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Fixin' Healthcare

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

CHARGE!

Today I feel as if a black cloud is hanging over me. First, I cannot post using Firefox Performancing (reason unknown) and the third day of four articles appeared in The New York Times that outline too well our problems with health care.

The first article on Monday is about expenditures on health care in 2004. "Total spending rose 7.9% to $1.9 trillion, or an average of $6,280 per person. That represents 16 percent of the nation's economy, the highest share on record."

The other three articles are about diabetes in New York City.

An estimated 800,000 people in the city have diabetes, more than one in eight. It is the only major disease increasing both in the number of new cases and the number of people it kills. As bad as diabetes is in the city as a whole, it is much worse in East Harlem where an estimated 16 to 20 percent of the population have the disease. That is one in five and the people die at twice the rate of the entire city. The impending crisis was recognized and in 1999 the first of four hospital centers was established to relieve and reduce the incidence of complications from diabetes. All of the centers are closed today due to lack of financial support.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, commissioner of the NY City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is quoted about prevention and relief of complications of diabetes. He said that getting millions of people to change their habits will require some kind of national crusade.

Well, why not? Certainly, we spend enough money to launch several crusades. And, we will die waiting for insurance companies to wake up or the government to take any kind of effective action. Diabetes and a number of other major diseases can be prevented and relieved by a healthy lifestyle. Personal responsibility and commited community action are the most promising avenues for progress. It is low cost and it works.

The sea is at our backs. There really is only one way out. CHARGE!

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