Selective Compassion

In Blog by darlene4 Comments

As our hearts open and our charitable dollars pour into Haiti, my faith in the human capacity to give is renewed. We have it within us to pull one of the poorest countries in the Americas from the rubbles of a devastating catastrophe and aid in rebuilding their lives. Our government and those around the world are championing this mobilization and have moved with haste to Haiti’s rescue. From compelling images on television to stirring words and pleas from our churches and charitable organizations, we have all been moved to act on behalf of our Haitian brothers and sisters.

I am struck, as I watch our actions, with this question: Is it possible to perceive our brothers and sisters in the United States who lack healthcare as worthy of any of that compassion we are so capable of evoking when a catastrophe as the one in Haiti strikes? Is it possible to perceive our brothers and sisters in the United States who may not be trapped under concrete rubble, but are  trapped in inaccessibility to the privilege of healthcare services, as worthy of some of our  compassion? They may not have loved ones who have died in this natural disaster, but who are, nonetheless, susceptible to another type of catastrophe or death.  A private catastrophe, unnoticed by Washington bureaucrats, or any charitable organization, or the wide lens of television, in which a child loses a parent to some disease because the parent wasn’t privy to preventative care. Is the grief any less tragic?

My suspicion is that we are afraid to champion the cause of reform because somehow we feel our own comfort will be shaken. I fear that we may think those without healthcare deserve this because they are unwilling to work hard enough (like we have) to acquire decent enough jobs that carry health benefits. I would love to know that we here in the United States can evoke the unbiased, unselfish responsibility and compassion that we have shown to Haiti to those here in the United States and support the need to care for all of our citizens, and not let the fear of change trap our hearts and cloud our ability to support this cause of human compassion.


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  1. Pat D.

    Anyone who doesn’t think we need health care reform is not paying attention that is sure. What I am not sure about is the reform bill that is taking shape in Washington right now. I fear that while they were in such a hurry they failed to examine some of the reasons health care is in such bad shape.
    I am of two minds at this time. On the one hand we have pretty decent insurance although it is not as good as it was a year ago. On the other hand my daughter has never worked in a place that provided insurance. I have paid for medication and Dr’s visits out of my own pocket for my grand daughter and my daughter at one time or another which was in the hundred’s of dollars.

    One of the things that concerns me about our current situation is doctors visits that may not be necessary and are expensive. Let me give you an example. My husband’s Dr wanted him to have a test. It is one he has had before and is not done at his Dr’s office. The Doctor’s office made an appointment for my husband to see this other Dr. who would be doing the test which sounds reasonable. But as I said we have done this before and knew this appointment that would cost us about $40.00 and the insurance company $160.00, but was only to make the appointment to have the test done,tell my husband what to expect when he got the test, don’t eat after midnight and be sure to have someone available to drive him home because he would not be able to drive. So for a cool $200.00 my husband would go for an appointment that in our minds was unnecessary and would have lasted no longer than fifteen minutes.
    My husband’s own doctor could have told him these things, and while emailing for an appointment could have provided the testing Dr. any information about my husband that was deemed important, and sent my husband the time to be there for the test.

    This test is done every four or five years for people my husband’s age. Imagine one million unnecessary visits that could be handled between the Dr assigning the test and the Dr. doing the test. And this is only 1 test when you think of this in the sheer numbers it’s staggering the money spent for appointments like these where no health care is actually provided.

    One of the things that concerns me is the all or nothing at all attitude our legislators have and how it might make things worse rather than better. Like the test I mentioned above. If they did look at such things people may be denied these visit because of cost, and while many are not needed as in our case there could be those where it is needed.
    I am deeply concerned that the health care bill as they are preparing it now is going to make things worse rather than better. I would really rest easier if they looked at the waste first before they shove something down our throats that could hurt so many people..
    Thank you for your time.

  2. darlene

    Thank you for sharing your story. I share some of your same fears about the reform being too much too soon. I also fear if we don’t get a bill passed now, the closest we’ve come to doing so, this huge problem will get pushed under the bureaucrats carpet, and insurance agencies will continue to run a-muck. It’s a precarious situation at best.

  3. Pat D.

    I doubt this health care problem will end up under anyone’s carpet. It truly is the elephant in the room. I only hope whatever bill is passed is best for the people and NOT the insurance companies or the pharmaceutical companies who have already made more money than Bill Gates and Exxon on the backs of the American public.

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