Healthy and Educated

Tessla Coil Fight

“We’ve seen that when people are healthy and educated, they prosper.”

~Laura Bush, in a speech to the National Press Club today, about her recent visit to Western Africa

It’s interesting how these little truths will slip out of your mouth, and cause you stop and reflect inward. Though we do not have the dire healthcare and education needs of West Africa, these two basic keys to prosperity are steadily on decline in OUR great country. It’s interesting, that given the opportunities and freedoms in this country to acquire wealth, that Americans have chosen to hoarde their wealth rather than share it. (This is not a put-down for wealthy people, it is just numerically accurate that the rich are getting richer while the poor get poorer).

The recent documentary, “Sicko,” by Michael Moore, left me in an outrage. I actually kicked and punched things on the way out of the theater (not hard enough to do any damage, of course!), I was so angry at the system America has chosen for itself. Ridiculous costs of medical treatment for the uninsured, ridiculous premiums for insurance, and ridiculous treatment of patients by the money-hungry insurance companies.

Why do we allow a system like healthcare to be run for-profit? A for-profit system must show gains in profit year-after-year-after-year. We don’t want to keep people sick, or charge people higher rates for health care, or sell them drugs they don’t need, or reject valid insurance claims just to save insurance companies money. But what other ways can the healthcare system continue to make profits? It makes me furious that people consider not seeing a doctor, dentist, etc. when they need to, simply because they can’t afford to do so. Why are we making insurance companies rich instead of making people healthy?

It just so happens that my favorite people to massage are nurses and teachers. Why? Because I feel they are both overworked and undervalued in this country. Because healthcare and education really ARE the keys to prosperity, and though we keep telling the rest of the world this, we still haven’t figured out how to do it right in this country. Hundreds of thousands of high-potential high school graduates won’t go to college this fall–because they can’t take the risk of the debt incurred by the education!

I personally graduated college with the highest-earning bachelor’s degree possible for that time (Chemical Engineering), so that I could at least pay off my college debt in a few years after graduating, even if I didn’t like the job. But guess what? Now I’m going back to school again because after making the money, and feeling financially secure, I did not love what I was doing. And even my teachers told me to “study something smart, don’t become a teacher.” And even my beloved college English professor scoffed at my choice to change majors to English because “you can’t make any money with that degree.”

Well, folks, money isn’t the answer. We have money, we have freedom, yet more and more Americans are NOT prospering. I wonder why. We are a young country, and we will take a while to get it right, but we must take action on our failing healthcare and education systems.

“We’ve seen that when people are healthy and educated, they prosper.”

“The evolution is coming…a revolution has begun.” ~R-Evolve, 30 Seconds to Mars