A Look at the Surreal Health Care Debate…Dr. Weil, A Tea Party Guy, Newt Gingrich and One Unholy Media Stew

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

“A Look at the Surreal Healthcare Debate” …well, not by me, but one offered up by Thursday (9/10)  night’s group of cable ghouls that I happened to see over the span of a few short minutes.

For some unknown reason I turned on CNN and caught a bit of Larry King.  Dr. Andrew Weil was on, blasting the same-old, same-old of the current health care “reform” efforts.  While the challenges are correctly recognized, the solutions are within the same model we have now. Weil is usually quite sanguine, but Thursday night in his own quiet way, he seemed pretty frustrated over the structure of our non-system. He predicts that whatever is done will fail, because costs won’t come down.  He thinks that high-tech stuff is way overused and he especially is irate over the drug advertising on TV.  We are the only country that allows this and it makes the physician more prone to dishing out the drugs when a patient comes in with a request rather than time spent on real discussion with the patient.  He wants that advertising stopped now!  He likens our ties to Big Pharma as being like the role of Wall Street in our lives.

He stated that places like Germany, Australia, and Norway are places where health care seems to satisfy people (Germany and Australia are part public and part private), but they, too, face the same problems of rising costs.  He mentioned that in Germany and other places, however, people seem to be willing to learn to “take care of themselves,”– they can take care of their own rashes and colds without running to the doctor, he said.

Basically, it seems Weil wants a system where doctors really take the time to know their patients and use modern medicine as well as tried and true remedies and new alternative approaches. He hope kids who are being exposed to new ideas will pass them to their parents. He figures we’ll see a different sort of  person coming into the system to be doctors if the approach to medicine changes, people who will have a real committment to healing  and dealing with patients differently if the attitude about health care changes. He sees some movement among some doctors toward this now. The system currently is all about insurance payments, not medicine, and a fear of liability suits, hence the overuse of reapeated/overkill diagnostic tests.  He strongly believes in preventative medicine, in getting people to understand how they can help themselves in terms of diet and stress management so they stay healthier longer.

He also pointed out that while we hear about eating more fruits and vegetables, they seem to be the most expensive foods, as industry is pushing cheap, processed stuff  full of things that are government subsidized to keep them cheap…all the sugar– corn syrups, fructose, etc.– and oils…which is diametrically opposed to what the message to eat better is saying.

Part of the show involved an interview with the guy leading the “Tea Party Express.”  This guy was revolting to me.  King asked if there was anything in the current reform bills that this guy approved of.  NO.  Well, King asked about the move to end the “pre-existing condition” stranglehold.  NO, was again the answer.  King then posed a hypothetical question…If you wife had a health problem and couldn’t get insurance, would that change his mind?

Well, this BOZO said NO, because he was SURE in the free market there would be someone to write a policy for her!  I guess it was that idiot Roland Martin (?) who actually said the correct thing, that there would be no one there to write a policy for her, that could be easily affordable.  On this I totally agree…this guy, who is leading an awful lot of lemmings these days, has no clue.  Heck, if you’re on disability you pay DOUBLE what the normal Medicare supplement costs!   (I know this from personal experience.) Has this guy ever applied for a policy in the open market with a serious precondition?  The waiting times to be covered, if it’s even allowed, are daunting and the premiums are sky high!  And, not all companies offer the same options. So, yeah, MAYBE she could get a policy, but if she could, it wouldn’t be cheap OR offer immediate coverage in most cases. He’d have to look long and hard. Very hard…

His glibness really bugged me.  It annoys me that that people like him are uninformed or so wedded to their own ideology and are leading lots of people who are also uninformed.  The folks who follow the leaders are often too busy to keep informed or really don’t have the capacity to understand a lot of what’s going on, and are so vulnerable to being fooled and ultimately lead toward their own destruction.  This guy sounded like a Republican or Libertarian, but the key point was he was so rigid. Had the compassion of a a robot…Frankly, I saw the two sides of the same coin (Obama/Organized “Opposition” leader  = same crap) and the pied piper mentality that has befallen this country. The  often-misquoted Janus myth really doesn’t describe this situation, but the visual seems to help create the mood…



That’s not to say some Tea Party folks aren’t well-informed…many are and many are Independents or ticked-off Democrats who are along for the ride for other reasons than Republican reasons.  But, I’m so uneasy about hooking into people who are so against any change at all.  I wish there were people without long-term agendas doing the leading…and when I say “long-term agendas” I mean the Republican agenda which would love to ditch the security net as quickly as possible or take back ANY restraints on the health industry/insurers.  The leader of the Tea Party Express, along with Glenn Beck fall into this category.

After this little segment of insanity, I then caught a bit of Greta van Susteren who was chatting with Newt Gingrich.  Greta seems to have come completely on board with the FOX stance of complete negativity.  There she sat with old Newt who had the GALL to say that we need more “scientific reasearch” along with the standard GOP stuff about taxes, more freedom to sell policies across state lines, etc., which do squat to really reform much of anything.   Let’s see…didn’t Bush CUT research funds to the bone????

Well, yes, he did without much upset from Republicans, who were also busy doing the cliffhanger bit on paying doctors who participated in Medicare. Dr. Weil mentioned how far back we’ve been set back by this and even referred to the “religious” groups (and Bush) who howled about stem cell research. For Weil to get into that hornet’s nest was pretty surprising, but, as I said before, Weil seemed pretty pissed off in a quiet way.  Weil is grateful that there’s been some restoration of funding for research, but I don’t think he’ll be looking to Newt and the Republicans to come in and do MORE when they retake the government.  Would you??

So there you go…Greta sits there and doesn’t challenge old Newt. I’ve noticed that she NEVER puts anything into context…that lawyer’s brain of hers is permanently atrophied, it seems.  I used to have some hope that she could put together SOMETHING informative, but she’s gone downhill and spends way too much time on missing children cases…

And, so,  people like Newt say things that are LUDICROUS and the Tea Party Express guy with the stick up his ass (looks like a blond, ex-army guy or something, with a strange look in his eyes) leads the way to…WHERE?

Which is why I prefer to watch “You Are What You Eat” on BBC America…at least it provides some visual shock value in terms of the junk people consume, some discussion about the effects on health, and some inspiration that things can actually CHANGE, one unhealthy person at  a time…

7. The Man Who Paints Street Numbers…(Final Installment in Our “Season of the Heart” Series)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

About once a year, the man who re-paints the numbers on the street in front each house comes into our neighborhood. He doesn’t work for the city; he works alone at this as his sole way of making a living.

I almost missed him this year as I was rushing to pick up Slick from the vet late in the day after his teeth-cleaning.

Just as I was pulling out of the driveway, I noticed the minivan and saw the man with his reflective gear. I flagged him down as he was getting ready to leave for the day and he greeted me in his usual polite manner.

I asked him how he was doing and he said he had had a bad day. He had only made $15 re-painting faded street numbers in the area. He told me $25 was a good day.  Even though we really didn’t need our numbers painted, I decided to stick to “our schedule,” particularly since he was going to go home with only $15 after a day out in the chilly weather.  So, I asked him to paint one set of numbers since the previous year he had painted the other set on the curb.  The first time we met about 7 years ago, we had both sets re-painted and since then, the ritual has been to alternate  repainting each set of numbers.

When we first met years ago, he was being driven by his father, an older man who was obviously watching out for his son.  You see, the street number man seems to have some sort of disability, something that would prevent him from working in a fast-paced office or completing an academic program.  A few years ago, his father stopped driving him and ever since then, the street number man has been on his own.

While he was getting out his little kit of spray paint and stencils, we had a chat.  As he brushed away the dirt on the curb with a steel brush, he told me that he was always happy to see me, since I was always so nice to him. I was taken off-guard by the comment and I wondered what it must be like to drive around and knock on doors every day to offer his unique service. I wondered how many people weren’t nice to him. I decided to delve a little more into who he was and asked him he had ever been written up in the paper.

The local paper has a “Life” section that is essentially written by one very busy and talented woman who manages to come up with interesting local stories day after day. I was actually surprised that the street number man had never been featured.  But then again, this woman is probably out all day and never has even had had a chance to meet him.

Suddenly, I had an idea that I could help the street number man’s business by suggesting that the writer do a story about him!  I asked him if I could send her an email with the suggestion. When he said yes, I dashed back into the house to grab my camera. The light was already dwindling but I managed to get the shot you see in this post.  My reasoning, I told him, was if I could post the picture and his story, I could send a link to it to the writer and she could get an idea of what he did.  He told me his name, revealed that he didn’t use a computer, but had a listed phone number and lived on his own, so she should be able to contact him.

So, Leon the street number man won’t see this post I’ve written about him but,  hopefully, the writer  will check out the link I send to her on Monday.

Because, when I see how this industrious, patient, meticulous individual is working hard every day to actually accomplish something in spite of any limitations he might have, I find it very inspirational and moving, especially when I compare his qualities to what we DON’T see displayed by those “smart” people who run the world. He deserves to have his moment in the sun.

If the people who jockey for power had half the quiet nobility of spirit and courage that Leon has, we’d be in a better place.  He deserves the community’s admiration, more than any politician does.

With any luck, Leon and I will meet again next year.  I think I’ll ask him to paint BOTH sets of house numbers on the curb, not just one.

I really want to make sure he has a good day…


Happy New Year, everyone.