Friday, November 27, 2009

* Melting on Health Care: My Half-a-Loaf Reversal

Strike It Rich!

After watching the Dr. Oz Houston Free Health Care Clinic on television the day after Thanksgiving I have renounced my opposition to President Obama's health care legislation despite months of publicly opposing it, beginning with my "interview" with Senator Bernard Sanders (Senator Sandbag)on the issue:

Dr. Oz's Houston Free Health Care Clinic saw over 1700 patients in one day, a new national record. Several of those patients he presented today on his program and offered them free surgical help.

I melted.

It reminded me of the early 1950's television program Strike It Rich with Warren Hull (1951-58).

On that program three different contestants would appear and tell their hardship story. At the end of the program a large heart with three windows would register audience applause. The window with greatest applause won the cash award to relieve the contestant's hardship.

Directors of the show would have to take Warren Hull by the arms and walk him around the block after the program to steady him from the ordeal of not only having to listen to the hardships stories, but the agony of having to bait and discard two contestants.

Luckily, Dr. Oz (a creation of Oprah Winprey and her day time talk-show which began featuring him two years ago) did not discard any candidates for help today.

At least, not in front of the cameras.

And even if he is the Oprah conglomerate's mouthpiece to help President Obama sell the urgent need for universal health care in the country, I have no objection. No one should be without health care in the richest country in the world.

Even if I think Obama's health care plan might have killed me a year ago (which I do so think)I have melted after this Dr. Oz presentation. Just grab me by the arms and walk me around the block a couple of times and I'll sign on the dotted line (or my president will).

The most chilling of Dr. Oz's beneficiaries was a 42-year-old man from Texas with an entire lower lip swollen into a black cancerous tumor. Dr. Oz offered him surgery and made him pledge to stop smoking.

Some hard headed, stubborn, independent Yankee types might object to paying for such a person's surgery, saying, "Nobody forced him to smoke."

As someone whose mother and father died at 73 and 78 repectively of smoking related illness (emphysema), I say HOLD ON A MINUTE.

Smoking is an addiction.

And addiction is an illness.

Both of my parents were intelligent and middle class. Both were as addicted to cigarettes as an alcoholic is to alcohol.

(Golden Anniversary Photo: Robert and Barbara Keane, 1983)

We do not punish people for being ill.

The illness is punishment in itself in many cases.

When I think of my mother, fully consccious, unable to get off a ventilator in an Intensive Care Unit for 118 days before she died because her emphysemic lungs were not strong enough for her to breathe on her own, I have no doubt that the illness
is punishment.

Cast my vote FOR health care legislation, no matter how inadequate the legislation may be. Half a Loaf is better than none.

Walk me around the block please.

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