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Health care bills, Part one


Fri, Jan 8th, 2010
Posted in Commentary

Recently I wrote a commentary and submitted it to the editor that I now hope is not printed. Reading the Senate bills components caused fit of pique that required the catharsis of putting my displeasure down on paper. I was so worked up by the failure of the bills to control costs more effectively and the apparent sell out to the insurance industry, I thought it best to start over and kill this bill now. It still looks like a suicide pact by the Democrats.

Cost is the reason there has been even a scintilla of talk about health care in Washington. Sure, the bills look like they will provide insurance for enough uninsured that 94 percent of THE people will be covered (31 out of the 47 million uninsured). Sure, it is a moral issue to care for the 47 million without health insurance and help the millions with inadequate insurance. Call me jaundiced but morality and five bucks will get you a cup of coffee in Washington. If cost was not going to put the nation into receivership if unchecked in the next decade, all would be fine and no one would be talking about "death squads" and "pulling the plug on grandma."

An internet friend pointed out an article in the New Yorker by Atul Gawande, a Harvard-based surgeon who is one of my heroes. He wrote a seminal article in the New Yorker comparing high and low cost areas and clinics last June. He writes lucid, well-thought out commentaries on medicine and does not underestimate the complexities of the problems health care reform entails. He neither advocates Medicare for all, separate single payer, or some form of the status quo as a panacea. He admits he does not have all the answers and doesn't believe anyone else does either.

His premise in his latest New Yorker (December 14) is that although neither the Senate or the House plans dictate by fiat, a rigidly governmental plan to control costs, the plans do contain some start towards lowering costs. He thinks that is a good thing. He then lays out an argument for incrementalism in cost control by relating the story of the USDA's farm extension service.

A man named Seaman Knapp started it all with a single pilot farm in Texas in 1903. Knapp, convinced that one farmer to plant crops according to the scientific knowledge of the day and the result was a vast improvement over all his neighbors. The next year there were 33 extension agents in Texas and Louisiana. By 1920 there were 7 thousand in the country. The Southern Farm Magazine, Gawande n .....
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Food for thought

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Someone called my name at Preston Foods and I turned to see my friend, Bonnie Haugen, who I first became acquainted with when I interviewed her for a Journal article in 2001. Although I hadn't seen her for a long time, visions of Springside Farm in ..... 
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The key to good politics? Good communication

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Not long ago, I was speaking to a group of high school students when one raised his hand, declared that he wanted to run for Congress, and asked what he should study in order to prepare. I suspect my answer surprised him. I told him to study English ..... 
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One Moment Please - Leadership Training

Thu, Dec 31st, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

"We got no food. We got no jobs. Our pets' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!!!" This is a quote from the character Lloyd Christmas from the movie "Dumb and Dumber." In contrast, th ..... 
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An appreciation

Thu, Dec 24th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I have always considered it a privilege to write a commentary piece for the Journal. I am allowed to write about anything I choose and never have the editors changed the content of what I wrote. I have received unsolicited positive comments, and hav ..... 
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One moment, please...

Thu, Dec 24th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Over the years, throughout my life in the newspaper business, I have received many anonymous correspondence via letters, telephone voice mails, and even e-mails from individuals who have strong opinions one way or another.

While some of the me ..... 
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My typical Christmas

Fri, Dec 18th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

I don't know exactly when it started, but the holiday season is here in full force. Decorations are everywhere, people are frantically shopping for gifts, and holiday music seems to have taken over. I recognize the true and wonderful meaning of Chri ..... 
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One Moment Please - Lutefisk, it's what's for dinner!

Fri, Dec 18th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

By Jason Sethre

Publisher of the Fillmore County Journal, cell phone number 507-251-5297

On Sunday, December 6, Christ Lutheran Church, located in Preston, hosted their 20th annual lutefisk dinner, which boasts an average of 900 to 1,1 ..... 
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You've got mail

Fri, Dec 11th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

Computers and internet communication are still a marvel to those of us who remember when a long distance phone call was a huge deal and reserved for announcing a death in the family. Long distance rates were lowest in the evenings and on Sundays, an ..... 
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