change our ways.


We need to focus on the prevention of diseases, instead of treating the symptoms of diseases. We must improve our nutrition, exercise more, and screen for cancer and other deadly diseases.


As a nation, we must strive for technological advances in the field of medicine, specifically preventative medicine. We can put people on the moon, and so we can commit ourselves and our resources towards finding cures.


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