Wednesday, May 18, 2005


In today's Albuquerque Journal, Jim Belshaw wrote an article about the pediatric oncology unit at UNM Hospital, and some of the people who work there. A wonderful story, and study, of a tragic aspect of some people's lives, and the calling of health care providers. The Belshaw article was apolitical. This post is not.

Medicare is in place. It is available to those 65 years of age -- why should it not be available to those from conception to six years of age? When the little girl gets cancer, why should her parents have to get a fruit jar and put her picture on it and place it in the 7-11, right beside the State lottery ticket display? When the little girl gets cancer, why isn't she entitled to medical care just like the 66 year old man? It is not only the medical care that is important, as those who have Medicare will tell you; it is knowing that the care is going to be there, and that you, the patient, have paid for it, so that you may retain some dignity as you apply for the treatment. Little kids, even, know about what we used to call "relief." Why burden these children with the knowledge that their illnesses may drive their parents into bankruptcy or to the relief rolls? Give these children some medical care and take their promissory note. In this, as in war, it should not be every person for himself.

If we need support in the law, and justification for making the taxpayers take on this additional burden, we make look to the war making powers. Disease is the enemy, and the war on disease is as important to our national well-being, and is as justified, as the wars we fight against aggression (aggression by terrorism or conventional means). We need our children to grow up healthy and able to fight if necessary.

It is true that the wealthy pay more in to Social Security than the poor, and that they get less out. That is a fault of the present system, and could be reformed. That is another issue, progressive taxation in Social Security.

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