Friday, September 29, 2006

Reforming Healthcare One Body Part at a Time

Ever wonder why, when it comes to health insurance, they decided that you teeth and your mind were second class? After all, your dental benefits and mental health benefits are inferior to your other medical benefits. Creating benefits that are all equal is called 'parity' so a mental health act that created mental health insurance with no differences would be a mental health parity act. Clinton tried to help, but only got so far as creating mental health parity for government employees and their health plan. Now, the idea is back, through the states, like New Yorks own Timothy's Law. It isn't full parity, does not go far enough, and removes the onus from the smallest businesses, but it is a start...for New York. Other states have their versions also. One thing the Federal Government found is mental health parity does not really cost more because mental health care costs may go up a bit, but other aspects of healthcare drop, as does lateness and absenteeism when mental health care is easily accessible and affordable. One thing that will need to come about for true parity will be when the stigma of mental illness is abolished from people's prejudiced minds. People need to view mental illness like other chronic illnesses; such as asthma and diabetes. It is true that there is an aspect of mental illness,, when not properly treated, that lends an air of unpredictability to the situation. With proper treatment, understanding and supervision, this can be minimized until the risks are statistically no more than for the rest of the population. Removing the stigma and exploring the real costs and benefits of mental healthcare will be where we will go from here. As we begin to discuss the reforming of the rest of healthcare we will see how mental healthcare will integrate into the entire program.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My phonecall with Satan...

Sure, I already knew I would be talking to Satan when I saw him on election night (see below, the second posting to this blog), but I was surprised when my cell phone rang and above the phone number it just said HELL.
"Mr Rove?" I said.
"No, this is Satan." the Devil responded.
"Don't tell me you are cancelling for election night?" I asked.
"No, not at all. I am calling because I wanted you to know I was very upset by what went on at the UN last week." He said.
"Many people were, but I would think that circus would have been amusing to you." I observed.
"Oh it was, until that boob Chavez from Venezuela went on, and had the nerve, the audacity, the poor taste to call George W. Bush---the Devil."
"I see." I responded.
"The nerve, to equate George W. with me, ME! George W. is third circle at best down here. It's not just about being Evil to make you rate down here, baby. You need skills, 'tude, finesse. No, George W. is not like me. Pay the Devil his due. He's worse, cause he's got the bluff without the bravado. I play by the rules. No one suffers in Hell until they have been proven guilty. Yes, we have due process down here. You remember due process, right? You used to have it in the US too." Satan started laughing now. Then he said, "In fact, if you look at how he operates, spitting in the face of the UN and the world when they called for restraint in handling Iraq, he ignores international treaties on everything from global warming to weapons limitations, his administration not only tortures innocents in the expectation that some may be guilty, but his administration fights for the legal right to do so,---no, that's not the usual evil, that's really low. Lower down than where I come from, and that's pretty low. Around here, contracts are binding, know what I mean? In fact, he is more like the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad. They both argue that they do what is best for their nations, whether that is the concensus or not, and the rest of the world, if you will pardon the expression, "be damned!". And Chavez, forget about him, I had plans for him, but now he'll be cleaning HELL'S Kitchen--- and bathrooms, for all eternity!"
"Okay. You don't mind if I write about some of this, right?" I asked.
"If I didn't want that, I wouldn't have let you blog our discussion about election night." He said.
"I see. I thought the way you were showing your disapproval for my telling about our meeting, was by stopping people from actually reading my blog." I thought a moment and then said, "You mean I don't get any 'hits' on this blog for real?!!!" I asked, sobbing.
"Sorry. Not my fault." He responded.
"You know, by the way Satan," I began, "something about your voice reminds me of a girl I used to know...."
"That was my niece." He laughed.
"You know," I said, "her mother used to tell me she was the devil,..."
"Nope, just my niece." He said. "See you on election night," he reminded.
"Yes," I said, "see you then...."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Here's To Your Sanity, America

I would like to move onto Healthcare more than politics in the very near future, so I thought I should write a little about why politics has taken so much time here. The political process is where everything that needs to be done for healthcare and tax reform, as well as political reform, will occur. We need to understand what has gone on, and goes on, if we will, as a nation, do what needs to be done to effect change in the near future. Let's look at an example. Let us say that you are a young, single, heterosexual male, and you are also a bit of an idiot. When you meet women you are attracted to, you say things like "Hey Baby, come here often?" And "what's your sign?" Or, maybe even stuff like, "darling, let's get something straight between us" or "If you were the Lincoln Tunnel, and I was an 18 Wheeler, how often would you let me go to Jersey?" (By the way, when you say things like this she thinks you are probably more like a Mini Cooper than an 18 Wheeler.) Now, you find that women don't respond to this? You are not getting any where at all. No dates, no conversations and no action. Would you attempt, ATTEMPT, to figure out what was wrong and make a change? Of course, you would. You want some companionship! Just like if your boss said you were doing something wrong, you would try to do it right, if you wanted to keep your job. But, as I have often tried to point out, Politics does not work like anything else. Politicians are the only people who get penalized for learning from their mistakes. When a politician changes their mind, they are usually branded as "flip-floppers" by their opponenets, and in fact the press does not help either. It is the only profession where it is considered a virtue to never further educate oneself. President G.W. Bush actually, helped by conservative commentators (most recently David Brooks in the NY Times), considers it a good thing that he has not wavered in his stance on Iraq and terrorism, in the face of overwhelming evidence and poor results contrary to many of his opinions. That is not stick-to-it-tiveness to be admired. That is more like stubborn, fool-headedness that should be booed off the national platform. But, as he sits there lost and confused as our young people die on the battlefield, the President could soothe an aching conscience, if he had one, by remembering "Hey, I'm not a flip-flopper on the issues!" There you go. Some of the most basic things you learn from your parents, and at school: Don't run from your mistakes, learn from them (apologize if it is warranted) and move on, is anathema to politicians. This is why it is so hard to make major progress quickly, even on the most important, or fundamental issues. We need to start voting in a new breed of politician, that worries about doing the right thing, not being good at being a politician. Then we will be able to reform a few things. Now, in my next posting I would love to move on. Our national news rarely gives me a chance to ignore politics in favor of these other issues, but we are going to try....