Health Care’s Cold War

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Many of us remember the Cold War. The atomic bombs. The testing and fallout. The drills and shelters. The threats and alerts. The worry, the anxiety, the dread, the fear. The vague belief that none of us would survive the annihilation that the inevitable nuclear war would bring. All this was felt as a weight we carried around on our shoulders every day. We didn’t like it but we almost got used to it, like it was normal.

That is what the American health care system is like. A great weight of concern, of worry, of fear, of dread that many of us, and our country as a whole, carry around all day, every day. The worry of being uninsured or underinsured. The fear of losing coverage if one were to lose or leave their job. The anxiety about whether the insurance company is going to pay the bill or not. If not, why not. The dread that comes each month when the insurance premium is due. The ache we feel thinking of how much better we could have spent the money. The fear of catastrophic illness, as much for the bankruptcy it may bring as for its usual possibilities.

Until all of us have the medical care we need, all the time, under all circumstances, without fear or worry, this weight will continue to be carried on our shoulders, in our hearts and in the back of our minds.

We all know we aren’t going to survive in the long run. That’s weight enough to carry around our whole lives. But on top of that we have a “health care” system that adds an unnecessary load of anxiety to too many of us. Health care should lighten our load, not increase it.

We should shed this load. Pull it off of our shoulders and throw it away. We don’t need it; never did. Just like the Cold War. It is some kind of construct made of fear and greed. We won’t miss it when it’s gone, we will just be relieved. Just like the Cold War.

Letters Older, Wiser ... And Fitter

[Re: Music, “Mr. Hot Lix Signs Off,” Aug. 27-Sept. 2] When I read that Mr. Hot Lix plans to retire I thought it was sad to see a rebel go. We need more productive people keeping those in positions of power on their toes. But the thing that troubles me about the interview is Charlie’s response to the question to why he is retiring; “I’m 65 years old.”

The 2009 Senior Games were held in California earlier this month. The athletes attending were from age 50 to 96 years old. In the 1,500-meter racewalk my friend Marjorie, a young 87, took the gold in her age group. Ester, 96 years old, came in fifth in a field of 16, all over 80. My friend Sigfrid and I will be walking the New Mexico Half-Marathon on Sunday. Sigfrid is 84 and we expect to walk the 13.1 miles in under three hours.

In addition, my wife, 67 years old, is enrolled at UNM and is going for her bachelor’s degree, and I know several people in their 80s taking classes at UNM.

My point is that age doesn’t have to be a factor in keeping you active and productive. I’m 69 years old and I walk marathons. On Sept. 26, with the help of the New Mexico Racewalkers and REI, I will be leading the first annual Albuquerque Saunter. The saunter is a long walk at an easy pace. So Charlie, as long as you are not using that walker yet, get out and take a walk. Retirement can be a new beginning; stay active.

Letters What Does It Mean?

What does the sentence on the top of your newspaper [Cover, Aug. 20-26] mean? “Raining Men Since 1992.”


Editor’s Note: Glad you to noticed! The Alibi’s been around since 1992. We like to trumpet that accomplishment with random taglines that change every week. They’re written by enslaved monkeys locked away in our typewriter room. Collect all four!

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.

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