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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Obama Care

The debate over Obama Care rages on, and on, and on, we must restore our Constitution, stop socialism, end government death panels, etc. etc. There is endless political discussion completely devoid of any medical discussion. There is no talk of communicable pathogens, no talk of preventable disease, and no talk of our national health care system. The World Health Organization (WHO) grades the American health care system as 38th , and we are graded 33th in life expectancy , the American health care system is third world level. I have experienced direct interaction with the health care systems of Mexico, Britain, Japan, Singapore and Germany. Based on my experience, America has no national health care system. This lack of a national health care system puts everyone at great risk, every man, woman and child, every citizen and every noncitizen.
A pathogen is a disease-causing organism, opportunist organisms taking the field in battle ground Homo sapiens, organisms armed with evolution. We are large mobile bags of tasty proteins to a pathogen, they mutate and adapt, consistently defeating our best medical science. Medical science discovers a bactericide to cure tuberculosis (TB), within a few years Doctors are faced with multi-drug-resistant (MDR)tuberculosis. This is the standard story with all diseases. Microbes are constantly mutating, we create the environment that selects for the MDR microbe.
Understanding the deadly mechanism of a pathogen is expensive, slow and insanely complicated. I will pause while you watch this short video about HIV/AIDS ….
This is a retroviruses engaged in parasitic replication. At the end of the story, you die. This is one pathogen that threatens everyone’s health, and pathogens are a major reason we need a national health care system. We need major institutions engaged in medical research with disease monitoring and surveillance, without taxpayer funded, government operated agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), or the National Institutes of Health (NIH), both operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; we are as helpless as a babe in the wilds.
The danger of a plague is the same today as at any time in human history, microbes and viruses mutate as fast as we develop better medicine, sometimes faster. Think of the bugs waiting to kill you, HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola, meningitis, swine flu, bird flu, viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Lassa, Ebola, Marburg, dengue fever, and yellow fever. All relentlessly seeking their opportunity to replicate and mutate, and we are maximizing their opportunities by providing an excellent unhealthy ecology.
Health insurance is not an inoculation against HIV or Ebola, for the individual it is access to professional medical care and medication. Without medical insurance access to medical care is limited, often the emergency room at a community hospital. The mother of an uninsured baby may have to wait hours to get measles inoculation for her child, missing work and losing part of her paycheck. Uninsured populations create a perfect ecology for pathogens. Once a pathogen finds a home in any sub group of a population, the entire population is exposed. Poverty, limited health care and poor diets are a welcome mat to pathogens. Pathogens have one historical friend, politicians. Doctors can detail the requirements for protecting public health, Senators can detail the requirements for reelection, and there is no overlap, no convergence between the two.
Republicans are intent on stopping Obama Care, to improve their electoral chances, they wish to disband the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a policy that polls well with their base. We need to inject the topic of national health care into our debate about national health care.

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