Friday, January 16, 2004

The Rich Get Richer, The Sick Get Sicker / News / Nation / Universal health care sought

A prestigious scientific committee of the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has issued a scholarly report and clarion call for universal health coverage before 2010. It calls the current situation of the uninsured "dire."

Our Secretary of Health and Human Services -- the titular guardian of the nation's health and well-being -- weighed in on the report:

"The report, however, drew a cool response from the Bush administration, which has proposed new tax credits to help the uninsured buy coverage. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said the proposal was "not realistic." "

His response was, basically, "no can do."

Shouln't his response have been: we are going to do all we can do to make this happen ? He's the guy in charge, for God's sake. His apathy is appalling.

And what was the adminstration's response to the recent "health care disparites report " issued by its own department of health and human services ?
Shockingly, it was to revise the conclusion to soften and/or eliminate references to racial and socioeconomic disparites and to highlight small instances of "favorable" minority statistics:

"For example, it stated that American Indians/Alaska natives have a lower death rate from all cancers. But it neglects to mention that overall life expectancies for each group are significantly shorter than for other Americans, or that their infant mortality rates are much higher."

Revisionist history. Revisionist science. Revisionist statistics.

Meanwhile, our own homegrown Righty, the Mitthead, gave his "State of the State Address."

He proposes to give free state or community college education to high school students scoring in the top 25% of our state's high stakes, do-or-die, MCAS test, AKA the tunnel-vision focus of our state's Darwinian education policy (in addition to a new one-size-fits all, outsider-sponsored, voter-initiative-instituted "English Immersion" program for non-English speaking students.)

One might expect to find, among these high scorers, a goodly proportion of economically advantaged children who don't need state subsidy. / News / Local / Mass. / Tuition aid may be linked to MCAS: viz:

"Because of the way the proposal is structured, it could end up helping students who do not need financial assistance, critics point out. Romney aims to help 25 percent of all MCAS test takers across the board -- meaning that students in wealthier towns, which generally have higher test scores, would have a better shot at the money. Other states with similar programs have targeted a set percentage of test takers in each school, to be more equitable. 'What this will do, because of the well-known relationship between test scores and community wealth, is take state tax money and give it to the richest kids in the Commonwealth,' said Bob Schaeffer, public education director for Cambridge-based FairTest, which opposes MCAS. 'Test scores are not merit.'"

The rich, under the Mitthead, get richer.

The sick, under the Bushwhacker, get sicker.

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