I was watching the nightly news (NBC to be exact). As has been the case for the last week, the news was filled mostly with stories from Haiti. Among them the tale of a medical group that arrived shortly after the quake. They set up shop on the grounds of an abandoned steel mill. They brought their own supplies — both medical supplies and what was needed to keep the doctors and medical staff going. They set up intensive care units, with respirators at the ready, and a neo-natal care unit. They take digital photos of all arriving patients, and immediately establish electronic medial records! X-rays and advancing imaging all are digital, and can be immediately shared with specialists virtually anywhere in the world, who can consult on the cases.
It would be nice to say this team came from the United States. Nice, but wrong. The team is from Israel. The US military and many, many US medical volunteers have, of course, being amazing work as well in Haiti, and heaven knows the country needs all the help it can get. But among the growing backlash against health care reform in this country, the Israeli example vividly illustrates how much we need that reform. What the Israelis can do in a manner of days in the middle of the worst natural disaster since the Far East Tsunami, most of our communities in the US are sorely lacking.
The latest polls show the minority opposed to health care reform has nearly doubled. Who are these people? Are they so susceptible to the ravings of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh that they are blind to the need for real reform in this country? Of course, the lack of cohesive explanation and education on the part of the supporters of health care hasn’t helped, but even so. Are we really turning into a country of uninformed idiots, susceptible to the ravings of demagogues?
Meanwhile, people keep saying they love their insurance companies and want to keep things as they are? Really? I don’t know about you, but I’m looking at most of the money that could have gone into salary increases swallowed up by increased health care insurance premiums. Oh, and that “keep your insurance if you like it.” Guess what? My employer decided to change insurance companies, so bye-bye old insurance; hello new insurance company. Did I have choice? Hell no.
Stupidity reigns. But at least a few of the Haitians are getting the kind of care we all should be getting.