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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • People Care actually worked for a while

  • If everything you read must be “politically correct”, then go ahead and stuff this column away in file 13 because it probably isn't going to make you very happy.After having written a couple of articles dealing with “Obama Care” I have been labeled by a few readers as an extreme left wing liberal. ...
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  • If everything you read must be “politically correct”, then go ahead and stuff this column away in file 13 because it probably isn’t going to make you very happy.
    After having written a couple of articles dealing with “Obama Care” I have been labeled by a few readers as an extreme left wing liberal. Nothing really could be further from the truth. I consider myself middle of the road when it comes to politics with slightly conservative leanings but I still vote for what the candidate stands for and not his or her party affiliation.
    To be painfully truthful, there are some really dumb Republicans and there are some really dumb Democrats. However, they all fall into one collective group called politicians, which almost automatically carries with it the stigma of mistrust.
    I am not going to use this week’s space to address the good and evil of our political system but to remind us all that at one time we all managed to survive without all of the bureaucracy that challenges us today.
    Before the train wreck that we know today as “Obama Care” we had a system I will refer to here as “People Care.” No, the system was far from perfect but somehow people, rich, poor, black and white, got medical attention in some form or another, especially in small towns like the one where I grew up.
    In the early 60s, Osceola had a population in the neighborhood of 6,500 to 8,000 people. During that period of time there were only three primary care physicians. I think we called them GPs or “General Practitioners”. They worked from sunup to sundown and it seemed like they almost never took a vacation.
    One of the doctors even opened a satellite clinic in a smaller community nearby.  He would go there on his “day off.” Of course there was a price to pay. The clinics were full from 8 a.m. until well after 6 p.m. almost every day of the week. So, in order to see these doctors a person would frequently have to sit in the office for hours on end.
    After lengthy days at the clinic, the Fairley brothers would make their night rounds at the local hospital. They also made home visits after hours to their patients that simply could not sit up at the clinic. Frequently, they would work on as little as three or four hours sleep. They did just about every thing a doctor could do except surgery. A Memphis surgeon would fly in once a week to handle the local operations on patients that simply could not be transported to the big city.
    Many of their patients were sharecroppers and the only payment they received came in the form of commodities and not necessarily cash.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Fairley doctors were probably two of the most well respected men in the community. There may have been a time when the doctor brothers had delivered a quarter of the city’s population. In fact there were more little boys named Julian and Eldon than were named after any pro athlete or Hollywood celebrity.
    I can also assure you there was no racial discrimination when it came to the treatment of their patients. The black community simply loved the Fairley doctors.
    There were no HIPPA laws back then. Everyone knew that Mrs. Smith had a bad case of arthritis. And the whole community was aware when there was a flu epidemic going around.
    Of course the system of “People Care” eventually collapsed under the weight of misuse and abuse. Too many people used their hospital insurance to provide them with an all-expense paid vacation at their policy carrier’s expense.
    Soon, health care expenses, with the aid of inflation began to rise sharply and soon spiraled out of control.
    Today, health care today is probably the No. 1 financial risk facing American families. I agree that everyone should have access to affordable insurance. One stay in the hospital can leave an individual or family with a lifetime debt.
    However, it appears that the personal attention that we once received from the local GP is almost as extinct as the horse and buggy. Now you must obtain the insurance company’s pre-authorization for many standard procedures and your doctor must report to your insurance company what meds and procedures he is treating you.
    No, you can’t label me as a liberal – I do not care for the big business of health care insurance – subsidized or private.

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