Upheld: A Mutant Editorial


NICU by komurphy2 on Flickr

Yesterday, my boss and I were looking through his inbox searching for new contacts to email about our medical conference. We hear a, “Woooo!” from one of the other doctor’s offices. A few seconds later she runs in, “I haven’t actually read the story but the headline says “Upheld’ and it looks like they upheld ALL of it! I’m going to read it right now, I’ll be right back.” My boss says, “Thank god” and we get back to the inbox. A couple of minutes later she comes back into our office and right behind her, another doctor rushes in smiling, “Did you hear?!” The office erupted in very excited chatter as they discussed the ruling and Judge Roberts and how wonderful this is and so on and so forth.

While I did make a few comments, I mostly just sat back and watched these doctors and the others that kept coming. One of them was dancing. A couple of them hugged. And I got that really warm feeling you get when you know that something is good and right.

These doctors aren’t the new kids on the block. My boss founded the neonatal intensive care unit in our hospital. He is a well-respected speaker internationally and our unit was ranked one of the top in the nation despite its dismal nurse to patient ratio. Most of these doctors have been neonatologists since before I was born. They’ve worked for this public hospital in this very large and diverse city and they have seen it all.

They are the experts in healthcare– not Mitt Romney, not Barack Obama, not the Supreme Court, not the Congress, not you, not me. It is these men and women who have worked with the most desperate of cases, with the most scorned of people, for decades. They have seen insurance companies and hospitals change. They’ve seen economic booms and busts and in-betweens.

They weren’t pleased this was upheld, they were ecstatic and I think that is very important testimony to the importance of the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare is a derogatory term) for our country.

This country has developed an extreme anti-government sentiment that saddens me. I was raised on the fundamental belief that our government is for the people, by the people. If government is evil, it is because the people are evil. I am chilled by the notion that the more ideal solution is the private market which is for the shareholders, by the shareholders.

We ask our government to improve our livelihoods by asking them to protect our borders, to educate our children, to clean our water, to regulate our food, to forbid certain actions and substances, to fund our research, to deliver our mail,to build and maintain our roads, to monitor our entertainment, to put out our fires, to levy justice, to enforce our laws, and to help care for our poor, our elderly, and our disabled.

That is what government is supposed to do because it is for the people. By raising the standards of government, we are raising the standards for ourselves. We should demand that our government improve performance instead of insist it perform less. It is what we demand of ourselves and each other.

I’ve been in a few hospitals in my life whether to receive care in one, visit a patient in one, or to work in one.

Insurance, or lack of, creates a type of segregation. The private hospitals are a very different experience from the public one. With most uninsured patients flocking to the public hospital, money doesn’t flow as abundantly as it does in the private ones. With the reforms in the Affordable Health Care Act , you should start to see a more level playing field. People like to think they deserve or are entitled to something better because of their position in life they believe they have attained by the American virtue of hard work. They ignore the fact that their position in life has more to do with their skin color, their parents, their education, their geographical location, their parents’ education, and damn good luck, than buckets of hard work. I’m not saying you haven’t worked hard, I’m saying you’re not successful simply because you worked hard.

I don’t believe the private hospitals will turn into the public hospitals. But I do think their profits will slim a bit while the public hospitals improve a bit.

What drives me crazy is the notion among the insured that they are receiving better care in a private hospital. In the case of many public hospitals like the one I work in, it’s the opposite. In this city, when you are really sick and your case is somewhat complicated, every private hospital sends you to the public one.


Because we have the doctors with the most experience by sheer volume of patients. Additionally, ours is a teaching hospital as most public hospitals are and our doctors have the latest and greatest research at their fingertips– more often than not, they are the latest and greatest research.

The doctors here have a completely different mindset. They are going to save your life, that is their number one thought. And they are going to take more risks because they aren’t saddled with concerns of bottom lines and lawsuits and profit margins. Because these doctors are not for the shareholders, by the shareholders they are for the people, by the people.

To say I am passionate about allowing access to affordable healthcare for all is an understatement. I  believe it is a fundamental right equal to public education and other public services. While there is an individual mandate, you are still allowed to choose whether you remain uninsured or not and we will have to continue to pay for your uninsured medical costs but at least we’ll have access to some of your money to cover it. To me, that’s fair, right, and sensible.

I hope you all have an amazing weekend. I have a Bachelorette Party tonight, my kids return tomorrow afternoon, and the wedding is on Sunday. I’m a wee bit nervous about the Bachelorette Party because I dislike being around drunks (especially strangers) and we’re going to the Las Olas Riverwalk– a bar strip in Ft. Lauderdale. The last time I went there I left irritated and had to refrain from shoving a man who was irritating the crap out of my friend and I.

It’s weird, I used to like hanging around drunk people but after the divorce and the role alcohol played in it, it lost its appeal and I have gotten close to losing my cool on more than one occasion– while sober. But I’m putting on a big smile, we’ve planned a few things for fun and I’m going to stay positive. I’m really excited about the wedding.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

P.S. I’m disabling comments. I don’t want to open the gates to Trollandia.