"Four Actions Are Needed for Health Care Reform"

"Are you for or against health reform?" This is becoming a defining question for health professionals and analysts, as well as for senators and members of Congress. All will preface their answer by saying, "It depends what you mean by 'health reform.'" Here's what everyone should mean.

Four types of fundamental reforms are desperately needed.

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"Let's Get to Work--Together"

Incoming Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid can set the tone for the 110th Congress.  I imagine their address to the nation:

--Good evening to you all!  I am Nancy Pelosi of California, the new Speaker of the House.

--And I’m Harry Reid of Nevada, the new Senate majority leader.  We have asked the networks for this air time, a week before President Bush’s State of the Union address, in order to present you with our vision for the new, Democratically led 110th Congress.

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Politicians ignore best way
to improve people’s health

By any measure, Americans are obsessed with health care.  We spend lavishly on it—one-sixth of the nation’s entire gross domestic product goes for health care!  We talk about it endlessly.  We bitterly resent any limits on health benefits set by government, employers, or insurers.  We enshrine health care as a “right” and “public good,” as our largest and probably most glorified industry, and as the source of personal well-being. 

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Politicians aren’t solving the health insurance crisis

It’s time for some honest talk about health insurance availability and cost—and we’re not getting it from President Bush in his State of the Union address, from many politicians on either side of the aisle, or from private interest groups.

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No lieutenant governor needed in Garden State

“It’s more democratic,” say backers of the state referendum to create the post of lieutenant governor instead of having the Senate president take over when the governorship is vacant. Even the normally sage commentator Jon Shure recently advanced this contention in a Times op/ed (“ New Jersey needs a lieutenant governor,” Oct. 18).

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From Tragedy, An Important Lesson

The tragedy of Terri Schiavo’s long dying touched many of us. We say, “I would never want to live like that” or “I would never want to put my family through that” or, even, “If something happens to me, bring on the technology. I want it ALL.” Fleetingly, we realize that to insure these wishes—whatever they are—they must be memorialized in some way. We vow, once again, to prepare the advance directives that can add the clarity of our own voice to a situation that may be a medically murky and highly emotional for our friends and family. . . .

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Unreliability in psychiatric diagnosis

Unreliability in psychiatric diagnosis is “still a real problem, and it’s not clear how to solve the problem,” laments former Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders editor Robert Spitzer to writer Alix Spiegel (“The Dictionary of Disorder,” January 3 rd).

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To Advance Democracy, Take Step Back

To promote democracy in the Middle East, the Bush administration lately has relied less on force and more on diplomacy. Instead of merely balancing these two approaches, our country should revert to its tried and true way to guide the growth of democracy – and should recognize that global democracy is no panacea for U.S. problems.

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The important thing is not to stop questioning.
– Albert Einstein