Healing Health Care

In addition to featuring audio podcasts relating to culture healing, I (Wes Fryer) want to use this website to amplify other ideas and media which are related to the topics of this project.

One of those important topics is HEALTH CARE. I do not pretend to understand all the issues surrounding health care in the United States in early 2024, but I do KNOW “we need to take better care of each other.” These are a few thoughts I shared right after an eye care appointment at the VA hospital and clinic facilities in Salisbury, North Carolina, on February 16, 2024.

Here is the link to the book I referenced in the video: “How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America” by Heather Cox Richardson.

The reasons we have our current health care system in the United States are complex, but one of them seems to be the deep suspicion which many citizens have for government regulation generally, and the corresponding policy preference often favored by elected officials to elevate the needs of companies and corporations (in this case health care insurers, pharmaceutical companies and large commercial health care providers) over the needs of the human beings our health care system is ostensibly designed to serve.

In this 1.5 hour interview with author Heather Cox Richardson, she describes the thesis of her book which relates to these issues. While not specific to health care, the CULTURAL VALUES she addresses have a direct impact on health care policy as well as other government policies. The YouTube description summarizes it this way:

While the North prevailed in the Civil War, ending slavery and giving the country a “new birth of freedom,” Heather Cox Richardson argues that democracy’s blood-soaked victory was ephemeral. The system, which had sustained the defeated South, moved westward and there established a foothold. How the South Won the Civil War traces the story of the American paradox, the competing claims of equality and subordination woven into the nation’s fabric and identity. Richardson seizes upon the soul of the country and its ongoing struggle to provide equal opportunity to all. Debunking the myth that the Civil War released the nation from the grip of oligarchy, expunging the sins of the Founding, it reveals how and why the Old South not only survived in the West, but thrived.

Here is a slightly edited version of the transcript of the first video linked above, “Ep 7 Thoughts on Healthcare #WisdomWithWes,” cleaned up and polished a bit using ChatGPT. I’m including this for both those who prefer to read these ideas rather than watch the video, and for SEO (search engine optimization), since I want to increase the chances others interested in these ideas will find this post, these videos, and the “Heal Our Culture Project.”

Edited Video Transcript:

“Hello, this is Wes Fryer, and I’m reporting from the VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina, on February 16th, 2024. Today, I had an appointment at the eye clinic, and I’d like to share some thoughts on medical care, particularly VA care. Firstly, let me express my excitement about these new sunglasses. After a long time without sunglasses, I was thrilled to find out that, unlike the $800 quote I received with my civilian insurance for Ray-Bans, the VA covered the frames for prescription sunglasses, and I only had to pay $177 for the lenses, not including polarization. This experience has deepened my appreciation for VA medical care.

Having been honorably medically discharged from the United States Air Force at age 23, I entered the VA system, a transition that felt quite odd at such a young age. In Lubbock, Texas, at the VA Outpatient Clinic, I was surrounded mostly by older male veterans from various wars, noticing a lack of female veterans. Despite the quirks and challenges of the system, including a year and a half wait for my recent appointment due to my limited availability as a middle school teacher, the care I receive is something I’m profoundly grateful for.

I’m also thankful for the care my father receives for his wet macular degeneration, including treatments that cost thousands but are covered by the VA. His experience, alongside mine, underscores the vital support provided by the VA to those who have served our country.

However, this reflection also brings to light broader concerns about the healthcare and insurance systems in the United States, which seem to be heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists. The possibility of a devastating illness or accident bankrupting any citizen in a country as wealthy as ours is a troubling thought, especially when considering that many countries offer free medical care.

The VA system, with all its imperfections, serves as a model for how we might provide care for all citizens, not just veterans. Our nation, the wealthiest in the world, should prioritize the well-being of its people over greed. The era of the 1950s, under President Eisenhower, saw a liberal consensus on taxation and regulation, emerging from the experiences of World Wars I and II. This consensus helped build infrastructure like the interstate highway system and can serve as a guide for improving our healthcare system.

In conclusion, while acknowledging the VA system’s shortcomings, I am immensely thankful for the care it provides. It represents a commitment to taking care of those who have served, but it also highlights the need for a healthcare system that takes better care of all Americans. Let’s aspire to a country where the health and well-being of our citizens are the top priorities. Thank you for listening, and have a great day.”

Health Care Reflections
Health Care Reflections” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer






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