Pubdate: Tue, 05 Jun 2001
Source: Daily Herald (IL)
Copyright: 2001 The Daily Herald Company
Author: Don Schoenbeck


The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the federal government's role in 
protecting us from ourselves. It upheld the government's right to prohibit 
the distribution of marijuana for use in relieving symptoms and treatment 
effects of cancer, multiple sclerosis and other serious illnesses.

Administration officials applauded the ruling, suggesting that by 
preventing patients from obtaining this relief, they were somehow doing 
them a favor.

When there are important benefactors to reward, however, our leaders will 
argue that big government should be kept out of our lives. This argument 
was employed to try to defeat Medicare in the 1960s and is being used today 
to block real health-care reform.

By abdicating responsibility for American's health-care needs, our leaders 
protect the interests of insurance, drug, managed-care and other key 
players in the health-care industry.

The result is a wasteful and inefficient health-care system that worldwide 
is ranked first in cost and 37th in quality. It also leaves 14 percent of 
us uninsured, including a growing number of 55- to 65-year-olds whose lives 
are jeopardized because they are considered too old and no longer 
profitable to insure.

The irony of this deplorable situation is that by ignoring the plight of 
these uninsured older Americans, our leaders may have stumbled on a way to 
provide relief to the financially strained Medicare system.

Without necessary medical care, the pre-Medicare population ranks simply 
can be thinned out before many make it to 65 and qualify for benefits. 
Thanks to this compassionate leadership, those who don't make it will 
remain virtuously drug-free (both legal and illegal) right up to their very 

Don Schoenbeck

Crystal Lake
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