Main Street by Roger Allen publisher – August 6 2009

 

Roger Allen, publisher.

Roger Allen, publisher.

Health Care Insurance

The debate over health care and who pays for it boggles the mind. It’s pretty well agreed that our system needs an overhaul and the future could be worse. The U.S. is the only developed country that has no comprehensive health insurance for its people. Not only that, we have the most expensive medical care prices in the world. Also the highest drug prices. That’s a sick combination.

Health insurance companies as a group are firmly entrenched and don’t want any tampering with their cash cow. Same is true for drug companies, hospitals, and professional medical organizations.

When Medicare was in the process of being adopted (1965), private medical insurance companies were against it, which tells you something.

I’m not a fan of Big Government, but I notice that the Postal Service does a good job. I have Medicare and, under it, have had doctor visits, drugs and surgery. The difference between my hospital bill and what I paid was huge. Without Medicare, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing this column today.

The medical establishment is spending $millions for lobbying against change. Part of their money goes as campaign donations to both Republican and Democratic politicians. Some of the politicians are “bought,” some not. Those who aren’t know perfectly well the donations might dry up for them. I admire them for choosing high principles over high profits for insurance companies and the drug industry.

Mistaken identity

Walking through San Francisco’s Chinatown, a tourist from the Midwest was enjoying the artistry of all the Chinese restaurants, shops, signs and banners. Then he turned a corner and saw a building with the sign, “Moishe Plotnik’s Chinese Laundry.” The man was startled. “Moishe Plotnik?” he wondered. “How does that belong in Chinatown?”

He walked into the shop and saw a fairly standard-looking place. He could see, though, that the proprietors were clearly aware of the uniqueness of its name. Displayed for sale were baseball hats, T-shirts and coffee mugs, all emblazoned with the logo, “Moishe Plotnik’s Chinese Laundry.”

The tourist selected a coffee cup as a conversation piece. Behind the counter stood a smiling old Chinese gentleman who thanked him for his purchase. The tourist asked, “Can you explain how this place got its name?”

“Is simple,” said the old man. “Many, many year ago I come to this country. I standing in line at ‘Documentation Center of Immigration.’ Man in front of me was Jewish guy from Poland. Lady at counter say to him, ‘What your name?’ He say to her, ‘Moishe Plotnik.’ Then she look at me and say, ‘What your name?’ I say, ‘Sam Ting.’”

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