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Sunday, June 13, 2004

If you need any reason to be convinced that our health system needs radical surgery and soon, take a look at this link, from the Conservative-skewing Los Angeles Daily News. Even a paper that is usually rah-rah for the GOP, the Religious Right (they have a doozy of a scare article in today's paper stating that the next step on the ACLU's hit parade is the names of Los Angeles, San Fernando, Sacramento and other religiously-inspired city and town names all over California) and so forth has to admit that the current system is seriously broken.

The grocery strike was all about health care. Part of what might cause the Writers' Guild to go out on strike is health care. The SBC 3-day walkout was all about health care. It is the "number one with a bullet" issue in labor relations. And then there are the people who either can't get or can't afford health care at all. If you are 100% dirt poor you can get charity care. If you are disabled or a pregnant mother you can get Medi-Cal...but the former almost got their coverage seriously curtailed by Ah-nold's budget meataxe. But most of the hard-working folks here in California are SOL unless their company has health care coverage.

Eventually this is going to become a public health problem, and perhaps even a Homeland Security concern. I have mentioned the scenario of an Al'Qaeda operative infecting himself with Smallpox and riding the subway until he drops dead. Ever since gas prices went on their tear, and even before then, the Metro Red Line has become more and more popular as time goes on. Some asshole with a syringe full of Smallpox and a lust for Paradise and 72 perpetual virgins could cause a whole lot of damage if he chose to. There are other ways that terrorists could create a public health crisis in short order. And even beyond such doomsday scenarios, there are any number of preventable diseases which could become major problems for those without access to health care, and also for those lucky enough to have access but who are still caught up in an epidemic or pandemic.

Someone is going to have to make some bold moves to fix this problem before it gets worse. I see neither W nor Kerry talking about anything substantial. If we don't do something, it will become even more of a crisis.