Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Health for the Care-Not Without Honor

Friends, Americans, patients, come lend me your ears:
I come to praise medical care, not to defend it.
The evil in society is amplified and repeated;
The good often retreats from high expectations;
So let it be with medical care. The noble body politic
Has told you medical care is too costly:
If it is so, it is a grievous fault,
And grievously medical care answers for it.
(Here under leave of the body politic and the rest -
For the body politic are honorable people;
So are they all honorable people)
I come to speak in medical cares dark hour,
The practice of medicine has served me well:
But the body politic says it is too costly;
And the body politic is composed of honorable people.
Medical care has relieved many physical ills,
Bringing comfort to society's members:
Did this in medical care seem too costly?
When that the sick had cried, medical care agonized.
Affluence should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet the body politic says medical care is too costly,
And the body politic is composed of honorable people.
You all did see that in the halls of government
Diseases are given costly crowns,
And health is forsaken: what nod to cost is this?
Yet the body politic says medical care is too costly,
And, sure, they are honorable people.
I speak not to disprove what the body politic spoke,
But I am here to speak what I do know.
You all did love medical care, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then to appreciate it now?
O judgment! Thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And people have lost their reason! Bear with me;
My heart is in sympathy with medical care.
But lest I forget,
Medical care is not everything in health;
It is not most of health or the first thing in health;
It is the last thing when health fails;
It is the response to illness, disease, injury and disability.
America expects more,
But must learn to achieve it.
(With thanks to William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar)

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