Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Death By Ideology, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them; if he did, he’d have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care.
Last week,... Mr. Romney declared that nobody in America dies because he or she is uninsured: “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” This followed on an earlier remark by Mr. Romney — echoing an infamous statement by none other than George W. Bush — in which he insisted that emergency rooms provide essential health care to the uninsured.
These are remarkable statements. ... Even the idea that everyone gets urgent care when needed from emergency rooms is false. Yes, hospitals are required ... to treat people in dire need, whether or not they can pay. But ... you will be billed, and ... fear of huge bills can deter the uninsured from visiting the emergency room even when they should. And sometimes they die as a result.
More important, going to the emergency room ... is no substitute for regular care, especially if you have chronic health problems. When such problems are left untreated — as they often are among uninsured Americans — a trip to the emergency room can all too easily come too late to save a life.
So the reality, to which Mr. Romney is somehow blind, is that ... lack of insurance is responsible for thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of excess deaths... But that’s not a fact Mr. Romney wants to admit, because he and his running mate want to repeal Obamacare and slash funding for Medicaid — actions that would take insurance away from some 45 million nonelderly Americans, causing thousands of people to suffer premature death. And their longer-term plans to convert Medicare into Vouchercare would deprive many seniors of adequate coverage,... leading to still more unnecessary mortality. ...
So let’s be brutally honest here. ... Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy. So a literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.
It’s not a pretty picture — and you can see why Mr. Romney chooses not to see it.
Friday, August 31, 2012
The Medicare Killers
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: August 30, 2012
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
A version of this op-ed appeared in print on August 31
Friday, May 4, 2012
I recently read a quote from Horace Mann in an interview of Kirk Douglas when he was asked what still motivated the octogenarian artist and activist. " Be ashamed to die before you do something for humanity". The message resonated with me because I have found my greatest satisfaction is in giving to others. The coming elections are an opportunity to do something for humanity and it is incumbent upon us to be actively involved in the process. For many the elections hold little result or consequence upon the daily experience of their lives. The have jobs, families, healthcare, homes and savings. Sure they may be taxed more or less and see their social benefits increased or decreased, but by and large they have the opportunity to educate & provide for their families and live secure lives. For others, the decisions that will be made in voting booths next fall can become matters of life and death. Not being able to obtain healthcare, even preventative healthcare that could lead to early detection of catastrophic illness or obtain student loans to prepare for upward employment.
Dr. Richard Carmona, the former Surgeon General of the United States, is running for U.S. Senator in Arizona, a state very much in the news for a variety of issues. Dr. Carmona is committed to preserving Social Security and Medicare and stand up for what's right for the American people. It is men like Rich Carmona that are woven into the fabric of America throughout history. Men from humble beginnings that have achieved much with the opportunities they were given and look for the chance to give back and preserve the values that have made America great.
I'm encouraged by his entry into the political fray, as I am by Kirk Douglas still trying to do something for humanity after having given so much throughout his career. Men entering the last acts of their lives with hope for us all. There is hope if we choose to participate and act.
Monday, February 6, 2012
As I reflect on the dozen years since my open heart surgery and convalescence, I am keenly aware of the role my loving, heart relationships played in my healing on every level. The care and unconditional support I was given by my late wife Valerie in the months preceding, during and after my surgery gave me the life connection that propelled my resurgence. The need to regroup to be there for her in her time of need as she battled lung cancer was a natural impulse that gave me the gift found in giving and completed our life together. Then the new, strong and mature love I fortunately found with Catherine, for what is coming up to be 10 years in March, helped me to emotionally heal and re-discover the world of living. She is a blessing and partner who I felt was sent to me from the moment I first looked in her eyes. Of course all relationships require attention and perhaps "work" but love is love is love. I believe in that intangible feeling of warmth, security and strength that centers in my chest when I look at her and know that nothing is as important to me as her well being and happiness. I love her and am healthier for it.
It's been known for a long time that heart health is closely linked to romantic love, family security and happiness. Stress in personal relationships is a contributor to illness. Dr. Mimi Guarneri says this far better in her anecdotal book "The Heart Speaks", which not only demonstrates the complex and enormous power the heart has to heal, but also it's medical vulnerability to loneliness and emotional pain. I recommend the read.
This Heart Awareness Month give yourself a Valentine and love-up the one's you love.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
My wife Valerie died ten years ago this summer. I have been spending the quiet moments between my work remembering her. This summer is no different than any other. I think of her all the time. It’s momentous that a decade has passed since she left. Her bright hazel eyes and endless smile leap forth. Her laugh and passionate tears hum in the trees. Her super human strength and goodness inspire my work. She left a hole in my heart that can’t be filled and yet I go on connected to her eternally, forever.
Valerie died from Mesothelioma. She fought hard to overcome the disease. The grace she displayed during a struggle that explored all curative options was profound to witness. In her honor, I have committed to undertaking the professional and personal challenge of fulfilling my potential even at this later stage of life. I follow the prayer I say for her when I ask for the elevation of her soul and the ability to fulfill her wishes, strengthen her legacy and take guidance from her life and spirit. As she told me in her last months, “Make the most of each day, love up the ones you love and put other people first. I think I’ve done a pretty good job." I am trying.
So now I turn the page, celebrating Valerie, who made such a big difference to so many lives and to mine.
Remember. Remember and hold on tight. You will be challenged and distracted and the appeals of your lower self will arise, but extinguish those desires with the flush of love and hope. Never give up. Never give in. Do the best you can because it’s good and believe in what you know and what you’ve lived. It was and is real and true. Guard and pursue truth. It is the blood of relationships and in the end these are what matter. S’aggapo Aggapimu. I love you my love.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian died 10 years to the day after Valerie. There’s a synchronistic irony that they should be linked. As weird a personality as he was, I know she would have liked to have met him at the end of her life. It’s funny what you choose to remember or not remember about someone you love who is gone. I’m choosing to remember it all. The last nine days of Valerie’s life when she chose not to eat because she knew she was only feeding the tumors that were causing her so much pain and killing her slowly. She “Wanted out now!” Kervorkian could have helped. This was not a hypothetical case. This was my wife,who I would have given my own life for to free her of pain or misery. I supported her decisions then as I support those of individuals and families who make them now.
“As a result of his advocacy for the right of the terminally ill to choose how they die, hospice care has boomed in the United States and physicians have become more sympathetic to their pain and more willing to prescribe medications to relieve it “
Kervorkian was seen by a world trying to make sense of how best to care for loved one’s at the end of their life. Valerie was seen by those closest to her as she bravely chose to end her life. We witnessed her grace, dignity and strength and we will always remember her joy and love. Always ready for everything life had to offer. She wanted it all.