High-Risk Pools

Back when one of my daughters was 8 or 9, she said something that was an alternative fact. I asked, “Where did you hear that?” My daughter responded with a comment that would cement her argument, at least in her mind, “I read it on the internet.”

Needless to say, that did not go over well with my wife or me. First I explained to my daughter why her original statement was not true and then went into a short talk about how you need to know who wrote an article and what their biases might be. My daughter took at least one part to heart. She never used “I read in on the internet” as an authoritative argument in front of her parents again.

Now, as I listen to all the alternative facts by President Trump and Republicans about how Trumpcare is better than the Obamacare, and how high-risk pools can be used to protect the chronically ill while lowering costs for everybody else, I am reminded of my daughter’s statement, “I read it on the internet.” There is one difference. There is a decent chance that you can read something that is true on the internet. When Trump and Republicans talk about how they will “improve” health care, you can be sure that they are lying.

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Investing in America

When my three children were toddlers and in the early grades of elementary school, my wife and I would read to them before bedtime. My middle child was three years younger than her older sister and one year older than my youngest, so this was no small task. My wife would generally read to the oldest, or the oldest would read to her, depending on the difficulty of the story. I would read to the two youngest, and then say good night to my eldest daughter.

Eventually, my youngest daughters started reading to me.

I was investing in my children’s future. The nighttime reading ritual is considered one of the most important actions you can do help your children learn to read.

My disappointment with Republican policies keeps escalating as per Pres. Trump’s skinny budget; they fail to invest in America’s future. At first I thought it was that they keep ignoring facts and science. Climate change is happening, and they continue to deny it. If you want to decrease abortions, then start teaching comprehensive sex education. Some Republicans still insist on abstinence-only sex education even though it has been proven that comprehensive sex education reduces unplanned teen-pregnancy rates.

When Republicans refuse to invest in America, it is as if they are failing to read to their kids at night.

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Get Vaccinated

About two months after my first child was born, there was an outbreak of measles in St. Louis. My daughter was too young to be vaccinated, so she was at risk for becoming infected. Our pediatrician advised us to avoid public places as much as possible.

My daughter was put at risk because some people refused to get their children vaccinated.

People refuse to vaccinate their children for at least two reasons. First, people have forgotten how deadly measles and other contagious diseases can be. Vaccines have been too successful. Before the measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, there were hundreds-of-thousands cases per year and hundreds of people died as a result. Since 2010, we have had at most a few hundred cases per year with almost no deaths. One death occurred in 2015. Cases in this country are often caused by unvaccinated people who travel to other countries and bring the disease back here infecting themselves and others.

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Enforcing Fair Play

Way too many decades ago, when I was on the high school water polo team, we were having a 6-on-5 practice. I normally played goalie, but for the practice I was needed in the field. My field skills were average since I did not play outside the goal that much.

I was assigned to play defense against one of our better offensive players. I could see the gleam in his eye as he took his position next to me. He was soon disappointed when I made a couple of good defensive plays.

On the next play, he did some nasty stuff under the water and won that round. This was not a surprise because in water polo there is plenty of nasty stuff that goes on under the water. On a good day the referees will catch about half of it.

On the following play I returned the favor and won that round. My efforts earned me a dirty look. We traded nastiness and victories for the next two rounds. At the end of it my teammate told me to stop. I just smiled. When he played dirty again, I returned the favor on the next play.

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Simplifying Health Care

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.” – Pres. Donald Trump, Feb. 27, 2017

Shortly after I bought my first house, a toilet handle broke. I am not much of a do-it-yourselfer. However, even I knew that fixing a broken toilet handle is a five-minute job. I had done it quickly and easily before.

Removing the old handle was easy enough. I confidently went to put the square mounting nut in the hole. It would not fit. I looked and somebody had used a round metal mounting nut, so I needed to remove that. I got a screwdriver and tried to pry it loose. That nut was glued tight to the tank. Nobody in his right mind would do that. I figure the former owner’s brother-in-law was a plumber who owned a supply store filled with nonstandard parts that he needed to sell.

I tried hitting the screwdriver with a hammer, but decided to stop for fear of cracking the tank. I started filing the metal piece, and it was taking forever. Off to the hardware store to see what might help. I found a file drill bit and bought that. After about four hours of filing spread over two days, the metal piece popped loose. I then replaced the handle in less than five minutes.

Now imagine we had that extra metal piece on every toilet, and that there are thousands of different metal pieces, each requiring a slightly different procedure to remove it. Suddenly replacing a toilet handle becomes very complicated.

When it comes to health care, it becomes complicated because we insist on adding multitudes of those unnecessary metal pieces called health insurance companies. It is made even worse because each metal piece can have many variations with their different policies, each requiring its own separate procedure to “replace the toilet handle.” It gets complicated and expensive very quickly.

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