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Inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama

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Inspirations come in all shapes and sizes. Today, I listened to first lady Michelle Obama give a speech that hugely inspired me. Her speech made me stop to think about my current situation. Her words resonated well with me because it was as if she were talking to me directly.

I sat a few feet away from the first lady as she said, “President Obama wants to help make college affordable for all Americans.” As fate would have it, the first lady gave her speech at Arapahoe High School, which is the high school my daughter graduated from in 2008. My daughter just graduated from Pepperdine University in last April, and I am very proud of her accomplishments, but even with a substantial scholarship, she still has a large number of loans she has to pay back. Honestly, I felt very bad because I encouraged her to attend Pepperdine, but after listening to first lady Michelle Obama, I realized I should not feel guilty for encouraging my daughter to attend a top notch university. I agree with Ms.Obama: as Americans we should not have to go into a huge amount of debt to send our children to college. College should be affordable for all who want to attend. I also think students who have completed their college in a reasonable amount of time should not have to incur a high interest rate on their student loans.

Ms.Obama made a second profound statement that jolted my thinking. This time around, I had to hold back tears as memories of my youngest son flashed back to me like neon lights. She said, “President Obama wants every American to have health insurance. No family should have to go bankrupt in order to provide emergency health care for their family.”

Again, for a second time, I concur with first lady Michelle Obama. There is nothing more terrifying than for a mother to watch her child come near death because of a medical emergency. My son’s illness was the worst curve ball ever thrown my way. If  I had not had health insurance, the one night my son had to spend in the ICU would have been enough to bankrupt me. I am sure the total of nine days he was in the hospital added up very quickly.

I am glad president Obama is relentless in his desire to help make health insurance available for all Americans. The naysayers may label him a socialist, but he is only doing what should have been done a long time ago.

The words of Michelle Obama will reside in my heart and soul for a very long time. I am very fortunate that it took me five minutes to drive from my house to go listen to such inspirational words.

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About Nicole Weaver

Nicole weaver is an award-winning author. Her first trilingual book Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle was published in 2009. Her love for languages and other cultures resulted in publishing the award-winning book, My Sister Is My Best Friend which was published in 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing. My Sister Is My Best Friend has won the following awards: 2012 Creative Child Awards Program consisting of moms and educators has awarded this book the 2012 PREFERRED CHOICE AWARD Kids Picture Storybooks category. 2012 Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval 2012 Children's Literary Classics Gold Award Readers' Favorite 5 Star Review Her newest book , My Brother Is My Best Friend was also published by Guardian Angel Publishing, January 2014.
  • Igor

    The USA desperately needs Universal HealthCare. The current system is an expensive luxury to support the myth that health insurance can be fully privatised.

    What we have is a ‘Potemkin’ system: an illusion of private enterprise (Potemkin was Catherine the Greats lover/husband, a General who was expert at constructing fake battlements as a ruse to mislead and confuse enemies. The Soviets were famous for their Potemkin Villages which foreign dignitaries were lead thru, and in which Russians had even more luxurious lives than Americas middleclass citizens).

    In the USA we spend about 20% of GDP, about $2.5trillion, every year on health cost. If we could reduce that to about 10%, which is typical for modern advanced societies with UHC, we would make about a trillion dollars a year available as savings.

    That’s several thousand a year for EVERY family, good health or bad.

    Our fake private health system is an expensive luxury we can no longer afford.


  • Clav

    UHC will almost certainly increase mortality rates for various diseases as well. For example, far more men die of prostate cancer in Europe than in the USA; that ratio will change as we adopt more “cost effective” procedures for treating that disease. Cost effective, but not outcome effective.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Riiiiiight. That’s why America’s what, something like 37th on the list of nations by life expectancy, and all but one of the nations with higher life expectancies DO have universal health care?

    But don’t let little things like hard FACTS get in the way of your non-fact-based beliefs, now.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    BTW, Clavos, when you point out higher death rates of certain types of cancer, you’re committing the logical fallacy of poisoning the well. Why? Because you’re ignoring the big picture, that universal health care is NOT simply about one or two kinds of cancer, but about ensuring that people can go to the doctor and get something checked out BEFORE it becomes incurable.

    I know that probably makes no sense to you, but the difference in national life expectancies are stark.

    And you can see the difference here in America as well. In America, what’s the state with the longest-lived people? Hawaii. And guess what? Hawaii HAS UHC for everyone with at least a part-time job. And what states have the lowest life expectancies? Generally, the ones with the lowest rates of health insurance for the people…almost all of which are RED states, and mostly in the South.

    But of course none of this will make any difference whatsoever. Why? Because it’s the liberals who want it. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a good or a bad thing for America – it’s the simple fact that the liberals want it that most Republicans refuse to consider it.

  • troll

    …well – properly speaking ‘poisoning the well’ is a legitimate if heavy handed rhetorical device that is only fallacious when based on some other logical error like ad hominen argument

    interestingly – in this sense while Clavos’ #2 is not fallacious Glenn Contrarian’s #4 might be

  • Clav

    But of course none of this will make any difference whatsoever. Why? Because it’s the liberals who want it. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a good or a bad thing for America – it’s the simple fact that the liberals want it that most Republicans refuse to consider it.

    Of course. I’m a stupid, tunnel-visioned libertarian, so if you and Obama want it, I’m agin it. A plurality of ‘murricans are that stupid in regard to Obama’s version of UHC.

    The point about prostate cancer, from which I am a twelve year survivor, is all true and verifiable. Had I been European when I was diagnosed, I’d be dead now. Medical (not political) fact.

    Here’s an excerpt from an article on the BBC NEWS website:

    “It meant an American man was four times more likely to survive prostate cancer than an Algerian, while a Japanese man was six times more likely to survive colon cancer.
    Poland, Slovenia, Brazil and Estonia had survival rates half as good as the best performers.
    The results closely mirrored the amount each country was spending on health during the period.” (Emphasis added)

  • Clav

    More from the above Beeb article:

    “The study showed the US had the highest five-year survival rates for breast cancer at 83.9% and prostate cancer at 91.9%.
    Japan came out best for male colon and rectal cancers, at 63% and 58.2% respectively, while France fared best for women with those cancers at 60.1% and 63.9%.
    The UK had 69.7% survival for breast cancer, just above 40% for colon and rectal cancer for both men and women and 51.1% for prostate cancer.”

    In short, survival rates for PCa:

    US: 91.9%
    UK: 51.1%

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    Did you not get what I said? Cancer is only ONE PART of health care – if it weren’t, America wouldn’t be so far down on the list of nations ordered by life expectancy, now would we?

    But we ARE. Why? Because instead of going to the doctor to take care of whatever ails us, tens of millions of Americans have to choose to pay the rent instead. And then what happens? One’s health care gets put off and put off and put off until one has to go to the ER (where the taxpayer winds up paying three times the price of a regular doctor’s appt)…and all too often the illness or condition has worsened to the point where they now have a permanent condition…or a terminal condition.

    Stop poisoning the well and look at the BIG picture, the OVERALL numbers, Clav. If all you look at are the cancer treatments (which all too often are NOT available to Americans without health insurance), then all you’re doing is looking at the trees and ignoring the forest.

  • Clav

    I got it, Glenn. And I read all of the report (and several other reports as well) and found similar numbers in regard to a number of diseases; the PCa numbers are just an example.

    What you don’t get is that the longevity rates you have been overquoting ad infinitum and ad nauseam, have much more to do with lifestyles than with the state of our medicine, which while admittedly expensive, is still much superior to the rest of the world’s, including so-called first world countries, as evidenced by the large number of inbound medical tourists we receive every year. Our outbound medical tourism, by contrast, isn’t looking for better medicine, it’s looking for cheaper medicine, often in tragic ignorance of the old adage that you get what you pay for.

    What drags our longevity down is we have among the worst lifestyles in the world; we overeat, don’t exercise (we drive everywhere; far more than any Europeans), the driving also results in huge numbers of traffic deaths, we even shoot each other more than other countries, a substantial portion of the population ODs every year,and far too many expectant mothers are completely ignorant of the necessity for prenatal care (or uncaring — or both), birthing sickly (and drug-addicted) babies, most of whom die shortly after birth (and thus contribute disproportionately to the longevity numbers. If you think this last category isn’t significant, talk to any pediatric nurse, who, like my wife, has spent 30 years in a NICU, observing the carnage directly.

  • Wow! Very interesting comments, thanks to all who have commented so far.

  • That’s some pretty selective and not a little dodgy data you’re looking at Clavos.

    As the BBC article clearly states, the UK data was from the 1990s, aka some 20 years ago.

    For more recent data, here is a table that shows that the UK has low numbers of deaths per 100,000 population compared to the USA, 253.5 deaths per 100k, with the United States coming in at 9th place with 321.9 per 100k, which is 30% worse; it is data from 2000.

    If you don’t like that source, this article in the Guardian from last year shows that the USA is one of the ten worst countries in the world for cancer rates and as this article shows, there is huge variation in survival rates within the USA between both states and races.

    Cancer is obviously a terrible disease as it is basically one’s own body running amok and we are fortunate that so many good people are devoting their lives to learning how to defeat it.

  • Clav

    As the BBC article clearly states, the UK data was from the 1990s, aka some 20 years ago

    True. As is the data from your WebMD source here; in fact it appears to be from the exact same research.

    As for the data indicating the US among the ten worst cancer survivability rates in the world, I refer you back to my comment to Glenn, in particular the remarks about US lifestyles. Cancer is often a lifestyle-induced disease.

    Oh, and data from 2000 is newer than 90s data by as little as one year.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav –

    You’ll never hear me disagree about how our lifestyle affects our longevity – you’re absolutely right that we’ve got one of the worst lifestyles in the world.

    BUT you’re forgetting that’s only half the battle. The other have is access to quality medical care. We DO have the very best medical care in the world bar none…for those who can afford it or whose insurance allows them to get it.

    Problem is, there’s three elephants in the room: one’s our lifestyle (where you and I agree). The other two are (1) that we have (without Obamacare) close to fifty million with zero health insurance coverage, and (2) our oh-so-great health insurance companies all too often deny care due to “lifetime caps”, “prior health issues”, and “we just don’t cover that” (which is often applied to the single most important type of medical care – preventative care).

    In other words, our lifestyle is only one of three major factors affecting our life expectancy. I’ll even give that it’s the biggest factor, but the other two put together are every bit as important as our lifestyle.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And lots of kudos to your wife – my wife’s a nurse and my youngest son spent 10 days in NICU (3 lbs 14 oz at birth). Your wife’s helping children live who wouldn’t have stood a chance thirty years ago.

  • Hey Clav,
    You have made some pretty solid points. Way to go!

  • Clavos, the WebMD article was included to add more context to the BBC article, not contradict it or you.

    My point is that you are cherry picking partial data to suit your argument, not looking at the available data to find out what the argument is…