Health, Medicine & Nutrition
More Teens Turning to Plastic Surgery In Hopes of Making the Cut PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Richard Martin   
Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:49
Fortune 500 Consultant Offers Lasting Alternatives
to Going under the Knife

A generation ago, reconstructive procedures were reserved for the aging and the rich and famous.

Now, teenagers are routinely undergoing plastic surgery – roughly 90,000 procedures a year, according to ABC News. Fourteen-year-old Nadia Ilse made headlines recently for having surgery on her ears because her classmates bullied and teased her, calling her “Dumbo.” The $40,000 specialty operation was paid for by the charity Little Baby Face Foundation.

“Not every one of the 90,000 surgeries is the result of teasing or bullying, but it’s clear more teens are undergoing invasive, sometimes dangerous, procedures simply to feel they fit in,” says international social advocate Traci S. Campbell, author of The C.H.A.M.P. Within (www.traciscampbell.com). “Enough is enough! A far healthier alternative is to develop the character and confidence necessary to navigate adolescence with a respect for yourself – and others.”

Campbell, whose nonprofit C.H.A.M.P. Community Project supports at-risk teens and single-parent families, discusses tough “personal love” steps teens can take to foster the healthy self-image that will benefit them throughout their lives.

• Forget Hollywood – be your own personal celebrity: Young women are starving themselves to be grossly thin or they idolize celebrities, including the Kim Kardashians of the world. Ironically, the truth of the matter is that many in Hollywood have more personal issues and hang-ups than those of us in the real world. Why not create your own style and make your own mark? Style includes your attitude, and what you do!

• Go in before you go out: While it is great to look like a million bucks, if you feel like two cents, then the fashionable clothes and expensive makeup serve no purpose. Take time to talk to yourself (seriously, out loud!) to find out what you want to do, want to be, and WHY. Write it down and review it often. Then line up your daily activities and associations around your list. Not only will you feel like you are accomplishing something, you will begin to feel good about YOU and to see your own value. Then, take a trip to the mall to get that latest pair of leopard skin boots, or whatever is trendy at the moment. I am sure they will look a whole lot better on you.

• Get old-fashioned: In an age when fast-paced social media rule interactions, old-fashioned values are needed more than ever! Why? Because they benefit us. They protect us from the consequences of impulsive actions and bad decisions; cause us to place higher expectations on ourselves and our associations (especially those involving men); and they foster the strong core values, like honesty and integrity, that never go out of fashion.

• Embrace your higher power ... a LOT!: You can’t do it all by yourself! There is a sense of peace and confidence that comes when you take the time to pray/affirm, meditate and visualize your life. The focus and concentration, as well as repetitiveness of these actions, will energize you mentally and emotionally. It will also help you prevent future emotional “chains” by dealing with hurts and not sweeping them under the rug! Practice forgiveness to get rid of that old mental garbage; this is critical. And spend time daily to “exercise” your mind and spirit as well as your physical body to cultivate the image of yourself that you really want.

• Put other people first: To be the best woman you can be starts with being the best friend, parent, student and support for others. Real sexiness and attractiveness comes from the confidence of those who are willing to stand strong for a cause – one that benefits others. Spend time volunteering in your community. Seek opportunities to use your talents (and we ALL have a talent) to help or mentor another person, or a community.

About Traci S. Campbell

Traci S. Campbell has been an IT consultant for more than 15 years, working for high-profile corporate clients such as Sears, IBM and McDonald’s Corp. As an international social advocate and life coach, she focuses on helping clients overcome personal obstacles so they can achieve their goals. She is the creator of The C.H.A.M.P. Within program and founder of the national Beauty In/Beauty Out Tour. She provides services through her 501 (c) (3) organization, C.H.A.M.P. Community Project, which supports schools, rehab centers, shelters and other local and international programs for at-risk children and single-parent families. She can also be heard on Inside Out! Live, a radio show available online and on iTunes.

 
Pressing for Answers about Questionable Medical Malpractice Reform Grants PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 18 October 2012 07:53

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

 

Grassley, Hatch, Smith Press for Answers about Questionable

Medical Malpractice Reform Grants

 

WASHINGTON -- Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith are continuing to press for answers from the Obama administration about its grant program that was sold to the American people as a means to study medical malpractice reform, but has instead diverted tens of millions of dollars to research, of which the usefulness has yet to be explained by the administration.

 

The members wrote to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, in April, and again today, asking questions about President Obama’s September 9, 2009 address to Congress where he announced an initiative to deal with the rising costs of health care associated with medical malpractice lawsuits.

 

The members wrote, “Frivolous lawsuits, the high cost of malpractice insurance and excessive damages awards are dragging down our health care system…However, the AHRQ’s (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) description of the research being funded (through the President’s initiative) does not mention, much less emphasize, reforms to medical malpractice laws, as was clearly implied by the President’s speech.”

 

The letters call attention to the fact that none of the $23.2 million awarded has gone to researching or implementing “traditional” medical malpractice reforms and that it appears that all of the research funded by the AHRQ is aimed at proving the obvious: as the number of adverse events declines, the number of malpractice lawsuits also declines.

 

The department’s response to the April 3 letter failed to answer the members’ questions, including basic, but important, questions such as how the projects will reduce frivolous lawsuits and reduce malpractice insurance premiums, how the projects will directly benefit American taxpayers, and how the projects will lower health care costs.

 

A copy of the text of both the April 3 and October 16 letters to Sebelius are below.  A signed copy of both letters can be found here.

 

 

October 16, 2012

 

Via Electronic Transmission

 

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary

Department of Health & Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, DC 20201

 

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

 

We write regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) letter dated June 11, 2012 and received by our offices on September 27, 2012, after multiple inquiries.

 

The letter from the HHS was responding to our April 3, 2012 letter to you.  In our letter, we expressed our concerns with the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning grants being funded by the HHS.

 

On September 9, 2009, President Obama, in a speech to a joint session of Congress on health care, directed you to move forward on an initiative aimed at reducing health care costs.  On June 11, 2010, pursuant to the President’s orders, the HHS, through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), awarded $23.2 million to fund demonstration and planning projects.

Frivolous lawsuits and the high cost of malpractice insurance are dragging down our health care system.  The goal of “traditional” medical malpractice reforms is not to hinder meritorious lawsuits, but rather to reduce the incidence of frivolous lawsuits, inflated awards and inflated attorneys’ fees.  However, the AHRQ’s description of the research being funded does not mention, much less emphasize, reforms to medical malpractice laws, as was clearly implied by the President’s speech.

The President’s September 9, 2009 speech gave the clear impression that taxpayers’ monies would be spent, in significant part, on projects related to “traditional” medical malpractice reforms.  Contrary to that clear impression, it appears that none of the $23.2 million awarded has gone to researching or implementing “traditional” medical malpractice reforms.

 

We were concerned that these developments did not fulfill the President’s commitment to move forward on medical malpractice reform.  Consequently, we wrote to you on April 3 and asked several direct questions and made requests for documents.

 

After several follow up inquiries, we only recently received a response from the HHS.  The HHS’ response letter, however, ignores the vast majority of our questions, if not all of them, and did not include any documents.

 

Accordingly, we are attaching a copy of our April 3 letter and ask that you directly answer all of our questions and produce documents as appropriate.

 

The HHS’s response letter also raises new questions that we would like to have answered:

(A)             The June 11, 2010 press release by the AHRQ stated that the “grants [we]re part of the patient safety and medical liability initiative that President Obama announced during a September 9, 2009, address to a joint session of Congress.”[1] What is the exact source of the $23.2 million in funding for the demonstration and planning projects and the $2 million in funding for the JBA/RAND evaluation project?

(B)              Identify whether Congress expressly approved the demonstration, planning and evaluation projects as well as appropriated the funding for them.  If Congress did not expressly approve these projects and their funding, identify the authority for the HHS to initiate and fund these projects, without first receiving approval and appropriations from Congress.

We ask that you provide written answers and documents by October 29, 2012.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

________________________       ________________________

Charles E. Grassley                       Lamar Smith

Ranking Member                         Chairman

Senate Judiciary Committee                      House Judiciary Committee

 

 

 

 

________________________      

Orrin G. Hatch                         

Ranking Member                        

Senate Finance Committee

 

 

April 3, 2012

 

Via Electronic Transmission

 

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius

Secretary

Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, DC 20201

 

Dear Secretary Sebelius:

 

We are writing to express our concerns with the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning grants being funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

 

On September 9, 2009, President Obama, in a speech to a joint session of Congress on health care, directed you to move forward on an initiative aimed at reducing health care costs.  Specifically, he stated:

…, many in this chamber – particularly on the Republican side of the aisle – have long insisted that reforming our medical malpractice laws can help bring down the cost of health care. I don't believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet, but I have talked to enough doctors to know that defensive medicine may be contributing to unnecessary costs.  So I am proposing that we move forward on a range of ideas about how to put patient safety first and let doctors focus on practicing medicine.  I know that the Bush Administration considered authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues.  It's a good idea, and I am directing my Secretary of Health and Human Services to move forward on this initiative today. (Emphasis added).

On June 11, 2010, pursuant to the President’s orders, the HHS, through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), awarded $23.2 million to fund demonstration and planning projects.  The AHRQ’s press release confirmed that the “grants [we]re part of the patient safety and medical liability initiative that President Obama announced during a September 9, 2009, address to a joint session of Congress.”[2] Specifically, the AHRQ has funded seven demonstration grants for a total amount of $19.7 million and 13 planning grants for a total amount of $3.5 million.  The demonstration projects are scheduled to take three years to complete and the planning projects are scheduled to take one year to complete.  According to the AHRQ, the projects are supposed to allow States and health care systems to develop, implement and evaluate medical liability models that “(1) put patient safety first and work to reduce preventable injuries; (2) foster better communication between doctors and their patients; (3) ensure that patients are compensated in a fair and timely manner for medical injuries, while also reducing the incidence of frivolous lawsuits; and (4) reduce liability premiums.”[3]

Frivolous lawsuits, the high cost of malpractice insurance and excessive damages awards are dragging down our health care system.

 

The goal of “traditional” medical malpractice reforms is not to hinder meritorious lawsuits, but rather to reduce the incidence of frivolous lawsuits, inflated awards and inflated attorneys’ fees.  Generally speaking, traditional malpractice reforms seek practical solutions to combatting frivolous lawsuits, such as caps on punitive damages, caps on noneconomic damages and limits on the percentage of an award that can be taken by a plaintiff’s attorney under a contingency fee agreement.  Thus, traditional reforms are necessarily aimed at dealing with the medical system as it exists and influencing the behavior of lawyers and courts by altering legal parameters--substantive and procedural.  Correspondingly, research on traditional reforms should be aimed at assessing the effects of specific legal changes on claims, lawsuits, awards and settlements, either through mathematical models, simulated jury studies or real data.

 

However, the AHRQ’s description of the research being funded does not mention, much less emphasize, reforms to medical malpractice laws, as was clearly implied by the President’s speech.  Indeed, it does not appear that any of the entities that have received the $23.2 million in grants have the expertise necessary to examine the effects of changes in substantive legal standards and procedural rules on the rate of malpractice claims, lawsuits, and awards.

 

President Obama’s September 9, 2009 speech included a reference to “demonstration projects” considered during President George W. Bush’s administration.  The day after the President’s speech, Tevi Troy, who served as the Deputy Secretary of the HHS, during the Bush Administration, responded to President’s Obama’s statement.[4] Mr. Troy explained the nature of the demonstration projects considered during the Bush administration.  In particular, he explained the limited purpose of those projects and the fact that they would not solve the crisis created by frivolous lawsuits.  Mr. Troy’s article also made it clear that “reducing the incidence of costly and ineffective medical malpractice lawsuits was a high priority of the [Bush] administration.”

 

The President’s speech gave the clear impression that taxpayers’ monies would be spent, in significant part, on projects related to “traditional” medical malpractice reforms.  Contrary to that clear impression, it appears that none of the $23.2 million awarded has

 

gone to researching or implementing “traditional” medical malpractice reforms.  In fact, it appears that all of the research funded by the AHRQ is aimed at proving the obvious:  as the number of adverse events declines, the number of malpractice lawsuits also declines.

 

We are concerned that these developments do not fulfill the President’s commitment to move forward on medical malpractice reform.  Accordingly, please respond to the following requests for information:

 

1.      Explain how the HHS’ spending $23.2 million on studying “nontraditional” liability reform fulfills the President’s promise that his administration would examine a “range of ideas,” including the “traditional” malpractice reforms noted above and advocated by Republican Members of Congress?

 

2.      Do you agree that the projects funded by the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning grants are not researching “traditional” malpractice reform, but rather are exploring “nontraditional liability reforms”?[5] If you disagree, explain the basis for your disagreement in detail.  Also, identify which projects are researching “traditional” malpractice reforms and how much from the $23.2 million in grants is being spent on studying “traditional” malpractice reforms.

 

3.      Do you agree that the AHRQ is not the most qualified agency to undertake or oversee research related to “traditional” malpractice reforms?  If you disagree, explain in detail how the AHRQ is the most qualified agency within the federal government to undertake or oversee research related to “traditional” malpractice reforms.

 

4.      How, if at all, will the results of each of the 20 demonstration and planning projects directly help to reduce the incidence of frivolous lawsuits and reduce high malpractice insurance premiums, as represented by the AHRQ?  Also, if a project will have no direct impact on reducing frivolous lawsuits and insurance premiums expressly acknowledge that fact.

 

5.      Explain in detail how the results of each of the 20 Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning projects will directly benefit American taxpayers.  If American taxpayers will benefit from the results of these projects, when will those benefits be seen?

 

6.      Explain in detail how the results of each of the 20 projects will directly contribute to lowering health care costs, as stated by the President?

 

7.      Describe in detail how the HHS and/or the AHRQ will utilize the information generated by each of the 20 Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning projects?

 

8.      Is each of the 20 Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning projects unique or are they similar to previous studies?  If any of the current projects are similar to previous studies, explain the HHS’s justification for funding that project or projects?

 

9.      When was it decided that the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning grants would fund research of “nontraditional liability reforms,” as opposed to “traditional” malpractice reforms?  Who made that decision?  If it was a group decision, identify all of the individuals who participated in the group.

 

10.  Did anyone other than an employee of the federal government participate (in any manner whatsoever) in the drafting of the requests for proposals issued in connection with the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning grants?  If so, identify the individual(s) and the group he or she was representing.  Also, if applicable, set forth in detail the substance and nature of the individual’s participation.

 

11.  Did anyone other than an employee of the federal government participate in the selection of any of the recipients of the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning grants?  If so, identify the individual(s) and the group he or she was representing.  Also, if applicable, set forth in detail the substance and nature of each individual’s participation.

 

12.  Is one of goals or purposes (official or unofficial) of the Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform Demonstration and Planning grants to produce studies that will discredit or counter “traditional” malpractice reforms?

 

13.  Is the HHS or any other agency of the federal government currently conducting, participating in or funding research, the (official or unofficial) purpose of which is to discredit or counter “traditional” malpractice reforms?  If so, set forth the details of each such project, including who will conduct the research and who will oversee it.

 

14.  In addition to the $23.2 million being spent on the demonstration and planning projects, another component of the initiative ordered by President Obama is an evaluation project.  JBA/RAND was awarded $2 million for the evaluation project.  According to the AHRQ, the $2 million has been “allocated to evaluate the overall knowledge that is gained from this initiative.”[6]

 

(a)    Explain in detail the substance and goals of the evaluation project and explain why it is necessary.

 

(b)   Are salaried federal employees at the AHRQ or in another unit of the HHS capable of understanding and evaluating the results of the demonstration and planning projects?  If so, why weren’t they assigned the task of conducting the evaluation project or its equivalent?  If they are not capable, explain how the HHS and the AHRQ will be able to work with any of the information generated by the projects.

 

(c)    How, if at all, will the results of the evaluation project directly benefit American taxpayers?  If American taxpayers will benefit from the results of the evaluation project, when will those benefits be seen?

 

If the HHS and/or the AHRQ possess documents relating to the subject matter of any of the foregoing questions, provide copies of those documents.

 

We ask that you provide written answers and documents by May 3, 2012.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

 

________________________       ________________________

Charles E. Grassley                       Lamar Smith

Ranking Member                         Chairman

Senate Judiciary Committee                      House Judiciary Committee

 

 

 

 

 

________________________      

Orrin G. Hatch                         

Ranking Member                        

Senate Finance Committee

 

 

1  AHRQ Press Release, “HHS Announces Patient Safety and Medical Liability Demonstration Projects:

Funds Allocated to Develop, Implement, and Evaluate Patient Safety Approaches and Medical Liability Reform Models” (June 11, 2010) (available at http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2010/hhsliabawpr.htm).

2 AHRQ Press Release, “HHS Announces Patient Safety and Medical Liability Demonstration Projects:

Funds Allocated to Develop, Implement, and Evaluate Patient Safety Approaches and Medical Liability Reform Models” (June 11, 2010) (available at http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2010/hhsliabawpr.htm).

3  Id.

4 Tevi Troy, “Med Mal Pal?,” Critical Condition, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE’S HEALTHCARE BLOG (Sept. 10, 2009)(available at  http://www.nationalreview.com/critical-condition/48345/med-mal-pal/tevi-troy).

5 See Allen Kachalia & Michelle M. Mello, New Directions in Medical Liability Reform, 364 N. ENGL. J. MED. 1564 (Apr. 2011) (available at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr1012821) (acknowledging the definition of “traditional” medical malpractice reforms and confirming that the AHRQ’s demonstration and planning projects are studying “nontraditional liability reforms.”).

6 Carolyn M. Clancy, AHRQ Commentary, “Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform: Putting the Patient First” (available at http://www.ahrq.gov/news/commentaries/comptsafty.htm). 

 





[1] AHRQ Press Release, “HHS Announces Patient Safety and Medical Liability Demonstration Projects:

Funds Allocated to Develop, Implement, and Evaluate Patient Safety Approaches and Medical Liability Reform Models” (June 11, 2010) (available at http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2010/hhsliabawpr.htm).

 

[2] AHRQ Press Release, “HHS Announces Patient Safety and Medical Liability Demonstration Projects:

Funds Allocated to Develop, Implement, and Evaluate Patient Safety Approaches and Medical Liability Reform Models” (June 11, 2010) (available at http://www.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2010/hhsliabawpr.htm).

 

[3] Id.

[4] Tevi Troy, “Med Mal Pal?,” Critical Condition, National Review Online’s Healthcare Blog (Sept. 10, 2009)(available at  http://www.nationalreview.com/critical-condition/48345/med-mal-pal/tevi-troy).

[5] See Allen Kachalia & Michelle M. Mello, New Directions in Medical Liability Reform, 364 N. Engl. J. Med. 1564 (Apr. 2011) (available at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr1012821) (acknowledging the definition of “traditional” medical malpractice reforms and confirming that the AHRQ’s demonstration and planning projects are studying “nontraditional liability reforms.”).

[6] Carolyn M. Clancy, AHRQ Commentary, “Patient Safety and Medical Liability Reform: Putting the Patient First” (available at http://www.ahrq.gov/news/commentaries/comptsafty.htm). 

 
Treats for the Troops: Byrum Family Dentistry Presents Patriotic Program for QC Trick-or-Treaters PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Mark McLaughlin   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 08:50
BETTENDORF, IA – This Halloween, Byrum Family Dentistry is offering Quad-Cities families a chance to reward America’s troops for their valor – as they help children to fight tooth decay.
From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 1, kids age 12 and under can bring their Halloween candy to Byrum Family Dentistry and they will buy the candy for $1 per pound. The candy collected will be sent to America’s troops serving overseas. Byrum Family Dentistry, the dental practice of Robert L. Byrum, D.D.S., P.C., and Melinda Hochgesang, D.M.D., is located at 3878 Middle Road, Bettendorf, IA.
In addition to the cash reward, every participating child will also get a free toothbrush. Plus, if the child is not already a patient of Byrum Family Dentistry, he or she will receive a coupon for a free exam. This exam will include an initial dental examination, X-rays, and consultation.
“Our Halloween program is a win-win deal for the whole family,” said Dr. Byrum. “Parents will be pleased that their children will be eating less sweets, and the kids will receive a nice reward in exchange for their contribution to America’s troops. Plus, the program will also set many children down the path to improved dental health.”
The professionals at Byrum Family Dentistry believe in giving back to the community and actively promoting dental health. Since 1990, Dr. Byrum has made monthly donations to area charities such as the Make a Wish Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Routinely, toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste have been donated to area causes, including shelters, schools, and overseas military personnel.

For more information, call Byrum Family Dentistry at (563) 332-7734 or visit ByrumFamilyDentistry.com.

 
Genesis Celebration of Life Nov. 10 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Craig Cooper   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 08:47
DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Oct. 15, 2012 -- Genesis will help open the holiday season with a festive Celebration of Life on Saturday, Nov. 10.

The traditional Remembrance Tree will be illuminated to start the season at 6 p.m. in Bechtel Park at River Drive and Iowa Street, Davenport. Donations will be accepted for tree light sponsors with proceeds supporting Genesis Hospice Care.

Special entertainment will be provided by a brass quintet, dancers, and, the Holiday Pops Children's Choir. The choir will feature music from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Polar Express."

There will be cocoa, cider and other refreshments.

Individual “light” sponsors are invited to make a donation of $10 to honor the memory of loved ones. Names received by the Genesis Foundation by November 5 will be included on a "Scroll of Names,'' which will be given to ceremony attendees.

To sponsor a light, call (563) 421-6865 or visit www.genesishealth.com/tree.

Genesis Hospice is comprised of a multi-disciplinary team to assist in managing symptoms, as well as enhancing quality of life. The common goal of all services is to provide the patient and family with comfort.

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Black American Doctor Fights for Patients from the Operating Room to Capitol Hill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Marilyn M. Singleton, MD   
Tuesday, 16 October 2012 08:45

I was born to be a physician.  My grandfather was one of two black students in the 1911 graduating class of Starling Ohio Medical College.  He dedicated his life to medicine and helping the low-income folks of Lima, Ohio.  My father became an Army Air Force flight surgeon at Tuskegee.  As a general practitioner in San Diego, he charged patients what they could afford. Many times we were paid in tamales.

Then came Medicaid. It prohibited doctors from being able to use charity like this. We had high hopes when The Great Society was born: the end of poverty, the end of racial strife.  These poverty programs were good intentions gone awry.  What social engineer devised a diabolical program forcing a mother in hardship to eject her children’s father from the house in order to get financial assistance?  The road to hell began with this kind of “social justice.” Common sense tells me that families in trouble would derive strength from staying together.

The results of the disintegration of the family are fully evident.  Unwed motherhood has almost tripled since the 1960s War on Poverty.  Seventy-two per cent of Black and fifty-three per cent of Hispanic children are now born to single mothers.  Single motherhood quadruples the chance of living in poverty.

Things have gotten worse, not better.  Politicians are so arrogant they tell people to “Trust me!” based on faith, not facts.  Are we to believe that it works to treat people like helpless victims?  The fact is the poverty rate has not changed in 40 years. Are we to believe that a check from a distant rich Uncle (Sam) can erase core problems such as distrust of authority figures, poor education, promiscuity, drug addiction, and violence?  The facts show no.

Are we to believe that the federal government is effective at public education?  The facts show that the high school dropout rate has remained the same for 40 years, despite the fact that trillions of federal dollars were poured into education.  We must support alternatives that offer parental options for educational opportunity.  A good education leads to self-reliance and social responsibility.  This in turn leads to a good job.

Are we to believe that Medicaid “leveled the playing field” for patients?  The fact is that fewer and fewer physicians can take Medicaid due to payments below the cost of providing the services. Where is the “social justice” in a health care system where NO one has quality, individualized care?

We have to change Washington’s way of thinking from “if a social program fails, expand it” to “if it fails, dismantle it.”  Today’s policies lead to unhealthy dependence on the federal government.  We need instead to encourage independence and freedom.  Everyone – at all income levels – suffer from these government-controlled programs because we have more fatherless and poorly-educated children.

Safety nets don’t cure poverty.  Education and jobs cure poverty.  Family and community are the institutions through which we should help each other.  Voting for government bureaucracy is not a surrogate for personally giving our time.  Community aid is not only direct, more efficient, and more effective, it is personal.  Our personal relationships are crucial to maintaining our civil society.

We can’t let politicians use our differences as a wedge to divide.  The rhetoric of class warfare fosters resentment and envy.  Class warfare does not sow the seeds of success. Our free enterprise system and the free market of ideas have brought more prosperity and a higher standard of living to the greatest number of people, regardless of race or color.

A free market built on integrity should be protected.  We cannot let it be destroyed by excessive entanglement of government with business and crony capitalism.  We can use existing laws to weed out bad apples.  We do not need suffocating regulations and government control for all.

Finally, we must protect one of the most intimate and life-sustaining bonds in our society: the patient-doctor relationship.  Patients entrust their secrets to doctors.  How comfortable does it make you feel to know that the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology is watching…or using your personal medical records against you?

Touching lives one at a time is why I became a doctor.  Fighting for what’s best for patients is what I do as a physician.   These days, physicians must also fight in the political realm so that people can take back control of their own lives.

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