Friday, April 21, 2006



One of the books I’m reading is David Brinkley’s Memoir. In 1961 Brinkley and thirteen other newsmen were asked to contribute essays to a small book which would be called The Kennedy Circle. I was struck by what Kennedy had to say about his inability to get out to know what the people were thinking and also, his comments bear on the reason that he wanted a wide variety of input into his thinking. He was no arrogant Bushman who only wants yes-men around him. Kennedy’s attitude stands in sharp contrast to the current holder of the White House. If you’re old enough to remember, don’t you miss the man who held the office so very briefly in the early 1960s? What a come down to this clown who’s in office now:

"One of the problems of any President," he [Kennedy] said, "is that his sources of information are limited. I sit in the White House and what I read in the newspapers and magazines and memoranda and things I see—like you and Huntley—is the sum total of what I hear and learn. So the more people I can see, the wider I can be exposed to different ideas, the more effective I can be as President. So, therefore, it is a mistake to have one person working on one subject because then you don't get any clash of ideas and therefore have no opportunity for choice."


“But at least consumers with health plans get to ration their care themselves. The working poor, on Medicaid, face rationing that's growing more severe. The Center for Studying Health System Change has been studying 12 metro areas since 1995. Its 2005 report concluded that, for the unprivileged, "access to basic care is worsening." Because of cutbacks to Medicaid payments to providers, more docs are shutting their doors to the working poor. State-of-the-art hospitals and clinics are opening in affluent suburbs, not downtown. States are paring their Medicaid rolls—and if you're uninsured, you're less than half as likely as the insured to get any medical care. Brutal cutbacks in services for the mentally ill are adding to homelessness-raising costs for shelters, jails and emergency rooms. Fewer specialists are even serving emergency rooms, let alone offering follow-up care.

We like to tell ourselves that, in America, everyone gets health care if it's really needed. But except for certified emergencies, such as a broken bone, doctors and hospitals may turn you away unless you can pay up front. You don't want to lose your health insurance-even the high-deductible kind. Our lottery system of health care is sicker than you think.”

—Jane Bryant Quinn in Newsweek (Feb 27, 2006) p. 47

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