Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Health Train Transfer


The overriding theme of the recent campaign season was and is “CHANGE”. The sea of jubilant Americans, young, older, all races, and backgrounds celebrating this victory of Obama for America demonstrates the power of democracy. Yes, democracy is more powerful than capitalism (run amok) and socialism.

We tend to think of black and white. Either left or right. During the campaign at times it was difficult to analyze the real deep meaning of either candidates proposals. There were many who feared this outcome, however the majority has ruled. It is obvious many of us have been left behind.

The outcome is not the death of capitalism, nor the onset of socialism, it is however the demonstration that capitalism and free markets have exceeded their inherent ability to balance the equation. One can argue that creeping entitlements have led us into this “dead end”. The normal market pressures have become dysfunctional.

George Bush’s policies and decisions ended when we invaded Iraq. We were caught up in a perfect storm of global events and economic turmoil.. and terrorism was the overriding theme for us.

Americans had never been attacked in the underbelly, or the heart of the nation’s highest peak (the World Trade Center). The events of 911 symbolized and unknowingly foreshadowed the events of the past several months. In reality these events were ongoing for considerable time. Our recent financial collapse has been blamed on the supreme mortgage meltdown. This is a smokescreen for what has been ongoing for the past ten or twenty years in real estate, credit markets, the consolidations of enterprises, the greed of the stockmarket, insurance industry, technology whether it was for the good, or for mindless entertainment among increasingly idle Americans, who had lost their direction.

We should have learned that actions should not always be based upon fear. We should also remember not to depend upon one person to lead us and/or save us from ourselves.

At the onset of the crisis I said “look in the mirror, there is the culprit”. Even those of you who are relatively successful depend upon inequality, and greed. How big a house, and how many do you need? How big a vehicle do you want? Is it based upon your life’s needs, or some other motivation. Some families with 2-4 children do need a larger vehicle. Why has the foreign car market exploded? Why have we had to export and/or outsource many of our vital functions?

I am not going to give answers here. I don’t know all of them, But we all, patients, payers, providers, and yes government need to assess what we have done. It has not been done to us. Look in the mirror.

While we have been counting the casualties, worrying about health care financing, the gradual and relentess increases in the cost of energy, and the innumerable eco- disasters the perfect storm arose and devastated capitalism as we knew it.

Our new leader is largely unknown, however he is extremely bright, a brilliant orator and politician. This inexperienced man defeated a powerful political machine, overturning the democratic party, just like a boat in the perfect storm. We must all row the boat together as a team to insure our success. We don’t expect a miracle, but more people now have hope.

No capitalism is not dead, nor is socialism taking over. It is not black and white.

President Obama is the perfect combination for our country, a man of color and white, an immigrant, a man who came out of nowhere, from a very modest background, raised by a single parent and grandparent. How familiar does that sound to you? It is not the American dream, but it is the American Reality.

Hope must come before prosperity. There is no prosperity without hope.

As I drive to work through endless homes

I always wonder, what is going on in each of those homes. Are they healthy? Do they have jobs? How many are living from paycheck to paycheck, unable to save or follow the advice of financial wizards? How many are sad?   How many have dysfunctional families? How many alcoholics and drug dependent people are in those homes? How many don’t have insurance? How many live in fear of losing their homes and/or their transportation. How many have latchkey children?

There are many more questions than answers. Statistics don’t tell the real story. They indicate the enormity of our problems, however as I drive through the neighborhood I feel the pain.

We as providers face these situations on a daily basis, unable to respond effectively for our patients, unable to commit sufficient time to analyze problems of poor health based on economics, family structure, anxiety and/or depression, limited income in a country with supposedly unlimited financial resources. In truth it has not been this way for many years.

Democracy gives us Hope

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