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Stateside: What (Or Was) The Doctor Ordered?

Stateside with Rosalea

What The Doctor Ordered, Or Was The Doctor Ordered?

Pardon my cynicism, but you get like that in the US once you realize what a crock this ''model democracy'' is. How convenient for diverting the focus of the election from Iraq and the economy is the sudden news of Justice Rehnquist's thyroid cancer. It also balances out the cutesy appeal of Clinton stumping for Kerry just seven weeks after his heart surgery.

Next thing you know, there'll be lousy weather all day next Tuesday driving down voter turnout. Low voter turnout always favours the Republicans, because Democrats are such a wimpy lot.

One thing I've noticed about myself of late - and many people I talk to seem to suffer from it too - is forgetfulness. It's hard to remember what people tell you from one sentence to the next, and you'll look up a phone number then have to look it up three more times before you can dial it. All part of a National Anxiety Syndrome attack, I reckon. An attack that's largely driven by the media reiterating the words "scare tactics" at any opportunity, even on the Sunday talk shows.

There's only one cure folks: VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE! At least you'll have the comfort of knowing YOU did the right thing, no matter the outcome.

Anyways, I've been a tad distracted of late with having to participate in the US healthcare system a little more than usual. On a recent trip to Oregon I learned that physicians there no longer provide urgent care - that is, they only see patients during their regular surgery hours. This has come about because the liability insurance premiums they have to pay are huge. Physician groups took out a full page ad in the Oregonian a couple of weeks ago to that effect.

On the front page of the same paper were reports of visits by both Kerry and Bush to Oregon, which is a swing state. How convenient for things to come to a head just right now, when the cost of liability insurance is one of the Bush campaign's mainstays. Oops, there goes my cynicism again.

Meanwhile, back here in California a number of propositions to do with health care delivery are on the November ballot. A very good resource for reading background material about them is at The same website also has a good backgrounder about how California came to use direct democracy to such a large extent. This is not the kind of direct democracy that Switzerland has; for one thing, California law allows campaigns to pay professional signature-gatherers to get petitions signed.



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