Washington Cares

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October 22, 2009 by David Gillaspie

NURTURING HEALTH REFORM

WashCare

When you need a doctor, you need a doctor.  Not a social worker or advocate when the blood flows.  You’re not asking for an attendant or case manager.  You want a doctor.  DOCTOR?  It’s not a matter of which side of the aisle you sit on.  You’re still sitting in America and you need a doctor.

Right now America needs a doctor andPresident Obama is the treating physician on healthcare reform.  He is in the operating room with the sedated patient.  Costs rise by the second.  He is checking under the hood, rattling around the rib cage, tightening here and loosening there.  He feels the heart beating in his hand, and follows what the Hippocratic Oath calls for: first do no harm. 

Dr. Obama will change the face of healthcare.  It is more accurate to say he will restore the face of health care.  Gone is the high priced, high maintanence, pumped up, juiced up face of the present system.  Be ready for the school marm/librarian face. 

Think of the severe looking farm wife in Grant Wood’s American Gothic face of health care instead of the always beautiful, but troubled, Kirstie Alley.

Does this mean you’ll get two aspirins and told to call in the morning instead laying down for a CAT scan?  A diet book instead of a heart transplant?  It may mean you go home home with a sore throat instead of sitting for a battery of lab tests to eliminate every possible disease that includes sore throat, or at least every test your insurance covers. 

Google Sore Throat: “Results 1 – 10 of about 6,010,000  (0.10 seconds)”, then google Sore Throat Treatment: “Results 1 – 10 of about 5,980,000 (0.10 seconds)” 

Check the numbers.  Thirty thousand more sore throats than sore throat treaments.  It adds up to stay home and gargle warm saltwater.

After the battle over healthcare reform calms down, after both sides stop throwing needles at the rest of us, we’ll need a caregiver.  Make that a family caregiver.  Those are the ones who know their loved ones all too well, the way a politician knows his constituency. 

The family caregiver know where the buttons are.  What discussions to avoid, what teams to ignore, what cities are most annoying, and the list of countries that don’t show America the proper respect for bailing them out in WWII.  Unlike professional caregivers, the family caregiver gets away with riling their loved ones up to keep them engaged.

Any politician worth their stripe knows how to play their district, shave votes, how to re-draw boundaries.  Like the family caregiver, the politician gets away with riling people up to keep them engaged in the process of governing.  It’s part of the job.  It’s not pretty hearing Death Panel come out of an otherwise rational person’s mouth. 

Is it a right or left thing, or does sifting through the proposals and reports on health care reform feel like we’ll be tested later.  The bad news is yes, we will be tested.  It’ll happen when we need medical care.  You pass if you get the level of care you need and go home healed.  You fail if you have health insurance and turn a cold eye to those with loved ones who won’t heal without medical attention.   

When you need a doctor, you need a doctor.  Will you get a socialized-medicine doctor with a waiting list two years long, or a celebrity doctor who will fit you in between cocktail parties if you show you can bid highest?  That’s a sandwich no one wants to be in the middle of.

Do you care about Americans?  Then be a caregiver for America after Dr. Obama stiches things up.  Drop the needles and offer an American hand.  It’s what we do best.

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