Not since WW II has this nation been so united against a common threat—the coronavirus—that has exposed the deep inequities, disparities and divisions within our society. These problems have been with us for decades, churning just below the surface, out of sight but always present; masked by a debt-financed economy that has allowed us to avoid mustering the political will and community solidarity necessary to address them. Today we are presented with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to capture this sense of unity; to ensure that it does not simply fade away once the crisis diminishes; but can be harnessed and carried forward as the foundation for building more equity and resiliency into our future.
As we all struggle to adapt to social distancing, I came across this opinion piece by E.J Montini, published in the Arizona Republic. It offers a thoughtful perspective on our new normal through the words of Edward Abbey. Old Ed is one of my favorite Western writers and he provided ample fodder for many of my speeches over the years: “Growth for growth sake is the ideology of the cancer cell.” “One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain’t nothin’ can beat teamwork.” “Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while, then a layer of scum floats to the top.” I hope you enjoy it.
Without bringing some degree of financial support and certainty to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs as a direct result of the necessary efforts to contain the spread of COVID 19, we risk unleashing the darker consequences of panic, blame and desperation that haunt those who cannot meet their most basic needs and see no hope for tomorrow—the loss of social cohesiveness and the disintegration of our communities.
I am adding my voice to those of my colleagues in the medical community, as well as many other Oregonians, in support of the immediate issuance of a strong and unambiguous statewide order to shelter at home. Given our current lack of both an effective vaccine or the capacity to conduct widespread testing for the virus, such an order offers the most aggressive intervention action available to prevent, or at least delay, hospital overload.
The spread of the coronavirus in Oregon is a true emergency and yet it offers us an opportunity—an opportunity to remember that we are truly all in this together, that the virus does not respect income, partisanship or political ideology; and that by facing this challenge together, as a caring and compassionate Oregon community, we will surely weather this storm and emerge stronger and more united than when we began.
I wanted to share this link to a podcast on Transforming Health Care for Kindergarten Readiness that I did recently for the Oregon Children’s Institute. We know that among the factors that contribute most to lifetime health status, our medical system is a relatively minor contributor. Far more important are things like healthy pregnancies, housing, nutrition, stable families, safe […]
The Democratic debates demonstrate how central health care will be in the 2020 election. Whether this debate leads to meaningful relief for the millions of families struggling under the financial burden of medical care depends largely on how the issue is framed and on the clarity with which we see our policy goal. Here are five observations that may help.
If we are to be successful in effectively addressing the socioeconomic and racial inequities and health disparities that continue to plague our society, the sources that lead to these adverse outcomes must be identified as early as possible during the first 1,000 days of life (from conception to age two), when the foundations of optimum health, growth, and neurodevelopment are established.
For decades, the national health care debate has focused largely on our acute care medical system; and gridlocked because neither Republicans nor Democrats assume any change in the health care delivery model: we either pay for it or we don’t, creating a false choice between cost and access. Moving beyond this gridlock requires a new way to both frame this challenge and to evaluate the various proposals being advanced to address it.