05 November 2008

Now the hard work begins.

Congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama. For any number of reasons, his win offers hope that the United States will adhere more closely to its reputation as a land of freedom and liberty and progressive human rights.

But there's much work yet to do, both in keeping the regressive residual factions of society on their heels and in holding Obama's administration to its promise of change. It's one thing to promise change; it's quite another to deliver on it. The greatest disappointment of the Clinton Presidency to me was his capitulation on health care and welfare. Let us hope that as President, Obama will show more backbone than Clinton did in facing down the retrograde elements and powerful lobbies that have turned health care into an industrial enterprise rather than a public service.

The narrow success of California's Prop 8 and the more comfortable victories of similar discriminatory, dehumanizing initiatives in Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida demonstrate that the forces of fear and hatred are still powerful. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., now is not a time to sit back and rest on our laurels.


JES said...

Clinton disappointments: amen. If I never again hear the word "triangulation" in a political context, it'll be too soon for me. Granted, his admins were bedeviled by other forces (some from within and some from without, obviously). But I really was not happy with the constant maneuvering, y'know?

Congrats to the people of PA btw. During the early period of returns-counting last night, one reported said something about long lines at PSU polling places and I thought, "Hey! I know somebody there!"

Anonymous said...

As someone who is currently engaged in business development opportunities in the healthcare arena, I want you to know that your desire to turn health care from "an industrial enterprise" into "public service" would have serious consequences. I, and othes like me, seeing no opportunity to be compensated fairly for our efforts, will simply turn our energy, drive, and ambition to other industries where those opportunities do exist. The result will be far fewer medical advances and lower quality of health care for all. Why pick on health care for conversion to "public service"? Why not making movies? Clearly, those in Hollywood are making too much money...

cuff said...

Anon: I probably don't know enough about the nuts and bolts of healthcare having spent fifteen years of my life working at a medical school with a large teaching hospital attached to it, but the best researchers were interested in the work they were doing and weren't the most highly compensated. Hollywood's a bad analogy, because it's a cultural product and not a necessity. It's probably better to deny someone the ability to see a blockbuster than to deny them lifesaving services.

Jes: I'm not there (as in PSU) anymore, except in my heart and mind. My own position in PA is a bit further north and east.

Anonymous said...

First of all, congratulations on your blog being picked up by the Washington Post Express edition, which is where I saw it. Second, this is the last comment I'll leave, I don't want to take advantage of your kindess in allowing me to write on your blog.

Doing research (as I did in graduate school and postdoc for 6 years) is very different than being involved in running a business in the healthcare/pharma industry (which I've done for the past 13 years). I agree, researchers are mostly driven by the work (although I've not seen them yet complain about the royalties they justly receive when the work is commercialized), but it takes many more people and many different types of people to get a drug in the hands of the patient. In addition, a good chunk of drug costs go in to R&D, and, as I'm sure you know, fund the researchers. Even if they don't want a lot of money, they at least need some money. The current "system" has produced some amazing products. If you change the incentives, you will unavoidably reduce the number and the quality of products. It won't be a matter of denying someone lifesaving treatment, the treatment simply will not exist.

Best of luck in all your endeavors,

cuff said...

James: Thanks. As you suppose, I'm very aware that Pharma supplies quite a bit of funding for research (along with pens, clipboard, calendars, and stress balls). I honestly don't believe that will stop, because they receive a substantial return on investment and will continue to do so, even if something were to change to make it not as lucrative.

I wasn't aware I was in the Express. How about that.

James Brown said...

Sorry, I said I wouldn't write again, but here's the link, http://www.expressnightout.com/printedition/PDF/EXPRESS_11062008.pdf, you're on page 32 of the PDF. Big type, too. If you want, I could try to pick up a print edition and mail it to you. Everybody likes their 15 minutes of fame, right? :)
Email me at jbrown-at-bmsj.com

cuff said...

James: Please don't...I don't need the print, but thanks much for the offer.