A Rant on American Health Care

Jim McGraw at the Kauffman Foundation.png

A Rant on American Health Care
December 5th, 2019
My Dad is 87 years old. He lives in Kansas City. My parents, Mom is
also 87, grew up in Minneapolis and have been married for 68.5
They worked hard and moved a lot. They were working for and
attaining eventually, the American Dream. And no, George Carlin,
you don’t have to be asleep to believe in it.
My parents became very adept at moving. I remember the orange
Allied Moving Vans showing up with regularity to move our family
around the Midwest as my parents chased that American dream.
Eventually they ended up in Lincoln, Nebraska where I spent most of
my youth. My younger sister and brother and I went to Catholic
schools and received a very good education. My parents always
made sure that we could walk to school from our house. They didn’t
believe in busing.
I suppose that our generation will be the last one to be taught by
nuns, and I find that very sad. Though of course, we tortured the
nuns constantly in grade school and junior high. Where they found
the patience to deal with our shenanigans is beyond me.
My parents moved on to New Jersey as my Dad found a good job
with a pharmaceutical firm there in the early ’70’s. I stayed behind
in Lincoln and had my own Midwestern adventures.
My Dad told me a year ago or so while we were in Las Vegas, a story
from hist time in New Jersey. He was called into the office at the big
pharmaceutical firm in New Jersey by his boss who was a very loud
fellow. This man demanded that, “You will make the numbers come
out right, or you are fired!”
My Dad decided that perhaps this wasn’t the right company for him.
Then a head hunter came by and told my parents about a job
opportunity back in Kansas City. Mom loved New Jersey and didn’t
want to move. Dad said, “I’ll fly to KC and see what they have to say.
These are our demands. They don’t meet them. We’ll stay here in
Well, Mr. K met my Dad’s demands and my parents moved back to
KC in the late ’70’s.
The company owned by Mr. K was a mess! Lots of useless product
lines and bad accounting practices.
I drove down from Lincoln to help paint their new home in KC and I
was shocked by how bad my Dad looked. He was pale, overweight,
totally stressed out by his new job.
I was in my twenties and my parents were in their forties. Mom
asked me to help out which is why I was there.
Mom and Dad, it is always a team effort with them; turned around
MR. K’s company. Slowly but surely the company grew into a billion
dollar a year in sales operation.
Dad flew a lot to Europe and Japan. It wasn’t easy. Dad insisted on
honest accounting and good products. Kindness and empathy were
his models. He was a student of “How to Make Friends and Influence
People” by Dale Carnegie.
And the secretaries and warehousemen and production workers and
salesman who hung onto their shares of company stock, which they
received as part of their pay; became millionaires.
Mr. K became a billionaire.
My Dad and Mom didn’t get some big multi million dollar parachute
when Mr. K’s company merged with another. Oh, no; it was the stock
options that my Dad insisted up on when he was hired that gave
them a few bucks. Mr. K wasn’t particularly generous. But he was
willing to share the wealth with those who helped make it.
Mr. K was willing to make all of the associates at his company equity
partners in the firm. This motivated the workers.
And every three months Mr. K and my Dad would bus all of the
associates to an auditorium and tell the workers HONESTLY how the
company was doing. What were the goals. What were the challenges.
What were the numbers. NO SECRETS.
The stock price went through the roof. When Mr. K’s company was
bought out by firm D, it took 1,000 workers at Mr. K’s company to
make a billion bucks, but 3,000 workers at the D company to make
the same billion bucks in sales.
So my parents retire for twenty years to Georgia. All is well, but age
does catch up to us all.
Mom and Dad decided to move back to Kansas City for their last
years. Good friends there and good medical care (they thought.)
My Dad caught viral pneumonia a month ago. He coughed his lungs
out for 15 hours. His back and chest are still sore.
Dad was first sent to the hospital, where the care was lousy. Bad
nurses, bad doctors, bad medicine, and Dad lost his mobility. He
was now in a wheel chair.
Then he was moved to a rehabilitation center where he was
supposed to recover from the pneumonia and get physical therapy
so he could walk again.
My Dad has been in this place for three weeks and has had 8 days of
physical therapy. The holidays and weekends mean no staff for
therapy. And two days ago, the therapist tore my Dad’s back
muscles so now he can’t do therapy again and he’s back in the wheel
My Dad is stuck in his room like a prisoner. He has severe back pain
and they only give him Tylenol. He’s an optimistic guy, but he’s
getting depressed.
Mom is working hard to bring him meals every day and try and find
a better place for him to go. Of course all that the staff at the rehab
center talks about is how the Medicare payments will stop next
Tuesday and from then on, Mom and Dad have to pay every day for
his care.
And that’s where we are right now.
Those liberals who want Medicare for all should go through what
my Dad is going through.
Medical care in the USA SUCKS!
My wife and I went through this same scenario with her parents for
three years with home care and memory care facilities.
Medical care in the USA SUCKS!
But hey! Aren’t those soldiers great! Send out another big flag and
send over the planes above the stadiums! Support our military.
A country that doesn’t care about its elders or its children is
America is this country.
America is way in debt, always at war, the education system SUCKS!
The medical care system SUCKS! The highways SUCK! The airports
SUCK! The media SUCKS! The legal system SUCKS!
And my parents who helped make this country a better place in an
honest kind caring way; a hard working way… are now treated like
bums… well, worse than bums. The bums in San Francisco get
money and free needles for their heroin addiction. My Dad could
use some heroin for his pain, but no…
So yeah, America is the “exceptional nation”.
It is exceptionally bad.
Tim McGraw

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