Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Barack Obama was elected President of the United States in November 2008. The main plank of his platform was a plan for national health insurance. In March, 2010, The United States Congress passed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obama was re-elected in November 2012, reaffirming the will of a majority of the American People. No amount of money or sick racial hatred would have hindered us. On June 28 2012 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of this twice-mandated decision by the American People.

It is interesting that those opposing the Affordable Care Act quite often cite the rising costs of healthcare in the United States as a result of our government’s spending on healthcare. It is true that medical care isincreasingly expensive. This has several root causes. One is that there are dramatically effective diagnostic treatments newly available, but which require longer hospitalizations and re-hospitalizations. A second root cause is that there has been nothing to prevent insurance and pharmaceutical companies from raising their prices in anticipating the implementing of the Affordable Care Act. Let us not blame the President for their having done this.Third, it is  true that inflation, with the Consumer Price Index, has increased astronomically. According to the following chart (I don’t know how reliable it is, but I have lived through most of the increase that it shows, and can vouch for it in general) 5000 dollars in 1956 would take 42,900 dollars in 2013:

Of course we might expect quality to account for a considerable amount of the increase. If the technological achievements in medical care parallel those in technology in general, we might anticipate a lowering of these costs over the next few years. I am thinking about the cost of chips, circuit boards, computers, cameras and TVs. You can hold a 4GB SanDisk memory card in the palm of your hand now for a couple of dollars. In  1956 that might have been more memory than all the computers on earth would need. Remember the IBM cards, the many stacks of them and the room their gear required, and how little was accomplished with them that you personally had access to, or knew about? What would all that have cost in 1956 dollars?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gravity: A review

Gravity is a down to earth movie. Gravity holds us together. The closer we are the more powerful its influence. Gravity is sorrow. Sorrow is our grounding emotion. Avoid it and you avoid who you are. Gravity is a grave word.
Did Sir Isaac Newton invent the word? I don’t know. I do know that gravity is a humbling influence, since it can make us aware of our cosmic smallness, no matter what our height and weight on this Earth.
Small, humble, tiny do not make us inferior. When we incorporate the Universe into who we consider our selves to be--owning what we can reach by looking and sensing both outwardly and inwardly with our minds--we become a part of God. Only by claiming our own infinite smallness might we do so.
A sick culture encourages us, successfully to believe that sad is bad. Sad is good because its stimulus, the pain of loss, is also the ground for joy.
A sick culture makes us think that if we sparkle we are more valuable.
I live very close to the cemetery in more ways than one. Better able to deal with mortality if I accept that I am mortal.
When you go to see Gravity, consider crying with Sandra Bullock's character, Dr. Ryan Stone, and have empathy for her and your own situation.
Don't miss the opportunity to have a good cry. Being grounded in grief is absolutely necessary for a substance-free sense of exhilaration. I am happier this morning that the Braves won last night than I would have been had I choked back my sorrow that they lost night before last.
You will be glad you wallowed in this movie, getting it all over you and letting it sink in. You will walk out healthier than when you walked in.

Ray L. Johnson