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And yet with globalization, we seem to have developed a strange apprehension about the efficacy of our ability to apply the innovation and hard work necessary to successfully compete in a complex security and economic environment. Further, we have misunderstood interdependence as a weakness rather than recognizing it as a strength. The key to sustaining our competitive edge, at home or on the world stage, is credibility — and credibility is a difficult capital to foster. It cannot be won through intimidation and threat, it cannot be sustained through protectionism or exclusion. Credibility requires engagement, strength, and reliability — imaginatively applied through the national tools of development, diplomacy, and defense.
Working in a hospital tends to teach people to keep their emotions pretty much under control — at least while they’re on the job. But tonight I came about as close to losing it as I ever have.
I was admitting a patient who needed in-patient attention because she was so sick from the side effects of chemo that she was getting dehydrated. She was down to about 88 pounds and was so weak that walking the short distance to the bathroom was almost too much for her. In the process of the admission interview, we are required to ask patients whether they have any concerns about paying for medications or their hospitalization.
Her answer was: “Oh yes! The state just threw me off of Medicaid. I ended up on Medicare, but I have no Part D, so I have to pay for all my own meds.” (This included her chemo.) “I’ve tried and tried to call my case worker but the phone just rings and rings most times. If I am able to get through, all I can do is leave a voice mail. And the case worker never calls back.”
I assured her that the Social Service people would get on the case and advised her to let them fight the battle for her while she got some rest.
Inside, I was boiling.
This is not “austerity.” This is murder.
How Kasich and his Tea Party cronies could expect this frail, very ill woman to navigate through the systematic and deliberately neglectful maze they had set up is beyond me. I’m sure the medicaid case workers have ridiculously unrealistic caseloads. I doubt that they are intentionally refusing to return her calls. No. The blame for this horror story doesn’t fall on the patient, the case worker, the hospital, or the Department of Job and Family Services.
There should be an especially hot corner of the Great Eternal E-Z Bake reserved for that crew, comes the REAL rapture.
Both the ancient Greeks and Romans valued wise and public-spirited citizens. Let’s see just how wise you really are? Are you a Barbarian, Philosopher King, or something in-between?