"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
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Will they just tinker around the edges?


Fri, Jan 9th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

The editor has asked me to focus my commentaries on healthcare reform efforts and similar subjects. The subject should allow me to be as curmudgeonly as I want to be. I don't agree with any of the politicians and very few of the people I have discussed the current state of our non-system of healthcare.

What is the current state of the United States healthcare? The newest figures show we spend over $7000 per person on healthcare per year. This is the highest of any country and 16% of our gross domestic product. We lead the world in healthcare expenditures. That's the only healthcare statistic in which we hold the lead.

We are way down the list of developed nations in infant deaths, life expectancy at birth, and a host of other measures. Apologists for the system continue to point to differences in ethnic makeups of countries, differences in statistic collections, and other nit picking excuses for our dismal showing.

One statistic they can't sweep under the rug is amenable mortality rates. That is the rate of deaths per 100,000 people who should be saved by appropriate medical care. In the late 90's we were 15th out of 19 in this measure according to the World Health Organization. By 2003 we had fallen back to last place.

The gist of the matter is, we are paying the most and getting the least. Fortunately, for those reading this in Fillmore county, we reside in a part of the contiguous five state area that spends the least and I suspect get the most for our buck. We are one nation and what affects those in New Orleans, Boston, Phoenix, and LA effects us all. At least if you believe in community, society, and civic responsibility, it does.

Many do and many are effected by out of control costs because all of the political candidates proposed faint hearted healthcare reform. The economic meltdown and the last administrations deficit spending have constrained even those who would give lip service to meaningful reforms.

Obama has the wheel of the ship of state now and his healthcare pronouncements during and after the election leaves me disappointed. He continues to believe tying health insurance to employment is all right. There is nothing in his plans to adequately control costs. There is minimal effort to increase effectiveness of care and/or discourage examination and treatment options that are not proven to be effective. So far I have not heard or seen anything about improving access to care for all. I have not .....
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Capitalism with American characteristics

Fri, Jan 9th, 2009
Posted in Commentary

When Deng Xiao Peng emerged from exile after the Cultural Revolution in 1978 and started espousing economic reforms for communist China, he talked about "capitalism with Chinese characteristics."

Over the last 20 years, China's economy has ..... 
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How many zeros?

Fri, Dec 19th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Know why they always print 70b or 700b? Because only mathematicians know how many zeros are in a number so large. The reason our math teachers taught us up to the thousands and then used those "to the power of" and algebraic letters was, they had no ..... 
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What will happen when wind turbines arrive in Fillmore County?

Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Earlier this year EcoEnergy, a French-owned corporation with a regional office in Harmony, erected several wind measurement towers between Greenleafton and Harmony. More than 30,000 acres of Fillmore County farmland has been signed up to allow 400' ..... 
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Forgetfulness and counting ballots

Fri, Dec 12th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

If you're like me the mind plays little tricks on you from time to time. Chalk it up to age, too many things to think about; in your mind one second, gone the next.

Is there a difference between forgetfulness and not remembering what you we ..... 
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An Invitation to Democracy

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

It's practically an American sport to criticize our elected officials. I probably did my share of thoughtless criticism, too, until I took a job "moonlighting" as a reporter and started regularly attending my local school board and city council meet ..... 
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Corporate Welfare in the Medicare Program

Fri, Dec 5th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

How would you like to have a health care insurance plan that allows you to help pay for your neighbors' healthcare insurance plans? That includes neighbors who have six figure incomes. Welcome to the world of Congressmen who succumb to the blandishm ..... 
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A Time to be Thrifty

Fri, Nov 28th, 2008
Posted in Commentary

Because I was born in southwest Iowa in the very middle of the Great Depression, and have never been even moderately wealthy, some of my favorite places to shop are the Salvation Army stores, Saver's, Saint Vincent DePaul, and the Depot. Having grow ..... 
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Meet me in the poetry section

Fri, Nov 21st, 2008
Posted in Commentary

I must confess, I was a nerdy little kid. I didn't much like other kids; they always wanted to play outside, go to the park, and organize teams and clubs. My family forced me to answer the door when kids came to play, and made me go outside at least ..... 
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