Thursday, January 21, 2010

Endurance Test

Walter Shapiro spends a few days watching the cable news stations while convalescing from surgery. The experience proves purgatorial for him and amusing for readers with more than a passing acquaintance with CNN, MSNBC, and Fox who read his account.


Swedish Health Care

Zachary writes to criticize the health care reform bill currently in congress by way of an anecdote that should give us all pause:

I met a Swedish foreign exchange student last year through my high school that simply explained the Swedish health care plan as similar to waiting in line for a restaurant without even being guaranteed a seat. He explained to me that he had torn a ligament in his knee and was placed on a six month waiting list to even have an evaluation on his knee. He had eventually received surgery, but it had been a nine month process for something that currently takes one to two months in the United States [Actually, it usually takes only a few days in the U.S. to get needed surgery on a serious knee injury, RLC].

One question that remains in my mind is if the health care package is free to all citizens, then what will happen to the illegal immigrants that still reside within America since it will be mandatory that everyone purchase health insurance via the government. I just do not see how it's worth it to institute a health care plan where we will be heavily taxed to compensate for "free" health care as well as the wait that will be necessary for proper treatment of illness' and injuries.

We've been spoiled in this country by our relatively easy access to outstanding medical care, but because there are millions who can't afford health insurance, the Democrats wish to impose a system similar to that in many European countruies rather than find a free-market path to helping those who need better coverage.

It doesn't seem to make much sense, but perhaps the recent election in Massachussetts will jolt them out of their stupor, like a drowsy driver startled awake by the sound of his vehicle drifting off the road, and send them on a different course.


Obama's Katrina? Nah.

By many accounts the people of Port au Prince still need much more help more than a week after the earthquake. They still lack enough rescue workers, medical supplies, doctors, security, food and water. My question is why is the media not blaming President Obama for being so slow to get sufficient help to these people?

Mind you, I don't blame Obama for this. I'm confident that given the logistics of the situation and our desire to respect the authority of the U.N. and the Haitian government we may well be doing everything we can. But then neither did I blame George Bush for waiting one day more than perhaps he might have for the state of Louisianna to request federal help to aid Katrina victims. Bush was savaged in the press for his alleged fecklessness, essentially because he was reluctant to override state and local prerogatives until it became clear that the people primarily responsible for the rescue effort were incompetent.

If the media and those who were so critical of Bush's response had a shred of fairness they would be asking why it is that some ten days after the earthquake we still have so few troops and doctors on station, why insufficient numbers of rescue workers have been sent to dig out possible survivors, why there's so little food and water available for the people, and why the state department was so slow to cut through their red tape to allow children in Haitian orphanages to be moved out of the country to their adoptive parents.

Instead, they simply report how tragic the situation is without realizing that, had Bush been president they'd no doubt be livid over the slowness of our efforts. They point out the immensity of the problems and insist that there's not much President Obama can do, and besides, Mr. Obama gave a fine speech right after the earthquake where he promised we'd be there for the Haitian people.

Okay, I agree with all that, and am willing to give the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt that they're doing everything they can to help the Haitian people in their time of need, but the point is that if George Bush were still president and the situation in Haiti were as bleak as it is, his critics wouldn't be giving him any leeway at all. They'd instead be proclaiming that this often disorganized and painfully slow rescue and recovery effort is proof of George Bush's incompetence, indifference, and even racism.

How long will it take before the media starts to recognize their double standard?