Sunday, September 20, 2009


Palm Beach County, unlike counties in some other places, exhibits a huge disparity amongst residents and the bottom of the barrel is more visible and more in contrast with the upper strata. Stark poverty exists, sometimes within a short walk from breathtaking wealth. The Byzantine palaces of Boca Raton, the Hilton sized seaside abode of Rush Limbaugh can remind the viewer of Monopoly houses dumped at random on the board. Some residents have the chauffeur drive the house keeper to the drug store to pick up their drugs under assumed names, others can't afford medicine without which they have a short time left to live.

Like many third world countries where the mega-rich watch medical relief teams treat the poor from their comfortable adn beautiful estates, Palm Beach County will soon host Remote Area Medical caregivers to treat an estimated treat 4,000 to 5,000 people who don't have medical insurance. According to the Palm Beach Post, RAM's Stan Brock
"will travel to South Florida in a World War II era C-47 cargo plane. It will contain at least 40 dental chairs and the equipment necessary for several dozen Florida-licensed ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians to examine hundreds of patients and make glasses on the spot. "
Things like dental extractions, fillings,
prostate tests mammograms, pediatric exams and H1N1 flu shots and other essential things not available in Emergency Rooms will offered for free, no questions asked. Of course it's embarrassing, or should be, to patriots fond of calling any criticism or negative assessment of our proud country to be so easily compared to Haiti or Honduras. It's also far from being enough to occasionally offer relief from pain and disease to the peasants on an occasional basis, but as long as we're talking about shame, isn't it time to heap some of it on those who are too afraid that the most profitable corporations on Earth might have to operate with profit margins of less than 35% unless we maintain a sick and suffering underclass? What about politicians that can look at the will of three quarters of the population and dismiss it in favor of the corporations that pump billions into their bank accounts?

I'm embarrassed for my country when I see that this is the best we can do and more so when I listen to the excuses: that complete government withdrawal will fix it without leaving millions and millions to die, that a government administered guarantee of insurance coverage will lead to Socialism or Communism aren't more credible fears than the bogus Death Panels when we already have real ones at Cigna and Fortis and Humana. Will some illegal be able to scam the system? Sure, people scam any system, some people buy booze with food stamps, but that doesn't argue that we let a million children starve. The fear that someone will get something for free when we have to pay for it seems all out of proportion to the risk and the risk can be controlled.

No, there is no guaranteed right to health care in the constitution, nor is there to police protection, free public education, public libraries, national parks or municipal fire departments. Certainly no right to Social Security, unemployment or disability insurance. None of those things turned us into Communists, none of them destroyed capitalism, made us less competitive in the world market, stifled entrepreneurship or made any of the hackneyed warnings into a reality. All of them are tokens of civilization and have made us a better country. Single payer health insurance won't do those things either. If we had had it a few decades ago, you might still be driving a Chevy or Chrysler instead of something from the Pacific rim where workers have government health insurance.


Baltazar said...

How much IS that Frank Loyd Wrong ?

Capt. Fogg said...

Ah, that lovely luxury home was sent to the land of OZ by hurricane Wilma in 2005.