Why America's Medical Status Quo leaves our contagion risk needlessly high
Many millions of Americans currently face choices between paying for medical check-ups, drugs and care, and paying the rent, college tuition, and investing in their small businesses. A very sizeable part of the population simply opt out of the medical system... and when they have medical symptoms, which could be from an infectious disease, they have no relationship with the medical system... and quite sensibly fear the hospitals. They tough it out, rely on home medicine, and cover up any outward symptoms... while waiting tables and cleaning hotel rooms etc..
Furthermore, many of the most dangerous contagious diseases like Ebola show no outward signs during their most contagious period. Isolating obviously infected individuals may be a cruel necessity, but it's no serious defense against contagious epidemics, events that have had major impact on our history, and which will happen again. Contagious diseases ( of which the shingles virus and h.i.v. are just two of the better known examples) are highly clever and resilient life-forms whose survival and promulgation rely on leaving no outward signs on contagious hosts- and in truth some of these diseases can spread through the very air. I've seen it proven beyond any question.
As a nation, we've been rather lucky for a spell, and should take the time to advance civilized and compassionate systems of medicine- so that when a disease like Ebola does break out in America, we have the systems and patient trust to disarm it in an effective and humane manner.
There has been no modern American plague, but our history has been deeply marked by cholera, polio etc.., just as the black plague once caught Europe so off guard. We must reform and prepare, for it's only a matter of time.
In medicine as in other aspects of modern life, a compassionate approach to the troubles of others is not only the ethical and Christian approach, it also represents the enlightened self interest of all social classes. Private property is a sacred right, but the prosperous and the healthy should voluntarily make responsible and ethical choices regarding their less fortunate fellow citizens.