A healthy society not only sustains but also heals.
But that means health is not just the province of the hospital, or even just the health-care industry. Health is a distributed good that shows the interdependence of society, the partnerships between various spheres. Just as the nurses and doctors and patients at the Royal Victoria Hospital were dependent on the architect, engineers, and plant managers for their medical work, so the health-care industry is dependent on homes, families, churches, and schools to cultivate a healthy citizenry and a healthy society. If we cede all responsibility for health to Medicine, Inc.—which, in many cases, means ceding health to Government & Co.—we only end up sequestering the distributed good of health within a sphere that can’t bear its weight. Even if health is a shared public good in which we are all invested, good health also begins at home, the incubator of habits.
This issue of Comment invites you to consider aspects of health and health care that don't always get our attention.
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