Photo by Edward F. Palm)

About Me

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Forest, Virginia, United States
A long time ago, my sophomore English teacher, Father William Campbell, saw something in my writing and predicted that I would someday become a newspaper columnist. He suggested the perfect title for my column--"Leaves of the Palm." Now that I have a little extra time on my hands I've decided to put Father Campbell's prediction to the test. I'm going to start using this blog site not just to reprint opinion pieces I've published elsewhere but to try to get more of my ideas and opinions out there. Feedback is welcome. To find out more about me, please check out my Web site: www.EdwardFPalm.com (Click on any of the photos below for an enlarged view.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Health Care Reform: No Need for a Public Option?

Andrea and I found this solicitation today at the annual Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Washington.  (Click on the photo for a better view.)  A local shopkeeper gave us the back story:   This young cancer sufferer was a classmate of the shopkeeper's son.  She couldn't afford health insurance, and now she is battling brain cancer.  
         This young woman's plight reminded me of something Obama's critics are loathe to acknowledge:  How many young people today manage to land jobs that provide or even subsidize health insurance?  I know that our son, age 32, would be up the proverbial creek if his employer didn't provide it.  I also know that entry-level jobs with benefits are even harder to come by today than when our son got out of college ten years ago.  
          Sometimes, when I'm driving, I find myself listening to the conservative pundit Michael Medved.  I recently heard him challenge the administration's number of the uninsured.  Sorry, I don't recall Medved's exact numbers.  But Medved claimed that a large percentage of the uninsured are old enough for Medicare but are choosing not to pay the modest premiums that program requires.  Fair enough, I suppose.  But he also went on to subtract a large number of the people in the 18- to 30-year-old range--most of whom are in good health and many of whom, according to Medved, choose to spend their money in other ways.  True, the majority of these young uninsured people probably win this actuarial gamble.  But many don't, and I think we have a moral obligation to help them get the care they need.  
          Medved always starts his show by proclaiming that this is "the greatest country on God's Green earth."    If that's true, no American should have to beg for the money to pay for health care on the streets.


Anonymous said...

Hello Ed, I am for National Health Care. Insurance premiums are just to high. It seems that all the people against National Health care are the big money makers that no matter what the insurance premium is they can afford it and think nothing of the people that do not have it and puts a strain on their income. Big radio and tv personal make big bucks so they can easily speak out against health care coverage along with all the congress that probably have the best health care coverage there is. Semper Fi Sarge

Larry Scroggs said...

Ed I agree with you that there are problems with some Americans getting access to health care. I too am concerned about the anecdotes I have heard describing situations such as the one you related. Our elected representatives need to identify these problem areas and investigate the causes. They need to meet with the stakeholders that are affected and together they can use legislation and regulations to rectify the problems. That is the way we have traditionally addressed our nation’s problems. Why are we in such a hurry now to pass a bill which will not even take effect until 2013?

My concern is that our representatives are trying to rush through an immense program that will vastly change our current system. One of the bills in the House of Representatives is over 1000 pages of convoluted legalese which my own Representative admitted he hasn’t read. We have already taken on an unprecedented massive national debt that will affect the living standards of my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I read history and I know the past effects of a government pumping trillions of paper dollars into an economy. If there are no repercussions to this why not just make the minimum wage $50 an hour and everyone will have money for healthcare.

There are ways that we can assure that everyone has access to healthcare. Let the stakeholders sit down and figure out how we can tweak our current system to make that happen. That’s how we solve our society’s problems in America. Not with faceless bureaucrats and legislative aides drawing up indecipherable thousand page bills costing hundreds of billions of dollars that even my congressman doesn't understand.

Edward F. Palm said...

I think yours is a good, well-thought-out comment, Larry. I'm not sure the current bill is the way to go. But where we probably disagree is that I am all for a national health care system. I think it is a governmental responsibility no less than the national defense. I have Danish friends, Canadian friends, and British friends--all of whom tell me the horror stories associated with their systems are exaggerated and/or distorted. Also, in all three countries there are private doctors for those who can afford and prefer them. Hence, I would go farther than Obama seems willing to go at present.
But still, I appreciate your post. Thanks.

John said...

There IS an urgency to get a bill passed, in that this is not an enlightened debate over the common good, but rather a firefight between the financial interests of insurance companies and the rest of us. There is a momentum to this struggle that can be lost, and the call to "take our time and get it right" is merely a tactic in this fight. For me, I would be satisfied with ANYTHING other than the status quo. The smallest improvement would be a beginning and we can fix it from there.

I appreciate your thoughts on this, Ed, and agree that we have a moral obligation to each other to ensure our basic welfare. Sadly, however, many of us are not morally engaged. To them, I would appeal to their self-interest and argue that even those with "good" healthcare are rudely awakened when their need for healthcare is great. Insurance businesses are skilled and motivated to cancel coverage when their bottom line is in peril.

Thanks for your thoughts, Ed.