Also, in being compassionate, one can choose where one’s resources go. Not all healthcare is created equal.
For example, the World Health Organization states that there is no medical reason for a caesarean rate above “10-15%”. That language implies they were hedging, so as not to offend too much places with caesarean rates higher than 10%. A community in Tennessee has proved that a C-section rate of less than 2% is possible. Your local hospital? An NHS hospital in England the rate’s more likely to be around 25%, I think one we went to had a 27% rate. In America, the national rate is more like 30%, some hospitals go a lot higher. More than double the national rate.
Of course, there’s a complete difference in ethos between the two kinds of places. The place with the low rate wants to help the mother give birth, and knows what is necessary at what time. The medicalised model treats pregnancy as like an illness: oh, it’s hurting, let’s give you a drug for that. Oh, that drug slowed things down, let’s give you a drug to speed it up. Oh, that makes it hurt more, let’s give you a different drug inserted by drip in your back so you can’t move. Oh, you’re taking to long, let’s cut you open. One is health care, the other is sabotage (and reminds me of this clip, from about 40 seconds to about 2 minutes).
Which one would I rather give money to? The former, obviously. If I were funding it for myself, or for other people, hands down I would give the money to the people who actually know about birth. There are places around the country that offer a true midwifery model of healthcare like this.
If I went the insurance route, which type of place would they pay for? The latter. If my money is forcibly extracted from me by the government, which would they give my money to? The latter. In England, when we used the NHS, even the midwives who came out to houses were tied in with the hospital system, because it’s all the same structure. If, when I was in England, I wanted to go with the model with a lower rate of major abdominal surgery, I would have to pay for it myself AND pay for the shitty service that I wasn’t using, and wouldn’t recommend to anybody else either.
We hear so often that Fat is a Bad Thing. Give this a read. Weight is not an indicator of health. It’s an indicator of weight. And yet, fat people are treated differently in the medical system than other people are. So, going back to the birth thing, if you’re fat, you have no chance of using the birthing pool they tempted you in with. You’re a lot more likely to be in the 25+% that ends up with major abdominal surgery (and most likely, unnecessarily). One hears horror stories of fat people going to the doctors and being told to lose weight before the doctor will even listen to what’s wrong, when the fat person has gone in about a suspected broken ankle. Weight is a genetic trait. Discriminating based on weight is no better than discriminating based on race or skin colour.
Not all doctors are that stupid, but with nationalised health care, I can’t opt out of funding the stupid ones. I can’t choose to fund just the places that can see past the “Obesity epidemic!” propaganda sponsored by the Government (in turn sponsored by those who profit from fat-shaming).
No thank you. This violence against pregnant women is not something I want to support. This violence against fat people is not something I want to support. If this government has its was and I choose to not support these things, then they will do violence to me. I do not see how this can be described as “compassionate”.
And if those who feel no responsibility towards the unborn lives they’ve created want to kill them on my dollar, I can’t opt out. When they legalise euthanasia, and then they start wanting me to pay for it, will I be able to opt out? No.
In England, every so often the dissatisfaction of the nurses gets aired in the media, how they are overworked and underpaid. I have an aunt and a sister who are nurses in the NHS, I know this. My sister works different shifts, but they don’t rotate them in any sane order (like starting with earlies, moving to middles and then to nights, then starting over again) she’s moved all over the show in any order. That’s not exactly healthy. There’s often talk in the media about the NHS having too much middle-management, and every so often someone’s hired to figure out how to cut costs, but the thick layer of bureaucracy isn’t a part that gets cut. The vast amounts of money thrown at the NHS doesn’t trickle down well to the floor workers (it’s not like we need well-rested people working on us or anything), it accumulates in bureaucracy and the pockets of the drug companies. And with the government footing the bill, the inefficiency is not going to go away. There’s no incentive. People will use all their budgets so their budgets won’t get cut. You hear the same story in the education system and in the military. At least in a for-profit system that layer of crap can be cut. A nationalised health-care system has the worst of all worlds.
I touched on finances when I was talking about fat and birth, but there’s more financey-stuff that ties in with those, that it seemed proper to postpone until now.
When you pay for someone to fix your car, or your roof, or your plumbing, there’s a certain relationship that you have with your contractor. You trust the plumber to know about plumbing, that he’ll fix what needs fixing and won’t break anything else. If you’re not happy with the work he does – if he’s not on-site nearly as much as he’s charging you for, you can impose economic sanctions on him. You didn’t do the work, you’re not getting paid. With a doctor, you trust him to give you good medical advice, and you pay him for it. If you’re that unfortunate person who’s fat and goes to a doctor for ankle problems and he tells you to lose weight, implying as part of that more exercise (true story), and it’s not you paying but the insurance company or the government, there’s nothing you can do. You might be able to find another doctor (if insurance or the government let you), but there’s no incentive for the bad doctor to learn to give better service.
I am relieved that I no longer contribute to the upkeep of the NHS. I’ve come across good doctors and bad doctors, and had good experiences and bad, heard good stories and bad, and in the end? The whole thing wallows in mediocrity. The bad points are part of the system as a whole, and the good points don’t outweigh them. Nationalising the US system won’t make it better, it will retain its current problems and inherit those particular to the new structure.
Read also how the health care law threatens parental rights.
Given that the current problems are violent against a great many people (I’ve shown against the fat and against the pregnant, I’m sure there’s more), and the enforced nature of the new taxation is violent against everyone (if you don’t comply we’ll get you), it is against my conscience to be “for” such a system. I wouldn’t wish it even on people I didn’t like.
If you find it compassionate to support such a system, that is fine. But please understand that as quality of care goes, it sucks. As value for money goes, it sucks. As treatment of workers goes, it sucks. Forcing me at gunpoint to pay for this (which is what taxation is) is not compassionate. Taking away my personal responsibility to the sick and poor is not compassionate. Taking their personal response to me or to the institution or person that I personally give money to, is not compassionate. Making more people (staff and patients) dependent on the government, is not compassionate. With this form of “compassion”, everybody loses out, one way or the other.
I feel less compassionate towards the poor and the sick, because the government has taken responsibility for the poor and sick. The poor and sick feel entitled to these benefits, because they are now a “right”, not a gracious gift. This is what I was trying to convey in the previous paragraph: I could give my friend money for treatment, and he would be grateful to me. I could give money to a birthing centre so some people I’ll never know could have quality care and not have to pay for it themselves (or not the full amount, anyway), and they won’t be grateful to me (left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, and all that), but they’ll know they’re not getting the care at the full price, so they’ll be grateful to the birth centre for giving them the grant/discount/whatever. If care is funded by the government, the patient won’t be grateful to everyone in the country, it’s impossible. “Thank you, random stranger, for paying for my cancer treatment…” it goes from blessing and being blessed to burdening and being demanding, and that really doesn’t seem like an improvement.
I don’t doubt your motives, but nationalised health care is not the “best thing since sliced bread”, it is not the shiny cure-for-all-ills thing that people think it is. You’re free to make your decisions, of course, but leave others free to make their own decisions as well.