Last night at my birthday dinner I got into an argument with my nephew about the state of health care in the United States.
I'll try to keep this story brief if I can.
35 years ago I worked briefly in a nursing home. Since I come from a particularly affluent area I got a job in an area comparable to my life experience, so the patients were somewhat secure financially, and therefore pretty well cared for. (just like justice, the best health care money can buy)
This was also a time of great health care for employees throughout the U.S. so not many of us were worried. But back in the day, as it were, there were communication problems. A patient would come in with special needs from a hospital and NO ONE would tell the staff of those needs, and NO ONE would think to ask. So sometimes a patient would do without until it became a problem, hopefully one that could be solved before it was too late.
That was in 1975.
Last year my adoptive father was hospitalized for some reason or another and though he was recovering and no longer in need of hospitalization, he still needed care. So my siblings made arrangements for him to go ACROSS THE PARKING LOT to the skilled nursing facility associated with the hospital.
Three days later there was a crisis. His legs had swollen to nearly twice their normal size. Now, this problem is easily recognized by members of my family because Dad is not the most compiant about his diet and his CHF, so my brother says, "What kind of diet is he on?" The nurse says, "Regular, of course." My brother says, "He has to be on a low sodium diet because of his CHF." Problem solved, a little extra lasix and low salt diet and two days later he was bitching up a storm about being confined to a nursing home,i.e. he was fine.
But the point is this. The little communication problems that existed in medicine 35 years ago have not been solved. Communication has not improved e.g. care has not improved. Admittedly the nurses involved here were probably graduates of the Nursing program at Avila university in Kansas city, so that explains their ineptness as medical professionals, that school is terrible. graduates from that school can polish a chart and know it inside and out, yet they wouldn't recognize a patient if they came to the desk to ask for help, they have terrible patient care skills, always have.
But the problem i believe is not confined to one school or one hospital. I believe it's system wide, and medicine is no longer about taking care of people. Therein lies the problem.
We the people are getting screwed from both the top meaning the insurance lobby, and the bottom, meaning the people scamming he system whether from medicare medicaid or insurance fraud, or the apparently growing issue of illegals coming to the country to get free health care from our system.
Point being, we are doing this to ourselves. We are chasing the almighty dollar to our own ruin. We don't care about health care unless it's for us or ours, and we don't care about the price of oil until it goes in our car, and we don't care about illegals nor how they get here because we continue to hire and harbor them.
It's the old adage, "Either you're a part of the solution or a part of the problem."
The following two articles say it far better than i ever could.
We'll know within a day or two whether BP's efforts to plug the massive gusher have worked. It will take far longer for experts to agree on just how big this spill is and how it compares to previous disasters, but NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr thinks it will have a place in the history books for another reason.
DANIEL SCHORR: Superpower America, which once regarded itself as well-nigh invulnerable, now enters a new stage of vulnerability with a gigantic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Terrorist acts notwithstanding, another threat lies with Mother Nature. From floods to earthquakes to fires, we have been at the mercy of the elements. And with Hurricane Katrina, we were left to criticize the inadequate response of government and the inadequate levees in New Orleans, but for the most part, the damage was beyond our control.
The Gulf spill is different in that it's manmade in its origin. In a large sense, this disaster is something we did to ourselves, and that being so, it has generated a carnival of finger pointing between government agencies and the companies involved in the drilling operation, which have spent untold sums on public relations to fend off a chorus of criticism.
BP has taken out full-page newspaper ads promising to do everything in its power to minimize the impact of the spreading oil and to pay for the cleanup. Some officials say on television shows that they're keeping a boot on the oil company's neck, while others in government say that drilling companies know the technology and are making a good effort.
Clearly, we will live with the effects of this disaster for many years to come. And it doesn't help much to observe that they, we, did it to ourselves, a vulnerability rooted in our desperate search for oil.
This is Daniel Schorr
I hope Daniel Schorr lives forever, he's one of the last voices of reason in the world.
And another thing!
San Diego, California (CNN) -- Don't be surprised if, any day now, you read that the People's Republic of Arizona is in the market for nuclear warheads to put an end, once and for all, to illegal immigration on its southern border. After all, it's the next logical step for the rogue state.
This week, to advance the narrative that Arizona has no choice but to do its own immigration enforcement because the federal government is asleep at the switch, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer called for air support. Brewer requested helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles from the White House to patrol the border region with Mexico.
In a letter to President Obama, Brewer asked that the National Guard reallocate reconnaissance helicopters and robotic surveillance craft to the "border states" to prevent illegal immigration. The governor also requested the deployment of unmanned drones, including possibly the Predator drones used in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, in her letter, Brewer even mentioned those foreign wars as examples of where the drones have been effective.
What's the matter with Arizona? Isn't it a little early in the year for the folks in the desert to be suffering from sunstroke?
I guess this is par for the course. Brewer just signed SB 1070, a disgraceful anti-immigration and pro-racial-profiling law, to give local and state cops throughout the state the chance to suit up and play border patrol agent. Why shouldn't she get the chance to suit up and play general?
After all, like the United States, Arizona is currently involved in two wars. There's the hypocritical war against the very illegal immigrants that the state has spent the past 15 years providing with gainful employment by allowing them to do jobs that Arizonans wouldn't do. And then there's the rhetorical war with the Obama administration, which Arizona wants to portray as negligent in stopping illegal immigration, which forced Arizonans to take matters into their own hands.
The argument that the federal government isn't actively engaged in border enforcement is both dishonest and reckless.
It is dishonest because it's not true. I've visited the U.S.-Mexico border a dozen times in the past 10 years: in Texas, Arizona and California. I've interviewed countless border patrol agents and supervisors. I've also been up in a Border Patrol helicopter flying above the border, which offers a unique perspective on border security.
So I can tell you what the border patrol agents on the ground would tell you: The U.S.-Mexico border has never been more fortified. There are now more than 20,000 border patrol agents on the federal payroll. That's more agents than any other federal enforcement agency, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Those agents apprehend people and deport them at a feverish clip. In fact, it was recently announced that the Obama administration deported more people last year than the Bush administration during its final year in office.
It is reckless because -- when this law is hauled before a federal judge, as it will be -- opponents will argue that the measure violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution by usurping federal authority to enforce immigration law. And that's the very thing that proponents seem to be admitting in their bravado. In fact, it might not be a bad idea for Arizona officials to pipe down and stop bragging about how they're doing the job of the federal government in terms of immigration enforcement, since that's a no-no under the Constitution.
If the federal government does take border enforcement seriously, critics might ask: Why are there still people trying to enter the United States illegally? Simple. We can dig a moat, deploy an army, build walls or call in an airstrike, but desperate people will always find a way to go around, under or over any impediment in their path to a better life.
This isn't to condone illegal immigration. My views -- in support of deportations, workplace raids, giving more resources to the Border Patrol etc. -- are well known. I'm just telling you what Border Patrol agents tell me: that it doesn't make any sense to focus all our attention at the border while turning a blind eye to employers in the interior. That's like trying to fill a bucket with teaspoons of water without first plugging the hole at the bottom.
Now Obama has fallen into that same trap. He is reportedly ready to announce that he is sending 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to help control illegal immigration and quell some of the violence. That's a far cry from the 6,000 troops that Arizona Sen. John McCain had requested, and congressional Republicans seem miffed that Obama stole their thunder.
Still, as long as the troops follow the protocol laid out in 2006 when George W. Bush launched Operation Jumpstart -- that they're unarmed and act only in a support capacity to the Border Patrol by fixing vehicles, monitoring surveillance equipment, repairing fences -- I think sending the National Guard is a fine idea. It's just not the magic bullet that the most enthusiastic proponents of the idea would have us believe.
There's only one of those. It involves fining, arresting and prosecuting the employers of illegal immigrants, including people who are, this election year, streaming into fundraisers for McCain, Brewer and other tough-talking Republicans vowing to solve a problem that many of their backers helped create.
We truly are doing this to ourselves and until and unless we can learn to care for each other, and not be afraid it's communism if we do, then we're doomed.
And so it goes: