Confehr: A trifecta of reform, openness and peace

Friday, March 26, 2010

It didn't seem crazy when he said it.

Our colorful county commission chairman opined that someday someone might sign up for health insurance while being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance away from a wreck.

Why not? You can't be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.

It could happen. Crash victims are asked where they want to go. My brother-in-law was asked. He had a particular illness. He took a paramedic's advice on where to go. Of course he was my late brother-in-law.

Dr. George Bone, a Lewisburg surgeon, returned my call for comments on health care reform signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday. The press was about to run. We didn't stop it. Read Bone's view now.

"What's going to happen?" he asked. "If you have to buy health insurance and don't and so you pay a fine, but what if the fine is less than the health insurance?"

Then the insurance pool shrinks; even more if the fine goes to the government and the insurance fund is saddled with debt. Then the system goes broke so the government takes over. Bone calls it creeping socialism.

He was in Great Britain's National Health Service. The British press is investigating poorly run hospitals and finding patients dying because cleaning costs were cut.

He's dismayed, not because of medical issues here, but "because of the social side of things," Bone said. "America is a beacon in the world" because of our rugged independence.

Meanwhile, this county's Republican Party chairwoman says health care reform looks like the issue that will drive people to the polls in November to return the GOP to the majority in Congress. The county's Democratic Party chairman wouldn't see it that way.

Here's what I think. The November election is less than eight months away. That's practically a lifetime in politics.

Suppose the Israelis decide to attack Iran and there's another six-day war over there like the one in 1967? And suppose it does not require intervention by our troops, who by then will be returning, or scheduled to be home for Christmas?


In four months, early voting will have started for the county general election and the parties' primaries for state and federal posts.

Monday night, we grabbed a hamburger at Mopey's on Nashville Highway where there were five county commissioners waiting for their supper after the monthly commission meeting.

It's probably a stretch to say their discussion about getting a used fire truck moved from Rhode Island to Caney Springs was deliberation toward a decision on county government business.

Tennessee's open meetings law calls for government decisions to be made in public. The five commissioners may have independently decided on that restaurant and they may never have discussed anything like creating a new economic development board. There's enough distrust to go around and it might affect local results that a six-day war wouldn't affect.

As for me, I choose to publicize the Caney Springs Fire Department fundraising barbecue 5-7 p.m. at the Caney Springs Baptist Church because they need the truck.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.