Improving health care; term limits for Kern supervisors
As folks who have patronized the medical profession for most of our 80-plus years, my wife and I would like to make some suggestions about health care.
Between us we use the services of six docs plus the helpful advice of two nieces who are nurses.
In contrast to our earlier years, all our docs are really nice people.
One is in Palmdale, the rest are in Lancaster, and together they are a potpourri of genders and nationalities who work together to give us great health care.
It helps that Billye retired from the federal government, which means that we have the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan, which, along with Medicare, gives us excellent coverage.
Knock on wood, even after major surgery, we have never had to cough up (bad choice of words) a major co-pay.
Filling out forms
Our major gripe, which applies to probably everyone in this nation regardless of citizenship, is the time we spend time on bureaucracy during our visits.
I can’t tell you how many times, especially when one of us is having a “test” of some sort, we are handed a clipboard asking us to answer questions about our medical history.
It’s almost always a test we have previously completed, and seeks data that has not changed since the visit and we have trouble recalling in our dotage, like the dates of my wife’s first and last periods.
I do have an iPhone app that includes much of this stuff along with other grisly details, but unfortunately it isn’t transferable to the docs even by email.
Each morning I take our blood pressure and record it on an app, which I print out when we visit our docs.
Over the years I have served on several committees and boards involving health care in East Kern and the Antelope Valley, experience that has been valuable in keeping up with the region’s health care needs.
Health care services in our area are expanding.
Tehachapi has a brandnew hospital operated by Adventist Health care, which also manages rural health clinics in Mojave, California City and Tehachapi.
Tehachapi also has an expanded Kaiser Clinic, a new radiology practice and a new Dignity Health clinic.
The region has a new hospital in Palmdale and City of Hope offers full service to cancer patients on the Antelope Valley Hospital campus.
Property adjacent to Antelope Valley and Tehachapi hospitals can be developed for additional health care-related services.
All of these facilities continue to reduce the need for patients to leave the area to seek care.
Several years ago my wife needed major surgery, and we spent 10 days in a Los Angeles hospital.
Insurance covered the surgery but not the travel, the cost for me to stay in a handy hotel on the hospital property and other expenses that would have been significantly less had the operations been performed locally.
Getting back to my concerns about bureaucracy, that has been reduced by a certain amount locally.
Patients at some hospitals can speed up their visits by signing in electronically and connecting to their records.
That’s great, but efforts begun in the George W. Bush administration to establish a national health care records system have all but disappeared.
Some of our docs have their own electronic records systems, but the push for a compatible national system has gotten lost in the politics of health care, which are foundering on the president’s efforts to destroy the current system solely to make his predecessor look bad.
From what I read about the national health care debate, many members of Congress, satisfied with the Federal system my wife and I have, or wealthy enough to not have to worry about costs, ignore the needs of the rest of the “Amurrican People” they claim to love, especially during elections.
Nations that have functioning national health care systems managed to develop them by having their leaders sit down with each other, ignoring politics, and behaving like adults to develop functioning systems.
What a concept.
No system is ever perfect. Our Affordable Care Act can be improved, not by dumping it and leaving millions without care — essentially condemning many of them to early deaths — but for once putting aside childish negativity and actually doing something positive instead of pointing fingers like two-year-olds.
The one big lesson I learned early on in politics was that the primary concern of almost all politicians is re-election. The first thing the first politician I served told me was that we would all have jobs as long as he kept his.
Which explains much of why things are the way they are.
Good questions to ask politicians during the coming months and don’t let them pass the buck to their “enemies.”
Term limits for Kern supervisors?
A young man who has been trying to get Kern County supervisors to legalize marijuana sales has announced that he plans to ask voters to limit supervisors to serving two terms on the board.
Since current board members will have served two terms by the 2020 election, if his measure passes he is hoping that they would all step down.
Several California counties have term limits, but none of them terminated incumbents’ terms when the ballot measure passed.
That’s because of a court decision that says it’s unconstitutional and not fair.
Which means that if the man’s measure gets on the ballot it will probably not apply to sitting supervisors right away, which will not help his goal of changing the pot laws.
I haven’t always supported term limits, but over the years I have come to see their value, especially in a time when so many politicians have finally revealed their total lack of something we once called core values.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out and its effect on the 2020 Kern County election.
Waiting for DMV
Kudos to the governor for his shakeup of DMV.
One thing he might consider is something called “DMV Express,” which we used when we lived in Virginia.
It consisted of small offices in shopping centers equipped to handle simple things like renewing drivers’ licenses and paying