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Health Care Versus Health Care

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As I write this, the U.S. House of Representatives may or may not vote on the issue of health care. Having observed the ping pong game, or better yet, the yo-yo game of health care, I have concluded that the actual health welfare of the American people has largely been ignored. Once again, women's rights are being ignored in favor of ignorant men and some ignorant women. However, this is another issue.

From my research, the winners will be the health insurance corporations, the pharmaceutical companies and the American Medical Association. The losers are the American people. Other countries have free health care for their people, but not the U.S. of A. It was only this week that the news revealed that Sarah Palin and her family managed to sneak into Canada and get free medical care before she became governor of Alaska. Now, Palin has changed her tune. For shame!

When I grew up during the Great Depression of the last century, we did not have health insurance. We were poor and my father was often out of work. Women rarely worked outside of the home and my mother was a stay-at-home mom. When my siblings and I became ill, our mother was our doctor 80 percent of the time. When we came down with colds, sore throats, or the flu, we were dosed with Mentholatum, Vicks Vapor rub, Merthiolate or mustard plaster on our chests. Why Merthiolate? Not only was it used for cuts and scrapes, but also for extremely sore throats, which are now labeled strep throat. My mother would take a swap and pour Merthiolate on it and swab out throats. Within twenty-four hours, our throats were healed. In the early 1950's, I was employed by the State Department Foreign Service and posted to the American Embassy in Paris. During my tenure, I developed what is called strep throat and was extremely ill. My supervisor called a French doctor who paid me a visit and after examining my throat, swabbed it with Merthiolate. Within twenty-four hours I was well and able to return to work.

It was not until after WWII that health insurance became popular and the American Medical Association began having doctors specialize. Slowly the General Practitioners faded away for the most part. When my sister died of cancer some years ago, I was at her hospital bedside and in trooped four physicians. She had a regular physician, a cancer physician, a pain medication physician and a diet physician. Did they do anything for her wellness? No, because they had already condemned her to death and she accepted their verdict.

Television is partly responsible for the escalation of the pharmaceutical companies who advertise. Recently I viewed an ad on television that went into lengthy detail regarding the side effects of a certain drug and ended with the suggestion to see a physician first. If there are so many side effects, why take the drug? We as a nation have become dumbed-down when it comes to our health care. According to Dr. Barbara Starfield of the School of Hygiene and Public Health, there are over 225,000 deaths annually due to medical errors and doctors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Where is the public outcry?

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Bettye Johnson is the award-winning author of Secrets of the Magdalene Scrolls, an Independent Publishers Book Award Winner 2006. Moving from the cotton fields in Texas to the embassies of Paris and Tokyo, Bettye Johnson has a woven tapestry of (more...)
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