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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Not Meeting Needs

Not Meeting Needs

When I was a boy, my mom would often make me come with her when she would deliver food to older relatives. As a child the last thing I wanted to do was waste my time delivering food, especially when the houses and people often smelled funny. Of course the people were always appreciative, and I remember vaguely one great aunt of mine saying that my mom doing this was close to heaven. I know the aunt was grateful for the food, and it certainly did not hurt that my mom was an excellent cook.

My dad was always supportive, except perhaps for an occasional grimace. If my mom was not able to make dinner because time got away from her, my dad without complaint either took all five of us out to dinner or we got carry out.

Continue reading