Today’s food for thought comes from the USA Today news website, and it introduces some very interesting statistics as well as some provocative questions. The statistics show that while we are living longer lives, this does not mean we are living healthier lives. Contrary to what might seem to be common sense, our longer lives are actually less healthy lives, full of illnesses and chronic disease.
Our advances in medicine and healthcare have produced a people that can live in spite of bad health. The indications of bad health are no longer as big a deal to us as we are not worried about dying from these chronic diseases. Therefore, obesity is rampant, and more and more people are adopting a sedentary lifestyle.
The article then highlights a big issue that many of us are constantly concerned with, health care:
“There’s no way that this country can possibly afford the medical care costs and consequences of these preventable chronic illnesses,” says Tuckson. “We have two freight trains headed directly into each other unless we take action now.”
Many Americans are on either side of the fence when it comes to health care, but we all have to face this reality. Rocks can be thrown in either direction here, but we want to ask questions that transcend the basic cyclical arguments being made. We can point the finger all we want, but we need to ask the following questions in light of the real issues:
If you are worried about health care costs in this nation and whether or not we can afford them, are you doing anything about your own health to ensure you are not being an unneeded burden? In other words, do you not think you have an ethical duty to steer clear of avoidable illness? Perhaps you might say, I should only be my own burden and my choices should not affect others, therefore, I am against a more socialized system, but simply because you are outvoted does not mean your moral obligation ends.
If you want a more socialized health care system, are you making sure you are not going to be an unneeded burden. Are you making sure that the money will go to the people who actually need it, and not to supporting your own lack of care. If you have voted for such a thing, you are now morally responsible to ensure that you are not abusing the system. This is not a social justice project if you use it for your own personal gain.
Things are never as simple as they seem. The fact that we are living longer yet sicker is not simply a sad fact, but an issue we must morally take on.
Read the article and let us know what you think: