By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Healthcare - Feel my pain
Boyum Phil
    The in-laws were in town last weekend.
    For many of the readers out there, that phrase undoubtedly causes one of three distinct reactions: a) running for cover b) reaching for the Prozac or c) staying far away from me for fear that the situation may be contagious and your in-laws will be here next weekend.
    I kid ‘cause I love.
    Actually, I always enjoy their visits (though I cannot confirm the inverse) because it gives me an opportunity to learn from people obviously smarter than me. Both are in their early fifties and have successfully and rather comfortably retired. I want that, too.
    Now, since the family is a bit homebody-ish, we get to sitting around the table and discussing a number of wide-ranging topics. Invariably, because my mother-in-law has a medical condition that needs constant monitoring and I am a loving and concerned son-in-law (looking for brownie points), our discussion gravitates towards her health.
    That routinely leads to a broader discussion of health care in general — specifically, the direction health care seems to be taking in this country, which in my opinion is certainly less personal than ever.
    But the broader topic of health care is always a tense subject for most folks and is definitely one of the hotter topics on the radar, as we edge closer to the presidential election.
    Here are my two cents and then some.
    National, single-payer government subsidized health care – AAARRRGGHHH!!!!!!!
    Too subtle?
    First, let me say that many proponents of the system certainly have good intentions. Everyone having access to quality doctors and medical facilities is a worthy goal for which to fight.
    But invariably, they use health systems from foreign countries to promote their position. Canada, Holland, Sweden and even Cuba, if you've seen Michael Moore’s “Sicko.” All fine and lovely countries.
    To me, there's one striking difference in these countries from our own – they are small. Tiny. Comparatively minuscule. Itty-bitty.
    Canada’s the biggest with 33 million, then Holland with 16, Cuba with 11 and Sweden with 9. None even the size of California.
    Even France, which is also mentioned at times during the health care debate, only has 60 million. That’s about the size of California, Texas and North Dakota (needed another half million).
    What I’m getting at is that these countries, which are held up as shining examples, are the size of single states. Nowhere close to being 300 million.
Size matters.
    My other point is Jeopardy style — it comes in the form of a question: Can you name one federal agency that inspires enough confidence that you'd allow it to personally supervise your health care? Think for a moment, I’ll wait.
    Can’t think of one? C’mon. Let's do some word association.
    Veteran’s Administration? Walter Reed.
    The FDA? Vioxx (approved arthritis drug shown to cause heart attacks).
    Department of Transportation? Minnesota bridge.
    Federal Reserve? Inflation.
    Department of Justice? Torture.
    FEMA? Katrina. (You’re doing a good job, Brownie.)
    Fannie Mae? Foreclosures.
    OK, OK, how about some of the other agencies?
    TSA (airport screeners) doesn't know a terrorist from an old lady in a wheelchair.
    Department of Education - ask any teacher how much they like "No Child Left Behind."
    Department of Energy is still massively reliant on oil even though most of the oil is below the “terrorists.”
    CIA/FBI/NSA mostly got WMDs right (except the weapons part, the mass-destruction is going nicely).
    The Army Corps of Engineers is spending millions to rebuild the levies in New Orleans to pre-Katrina standards. Nice.
    Even Medicare and Medicaid are estimated to lose over 10 percent of its funds to fraud, according to the Government Accounting Office (government accounting is always so reliable).    
    Maybe NASA, they’ve only blown up two out of six shuttles.
    Hopefully at this point it is evident that there is no single, wide-reaching federal program that is anywhere near effective. I challenge you to let me know if there is one.
    Let me end with this final thought: In general, folks seem to like all things local - local restaurants, local schools, local churches, even local papers. Why would we want to put control of our health - our lives - in the hands of someone in D.C. who's never met us or the doctor providing our care?
    Phil Boyum is a reporter for the Statesboro Herald. Feel free to set me straight at 489-9454.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter