This is a note written as a Letter to the Editor in the Clarion Ledger by Dr. Roger Starner Jones, an ER doc in Jackson, Mississippi.
During my last night’s shift in the ER, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient with a shiny new gold tooth, multiple elaborate tattoos, a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and a new cellular telephone equipped with her favorite R&B; tune for a ring tone.
Glancing over the chart, one could not help noticing her payer status: Medicaid.
She smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and, somehow, still has money to buy beer. And our President expects me to pay for this woman’s health care?
Our nation’s health care crisis is not a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. It is a crisis of culture – a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.
A culture that thinks I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me.
I'm always amazed while standing in line at the store and watch as people put a cart full of unhealthy junk "food" onto the conveyor belt, then pay by food stamps. Not to stereotype, but it's often overweight women that I observe in these lines, and in summer attire, you can often see many sporting tatoos. I think tatoos are cool, but where are they getting money for something like that, and why aren't they purchasing better foods to nourish their bodies?
Better food choices will keep them--and their children--out of the doctor's office thus keeping healthcare costs down. There is truth to, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"! Thank you, Dr. Jones, for your common sense conclusion on the health care crisis. --LKR