Dr. Lister’s exercise encouraged us to consider every possible approach to resolving the two healthcare scenarios. We all had a lot to contribute. The perspectives that one could take in considering the two healthcare dilemmas seemed endless. Interestingly enough there was not one person in the class who took a hard and fast position on either of the two controversial healthcare problems. I, for one, found that attempting to solve these hypothetical scenarios felt like trying to solve the unsolvable. I think, in a sense, this was exactly what Dr. Lister wanted us all to realize. Providing equitable, affordable, fair healthcare is not easy. Each individual case is like an onion. You have to peel back each layer (each level of control: National, State, Community…) to get to the core or rather the reality of the individual’s situation.
Although I often felt quite stuck, I really enjoyed Dr. Lister’s class. The exercise was eye opening. I think I have a much better understanding of the complex components our country battles with in attempting to fairly provide good (affordable, accessible…etc) healthcare to as many people as possible. Dr.Lister presented us with the realities of our healthcare system, which I found both enlightening and daunting.
When looking at a community or a region and considering what can be done to better the community or region, healthcare is often one of the first areas recognized as needing improvement. Perhaps this is because the benefits of an improved healthcare system are so far-reaching. In Appalachia, in particular, healthcare is lacking; and, it’s insufficiencies seem to contribute to several other prominent problems across the region (drug abuse, low education, undiagnosed psychiatric disorders…etc.). Yet, what Dr. Lister’s teachings allowed me to realize is that before the immense dilemma of healthcare in Appalachia can be addressed, several complex contributing factors need to first be addressed (i.e. funding), and an optimal balance between total costs and total gains (taking into account all levels: National, federal, state…etc) needs to be found. Consistent with my previous analogy, the process of improving healthcare in Appalachia is like peeling a giant raw and un-rip onion; peeling back the first layers (national, federal, state) is the most challenging; but, once past the outermost shell (moving into the county level, community level, and family level) the job becomes much easier.