IT’S NOT TOO OFTEN THAT YOU SEE A HEADLINE LIKE “U.S. Health System Care Has Collapsed.” Not only is it a startling proposition, but it is grammatically incorrect. The source of this proposition is His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
In a press release dated February 23, 2003 from New Delhi, India, the Yogi “declared the U.S. health care system ‘an appalling failure’ and dismissed concerns by health leaders that the system is near collapse. ‘The U.S. health system is not near collapse—it collapsed years ago’.”
The Yogi did have some advice for all of us. “Maharishi called for those in charge of the U.S. health system—‘those with an incomplete concept of health’—to be replaced by younger physicians who understand the most up-to-date scientific connections between mind and body, between consciousness and the physiology.”
Besides advice, the Maharishi does have something to offer the American healthcare system, probably for a price. “He will soon launch his Vedic sound therapy,” said the press release. “which utilizes sounds from the Vedic literature of ancient India to remedy disorders in the physiology…This is the correct approach to the prevention and cure of disease. The knowledge is available. We invite governments to make use of it as soon as possible.”
At a minimum, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi reminds us that not everyone views the world and its problems the same way. It is easy to recognize the problems with our healthcare system as it is today. It is more difficult to identify and implement reforms and solutions. Notwithstanding the current conflict in the Middle East, lawmakers in Washington continue to debate the future of Medicare and Medicaid.
It is unlikely that any substantial and far-reaching reform will be enacted. Democracies are messy and the partisanship on both sides of the aisle work against rational compromise. That’s because everyone has an opinion, but no one wants to let another’s proposal take effect. Expect the status quo to continue pretty much as it is today. For my part, I’d like to see the government try experimenting with “health vouchers.” It would be interesting to see what happens when Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries buy private insurance that best meets their needs.