I hate complainers and whiners… But despite that I’m going to complain. Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield and Vactruth.com aside… this “debate” about the value of vaccines is deplorable and insane. There have been very few public health initiatives (outside of assuring a safe food supply and potable drinking water) that have had anywhere near the positive impact on our society’s health as the development of vaccines and adoption of widespread vaccination programs. That’s it… there’s no question regarding the science on efficacy or safety of the common childhood vaccinations. We have the potential to wipe out serious diseases that historically impacted large segments of the population, yet we are failing to protect our children—and all of our citizens—because there are folks making a career out of fear mongering (see above list).
We, as Americans, tend to be skeptics about many things. There are individuals who believe that wearing seat belts increases the risk of injury, or that fluoride in the drinking water is a commie plot. This will always be the case. But this vaccine thing is different. To not vaccinate is a decision that affects all of us. That decision results in the proliferation of infectious diseases that are, simply put, preventable. The proof of this is right in front of us, in day care centers, schools and Disney Land for God’s sake. It’s time for those folks living in Fantasy Land to abandon the comfort of their delusions and help us all take better care of each other.
ACA Update: Tax Headaches
I am a fan of universal access to healthcare. Hence my tepid support for the Affordable Care Act (see previous posts 1, 2). But this tax season a lot of folks are going to have a rude awakening. Our clumsy and complicated tax code is getting much more complicated. If you are one of those folks who used exchanges to get coverage and are in mid to lower income brackets your tax nightmare has arrived. Eligibility for tax credits has now made your tax filing rather challenging. And if your income status changed during the year the complications increase… good for H&R Block but a crap storm for citizens. This is one of the things that has to change if this law is going to work. Watch how this plays out. I’ve got some popcorn.