The Ohio presidential primary is about a month away and I’ve begun the process of trying to decide which candidate will get my vote. Since most Americans claim that healthcare is the most important issue for them, that’s where I began my study.
Healthcare is not an easy thing to understand for someone like me. I don’t consider myself a bean counter and I’m driven more by idealism than reality. For example, in my heart of hearts, I want a single-payer, universal system where healthcare is a human right and not a single American has to live without it. You have a sore toe and think it needs professional attention, you go to the doc, get it looked at, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
Everyone should know that the costs of pharmaceutical medicines in America are out of control. I’ve used this example several times and it is nothing special, just what millions of Americans experience every time they go to the drug store. A friend found himself suddenly facing a needed life-altering drug that runs him over $1,900 a month.
While I don’t know any of the manufacturer’s arguments for that drug costing so much I can easily assume, and likely be correct, that a degree of excessive profiteering is somewhere in the formula.
There is a new cell phone tower being built near the corner of 5th and Pine Streets. The rumor has it that it will be an AT&T tower and some are suggesting it may be a 5G tower. 5G, if you don’t know is the newest cell phone technology and promises to revolutionize Internet speeds.
Amongst those who asked questions on a Facebook post were those who wondered about the safety of 5G. I was in communications electronics in the Navy and a ham radio operator for decades. I can speak with some knowledge about frequency spectrum and one truth is that the higher you go in frequency the closer you get to microwaves. And, you all know what happens in the microwave spectrum.
I recently became aware of an older couple who came face to face with a common and life-threatening medical condition. The details aren’t germane other than to say, the final costs will well exceed $115,000 and if left without insurance they would find themselves bankrupt.
Being bankrupted by America’s “poorest health care system in the developed world” system is nothing new, it happens countless times each day. Researchers recently learned that over 65% of all bankruptcies in America are tied to medical issues and that over 500,000 families file for medically-related bankruptcies every year.
For as long as there has been an American “war on drugs” the nation of Columbia has been a target. Sitting at the top of South America, Columbia has been a major supplier of illegal marijuana and cocaine for decades. Arguably, no one knows more about growing pot and coke than Columbia.
Well, according to National Public Radio Columbia is putting all this experience into legal business opportunities, supplying the world’s needs for medical marijuana. NPR says:
“Colombia is on track to become a medical marijuana powerhouse. The South American country now has more than two dozen legal cannabis companies that have invested more than $600 million in building new facilities. The government legalized medical marijuana in 2016 and the country now exports products to Canada and the U.K.”
Medicare for all is a hot topic with progressive Democrats pushing for it and conservative Republicans falsely referring to it as communism and claiming it will bankrupt the nation.
Well, back in the fight over Obamacare days I did some checking and read a book or two about comparative health care systems. While I don’t remember much of the details I do remember the general knowledge I acquired. Lesson learned number one is that lots of countries have far better systems than America. Number two is that withing America the most efficient systems are the VA and Medicare. Both of which, by the way, are socialists systems and extremely popular.
Remember the movie, My Left Foot? Well, I’ve got a story to tell about my front tooth and it goes all the way back to growing up in an era before toothpaste and drinking water contained fluoride and kids with rotting teeth was the norm.
I came from one of those families that didn’t empathize dental hygiene and about every adult I knew had a full set of dentures. One of my best friends in high school had a set of fake chops before his junior year. By the time I’d gotten out of the Navy and lived a couple of years in California I had changed my ways but I still had a front tooth that showed the black signs of decay.
Since Dayton and El Paso, there’s been lots of talk about placing pressure on the CEOs and shareholders of big box stores, like Walmart, Cabellas, Bass Pro and others to change their gun policies. So far there doesn’t seem to be any mad rush to comply and just this morning it was reported that the CEO of Walmart said that they would not be changing their current procedures. The same newspaper article reported this:
Reality check: Smaller gun shops and gun shows make up a much larger piece of the vendor pie than big retailers do, and a lot of transactions take place in cash.
I recently posted on Facebook some photos of the area around our home. We live in thick woods surrounded by most plants and animals common to our area. That includes an abundance of poison ivy and other things that may make your skin itch.
One of the photos was of our wooden walk from the drive to the screened-in porch at the back of our home. Along the walk is a large tree with English Ivy growing up the trunk. Mixed in with the good stuff is a smattering of poison ivy and a plant named Virginia creeper. Some visitors to the posting seemed to not be able to identify the good from the nasty vegetation so I decided to do a little educating.
The Washington Post recently forced the Drug Enforcement Agency to open up its databases regarding the sale and distribution of prescription pain killers in America. The information can be broken down into states and individual counties and includes the drug manufacturers, distribution companies, and leading pharmacies.
In the State of Ohio during the period 2006 to 2012, there were 3,397,979,780 (billions) prescription pain pills supplied to Ohio’s pharmacies. Here’s a more detailed break down for Highland County and its neighbors. NOTE: Information from 2013 to 2019 is yet to be made public. Also, you may notice the name McKesson as being a major distributor. McKesson is the company who has a distribution center outside Washington Court House.
Highland: From 2006 to 2012 there were 7,388,100 prescription pain pills, enough for 57 pills per personper year, supplied to Highland County, Ohio.
Fayette: From 2006 to 2012 there were 10,553,020 prescription pain pills, enough for 52 pills per person per year, supplied to Fayette County, Ohio.
Clinton: From 2006 to 2012 there were 17,287,730 prescription pain pills, enough for58 pills per person per year, supplied to Clinton County, Ohio.
Ross: From 2006 to 2012 there were 35,275,018 prescription pain pills, enough for 65 pills per person per year, supplied to Ross County, Ohio.
Adams: From 2006 to 2012 there were 12,172,090 prescription pain pills, enough for61 pills per person per year, supplied to Adams County, Ohio
One aspect of American history that is pretty simple to understand is the history of government-sponsored health care. The short and long answers are the same, there hasn’t been much. There was an early program for seaman, another for impoverished former slaves, a little attention given to some mentally ill people, and that’s about it until Medicare and Medicaid were passed in 1965. There were earlier attempts and while progressive health care programs became realities elsewhere in the world the doctors of America, and their American Medical Association were vehemently opposed to what they saw as insidious socialism.
I could easily begin this piece with a list of all the things Trump promised his supporters in 2016 but has failed to deliver on. If I did at the top of the list would have to be that thing about Mexico building a wall and paying for it.
But the wall pales in contrast to the promises he made to provide Americans with a world-class health care system. Early on he promised:
“To repeal Obamacare ‘immediately’ and replace it with ‘something terrific.”
Well, from taking office in 2017 until the Democrats regained the House in 2018, strongly on the issue of health care, Trump and his totally GOP government have miserably failed to do so. It took Obama and the support of every Democrat a full two years to create the less than perfect ACA and despite dozens of GOP bills and court cases, it has been weakened but not erased. And in spite of its weaknesses, millions of Americans do have some level of health care they didn’t have before the ACA.
It’s warming up and getting closer to Earth Day. Like every spring there’s a winter’s worth of trash in our yards, streets, and highway ditches, much of it comes from drive-thru restaurants and beverage barns.
No need to do the research or to manufacturer some story, because I personally witnessed it. Several years ago my wife and I volunteered to pick up litter on Foraker Street between SR 138 and the 7th Street Bridge. From just one side of that very short street, we filled our pick up truck with trash that was, as stated, carry out wrappers from fast food, and tossed beverage containers, especially beer cans. Not a single resident offered to help and within a couple of months, it was as littered as ever.
Yesterday evening a woman told me she just couldn’t understand why Democrats believed in abortion. She thought it was just, “wrong.” It was late and I was too tired to think about it but today is a new day and my brain is rested. So, here’s what I think.
First of all, I’m a Democrat and I basically do not believe abortion is a good thing. To some degree or another, I’ve been bothered by anyone being sexually irresponsible and then using abortion as a means of birth control. After all, forms of condoms and birth control have existed since Roman times and earlier. That said, I don’t think it is my place to tell a woman what is correct for them.
The mass shooting at Florida’s Parkland High School took place just a year ago today. In the following year, much has taken place but even more, has not taken place.
A huge anti-gun violence movement, led by students, has evolved and prompted several major successes at the state level. At the federal level its been pretty much status quo with the gun lobby still owning the majority of the GOP and some Democratic votes.