On Healthcare and Country-Care: Radio Essay for May 21, 2012

If you were on the playground 40-odd years ago, you might hear names such as Bob and Billy and Joe. You still hear them today. Names I did not hear were these: Mumtaz; Chetan; Bimalkumar; Narenda. I’ve heard them as an adult, and especially so this week. You see, my mother needed surgery this week. She’d fallen and broken her hip bone. So, these four gentlemen, a cardiologist, an endocrinologist, a pulmonary specialist and an internist, and a host of other medical professionals of numerous nationalities, cared for my mom with great talent and skill. To be sure, there were plenty of native born Americans in the hospital but not enough.

These doctors immigrated to the United States for many reasons, I am sure. Clearly, they sought to maximize their own opportunities for career advancement but they also were answering a need here in the United States for skilled professionals. They fill roles that would otherwise go unfilled. Most importantly, they came here through legal means and they contribute.

Despite the high unemployment and underemployment we are experiencing in this country, somewhere between 2 to 3 million jobs stubbornly cannot be filled. And so we look towards recruiting immigrants to fill those jobs. It brings opportunity to them and fills a tremendous void in our country. Contrast this to the espoused position of those who would open the flood gates to illegals who bring with them nothing but a desire to leave their own country and seek to take more than they can ever give.

My personal events of this week also highlight the absolute quality of healthcare in America. Though my mother would deny it, she is no spring chicken. She is a complicated patient requiring a whole host of specialists to manage her care. I watched all of these people coordinate care with compassion and concern. My mother may not be young, but her work on this earth is not yet done; and through their skilled hands, that work will continue.

I could not help but wonder how this growing debate between the rival philosophies of Obamacare and the Republican budget authored by Paul Ryan would affect my mom’s case. Under the Paul Ryan plan, nothing would change for my mom. That plan keeps the faith with today’s retirees and those 55 and older. For my mom, it is a moot point. Not so under the Obama plan. We know that Medicare will be cut by $500 billion; that the number of Doctors will diminish while the number of people under care will increase; that a panel of 15 politically appointed bureaucrats would sit in judgment as to whether a person like my mom is a candidate for the surgery she just received.

President Obama frequently reminds us about the social contact in America. The Paul Ryan plan is the only plan that recognizes this contract. It’s the Obama plan that throws grandma under the bus. Who are we kidding? Does the President think we cannot read nor do math? The President and the Democrat establishment are using extreme scare tactics to peddle their agenda. The Paul Ryan plan is utilizing fact and logic to find a way forward for future care while honoring the commitment we, as a country, have made to our citizens.

I think the bravest person in Washington right now is Paul Ryan. He has been a consistent advocate for a sustainable future for this country. He has bucked the powers from both sides of the aisle. He has withstood the ridicule of the piranhas in DC who benefit from fear mongering and whose political fortunes rely upon shadowy half truths.

My mother’s experience this week has brought a lot of focus and personal skin to the game of the Federal budget debate. Meaningful reform in the entitlement areas of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security hold the key to unlock the prosperity of the future. Time is running out.

Press on.

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