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Monday, August 17, 2009

Question of the day: Is the reaction of American citizens (in the form of town-hall protests) making a difference in President Obama's push for public-option healthcare? Perhaps so, as major networks are reporting today that the Obama administration is backing down. At one time, it was a public-option-or-nothing deal. Now that the outcry has resounded out the windows of the meeting places, and into our living rooms, perhaps it has reinforced other citizens to take up the battle cry and go to their local meetings, and have their voices heard. (My own local representative has CANCELED the remainder of his town hall meetings!! We can "call and talk with him on the phone." What???) Interestingly, though, it seems that, according to Sen. Conrad of North Dakota, that there weren't enough affirmative votes to pass the bill in the first place. Now that this news has come out, there are those saying that Mr. Obama knew it would never pass, and his administration was merely using it as a bargaining chip. Now they are saying that the public-option element is not crucial and not the backbone of reform. (And they called McCain wishy-washy????) I'm quite surprised that Howard Dean, a former practicing physician, has said "A public option is the only way to guarantee health care for all Americans and its inclusion is non-negotiable." Must be quite a while since he has tried to practice medicine in this country.

I'd like to think that the outcry of Americans who opposed it had a little something to do with the backing-down factor. Perhaps without the "terrorist, Nazi, mob" protests, this bill, like many others contributing to the detriment of our nation, would have been pushed through. Finally. It's about time folks started standing up to what they believe in, and not sit back and get steamrolled into something and THEN complain about it, which is what we've been doing for far too many years.
And just a reminder: I am not opposed to healthcare reform. I have been saying for years that something needs to be done about the black hole we are in. The focus needs to be on insurance companies, tort reform, and letting physicians get back to the basics of practicing medicine. Our schools are tax-payer supported (government-run). There's a good place to start. Serve healthier lunches at school, teach children the importance of taking care of themselves and making healthy food choices and exercise. For adults, offer educational classes at the local health department level, at government-subsidized hospitals to teach diabetics and hypertensive patients how to maintain their health. I took diabetic education classes myself, and the fee was astronomical. People without insurance can't afford that. There are many different ways to improve the situation. Focus on primary care. Maybe even consider having an internship in a public health setting in exchange for some student loan forgiveness for medical school debt. If every graduate coming out of medical school participated in a year-long internship at the local health department level, then (free, or sliding-scale) primary care could be expanded to include everyone who shows up at the doorstep, thereby eliminating the need for ER visits for non-emergency care. With all the ruckus going on, it has made me stop and consider my own health, and my own terrible habits. No matter what the outcome, whether (God forbid!) we go to a government-run health system, or continue down the black hole we're in currently, we all need to wake up and realize that our basic health is better controlled in our own hands than those of Uncle Sam, or the insurance companies who dictate how physicians practice medicine. One way to reduce medical costs nationwide would be for each of us to become proactive in our own behalf. Eat less junk (me, me, me...) and more fruits and veggies. Get up and move. Get more sleep. Learn to deal with stress. Keep a clean conscience. Practice random acts of kindness. Pay it forward. Learn to forgive those who hurt us. And that "do unto others" thing... give it a try. If we lived in such a manner, and treated our bodies and our minds with respect, a lot of the medical issues that plague us would resolve themselves. We don't need government-run healthcare. We don't need insurance-run healthcare (which is what we have now). Maybe someone, somewhere, will get it right. In the meantime, keep speaking up, America!
Note to self: Take your own advice!

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