Saturday, March 15, 2008

Health Care issues

People keep asking me about the election -- so much has been going on since Hillary and Obama had a dead heat in the Texas and Ohio primaries. Mostly it's been a lot of noise and not worth mentioning.

The same with Gov. Eliot Spitzer's fall from grace. He had a problem, he resigned, and that's all there is to it. I enjoy reading titillating material, but I have other sources for that.

Elected officials should resign whenever their personal lives intrude on their public service -- even if they are innocent. I believe in the abundance of talent -- meaning we can all be replaced, meaning that no governor or president is uniquely qualified to hold the job -- there are plenty of people waiting in the wings who are just as good.

That argues strongly against the Clintons -- their personal lives grossly intruded on the public space in 1998 during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. They should have resigned. Al Gore could have taken over and served as well as the Clintons.

But I give Hillary credit for being co-President back then -- which is why I don't support her now. The Clintons had their 8 years. Nobody gets to move back into the White House. As for Bill, he should remember that ex-Presidents should be seen and not heard. He needs a life -- I suggest fly fishing.

Now comes the tape-recorded rantings of the gravel-voiced preacher from the South Side of Chicago. People are shocked that Barak Obama sat in this man's church for 20 years, but that's how some preachers talk in that part of town. It's nothing new -- not to anybody who has spent time on the South Side -- this is a uniquely American neighborhood, a rich proving ground for Obama's talent. Talk about a "lifetime of experience," one summer on the South Side is worth a lifetime in the suburbs.

And Old John McCain is spending the weekend in Iraq -- his 8th trip. He knows the territory well and he's staking his campaign on victory. He might choose Mitt Romney as his VP. That will give McCain some economic heft, but what excites me is getting Condaleeza Rice on the ticket. Now there's a woman! Let's get Condi in a debate with Hillary -- brains? stamina? fighting spirit? Who wins that one?

Okay, that's a roundup of the current nonsense, so let's talk about Health Care. Hillary and Obama propose that the federal government supply health insurance to over 40 million uninsured Americans. Further debate between them over the details are pointless. The real debate is with McCain, and it gets down to who is going to pay for it. McCain advocates free market solutions, he also advocates state-by-state remedies.

One hopes for a serious argument about this.

All I have to say about this is that the lack of insurance is not the only health care problem in America. Here's a few more:

The nursing shortage: Doctors are wonderful people -- they diagnose, they make decisions, and they give directions. But it's nurses who do the work. Nurses are the heart,soul, and muscle of health care -- and more than half the brains, if you ask me. But, got to the website of any hospital in the country and click the link on "career opportunities." You will find dozens of unfilled RN positions. That means short-staffing. That means over-worked, tired nurses looking after your mother.

Of course, when we get Hillary or Barak's national health care plan in place, that will solve the problem. But what is this? They have a nursing shortage in Canada and in England, too.

The nursing shortage is caused by increased career opportunities for women -- a growing problem in the developed world. Nursing is a hard job, and there are easier ways to make a living. A massive pay raise might work, or else we kidnap every available woman in the Phillipines and bring them over here.

An epidemic of childhood diseases. A rising rate of childhood asthma, childhood diabetes, and childhood obesity. This is very perplexing. Why is this happening? How can it be prevented? There's a lot of wild guesses of about complex environmental causes for these diseases, but honest people should admit to being stumped. This should not be happening in our ever-so-prosperous country. But Hillary doesn't have the solution, neither does Barak or old John.

Too many old people. I'm referring to myself and my generational cohorts. You think we have a nursing shortage now? But new hordes are coming down the health care pipeline -- a generation slipping into their dotage and still sadly called "Baby Boomers."

And just one more, malpractice. It's really nuts. What do lawyers know about medicine? I never go to see a lawyer when I'm sick, I prefer going to a doctor. Of course, doctors should face consequences for their errors, and be accountable to the public for their negligence, but there has to be a better way.

That's all I have to say. On a personal note, I had a wonderful time visiting my daughter in Texas and catching the election. Just a bit of sunshine makes all the difference. I am back to work full-time at the local hospital, where I have been employed since last autumn. I also expect to do a bit of landscaping for my regular customers this spring.

All, the best, and God bless America,

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