Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Big thanks to Big Red for the vid, and big thanks to Save Charity Hospital for keeping this issue alive.

And lately, I've been contemplating many health care issues in this town that go beyond the physical buildings that stand empty here. Treatment of terminal diseases, chronic pains, and conditions such as substance abuse could sure use some serious tuning up in this town....and not like the one described in the passage below:
What if I had not been born in Minnesota, the land of abundant lakes, ample treatment centers, and endless forgiveness? What if I lived in a state or a country or a time - like now, for instance - where after the second or third treatment, they said, "Gosh, Mr. Carr, you seem to be having trouble getting the hang of this. Is this really a good use of the hard-earned tax money of the citizens of our state?" The state of Minnesota, along with the Feds, paid for at least three treatments, gave me general assistance while I was in the booby hatch, and, when I got custody of my children, issued me food stamps to feed them. A few years later, I got cancer, and it paid for all of that too. God bless the welfare state, God bless Minnesota, God bless the milk of human kindness.

Not a bad investment, in retrospect. Not only did the state not have to bear the burden of permanently placing the twins in foster care, but I had been a very good candidate to graduate from jail to prison, which is a very expensive proposition. As a citizen with the wheels glued back on, I have probably kicked back more than $300,000 in federal and state taxes. I'm hoping they drop a little of it on a loser like me. Insurance companies now treat rehab like a tune-up, funding a couple of weeks at most. But some are sicker than others. Redemption comes on a schedule known only to God, and as a civilized people, it's probably best to put good money after bad, hoping that the lightning eventually strikes. Am I right, or is that just me?*
The abovementioned former addict and cancer survivor was in and out of rehab five times before a six-month treatment program finally helped him get seriously started on changing his mind set and his life...among many, many other contributing factors.

Hey, if our state looked at the money they'd be getting in taxes from working people who are not in jail and compared that to what it'd be paying for keeping those same people behind bars, maybe, just maybe, something would give...like, you know, the state could give us back more beds for psychiatric care, more funding for drug treatment, more resources for care of chronic pain and illness, more and better quality care.

Only because it seems that trying to quantify all of this in hard and fast numbers is keeping us sicker and killing us all much, much faster.

*David Carr, The Night of the Gun

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