Archive for June 2014

Thanks to Australian Friends   4 comments

Where does time go? It was Sunday, June 1, 2014 that we saw “Our Country’s Good” at the Guthrie. My understanding of it was greatly enhanced by what I had learned from the Australian bloggers I follow. My intention at the time was to thank you who contributed to my appreciation. Sorry I’ve been delayed by so many other things that needed doing.

I had visited Port Arthur, where one guide told us about the wonderful things that were done to integrate prisoners into normal life. Another guide told us the treatment of prisoners was cruel. Of course, one assumes the truth lies somewhere in between.

At any rate, mixing that experience with what I’ve learned here, I had a much richer understanding of the theme. On the surface it was the story of how producing and acting in a play humanized the prisoners. Behind it was the story of man’s inhumanity to man, the dehumanizing and brutalizing of criminals thought to be genetically evil, the belief in the natural superiority and authority of the keepers of the prisoners colored by the reality that they too were essentially imprisoned by their roles, and the basic fact that providing people with the opportunity to employ and be respected for their abilities arouses the humanity in all.

Sorry. That’s a run on sentence which, however, conveys the entangled richness of the play. Besides helping to understand the politics of the play, knowledge of the “weirdness” of nature in that place helped to enhance the picture.

All in all, this is an expression of gratitude to you Australians who know who you are. Obviously your efforts are not in vain.



It was such an active weekend with the “Top Coast Festival” through Sunday morning, and then “Our Country’s Good” matinee at the Guthrie. There was so much I wanted to continue to share.

Personally, I prefer shorter posts, so I’ll save the explanation of what delayed my getting back to you and pick up where I left off with Ezekiel J. Emanuel’s book. Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System. New York: Public Affairs.

I’ve managed to finish reading 158 pages. First a description of the disorganized growth of our extremely complex health care system up to the beginning of work on the “Affordable Care Act” and then “The Surprising History of Health Care Reform in the United States.” As I testified previously, I’m glad I don’t have to take a test on the extremely confusing facts. A few things stood out, though.

(1)That health care in the U.S. is a Three Trillion Dollar industry, bigger than the entire economy of France.

(2)That the high price of health care drains resources from other essential services, like education.

(3)That the first attempt to see that all Americans had health care was made by President Teddy Roosevelt.

(4)That near misses have been thwarted in the past by unrelated Washington scandals sidetracking bipartisan plans.

OK, I said I want to keep it short. Just one more thought. If I can’t pass a test on all the facts, then I can’t be so bold as to support or suggest solutions. I can point out, though, the preamble to our constitution.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United State of America.

 Now there’s a tall order if I ever saw one. At any rate, I can’t help noticing how important a healthy populace is to all those goals. If that’s true, then finding an effective and just health care system is a pretty important goal for ”ourselves and our Posterity.”

Of course, as you might guess, I am also influenced by my attempt to be “a follower of the Way” and the subsequent belief we cannot rest until all people, young and old, have fair access to the possibilities for good health.

Next time I’ll post a thank you for our blogging Australian friends for enriching my understand of the play “Our Country’s Good.”

HOW MANY PAGES?   4 comments

August 24, 2009. I was waiting outside my hotel in Hamden, Connecticut for a ride to my former husband’s Wake when a car pulled up in front of me and a woman leapt out, waving some papers. “This is terrible! Have you seen what this guy wants to do? This health care thing! It’s awful! “

I guess my reaction was not as powerful as she would have liked, so she went on. “Have you read it?’ Picturing a 3000-page document typical of such legislation, I indicated I had not. “Well, she said, I have – all 119 pages, and it’s just awful!”

At that point Lou’s niece drove up to take me to the wake. I never did find out where those 119 pages came from to which the woman was referring. All I know is, they must have been someone’s summary – oversimplified summary.

May 31 – June 1, 2014  I attended an amazing weekend called “Top Coast Festival” at the University of Minnesota, co-sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio. Someone explained the name came from the fact that Minnesota is neither East Coast nor West Coast, but “Top Coast.”

At any rate, there was so much I’d like to share, but one piece at a time. I’ve included the link to the program in case you are interested/curious.

I try to resist buying the back-of-the-room books. Mostly what my unread books are doing is creating a stack high enough to serve as a table. But there were two I couldn’t resist. This post is based on one of them. The interview was just too fascinating to pass up the author’s book.

Emanuel, Ezekiel J. (2014) Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act Will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System. New York: Public Affairs

I have actually read 85 pages of the 124 page “Part I: The American Health Care System.” I thought I knew something about it as a practitioner. Now all I can say is “Thank goodness I don’t have to take a test on the hodgepodge that has developed over time as the American Health Care System.” Moreover, I’m impressed with the job our lawmakers have in sorting through the morass.

The data say it all. We do have a “Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System” that needs fixing.

All I ask as the purpose of this posting is for people to avoid making uneducated decisions. Oh yes! They have to be uneducated unless one is willing to plow through the history and the data with the kind of attention you’d give if you were preparing for an exam. But please don’t accept the one-liners our political ads and media snippets have to offer.

There are things we can learn if we are willing to make the effort.






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