George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
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RAPID RESPONSE (Archives)...Daily Commentary on News of the Day
This is a new section.  It will offer fresh, quick reactions by myself to news and events of the day, day by day, in this rapid-fire world of ours.  Of course, as in military campaigns, a rapid response in one direction may occasionally have to be followed by a "strategic withdrawal" in another direction.  Charge that to "the fog of war", and to the necessary flexibility any mental or military campaign must maintain to be effective.  But the mission will always be the same: common sense, based upon facts and "real politick", supported by a visceral sense of Justice and a commitment to be pro-active.  That's all I promise.

Click here to return to the current Rapid Response list

THURSDAY through SATURDAY, April 28 through 30, 2005

Physicians and their patients are in tough times partly because, in a mis-guided and paternalistic effort to shield their patients from the turmoil, physicians in the 1980's and early 1990's did not keep their patients informed and did not seek their political help.  They also had this quaint idea that politicians and legislators gave a damn about their points of view and input.  We all learned otherwise.  So, in addition to all the warnings I have been sharing since the late 1970's  (see other relevant categories on this web-site),  here are some more that may make a real difference to the most altruistic of your physicians.

  1. "Pay for Performance" is one of the latest brainstorms being tested.  If not structured properly, physicians' income, already discounted over 30% from what they legitimately earn,  will be based - not on proper procedures - but on successful outcomes.  So now your physician would be held responsible for your adherence to instructions, for your taking your medications, and for all the other stupid life-style things that you might addition to having chosen the wrong genetic stream at conception.
  2. "Cultural Competency Training".  Physicians  may be required to handle not only the medical problems of that patient from Haiti, but also to discuss her problem in her mother tongue and with sensitivity to her beliefs in voodoo.
  3. There is planned a further decrease in the already borderline reimbursment for treatment of Medicare patients, stretching several years down the road.
  4. Some States are considering taxing physicians 1% of their gross income for the permission to take care of Medicaid patients.  Their care, in which most of us participate, is often the most time-consuming and always the very least reimbursed.
Patients take note: even the most caring and committed physicians may decide that they have been insulted, denigrated and marginalized once too often.  These smart and energetic people have always had other options.   This is not a threat.  Rather, it is a call for help.


FRIDAY through WEDNESDAY, April 22 through 27, 2005

I think we've solved the computer problems, all the result of adding more internet security to this "defective, unreasonably dangerous" hardware and software enterprise (aka. "product liability").


WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY, April 20 and 21, 2005

We have some catching up to do.


MONDAY and TUESDAY, April 18 and 19, 2005

Let's continue with Sunday's effort at common sense approaches to serious national problems.  Our leaders certainly don't seem to be helping here, despite some refreshing insights and efforts from the President.


FRIDAY through SUNDAY, April 15 throiugh 17, 2005

If a massive institution like the Catholic Church can seek periodically to re-invent itself, upon the death of its earthly leader, and within the limits of its "constitution", why not the United States.  The last time we did this intentionally was during the Great Depression of the 1930's under FDR (whose story will be told on the History Channel tonight at 9:00 PM).  A cogent argument can be made that this country today faces challenges no less severe than during those dark days.  So, similarly to the "thinking outside the box" that FDR used to "lead us out of the desert" ( then, as now, assisted by despots and foreign dangers), let's do a little of the same regarding national problems facing us today.


WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY, April 13 and 14, 2005


SUNDAY through TUESDAY, April 10 through 12, 2005

The post- Pope John Paul ll Church: everyone has an opinion.  But this time, given the extraordinary attention accorded to this great man and to his work, everyone has a right to have one.  Here are some recent newspaper article titles:  “IS IT TIME TO DOWNSIZE THE PAPACY?”  “POLLS: AMERICAN CATHOLICS WANT REFORM ON CELIBACY, WOMEN PRIESTS.”  “NEW POPE MUST CONFRONT A WANING CHURCH”.  And then there’s the loopy “FLAG-WAVING FOR FAVORED RELIGIONS”.   Our own New London City Manager, Richard Brown, answered this last one quite adequately: “I think the Pope ended up being considered a world leader...I don’t see a church/state issue here.  The Pope, even though he’s head of the Church, was also the head of a sovereign State.”

Democrats: now there’s a chronic disease!   I’m really not much inclined to take on the case. But, as a physician, I just can’t help myself.   See “Why The Democrats Are Losing The Culture Wars”, by Dan Gerstein, WSJ, Monday, April 11, 2004, Opinion, pA22.

John Bolton: just the dose of Castor Oil that the chronically constipated U.N. needs to purge itself.

Here’s another important article by Thomas L. Friedman.  Read it, weep, and then let’s get going: “It’s A Flat World, After All”, The New York Times Magazine, April 3, 2005, p33.


MONDAY through SATURDAY, April 4 through 9, 2005

It is awe-inspiring, and also scary, to witness how much difference, despite the size and diversity of this world’s population, one person can still make...for good or for evil.  After the likes of Hitler and Stalin,  Pope John Paul ll’s example for good nearly put the scales of the 20th century back even.  What a ride.

And now the world goes on.


FRIDAY through SUNDAY, April 1 through 3, 2005

His Holiness Pope John Paul II is Dead.   It’s one thing to anticipate it.  It’s another to experience it.  The sense of sadness is a little surprising, but not if we realize how much we had come to respect, love and depend upon this Saint in our midst as a sturdy compass in a stormy sea.  In addition,  my wife and I both have personal reflections about this man.

In 1979, just after he was elected Pope and before he had returned in triumph to his native land, my wife and her mother visited Poland, and including Wadowice, the Pope’s home town.  There they were allowed to enter and view the apartment where he had lived for many years.

In 2002, after our first child had contracted Hodgkin’s Disease in a particularly virulent form, we wrote a letter from a mother and father to the Holy Father requesting his personal prayers for Maura. The letter was sent through our Bishop to Washington and then to the Vatican.  A few weeks later we received a reply from the Pope’s personal secretary, confirming that Pope John Paul had received our letter and had granted our wish.  That helped to sustain us during the following very difficult year...and even since Maura’s death two years ago this month.

We miss Maura greatly.  But we know that she...and now also her benefactor...are both in an eternally better place.  God Bless Them Both.


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