Health Care’s Real Problem

If you’ve not seen this letter by Dr. Roger Jones circulating over the Internet, here’s your chance to read one of the most poignant and accurate depictions of our health care system’s real problem – the culture crisis.

Dear Mr. President:
During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone.

While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as “Medicaid”! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one pack of cigarettes every day, eats only at fast-food take-outs, and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer. And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman’s health care? I contend that our nation’s “health care crisis” is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a “crisis of culture” a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance. It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me”. Once you fix this “culture crisis” that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you’ll be amazed at how quickly our nation’s health care difficulties will disappear.


Very well said, Dr. Jones. Now I wonder what “change we need” to address one of the real reasons for our health care system’s corruption.

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  1. I agree completely because, unfortunately, this is too true. But what about the few modest people who, even working their hardest, can’t afford things like health insurance? It’s hard to split the population in ways where some people benefit while others suffer.

    • My heart goes out to those individuals, Ellen, but unfortunately for them, they really do constitute a minority and therefore have difficulty in swaying hot shot politicians to see their perspective. I’d imagine that many of them are being “penalized” for putting in an honest day’s labor without even knowing that they qualify for national programs like Medicaid. 🙁

      Doctors are bound to “do no harm” to patients, yet in a world of limited resources, how can we overlook groups who consistently abuse the system by stealing money from patients who really need them… especially if they take care of themselves! I’m not even half-way through medical school, yet it frustrates me to no end just to envision a patient like the one outlined in Dr. Jones’ letter.

      Perhaps incentives should be given to those who practice and advocate healthy habits and withheld from those who don’t? *Sighs*, but in our lovely system, an individual in the latter group will claim that a healthcare provider is being racist/prejudiced/some-other-false-accusation based on being denied Medicaid. As far as I’m concerned, he or she can finish that premium steak, pick up that fancy cell phone, call a health insurance company, and whine to them instead.

      There will never be a solution to make everyone happy, but this abuse has to start coming down.


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