A reader writes …

Bill Corfield, Reasonable Conversation blogger, emailed me a tale I just have to share.

I’ve worked as a full time musician for the last 16 years in the Dayton metro area. I cater to the older crowd and provide high quality entertainment in dozens of long term care facilities, nursing homes, senior centers, adult day care centers, etc. during the week. On the weekends, I do a lot of club work for dances, private parties and functions at Wright Patt Air Force Base.

My interest in HC issues/reform started about 3 years ago when after performing at an area nursing home, I was approached by an older woman who was crying. I’ve played for this lady for many years, I used to play for her husband at the same place before he passed away a year or so ago. I gave her a hug and asked her what was wrong? She said she probably wouldn’t see me again and that she was very sad about that. I asked her why? She explained that her son told her earlier that morning that Sean Hannity explained how Obama’s “death panels” were going to work. Since she was so old, he (Obama) was going to cut her care, thereby hastening her demise.

I assured her that her son was wrong. I sat with her for 30 minutes trying to calm her down. I then went to the Social Services person and explained what happened. She went immediately to the lady and confirmed what I’d told her. She settled down and seemed to believe us. I left and felt outraged on the drive home. I shared the experience with my wife, an advanced practice nurse in adult health, who was also angered by it. A good, decent old lady had been hurt by what passes for news. I tried to contact her son but that went nowhere. He didn’t want to hear what I had to say about his misinformation.

I decided that day that I was going to educate myself as much as I could on this issue. These seniors and their families are common folks…a lot of farmers around here. Most of the people in my audiences don’t even know what the internet is, let alone how to do research on HC policy. I had no idea to what end my research would serve, but I had a strong urge to learn enough to separate fact from fiction. I’ve followed Aaron’s blog since day one, yours since shortly before Aaron joined forces with you. I’ve slugged my way through OECD reports, Kaiser Foundation, RW Johnson stuff, etc., TR Reid’s book, the Marcia Angell book on Big pharma, and a few by Atul Guwande. Its slow going, but I’m getting there…

Maybe someday I can speak to local senior groups or something on where we are with HC, who knows? Its very important to me that you guys stay motivated with your work. There are people like me, I imagine, all around who are trying to make sense of this stuff. People like you and Aaron are hugely important.

Love to buy you guys a beer some day…

Bill, I would be honored to have a beer with you.

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