:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Sunday, July 25, 2004  

Why the elderly rock, and why we shouldn't allow others to screw them over

Alex's post about a conversation he had with a 102 year old man in the hospital made me smile:
You're back in school for a Master's in computer science?
"Well, I figured since computers are the wave of the future, I should know something about 'em."

He lives with his two older sisters. His oldest sister is 107 years old, and "She does all the cooking." The other older sister is 105 years old.

How is your quality of life these days?
"Well, sometimes it can be hard. My sisters still treat me like a baby."
I guess "old" is relative.  I absolutely love working with the elderly, and am hoping that once I'm out there in the "real world" practicing medicine, that much of my patient population will be the elderly.  I find myself fiercely defending them when they're being exploited, in the hospital, in the community, or in policy decisions. 

Graham posted this week about an amazing speech that Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) gave about the Medicare "reform act, before it was passed.  Check out all of Graham's post, as it eloquently speaks to the problems inherent in the Medicare reform bill.  Senator Dayton's speech is definitely worth reading in its entirety too.  Some teasers -- did you know that Dayton wrote an amendment that would require members of Congress to have the same prescription drug coverage as would be passed for Medicare beneficiaries?
That amendment, which passed the Senate by a vote of 93 to 3, was stripped out of the conference report as, evidently, some Members were promised it would be. That should tell the American people everything they need to know about this bill. It is not good enough for Congress. 

Some Members of Congress are trying to sell this legislation as good for seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries of America, but it is not good enough for them to live under. That is the height of hypocrisy. It is good enough for the senior citizens of this country, it is the best we will vote to provide for them, but, sorry, we will pass on it for ourselves. Why is Congress opting out of this coverage if it is so good? Why is it only half as good as what Members voted to provide themselves and their families and their employees?
And Dayton on the American government not sticking up to pharmaceutical companies for the interests of our own people:
Now, why are the prices so much lower in Canada than they are in this country? It is because the Canadian Government stands up for its citizens and negotiates prices that are lower and will not agree to prices that are exorbitant. And their citizens are the beneficiaries of these prices that are one-third, one-fourth, one-fifth of what they are in the United States--not even close approximations.

posted by Anjali Taneja | 7/25/2004 11:27:00 AM | |


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