The health care we deserve

By Denis Storey


If I seem a little distracted this week, it might be because I’m still working on my World Cup bracket… Go Brazil!

Anyway, say what you want about PPACA, but it’s certainly not the job killer some predicted (thank you, Mr. Cantor). At least as far as health care gigs go. Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed more than four years ago, nearly a million health care jobs have been created.

But don’t think PPACA should get any credit for that, either. According to Forbes, it’s the 131st straight month of job growth in that sector. To put that in perspective, PPACA’s only been law for 50 months.

In other news, things are much worse than we thought. Even as Neil de Grasse’s re-invented Cosmos breaks records while it lures an entirely new audience into science education it looks like – for all intents and purposes – the rest of us are descending into another dark age.

A Gallup Poll, released just last week, reveals that 42 percent of Americans “continue to believe that God created humans in their present form 10,000 years ago, a view that has changed little over the past three decades.”

And this next bit I have to cite directly because I can’t believe it enough to type it myself.

CJ Werleman, over at AlterNet, writes, “More than two-thirds of Americans, according to surveys conducted for the National Science Foundation, are unable to identify DNA as the key to heredity. Nine out of 10 don’t understand radiation and what it can do the human body, while one in five adult Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth."

We put American exceptionalism at risk when we cling to willfully ignorant fundamentalism that already rules so much of the rest of the world.

In fact, founding father Madison saw this coming centuries ago when he wrote, “The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.”

But taking a less esoteric position, how the hell can we expect people to take responsibility for their own health care – never mind shopping and paying for it – when they don’t even know what DNA is?

Finally, and in a bit of nod to the start of this rant, the latest jobs numbers seem to indicate we’re back to where we started before the housing collapse, bailouts and toothless reforms. But how much of that is sustainable? When we’ve got health care jobs dwarfing all other sectors – even the vilified services industries – and it’s all being paid for with either tax dollars or debt, how long can we feasibly keep that up?

And maybe we are staring at a doctor shortage, but I don’t think it’s gonna mean anything. In a few years, we’ll all be seeing nurses, assistants and (God knows) administrators.

But it’s not like it will matter. We’ll be too dumb to know what a real doctor is by then anyway.

Originally published on BenefitsPro.com