[Homestead] When the well runs dry it tends to sort out priorities

tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Fri Feb 4 18:09:25 EST 2005

tvoivozhd---yeah, water may not rank high on your priority list if you 
have misplaced confidence in the reliability of your electric supply, 
the water pump or piping.  Go without water for a week and your 
priorities change.

Most people do not think clearly enough to know what is their HIGHEST 
priority, upon which all other priorities depend.  It is of course your 
health.  If you become totally incapacitated and welded to easy chair or 
bed you will never see your garden again except through someone else's 
eyes.  You can think about a new business, and may be able to plan if 
you retain any mental acuity, but you cannot execute.  The most you can 
do is communicate the plan to someone else who you hope can see it 
through your eyes.

The cost of universal healthcare is high, but the cost of  our insanely 
fragmented, inefficient, patch-on-patch-on patch wildly expensive 
healthcare system that leaves almost fifty million people on the outside 
looking in,  is insupportable with all its social and economic 
repercussions---such niceties as job loss, divorce, foreclosures, 

I really liked the expensive military toys that kept me alive in WWII, 
but for all practical purposes they did not exist when I had Dengue 
Fever or  Fighter Pilot's Occupational Disease (hemorrhoids).

I get upset about the number and depth of Bush skewed and poorly planned 
priorities, but foremost among these is his habit of elevating a lot of 
relatively trivial ones over healthcare---the triumph of platitudes over 


The Boston Globe <http://www.boston.com/news/globe/>

  ofMr. President, don't forget healthcare

By Derrick Z. Jackson  |  February 4, 2005patch

PRESIDENT BUSH proudly said in his State of the Union address, ''The 
whole world now knows that a small group of extremists will not overturn 
the will of the Iraqi people."

Nice line. It would be really cool if you could say that about the 
United States.

You could say this about any number of issues, ranging from our own 
presidential elections to taxpayer-funded sports stadiums rammed down 
the people's throats even after -- in several cities -- the people were 
against them. Perhaps the worst of all among these is healthcare.

At the beginning of Bush's first term, 75 percent of Americans told a 
Harris poll that they do not get the health and medical care they need. 
By 2003, 79 percent of Americans said in a Washington Post/ABC News poll 
they support healthcare coverage for everyone even if meant /raising taxes/.

The poll asked, ''Which would you prefer: The current insurance system 
in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance 
from private employers, but some people have no insurance, OR, a 
universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a 
program like Medicare that's run by the government and financed by 

Universal healthcare won, 62 percent to 33 percent.

Getting even more specific, a 2003 Pew poll asked people if they favored 
the government ''guaranteeing health insurance for all citizens, even if 
it means repealing most of the recent tax cuts."

Universal healthcare won, 67 percent to 26 percent.

You would not have known that from Bush's speech. He spent vast portions 
of his hourlong address on Social Security or Iraq. He spent two 
sentences on healthcare. In those two sentences, he wheeled in a gurney 
loaded with generic prescriptions and cures, but many of his so-called 
prescriptions are already impossible to fill because of Iraq and tax cuts.

''To make our economy stronger and more competitive, we must make 
healthcare more affordable and give families greater access to good 
coverage and more control over their health decisions," Bush said.

''I ask Congress to move forward on a comprehensive healthcare agenda, 
with tax credits to help low-income workers buy insurance, a community 
health center in every poor county, improved information technology to 
prevent medical error and needless costs, association health plans for 
small businesses and their employees, expanded health savings accounts 
and medical liability reform that will reduce healthcare costs and make 
sure patients have the doctors and care they need."

This is the same president who wanted to cut nearly $600 million in 
federal low-income healthcare assistance to Massachusetts alone, a 
crisis that took a bipartisan effort by Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy 
and Republican Governor Mitt Romney to recently avert. As Bush prepared 
to address the nation Wednesday, financially strapped county 
commissioners for the Tampa area voted to slash eye and dental care for 
the poor. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that up 
to 200,000 low-income children may lose health insurance in the new Bush 

The same day Bush gave his State of the Union address, the medical 
journal Health Affairs published a study that said Americans, more than 
ever, are one icy fall or one malignancy closer to bankruptcy. The 
study, done by researchers at Harvard University, found that 28 percent 
of people who file for bankruptcy cite illness or injury as the primary 
cause. That is 11 times more people than those who blame bankruptcy on 
alcohol or drug addiction and 23 times more than those who blame gambling.

The study said the results indicate that about 2 million Americans and 
their children now experience medical bankruptcy. Most debtors own homes 
and are working or middle class. Most had health insurance. But it was 
not enough after they either lost jobs or were swamped by payments their 
insurance did not cover.

The problem only promises to worsen as 5.2 million more Americans joined 
the ranks of the uninsured under Bush, raising the number of uninsured 
to 45 million. Nothing has happened as the profit-grubbing medical lobby 
of pharmaceuticals, insurance companies and the American Medical 
Association threw their financial support solidly behind Bush in the 
last election.

Anything Bush proposed on healthcare in his State of the Union address 
is offset or more than offset by cuts he did not announce. As Bush brags 
about Iraq, a small group of lobbyists continues to thwart the will of 
the American people. Given what the people want, the lobbyists are 

Derrick Z. Jackson's e-mail address is jackson at globe.com. 

© Copyright <http://www.boston.com/help/bostoncom_info/copyright> 2005 
The New York Times Company

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