Jun 212011
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

Medicare is a federal health entitlement program that’s buckling under increased financial strain right as the baby boomer generation prepares to enter retirement. And the long-term sustainability of Medicare is openly questionable, as is its impact on the health of the nation dismantling the program.

The heath care debate has been a “hot item issue” in our country for as long as most can remember. The funding for health programs — as well as the mechanism by which they are funded — has been shifted, manipulated and shamelessly placed under attack, no matter what shade of political glasses we wear.

There was a brief amount of time this year when the “silent sisters” within the healthcare and public health system were on the verge of being taken seriously.

Remember when Congresswoman Gabriel Giffords was shot? For weeks after the tragedy, the nation was glued to the issue of mental health, and everyone thought, “something had to be done.”

But what has been done? And of the small efforts, do they have the legs of long-term changes in mental health management? Or are they simply another stimulus package dressed in Change’s and Hope’s clothing?

Lately, I consider the issue of healthcare in our country to be nearly a lost cause in the current political climate. This week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that there is no foreign policy solution that can withstand changes in the executive branch unless it has bipartisan support.

I think the same holds true for the healthcare debate, and for good reason — the management of a healthcare solution (similar to our foreign policy and economy) seems to be treated the same way we Americans tend to diet: Once we lose the weight, we tend to go back to the way things were. Then subsequently, we regress back to the same behaviors that initially caused the problem.

Our country is in a time where unemployment levels are erratic, and the funding and value of higher education are being openly questioned; the combination of these results in both current and graduated students passing each other in the streets yelling, “It’s a jungle out there!”

For example, the CSU Office of Adult Learners and Veterans Services estimates that more than 1,000 of the “non-traditional” students this fall will be single parents. More than 1,000 students who — aside from the studying, financial aid worries, group projects and final exams that go along with higher education — will add the adventure of parenthood to the schedule.

At CSU, a 5K race around the oval is in the works for July 9 to help raise money and awareness for a health fund supporting CSU’s Student Parent Community — an act of great community and support.

Sadly, the larger picture of health across our nation is not nearly as united.

Blame can only be spread so thin, and as the saying goes, “When you point a finger, there are three more pointing back at you.”

The springtime talks of having “adult conversations” about budget and healthcare certainly seem to have been cooled off by the ice cream cones of summer.

Yet, the challenges, concerns and insecurities of basic access to affordable health care are burdening businesses and individuals alike, to the point of a stalled economy stalemate that perpetuates the moniker of “medi-scare.”

As Defense Secretary Gates begins his retirement, maybe he will declare war on the lack of a feasible bipartisan healthcare policy by taking his message of “sustainability through bipartisanship” to the politicians overseeing the health of our nation.

Because what good is a long-term healthcare program that only lasts four to eight years?

Phoenix Mourning-Star is a graduate researcher at CSU. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 12:36 pm

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