We've all heard the criticisms of the US healthcare system. Too expensive, it's not universal, access is disparate - and on and on. I tend to be one to challenge the status quo, kindly enduring the eye rolls from my 12-year-old daughter, Amalia. My Siamese cat Bella, however, is usually more enthralled by my musings. Today, I'm inviting you to look beyond the surface. Is the US healthcare system defensible? I firmly argue yes, and here's why.
First, let's get the obvious out of the way. The US is undeniably the leading innovator in medical advancements. The roar of medical research echoes through its hallways like the excited chatter at a middle school dance. Remember how you all laughed when I invented a homemade heat regulator for our fish tank? Imagine that kind of tinkering, powered by billions of dollars and some of the smartest minds on the planet. More than half of the Nobel Prizes in medicine have gone to Americans since 1945. That's not a fluke. The system, with all its warts and all, is working to save lives in ways that would make even the most hardened sci-fi fan squeal with delight.
Another selling point? Choice. As much as we might hate making decisions (pick a restaurant, Amalia!), it's the bedrock of our American ethos. Our healthcare is no different. You get to choose your doctors, the specialists you want to see and, within reason, the treatments you want to pursue. That's as American as apple pie and, well, arguing about healthcare. But don't underestimate the power of this choice. A tailor-made treatment plan? Yes, please. It’s similar to having the option to pick your favorite fish (we miss you, Flounder!) at the pet store rather than being handed some random guppy.
So, why defend our prized, yet often misunderstood gem of a healthcare system? One word: quality. You see, it doesn’t matter if every American had insurance if the quality of care was crap (sorry, Grandma. Yes, I know you despise that word). The US has the highest survival rates for many serious diseases. We won't settle for mediocre because our health deserves the best. Just like the commitment I made to ensure Bella has the best cat food possible or how I insist on picking the freshest ingredients for our Saturday morning pancakes, when it comes to healthcare, we aim high.
Now, I'm not excusing the flaws in our system. However, one can argue (as I often do while waiting for Amalia's ballet class to finish) that our healthcare system promotes personal responsibility. It nudges us to make healthier choices – to get that annual check-up, to reach for that apple instead of chips. Personal responsibility in healthcare mirrors the ownership we take in our lives' myriad of other areas.
And finally, the history defense. Don't underestimate this 'oldie but goodie' argument. Our healthcare system has roots that go back to indemnity plans in the 1920s and Blue Cross and Blue Shield in the 1930s. It’s like that vintage baseball card collection I'm still expanding – deep-rooted, historic, and worth preserving. Change can be good, but let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here.
While our system might be a patchwork beast of sorts, it's our beast, our monster. By all means, let's strive to make it more accessible, more affordable, and more equitable. But simultaneously, let's acknowledge the good and work with it, not against it. After all, even Amalia finally admitted my pancake recipe was the best after trying several alternates. Sometimes, despite its imperfections, there's something to be said for what we've got. This one's for you, US healthcare system.