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When your private companies selling garbage online are more customer-obsessed than your healthcare system you may have a problem! They act like healthcare is "too big to fail," but when we're wasting resources like time and money, the astronomical number of jobs and money being spent isn't a good thing, it's literally a bad thing. We're working so hard to keep a broken system going.

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I am thinking about a book by Robert Martensen who was a doctor, historian, and ethicist. Book is called “A Life Worth Living: A Doctor’s Reflections in a High-Tech Era”. In it, he presented a number of case histories describing how people handled their various very bad diagnoses and how they, and often the medical profession dealt with their issues. The most poignant was the first story about Marguerite who in her 40s was diagnosed with breast cancer snd her subsequent tragic journey through our very flawed health system. It is worth reading. It is even hard now to overcome the path the current world of medicine wants to take you. Also read “Breaking the Iron Triangle” by Robert Duggan and “The Last Well Person: How to Sray Well Despite the Health Care System” by Norton Hadler. And, more recently, “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.

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Thank you, Timothy Snyder for giving us the opportunity for reflection and writing our thoughts.

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Health care as it is practiced in the US today is unsustainable. It’s like lots of other “systems” in the US, for example, agribusiness, which is a strictly business approach to producing food. Read the section on how cattle and chickens are treated in agribusiness in The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and you will be sick (or maybe become a vegetarian) and you will maybe understand how this treatment of animals extends to people. The purpose of an animal that will become food is not as a being who is giving up its body for your nourishment, but as nothing more than something to be made into pieces-parts to be sold and consumed. Honestly I never thought about what animals like chicken and cattle give to us until I lived in what is now Burkina Faso in the late 70s as a Peace Corps volunteer. Back then, if you wanted chicken, for example, you would only be able to buy the chicken live and you’d have to kill and butcher the chicken yourself. When I actually had to kill the chicken. I learned how to appreciate the “life force” (or whatever you want to call it) that the chicken gives up when you kill it. And then you have to pluck it, gut it, and dismember it. Eating the chicken was the end of an effort but also an appreciation of what the chicken gave up. I laugh at this moment of reflection and wonder how this relates to health care. Well, it we think of ourselves as human beings, how do we want our health issues addressed in the “healthcare system”? Do we want our doctor/hospital to treat us as people and our life force as worthwhile preserving/honoring or do we want to be treated as a commodity?

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