Health Care News & Discussion
Happy 224th Birthday
07/04/2000 1:31 PM
This month is the 224th anniversary of the most successful experiment ever –The United States of America. Harry Newton, editor of Technology Investor, now in its sixth month, states we are presently enjoying the longest peacetime boom ever. A higher percent of us are working. Unemployment is at its lowest in 30 years. Productivity is booming. Companies are reporting record earnings. Except for physicians in practice, salaries are rising.
Physicians’ incomes are in disarray with a 100-fold variation between the two ends of the bell curve. Unless you’re a Wintrobe that can charge a $5000 fee for a one hour consultation, that difference, if made from tax or premium dollars, is totally untenable. We will come to grips with that problem as soon as we agree that if we deal solely with patients and patients deal with their insurance carriers, our incomes will again be related to the quality of care we individually give our patients. We will no longer be castigated for what others are making.
We are living ever more comfortably in a stable democracy. After winning the Cold War, we are the envy of every country we dominate in the world. From Beijing to Buenos Aires, governments are privatizing state-owned companies and dismantling regulations. Privatizing social security seems to be working in Chile and is being seriously considered in the USA.
The book of the Judeo-Christian tradition, on which this country was founded, can again be used in our schools as a source for literary study on par with those of the Eastern and mid-Eastern religions. Clubs can again be formed in our schools representing all persuasions.
Fareed Zakaria, in his review in the New Yorker, traces the liberal and conservative dilemmas of the last three-quarter century. As conservatives have moved towards center, the two most successful left-of-center politicians in the world, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, routinely cite balancing the budget as their proudest accomplishments. The late Bob Casey, former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania and champion of the weak, who then championed the weakest of the weak and became pro-life, beat his pro-choice Republican rival by over a million votes. He said abortion was not a question of when life begins, but when love begins. Casey told his fellow Democrats, who had once stood for these same ideals, that they had made a fatal political compromise. This is totally out of sync with their respective parties which some feel may no longer serve a useful purpose.
The sixties generation is now driven by work, money, and family – particularly the children. Sue Shellenbarger points out, in her column, the creative return of families and the re-emergent importance of parenting one’s own children.
Bernard Nathanson, MD, the abortion king who presided over 60,000 abortions, found himself bonding with the pre-born as ultrasound became common in the 1970s and he was observing the heart beat in a human fetus. In an article for the New England Journal of Medicine in 1974, he stated that there was no longer any doubt in his mind that human life exists within the womb from the very onset of pregnancy.
The same journal subsequently published an article about 10 pregnant women who came to an abortion clinic and were shown ultrasound pictures of their fetus. Only one went through with the abortion. The others bonded with the human in their body and left the clinic pregnant. George Will stated in his column, when Roe v Wade can be repealed it will no longer be an issue.
Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley software entrepreneur and author of Proposition 227, stated in his Wall Street Journal article that “Anti-Roe Doesn’t Mean Anti-Abortion.” Of all countries, the U.S. is best equipped to manage irreconcilable ideological differences. Thanks to our federalist political structure, the country has been able to accommodate a level of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity that under different institutions would have led to Balkan-style violence. Thus in libertine Nevada, gambling and prostitution are legal, but both are unlawful abominations next door in Mormon Utah. He states that overturning Roe v Wade would not mean the end of legal abortion in America. Rather it would allow each state or even each local community to reach its own equilibrium on the issue. Twenty seven years of animosity and killing would come to an end. In the process we would not only be reaffirming that the words of our Constitution actually mean what they say, but invigorating the democratic process.
The recent public support by 22 Republican members of the California Legislature (including those most ardently pro-life) of a federalist solution gives hope that this approach is gaining political momentum, at least on the right. If we extend this federalism to all areas of ethnic diversity, moral behavioral and ethical differences, we could then say, “Happy Birthday Uncle Sam. You’re good for another 224 years.”