Pass Galbraith marijuana bill to aid in cancer fight
Kentucky's governor is interested in programs and policies that would bring down the horrific cancer rate of the Bluegrass state.
Currently, the state sees more than 24,000 cases of cancer each year. Around 9,500 Kentuckians die from cancer every year.
Kentucky's lung cancer rate is 49 percent higher than the other states' and we have one of the highest colon and rectal cancer death rates in the nation.
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Gov. Steve Beshear announced the formation of the Kentucky Cancer Foundation to make cancer screenings more affordable.
While I applaud his efforts, he could probably do more to lower Kentucky's cancer rate than he could imagine just by supporting Senate Bill 129, the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act.
Despite the federal government's claim that marijuana has no medical value, there are a number of reliable studies and research to show that the notion of marijuana as a cancer preventer and cure is now within the realm of objective science. This information is all readily available at Mpp.org and Norml.org.
Yet, the government has chosen to ignore or suppress this information in order to continue the irrational war on marijuana users.
Passing SB 129 would end Kentucky's participation in this charade and allow Kentucky's research facilities, hospitals and institutions of higher learning to work finding all the secrets of this new medicine.
Chained to the oars
In their recent column, Dr. Kevin Kavanagh and Helen Bukulmez state: "The primary loyalty of a physician should always be to the patient and not to an employer."
How sad that it even needs to be said.
Doctors are at their best when they make their patients happy, and hospitals are at their best when they make their doctors happy.
In an ideal world, the doctor's customer is the patient, and the hospital's customer is the doctor.
The doctor is accountable for his skills, and the hospital is accountable for its facilities and its staff.
In a competitive health care market, if a doctor does a lousy job, he loses patients. If a hospital does a lousy job, it loses doctors, admissions, market share and money.
Competition breeds excellence and lowers costs, but competition is being bred out of the health care system.
The government is centralizing medical care, turning our hospitals and the insurance industry into regulated fiefdoms (accountable care organizations) that will generate guaranteed profits.
Below-cost government reimbursement is inducing physicians to become hospital employees, chained to the oars but shielded from competitive pressures and guaranteed an income. Employed doctors guarantee hospital income.
The employed physician may be asked to maximize profits for his ACO, creating conflicts of interest. A certain drug or procedure may be better for his patient, but it may not be "worth it" to the ACO.
Tomorrow's doctors will be rowing, not steering, and tomorrow's patients won't like the ride.
Cameron S. Schaeffer, M.D.
Is it about Catholic votes?
First, the Republicans complained about President Barack Obama feeding the poor children, which is what Christians are supposed to do.
Now, because Obama wants to have birth control paid for by the big insurance companies (for women who have jobs) and the government (paying for women who are unemployed), the Republicans are complaining again. Why?
Do they want all the Catholic votes? Is it that the more big insurance companies pay out, the less campaign money they will receive?
Wouldn't it be less expensive for the insurance companies to pay for birth control, than to pay claims for the children until the age of 18?
Did Obama shoot himself in the foot concerning the Catholic vote? Any insurance plan the Catholic hospitals have will surely have an exclusion on birth control because of the church's beliefs. Everybody understands this.
Any non-Catholic female employed by the hospitals will pay for this herself, with a prescription from her doctor, or get free birth control at the health department. These female employees will be grateful to have a job.
Alberta J. Toomey
Tax the bullets
One more school shooting. Another deranged person who should never have been allowed to own a gun.
Guns don't kill people, people kill people? They don't seem to understand that guns make it much easier for people to kill people.
For a democracy to succeed people need to have rights, but they also need to have responsibilities. The National Rifle Association talks a lot about the right to gun ownership but it is never willing to take responsibility for the carnage created by people who are able to get guns easily for the express purpose of killing other people. Instead, the NRA wants no regulations on gun ownership.
It is time to put a carnage tax on the sale of bullets so that gun owners can take responsibility for their right to bear arms.
The tax would go toward a fund to pay all expenses caused by irresponsible gun ownership — such as lifelong medical costs for a gang member paralyzed in a shootout, or the legal defense of Gabrielle Giffords' shooter.
It would be like auto insurance in which good drivers pay higher rates to subsidize the costs created by accidents caused by bad drivers.
Now, the general public pays this cost. I am tired of subsidizing this transfer of wealth from non-gun owners to the victims of irresponsible gun owners.
This would add a lot to the cost of a bullet but it is a small responsibility to take in return for the continuation of the right to unregulated gun ownership.
On backs of the poor
This year, Civil War-era analogies make more sense the more you read. For example, Mitt Romney's recent pronouncements on poor people remind me of Jefferson Davis' archaic defenses of slavery.
On Jan. 10, Romney explained his conviction that low taxes on the wealthy is a natural law of economics. "What I know is, if they do that (raise taxes on the wealthy), they'll substitute envy for ambition and they'll poison the very spirit of America and keep us from being one nation under God."
Then, he followed up that conviction with this corollary on Feb. 1: "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it."
The conditional word "if" makes it clear to us that Romney sees nothing that needs repair, however.
So, apparently, Romney assumes that poverty is the natural station in life for some folks. It's their burden to bear. Hard work at low pay builds character in the strongest.
In 1859, Davis defended slavery like this. "If slavery be a sin, it is not yours. It does not rest on your action for its origin, on your consent for its existence. It is a common law right to property in the service of man. Its origin was Divine decree."
The problem I see in both Romney's and Davis' visions of economic progress is their high tolerance for the suffering of those who would do the back-breaking work.