Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dr. Ben Carson's Appearance On The View

While it was interesting to see Dr. Ben Carson (retired neurosurgeon) on The View this morning, it would have been nice if they had provided more time for him to talk about health care, in general.  He is certainly more conservative than I am, but he was one of the best neurosurgeons in the country for many years.  I'd rather hear HIS take on health care than some celebrity.

Rather than seeing him as President, I would like to see him as Surgeon General!  Not that he couldn't be a very successful President.  I'd rather see his expertise being put to use in ways that would benefit the country in ways that the role of President isn't able to.  I'd like to see him address brain injury in veterans, brain injury in general and issues that get pushed aside in favor of those that have a 'sexier' appeal to spin doctors in Washington.

I do disagree when it comes to having a health care savings account, rather than a single payer plan.  That would keep a lot of people away from health care, since most of us can't afford to save for our futures as it is.  Those with the means to set aside the kind of money it takes to cover the unexpected health care crisis in life always seem to 'forget' about those who have to choose between rent and food.  It isn't a pretty concept, but a necessary one.  Many people put off basic health care because of the cost.

There are lots of people who can't work, or who are the working poor.  For them meds are a luxury, even if their lives depend on it.  The estimate here, in Seattle, is that someone has to make at least $50,000/year to live comfortably.  Most people I know, even those working forty hours a week, or more, don't bring home that much.  Rent here for under $1,000/mth is difficult to come by.  That doesn't include food, utilities, phone and other elements of life that many of us have to consider luxuries, including health coverage.  We are looking at a crisis with public transit in the county right now.  Cutting service, with little or no regard for those who don't have the luxury of choosing between riding the bus or driving their car leaves many stranded.  Even for those on the reduced fare program(s), riding just to and from work can cost a person on the reduced fare program over $500/yr!  Less than maintaining a car, but nevertheless, it can be a hardship on a fixed or low income.  It is also not the most reliable of transportation, for some jobs if you are late three times, even by five or ten minutes, it can cost you your job.

I rode the bus for over thirty years and saw, or knew, people with disabilities who had no option.  They weren't able to drive, it wasn't about a choice for them.  I've said for years that the decision makers drive and make enough to park in expensive parking lots.  They are out of touch with the most vulnerable users of public services.

So on many levels I disagree with Dr. Carson.  However, that isn't everything.  I'll always have a soft spot for most people who have, at some time or another, worked in the field of neurology, neuroscience and neurosurgery.  

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