Archive for April, 2010

Shame for our lady of freedom?

April 27, 2010

By David Farside

April 26th, 2010

If the response to my column last week is any indication, the debate on national health insurance continues to bring out the political dissidents.

One reader suggested that I am a “Kalif Lib” and should get out of town because “we don’t need or want you here.” Wow! At least they didn’t tell me where to go.

Another reader said the government is out of control and people are not thinking if they think the health care bill is good. Well, the health care legislation may not be as good as we all want, but it’s not as bad as opponents think either.

And one noted that if I couldn’t see that government health care is bad for the U.S. then there is no hope for me. Funny, that is what a few of my teachers in high school thought. Maybe they were right!

A conservative reader said our children have been sold-out by Obama, Reid and Pelosi. The same arguments can be made against President G.W. Bush who really sold-out our children when he initiated our $1 trillion war against what he called “non-believers.”

Actually, I am not a Liberal. However, I do believe the words in the preamble of the Constitution stating that by promoting the general welfare of all Americans citizens we create a more perfect union.

Also, I agree with the inscription on the Statue of Liberty. The lady of freedom clutching the lamp representing hope for mankind is a worldwide symbol of our national morals, humanitarian principles and our commitment to society. To remind political conservatives of our social roots it reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Why should I get out of town because I believe in the application of those principles within the golden doors of this Democracy?

At least one reader offered a suggestion for change. saying that socialized healthcare is generational theft, he suggested the government open medical schools providing more doctors and nurses to stimulate competition in the health care business. I agree it’s a good point to debate.

Currently, the state and federal government do provide some student loan and financing aid for medical students. Doctors in Colorado, under the Physician Loan Repayment Program and with assistance from the federal government, could receive up to $150,000 to help pay off their student loans. But, they have to work in rural areas of the state where their services are needed the most. Other states needing doctors in rural areas also have similar programs. In 2008, Colorado awarded more than $2 million to 18 physicians enrolled on the program.

Here in Nevada, I had a friend who did his internship at the local veteran’s hospital. The government paid most of his student loans and helped him establish a medical clinic in Tonopah, Nev.

Speaking of veteran hospitals, in one of the criticized points I made last week I suggested that all Americans should have the same option for heath care as veterans. This week, my point was made by the military health care program under the jurisdiction of the pentagon.

Reported in 2001, the cost for socialized medicine for veterans was $19 billion. By 2011, the cost increased 167 percent to $50 billion of taxpayers’ money. Interestingly, part of the increase is due to retired veterans switching from costly private insurance to less expensive government insurance options. They’re taking advantage of premiums as low as $230 for themselves and $460 per month for their whole family. Wouldn’t we all like to have that option?

These are the same private insurance companies with high premiums that “some” dissident veterans argue might go out of business because they can’t compete with lower insurance premiums available in the government’s public option alternatives. Unfortunately, their migration to government insurance could force private insurers to increase premiums to remain in business. Evidently, it’s acceptable for veterans to exercise their exclusive public option for government insurance at the expense of taxpayers and non-veteran families who need the public option because, like them, can’t afford existing high private insurance premiums. What hippocrates.

So, what is America’s future? Will we be living within a political system of “one for all and all for one” providing for the general welfare of all American citizens. Or, under a self-serving “every man for himself” government that crushes the golden doors of opportunity; Extinguishes the lamp of hope for the less fortunate and destroys the Statue of Liberty’s symbolism of humanity while some of us reach to cover America’s shame on the face of our lady of freedom.