Covid 19

Why Can't the Democrats Get Anything Done?

Why Can’t The Democrats Get Anything Done?

                                    Robert A. Levine

America is in trouble in the aftermath of the Trump administration and the devastating effects of the Covid 19 epidemic. It is imperative that politicians in Washington recognize this and work to produce the required solutions.

The Democrats control both Houses of Congress, admittedly by small margins, as well as the presidency. Yet on the President’s most important policy issues, the Democrats in Congress cannot seem reach a consensus and pass the bills that Biden wants. The reason is simple. Unlike the monolithic Republicans who virtually all are in fealty to ex-President Trump’s whims, the Democratic Party is really two separate parties: the moderates and progressives. And so far, the progressives have been unwilling to compromise on their wants for the good of the party and the good of the nation.

The progressive’s unwillingness to compromise makes it even more likely that control of the House and probably the Senate will be taken over by the GOP in the 2022 elections. The party out of power is generally favored in mid-term elections and the Democrat’s lack of success in passing Biden’s infrastructure bill and human infrastructure bill gives the Republicans another issue to pile on the do-nothing-Democrats.

One would think that both the moderate and progressive wing would see the necessity of passing both infrastructure bills merely from a political standpoint. But they are even more important for the country itself in this era when our physical infrastructure is old and decrepit. Our physical infrastructure must be fixed if we are truly to remain a first world country and a leader of the West. However, the level of inequality in the United States is also higher than in any other advanced nation. This means that our social infrastructure, health care, education, child care, and so forth must also be fixed to make the nation fairer and to maximize the use of our man and woman power. In a complex world, with continuous competition with China and other autocratic nations, we must use our human resources wisely. And there is also the issue of climate change that is imperative to manage aggressively.

This brings up another problem that the nation has to address. America is not replacing its population base, as women are not having the 2.1 children on average that is necessary. Adequate child care and perhaps increased benefits for children might be an answer to that problem. However, currently, we are in the midst of a blue collar manpower shortage, with not enough truck drivers, mechanics, agricultural workers and so forth. Increased immigration with specific training programs might be able to help with this. However, we also need educated immigrants in the high-tech and biologic fields. The nation needs to open up the H-1B visa program to have more educated, high skilled immigrants come to America to work in these sectors. They tend to produce start-up companies and innovative ideas and are necessary for America to keep its edge. We also require more primary care physicians, especially in rural underserved areas and in the inner cities. Nurses and medical aides are also vitally needed with many having recently retired under the pressure of the Covid 19 epidemic.

As noted, there are lots of problems which the Democrats must solve while they control both Houses of Congress and the presidency. For the good of the nation and the good of the Party, it is time they got their act together with both sections of the Party working together. It would be even better if the Republicans faced reality and worked with the Democrats to solve the pressing problems. But that is a dream unlikely to occur in this era of abject partisanship.

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Setting Limits on the Treatment of Covid 19

Setting Limits on the Treatment of Covid 19                                                                                                                   

Robert A. Levine

Vaccinations have been a major medical advance, preventing many deaths and disabilities in various illnesses in the last two centuries. In today’s world, it defies belief that so many people refuse to accept scientific data and get vaccinated against Covid 19, particularly when they have already received so many other vaccines..

The conflict over Covid 19 vaccine mandates between the federal and state governments could be settled by physicians and nurses. These health care providers constantly put themselves in harm’s way to treat patients with Covid 19. In fact, many of them have been hospitalized after being infected with the disease and have died. From now on, doctors and nurses should refuse to treat any patient with Covid 19 who has not been vaccinated. Children who have not received the vaccine under parental guidance is another story and deserve accepted treatment if they are infected by Covid.

Physicians are supposed to treat any sick patients regardless of financial considerations, political or religious differences. However, physicians are also obligated to maximize public health and do what is proper for the greater good. With a highly infectious virus causing a pandemic and responsible for well over 600,000 deaths in America, it is incumbent upon physicians to see that their patients are vaccinated against this virus and also encourage patients to wear masks.

People who are not vaccinated are a danger to others in their communities as well as to themselves. Not obtaining the vaccine is a mark of selfishness and ignorance, not of freedom. Those who are unmasked in indoor settings are also a threat to public health and themselves, but masking cannot be sufficiently monitored to stop treatment of these people. Aside from causing unnecessary deaths and illnesses in other people by infecting them with Covid 19, and driving up the cost of health care, the unvaccinated also prevent patients with different illnesses and accidents from receiving necessary care. This occurs because unvaccinated patients who are sick use up limited resources such as ICU beds, ER beds, physicians’ time, ventilators and so forth. Why should physicians waste their time, effort and medical resources, and place themselves in danger to treat patients who did not care enough about other people to take the proper preventive measures themselves. It is also strange that unvaccinated patients who refused to be vaccinated are willing to be treated when sick with monoclonal antibodies.

There are some physicians who will disagree with this stance and say they are ethically obligated to treat any sick patient. But they are also obligated to consider the public health in the measures they take and this means pressuring unvaccinated patients to get the vaccine. Government alone will not be able to force the one third of the population that remains unvaccinated to be vaccinated. They need to be pushed by all health care providers refusing to treat patients who have not taken the proper preventive measures to maximize public health and end this pandemic. It is a necessary step to take to help the community at large, the unvaccinated themselves, people with other serious illnesses who cannot receive treatment, and the hospital staffs. Aside from health concerns, the economy will also be bolstered if the vast majority of the population is vaccinated.


Who Pays for Those Unvaccinated

Who Pays For Those Unvaccinated                                                                                                                                                                                        Robert A. Levine

We do. The entire population of the United States pays the price for those who are unvaccinated. The payment occurs in several ways. Those who are unvaccinated and become infected with Covid 19 can be hosts in which the virus can mutate, producing more variants which can be more deadly and more contagious. This is what happened with the delta variant which fortunately appears to be blocked by vaccinations. Thus those who are vaccinated appear unlikely to catch the disease and transmit it to others, though it still may be carried in the nasal passages by some. Unvaccinated individuals besides getting sick can also spread Covid 19 to those who are immune compromised and are impaired or unable to make antibodies to fight the disease. And in the future, it is possible that a mutant variant may override vaccination protection.

We also pay financially for those who are unvaccinated, catch Covid 19 and have to be hospitalized. Whether they are in the ICU or on the wards, their hospitalizations can be extremely costly, hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. If they have Medicare or Medicaid, the government pays the hospital bills for these patients with taxpayer dollars, yours and mine. If they have Medicare and supplementary insurance, the latter kicks in to pay some portion of the bills. If the patients have private health insurance, either paid for privately, or through their employer, the insurance will pay most of the bill aside from the co-pays and deductibles which may be quite expensive. This means that to remain financially solvent, Medicare and insurance companies may have to raise their prices in the future to cover the costs of Covid in those who are unvaccinated.

And many hospitals will lose money and possibly need federal support if their Covid patients are not covered by any insurance. Hospitals have also lost money by stopping elective procedures and surgery during the Covid pandemic when everything was focused on caring for Covid.

Since large swaths of the nation remain unvaccinated and that is their right, the rest of Americans should not have to bear the cost for them when they are sick and see a physician or are hospitalized. Perhaps legislation is needed, but it would certainly make sense for Medicare and private insurance companies not to pay for Covid or Covid related expenses in those who refuse to be vaccinated. They are certainly free to remain unvaccinated, but why should taxpayers have to foot their hospital bills and why should insurance bills increase for those who have taken proper precautions and been vaccinated. 

Science has shown that vaccination can prevent serious Covid 19 infections in about 95 percent of recipients. Why should those who disregard science for one or another reason be given a free ride if they are stricken with Covid and have to be hospitalized?  Why should the government and insurance companies pay for their desire not to be vaccinated and protect themselves and those with whom they are in contact? State legislatures or the federal government should act on this issue soon and perhaps the possible financial burden will encourage more people to be vaccinated than did protecting their health and regard for those around them.                                        www.robertlevinebooks.com                                                                                                                       Buy The Uninformed Voter on Barnes and Noble or Amazon