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Letter: Healthcare Debate: Drop the “Crisis”

In medicine there is an expression that says: First, do no harm. It is a warning to doctors to be careful not to hurt or kill the patient you are trying to cure. With “Healthcare Reform,” we should heed the same warning and avoid wrecking a system that, although not perfect, is by far the best healthcare system on the planet. Taking a step back and looking at the so-called “crisis” in healthcare, we observe the followings facts: 90 percent of Americans have health insurance. Ten percent do not. Those who do not will never be denied care in an emergency. And we are talking about quality care here, with 21st century technology and known-how that is the world’s gold-standard.

So now we see a mad rush to reform the entire system, when only ten percent of people have no insurance coverage. How about making some changes that move that ten percent number down toward zero, and leaving the 90 percent who do have coverage alone? And what if a healthy, robust, red-blooded American youth decides he doesn’t want to buy health insurance? Some crisis hawks think this healthy kid should be fined. Yes, that’s right. The proposal is to punish him financially for not buying something the government says he must buy. Other red-blooded Americans like me think this healthy lad should not be told by our government to buy anything, and that he should be left alone.

Here is a suggestion for the crisis hawks in government: First, do no harm. Don’t harm our American tradition of individualism in deciding what one buys or does not buy. Don’t put forward a bill for “reform” that is 1990 pages long that nobody could possibly ever read. And don’t forget that our U.S. Constitution, that marvelous document that one can read in one or two hours, did not need to be 1990 pages long, and is still the basis of our American way of life after more than 200 years. Don’t do violence to the Constitution in your desperate effort to make history and affix your name to a new law that will give us a more intrusive healthcare system which would have a financial interest in every personal decision I make that may affect my health, such as eating a Big Mac or smoking three packs of cigarettes a day. You have no right to intrude on such personal decisions.

James J. DiMaio, MD