Richard Nixon

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I never paid a great deal of attention to politics, until I realized that health care had become politics.

I may be the last of a generation that learned, in medical school in France, that the responsibility of a doctor was to keep a record of cash transactions, something best done in a bound notebook with no pages ripped out, and only a single line to cross out errors, so that integrity would not be questioned.

The same year I entered medical school, President Richard Nixon signed the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973.

Wealthy industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, billionaire shipbuilder, and steel and aluminum magnate (as well as staunch Republican and major contributor to the Nixon campaign) was the first person to establish a “for-profit” hospital. Read more on Don’t Tell Me You Think Insurance Will Actually HELP…

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I never professed to understand French politics as more than an observer.  It was one part of the French civilization that seemed a bit overwhelming.  I remember being told there were over fifty political parties.  It seemed as if getting anything done required an amazing amount of compromise. I was impressed by the fact they had elections on Sundays.  How delightful to have an election day when nobody had to work, let alone request an excuse from the same.  No little “I voted” stickers. I remember thinking we never could have pulled off Sunday elections in the states.  Certainly not in the Boston area, where I grew up.  Home of blue laws, those strange laws that said things like you could not dance in certain places on Sunday, the day of the Lord, so people in bars in certain localities where such laws persisted would park their bottoms on bar stools and tap their feet in all manner of ways, so that no church could define such activities as dancing.

People told me I would have troubles in France because it was a “Catholic” country.  I do not think any trouble I can remember came from the few people who actually attended church regularly. But back to politics.  The parties were grouped into “left,” “right,” and “center.”  The left included the commies, whom I had to reassure that even though I was an American I did not hate them.  I found “rightists” fearing change as obsessively as any conservative (read “ultra-republican” American ever could. Read more on Psychology of Politics (and Politicians)…

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