Thursday, May 04, 2017

Reflections on health and the economy

This winter/spring in treatment for shingles (face and eye) I've had a lot of medical appointments. Some days it was my only time out of the house. Today I sat in the parking lot to read because I was a little early, and I counted the health related buildings around my ophthalmologist's location. Ten. I'm not sure I'd ever been in that area of our suburb before 2 months ago, and we've lived here 50 years.  The buildings all appeared to be 10-20 years old--health is a booming business.  I was reading Atul Gawande's "Being Mortal." Buy it for your children.  You need to know about illness, hospitals, hospice and death, and how much it costs.
The evening before surgery the father and daughter talked. She was a palliative care specialist, but it's hard to talk to your own parent and she realized they'd never had that "what if" conversation. It's like the "where babies come from" talk with your kids, only more complicated.  His neurosurgeon told him if they didn't remove the mass he had a 100% chance of being a quadriplegic; if they did remove it, a 20% chance. What makes being alive tolerable, the daughter asked. "If I'm able to eat chocolate ice cream and watch football on TV then I'm willing to stay alive," was the shocking answer of this professor emeritus. She had no idea he even watched football. For the rest of the story, p. 184-185.
Dr. Gawande's book was published in 2014. He reported changes in health care and said 1/2 to 2/3 of the global population would be middle class by 2030 and they would be facing (or already are) many of the same problems as the West. So I checked that (he gave no citation). I was surprised to see in a Brookings Report that figure had already been surpassed by 2016. Max Roser reports in 1820 the share of the global population living in poverty was 94 percent while 84 percent lived in "extreme" poverty. By 1992, the poverty rate had dropped to 51 percent, while the "extreme" poverty rate had dropped to 24 percent. Using a different measure of international poverty, the rate has dropped from 53 percent in 1981 to 17 percent in 2011 – representing the most rapid reduction in poverty in world history. 

Why? Capitalism. And that's why the black clad antifa and anti-American rioters who are burning buildings and harassing police are so scared. Without poverty or the threat of it for leverage they have no power. If children are educated and learn the truth about socialist economies, the anarchists lose their hold on them. They must destroy and lie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too read this book and agree with palliative care at the end of life, when appropriate. It certainly is not promoted by Dr's or hospitals. But I've also know several Dr's who were dying from some incurable illness, and they don't go through all the heroic measures that the normal average person is afraid and dying goes through.

We each decide on our own and should be allowed to set our own terms.