After the election, sappy statements on social media exhort us to bow down in praise that the first minority this or the first woman that was elected and how this means we have catapulted our nation out of the Neanderthal era. Funny how no one mentions Young Kim’s victory – but she is not a Democrat so it does not count. It’s funny how no one cheered women of color when Condoleeza Rice was secretary of state. Instead she was called an Aunt Jemima and a house nigga’ in a nationally syndicated cartoon.

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Healthcare is the political football of the midterm elections. But unlike the game of football, there are no rules. And the goal is to win – not for the benefit of the team (the voters) but to gain status and power. Politicians are looking for a sound bite that catapults them into the spotlight. Spartacus was a dud. People like free stuff. Let’s try Medicare-for-All! Of course, the ads won’t mention that taxes will be doubled and private health insurance is essentially outlawed.

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Our legislators have been at their worst over the Supreme Court confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. What a shameful display: condescending, arrogant show-boating senators questioning him in a manner reminiscent of the Grand Inquisitor. The only things missing from this B-grade movie were the rubber hoses and interrogation lights. Some of us remember that you could count on one hand the “nay” votes for the confirmations of ACLU attorney Ruth Bader Ginsberg and known conservative Antonin Scalia.

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During the Supreme Court oral arguments in the challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to purchase health insurance, people laughed when the late Justice Scalia asked whether the government could make you buy broccoli. Never happen? The laughable has become reality. A California bill awaiting the governor’s signature forbids restaurants from serving any beverage other than water or unflavored milk with kiddie meals. As of yet, the meal’s purchasers, unlike the restaurant, won’t be fined for ordering another beverage for their child.

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In the original Mission: Impossible series, against all odds, through brilliant strategizing the good guys thwart stealth communist plots to undermine democracies. In trying to provide affordable, quality, personalized medical care, independent physicians face seemingly insurmountable obstacles: digging out from under piles of electronic paperwork, breaking free of third-party red tape, dodging hospital buyouts, and shielding patients from data mining and privacy intrusions.

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The days of trusting your legislators to have your best interests at heart are in the rear view mirror. Apparently, their main interest is parroting the buzzwords of the moment to get elected and then being too busy banking lobbying money to listen to the voters. Our legislators have become spectators who wait for the perfect moment to pounce on their political “enemy” and then go on cable news shows to boast about it.

The “us against them” attitude, punctuated by hyperbolic, apocalyptic rhetoric closes the door to finding solutions. Our interests would be better served by having town hall meetings where voters could state their concerns, air their differences, and learn what legislators are doing about their issues. Caution: meetings at 9 a.m. on Wednesday when paid activists are guaranteed to outflank the working general public are prohibited.

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This is the one hundredth anniversary of the great influenza pandemic of 1918. In his book The Great Influenza, John M. Barry described it as the deadliest plague in history. It killed more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages killed in a century.

The lack of a vaccine did not cause the flu. All epidemics start with an index case—which may or may not be identified. The great influenza may have begun in a patient in Kansas. The significance of the case was reportedly recognized by a country doctor, who was ignored. As the nation mobilized for World War I, and draftees from across the country were thrown together, illness spread and became much more virulent. Transport ships became “floating caskets.” Troop trains were “rolling coffins.” But Woodrow Wilson denied the existence or severity of the epidemic, and effective public health efforts were thwarted.

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There are three aspects to the caravan: what is shown by the media; what is there to be seen; and what is unseen.

The focus is on the innocent children, as in the widely circulated photograph of an obese woman with two children lacking pants or shoes, purportedly fleeing tear gas sprayed by cruel law enforcement agents. They are far from home, in a very dangerous place, in violation of the laws of Mexico.

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The narrative appears to be that thousands of oppressed peoples spontaneously decided, all at once, to flee a murderous, corrupt government in Central America, and walk to the U.S., in time for election day, to plead for asylum and begin to work hard for a better life in the U.S. (Take note: it is a “caravan” not an “army.”)

We see photos of a mass of walking people, including women, some carrying babies. There are photos of a resting crowd, some tending to infants.

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The Washington Post of October 18 says that the biggest issues in the midterm elections are the threat that Republicans will slash Medicare and Social Security, and maybe get around to repealing ObamaCare after all. It quotes a tweet from Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) that Republican statements about “adjusting” entitlements are “Washington-speak for cutting the Medicare and Social Security benefits you have worked hard to earn and making you pay for tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.”

So, will rescinding the tax cuts and taxing the “rich” even more fix the problems?

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People are marching with “Health Care Voter” signs, and this is generally believed to be one of the most important issues in the 2018 midterm elections. Republicans who got elected on the promise to repeal ObamaCare, and reneged, may now get unelected. Voters who supported them are dissatisfied, and Democrats demand still more government involvement in medicine.

On Twitter, #HealthCareVoter posts warned that the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court would “rip health care away from people with pre-existing conditions.” This illustrates several profound misunderstandings.

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The Swamp in Washington, D.C., and its crony capitalist retainers do not want to lose their grip on the trillions of dollars that slosh through the “healthcare” sector — approaching one-fifth of the U.S. economy.

The one thing that would cut costs (not just spending), restore sanity, protect the patient-physician relationship, unleash innovation, and encourage excellent care is to put patients in control of their own money. Under the current third-party payment system, made much worse by ObamaCare, a huge part (one-third? one half? who knows?) of the healthcare dollar is diverted to bureaucrats, compliance officers, administrators, CEOs, managed-care profits, middlemen such as pharmacy benefits managers, and other swamp dwellers who contribute nothing to the actual care of patients. Then a goodly share goes to lobbyists and congressmen to keep the racket going.

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“Medicare-for-all” medicine is the ultimate goal of progressives or “liberals,” fully embraced by Democrat candidates in the midterms. Candidates claim “single-payer” government-run medicine will “solve” all the problems of Obamacare and our “broken,” purportedly free-market system.

Liberal proposals ignore or deny the massive cost burden to taxpayers of “free healthcare,” the long delays, and the limited treatment options that plague every taxpayer-funded (socialized) medical system in the world, from Canada and the UK, to Cuba and Venezuela—and increasingly to U.S Medicare and Medicaid.  Some claim to have received fine medical care in such a system. But having been a patient –and had a family member as a patient –in several countries with socialized medical care, I can personally attest to the difficulty of getting proper care at all.

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Mike Scruggs