Monday, January 19, 2009

Healthcare Nation - To be or not to be.

In these times when even our most dependable institutions are challenged to their breaking point, it is important to appreciate that it is the commitment of a community to provide for its members that is the bedrock of a society. Institutions come and go and are replaced with new ones as humanity tries and tries again to create systems and structures to achieve a defining mission.

All of these collective efforts include an identifiable membership with roles essential to the success of the mission. The roles played by various members change as an institution is forced to adapt to changing circumstances. An organization where roles are rigidly defined often neglects important feedback and fail to change with the times. Sometimes when a system is under stress it fails to fulfill the mission and contracts, decreasing the membership it benefits. Other times it is a change in the membership that forces a change in the system. More mouths to feed challenge nations and families, alike, to extend themselves to meet basic commitments. Priorities change. Values assert themselves at the expense of other values. A rising tide lifts all boats, except when it is a sea of red ink.

Returning to the theme that a society is defined the commitments it fulfills for its members; our nation’s identity is not just a matter of who we are, although that is a question that is the subject of great debate. Our nation is also defined by what it is we do for one another.

Other nations provide affordable healthcare to its members. In the United States today there co-exist two nations: one whose members have access to healthcare, and one whose members do not. The border between these two separate nations is not well guarded. With every pink-slip families slip across the porous border between Healthcare Nation and Healthcare-Not Nation. This is a border I wish our leaders would strive to secure. So long as we accept a sub-nation of people lacking access to healthcare there is going to be a risk that their numbers will swell, as their domain encompasses more and more Americans.

Lincoln spoke of how a house divided against itself will not stand. We must let our leaders know that we will not stand for our nation to endure the fate of a divided people.

John Kilian, RN