In light of the recent healthcare bill, I’ve received numerous emails. This message in particular caught my attention. I did some research and after confirming its validity, decided to post it on my blog.
Pictured is a young physician by the name of Dr. Starner Jones. His short letter to the White House accurately puts the blame on a “Culture Crisis” instead of a “Health Care Crisis”. It’s worth the quick read:
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 costly pack of cigarettes every day 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.
STARNER JONES, MD
Now before people start playing the race card let me say something. It is an assumption to declare race in this instance. I have nice Nikes, an iPhone and R&B ringtones. I am clearly not African-Amercican. Many readers of this letter are interpreting Dr. Jones’ “meaning”.
The point of this article is much more than racism. It’s something I’ve been saying for a while. Americans need to be financially accountable for their actions. Many young women my age (early 20′s) take out loans for breast augmentation yet they opt not to attend college. FYI, silicone implants need “maintenance” every 10 to 15 years. Why should I have to pay for that? Americans can afford boats, trucks and trips, but they can’t pay for healthcare. Why is it the taxpayers responsibility? The woman mentioned in the article can afford expensive tattoos, a gold tooth, etc. yet the American taxpayers are footing her health care bill. Why is this our responsibility? Where is financial responsibility!?
I understand people fall on hard times and may require government services. I don’t have a problem with helping the poor, mentally or physically disabled, those in a bad streak, etc. I do have a problem working hard so others can benefit from my hard work. There will always be people willing to work the bare minimum, especially if they know they can mooch off the government. If things are given to you, what is your incentive to work hard?
Think back to Psychology 101. Remember Maslow’s theory on the hierarchy of needs? It seems this woman, and many people, have their pyramid inverted. We need to assess our wants versus our needs. If you need healthcare, maybe it’s time to reconsider the new car you want.
America is the land of choices, free choices! Jones’ argument is not a “personal attack” or “bigotry” as some posts claimed. Rather, it’s an unfortunate fact of life. We are in a culture crisis. Blame it on media, fascination with fame, social networking, whatever, but it’s there. Unless we address the issue and hold people accountable for their finances, I don’t see why my hard earned dollars should go to someone who would rather buy a designer handbag than health insurance.
What do you guys think about this doctors letter? Effective or eff him?
Update: I found this comment on a message board and it hammers the issue home.
Okay folks…for all those people missing the whole point of Dr. Jones’ post. I too am a physician and share these exact same sentiments. It doesn’t mean I’m racially biased or refuse to care for the uninsured, etc. There are plenty of “insured” who fall under this sense of entitlement attitude.
Let me give my “perspective”. A patient once asked me what I thought of the state of health care today. I simply gave her this analogy…
I asked her, “Have you bought a car before?” She said yes. I then said, “Well then I assume you also went out and bought auto insurance as well.” She said yes. I then asked her…”Did you go out after you got insurance and purposefully drive your car into a brick wall, back up and do it again?” She laughed and said no. I simply asked, “Why not?” She shrugged and said it would damage the paint job, the engine, etc. I said “Exactly.” I then said, “What if you did drive into a wall, would you take it to your autodealership, expect them to fix it like brand new and expect all the people who DIDN’T run their car into a wall to pay for it?”
She was silent. She knew what I was getting at. She is a smoker and is obese. Just because people have insurance or someone else pays for it, for some reason it gives people this sense of entitlement to live unhealthy lives. Dr. Jones isn’t harping on people with gold teeth and cell phones, etc. We’re harping on those who feel they can drive their body into oblivion (i.e. eating themselves to obesity; smoking themselves to death) and EXPECT for us and the rest of us taxpayers who do live a healthy lifestyle to coddle them when their body gives out. It’s THOSE people we as doctors can’t stand.