Disaster Areas

It's August and the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina is upon us. Like September 11, 2001, it's an anniversary we should never forget. It was a disaster we should learn from, and one we should make sure never happens again.

Unfortunately there are other disasters in the making, both large and small in scale. Here are a few: Our health care system, the infrastructure, old apartment buildings with lead paint usually inhabited by poor people, and often those people are children. A federal slave wage of $6.15 an hour; the hi jackings--of our constitutional rights, habeas corpus, ergonomic/health and safety regs and enforcement in the workplace; bankruptcy protection for working class consumers. That's only for airlines and automakers --right? Katrina survivors languishing in formaldehyde riddled trailers, indefinitely, because the N.O. levee wasn't fortified, even though it was known to be deficient (there's that infrastructure problem again).

Bad food. Contaminated, highly processed cheap food. Food scarcity. People who work and yet can't afford food. Small minded local governments that pass ordinances making the free sharing of nutritious food illegal. See http://www.orlandofoodnotbombs.org/

We need: more food co ops so more people can buy healthy fresh produce, and organic foods. More gyms in inner city communities with sliding scale fees, more employers giving discounts to workers who join gyms and can prove regular attendance.

More emphasis on preventive and restorative health care such as: chiropractic, nutrition and exercise counseling, vitamins, prescription strength herbal medicine, acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy. Less emphasis on surgery, prescription drugs, and invasive procedures. Instead of disaster cleanup after someone's health has fallen apart, restore and build health with proper diet, exercise and stress reduction; and once health has been restored, maintain it.

An RN told me about a man who came into the hospital where she worked with an abscessed tooth. The infection spread to his brain and put him into a coma. Eventually he died. For lack of dental care, he died. Dental plans these days don't cover much. Basic fillings, cleaning, extraction, dentures. They balk at paying for the dental services needed to keep teeth and gums healthy. Many dentists refuse to accept certain well known employer provided dental insurances because they don't get paid.

The way it works is this: Worker Jane pays xx$ outa every pay check for health care. Worker Jane gets sick, goes to Doctor X, and pays xx$ copay for a prescription. The health "provider" sends a bill for xxx$ to Worker Jane for the doctor visit. Worker Jane also pays xx$ to the pharmacy for the prescription drugs prescribed by Doctor X.

Unfortunately the drugs don't make Worker Jane feel better, so back she goes to Doctor X because he is in her health "network." Worker Jane has heard about acupuncture helping people with stress and chronic pain, and she'd like to try it, but--too bad, so sad--there are no acupuncture physicians covered by Worker Jane's health plan. Unless she moves to Europe.

Got frequent flyer miles?

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