Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Only One Guarantee

We plan and plan. Our lives and bodies break down. We rehab. But there are no guarantees.

Talk of things like banking reform and health care reform and stimulus are infused with ideals of a precious world where everyone is healthy and happy and has a good job and owns a home until they die, peacefully and suddenly in their sleep albeit they are apparently perfectly healthy, leaving their estate not to their heirs but to the government because, after all, their heirs are living the dream on their own, too.

Never mind that health care reform is really health insurance reform and is not long on ideas in any of its thousands of pages about how we might live more healthy lives until we die. We are dreaming the dream.

But life is devoid of guarantees save one. Death.

I think you should always back into health care reform. You should say 'everyone will die.' Then you should wonder what is most humane in caring for people. Should we try to eliminate heart disease, stroke, hypertension, Type II diabetes, cancer? Just how heroic should our care be when the odds are against us? When the Obama team suggested that insurance should be required to cover end-of-life counseling, that was the most sane thing I've heard in the months-long debate. When the proposal was distorted into death committees? Well, maybe we should have them. Only, of course, the bureaucracy of them would be ridiculous like most of our government-regulated health care.

Everyone plans to live, get healthier and richer. This striving is not bad, in and of itself, but a realistic look at the march of time might help us make better, more realistic choices.

And those are my sparkling, holiday thoughts. Perhaps more appropriate for the Easter season where death brings renewal.

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