Friday, February 18, 2005

A "Religion of Health"

This interesting article
caught my eye in today's St. Paul Pioneer Press. It's from the Vatican, and presents a theological/moral perspective on a notion I've been thinking about over the last few months. My idea was engendered by rising health care costs, and is mostly financial in nature. I found it interesting, and encouraging, to see a similar conclusion arise from a moral framework.

In case the first link above no longer works, here's the text of most of the first paragraph:

VATICAN CITY — Vatican officials on Thursday held out Pope John Paul II's stoic suffering with Parkinson's disease as an antidote to the mentality that modern medicine must cure all, calling this a "religion of health" that is taking hold in affluent countries. "While millions of people in the world struggle to survive hunger and disease, lacking even minimal health care, in rich countries the concept of health as well-being figures in creating unrealistic expectations about the possibility...

Here's the actual Vatican article the above brief was taken from.

Like I said, I was thinking about rising health care costs, and it occured to me that probably a large part of the problem is, ironically, the great successes the medical field has had. There seems to be no end to the list of diseases, ailments, and even annoyances that can't be helped with modern medicine.

Unfortunately, this comes at ever increasing costs. More money for research, more money for proper testing and to satisfy ever more stringent safety regulations, more expensive equipment and drugs. I think we have had too much success too fast. I have this feeling that society just will not be able to provide the level of health that we are quickly coming to expect. I just don't think we can afford it financially.

It's only natural to want to relieve suffering whenever possible, but unfortunately I don't think we're to the point we can put to use everything medical science has learned. I think we have to back off on some of our expectations.

So there you go, the solution to a large part of the health care crisis. I don't know how to implement the concept, but the idea is free for anyone to use.

You're welcome.

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