I don’t notice if you have been following the asshole who currently occupies the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C., but all of a sudden the Russian ‘hoax’ and Hillary are no longer at the top of his enemies list. This week he’s back to going after all those doctors who have been trying to help the Chinese spread their new flu around the United States, in particular the World Health Organization, aka. the WHO.
Asshole Trump has decided again that he’s going to pull the U.S. out of the WHO. He has been thinking about it for several weeks and now he’s made up his mind. Whether there’s any mind left between his ears is somewhat debatable, given his bizarre performance yesterday in front of St. John’s Church. But since Trump announces a U.S. pull-out out of some agreement or some country or some something every other week, this latest announcement is right in form.
But let’s say that this time Trump actually does what he says he’s going to do. Let’s say that he really does curtail any contact between the U.S. physicians and the rest of the international medical community? What difference would that make to our health? After all, maybe we wouldn’t even be suffering from the Corona virus if we had dropped our WHO membership before the virus hit our shores. Hmmm…
The WHO came into existence as part of the reorganization of nation-state relationships embodied in the founding of the United Nations after World War II. It began to take shape in 1948 with the primary mission to collect and transmit information about public health. In that regard, the organization is responsible for publishing and updating the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) which is now in its 10th edition and is scheduled to be replaced by an 11th edition in 2022.
The ICD system has its shortcomings, in particular, an overly-detailed listing of all sorts of diseases or medical problems which really aren’t relevant to public health issues at all. I mean, do we really need to reimburse a doctor who treats someone because they suffered an injury after falling off of a camel? Yes, there is such a diagnosis in ICD-10.
Yet despite such issues, the value of the ICD system is that it allows physicians to compare illness and mortality rates from one location to another, it also lets patients move from one caregiver to another with both of the medical people knowing exactly the same thing about the patient’s history and treatment over the course of time. Without a centralized ICD system, our medical professionals would be back in the days of patent medicines and witchcraft remedies, instead of bringing the most sophisticated and advanced scientific knowledge to deal with disease.
Notice, however, that I use the word ‘public’ when I talk about how the WHO approaches the issue of health. This is what’s really behind Trump’s assault on the WHO because what he wants to do is kick the word ‘public’ out of the political glossary because the word ‘public’ means ‘government,’ and government is the real enemy for assholes like Trump.
If it were up to the Republican Party, we would privatize everything. Medical care, education, picking up the garbage, cleaning the streets, no matter what it is, the private sector can do it better, cheaper and without some government bureaucrat telling you to hire this woman or that Black.
The GOP has been trying to dismantle every government social service program since the Social Security Act was passed in 1935. For all their talk about how ‘big government’ is a waste of taxpayer monies, somehow this waste only seems to bother Republicans when government money is spent for the medically-vulnerable or the poor.
Trump’s attack on the WHO is just another effort to deflect anger about his leadership failures by blaming someone else. The truth is that we really should be blaming ourselves for thinking back in 2016 that he couldn’t win. That’s a mistake we better not make again.