- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

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Oct. 23

The Augusta Chronicle on the “fundamental goodness of Americans:”

We recently wrote about the toll this contentious election is taking on many of us and our nervous systems.

Race relations also have been a major stressor this year.

The thing is, if you get away from the television screen - and away from many of our political leaders - you’re quickly reminded of the fundamental goodness of Americans.

While the election and the rest of the news blare near-constant negativity at us, it’s important to take stock of what’s real, what’s right in front of our faces.

As you go about your days and evenings, make note of all the kind words and gestures of the people you encounter. All the smiling faces of every color, all you have in common with folks whose ancestors are from all over the globe.

When you get away from

all the shrill talking heads, bareknuckle politics and all the things that divide us, you’re reminded of all the things that bind us. Our humanity and our basic benevolence - expressed in something as simple as a friendly hello, or as intricate as a lifesaving operation.

The truth is - and you wouldn’t know this from the nightly news - this country’s rank and file get along just fine, if not exquisitely.

We’ve been repeatedly reminded of that fact recently, such as in the kind faces of health-care providers arguably emanating the light of God toward their patients without regard to race. And in the sincere greetings wherever one goes in public.

With all the turmoil and tumult in the news, we’re in danger of losing that sense of ourselves as a fundamentally good people.

We were also reminded of that good will and lofty nature in a recent series of letters to the editor singing Augustans’ praises for taking in Hurricane Matthew evacuees. Long after the waters and winds have receded, the aura of selflessness hangs in the air.

“It was so unbelievably heartwarming. There are no words to express our gratitude,” wrote Rita Slatus, director of Buckingham South Assisted Living in Savannah, whose residents were taken in by Augusta’s St. John Towers retirement community. “This episode reaffirms our faith in humanity and the divine spirit within each and every one of us. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you. May heaven bestow blessings upon every one of you for your gracious, loving kindness.”

Then there’s Dan Sullivan, writing all the way from Ontario, Canada, to thank a couple in Evans for sheltering three Canadian couples who evacuated from Hilton Head, S.C.

“They gave freely of their home and themselves for a week, until we could return to the island,” he wrote. “We will be forever grateful for their hospitality and friendship. The important take-away on this is the example of American goodness and generosity when it counts.”

We’re more than happy to pass along their thanks, and we’re proud of Augusta for it. Of course, we realize that, were the situation reversed, we’d find the same kindness and generosity in others.

But it’s never seemed as important as it does now to pause and reflect on such common cause and amity. It’s that spirit of brotherhood that defines us - not the never-ending contretemps we see passing before us.

Love is not a fairy tale, as one anonymous curmudgeon once claimed. But it is one great story.

It’s our story.

Online: https://chronicle.augusta.com/

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Oct. 23

The Rome News-Tribune on how Georgia doctors have reacted to Obamacare:

A survey has found that most Georgia doctors are much more negative on Obamacare than is true across the country. Fifty-nine percent give a D or F grade to the “Affordable Care Act,” compared to 48 percent nationwide, as Georgia Health News reported.

The survey was conducted by the Physicians Foundation which obtained responses from more than 17,000 doctors. Only 23 percent gave the ACA an A or B, while 28 percent gave it a C, considered neutral. Forty-eight percent gave it a D or F.

Dr. Walker Ray, the foundation president and a retired Georgia pediatrician, pointed out that although ACA has expanded insurance coverage, it has not helped in reducing health care cost or improving the quality. What does that say about the effectiveness of this government program that is driving up insurance premiums by double digits?

It confirms what doctors said in the foundation survey. For example, here are some of their responses: “Compassionate, evidence-based, patient-centered care matters more than keeping track of metrics and patient satisfaction scores.” And this: “Go ahead and keep looking over our shoulders, paying us less and asking us to work more. Good luck when we all quit.”

They’re not all quitting, of course. But nearly half the doctors surveyed said they intend to accelerate their retirement because of the changes taking place in health care. Wrapped in that is burnout. In Georgia, nearly half of the 510 physicians surveyed acknowledged they often or always had feelings of burnout, about the same as the 49 percent nationwide. It is something to be concerned about, as Dr. Ray said.

So is the increasing electronic records/paperwork demands mandated by the federal government. Nearly two-thirds of doctors in the national survey said having to spend time on electronic health records reduced or detracted from their care of patients. The survey found that “physicians spend 21 percent of their time engaged in non-clinical paperwork.”

On that point, Dr. Mitzi Rubin, a family doctor with WellStar Health System in Marietta, summarized: “There’s a lot more government intervention, and I can’t see a vast improvement in patient outcomes,” Dr. Rubin said.

It’s no surprise that nearly 67 percent of doctors in Georgia expressed negative or pessimistic feelings about the future of medicine, compared with 63 percent nationwide.

This is not good news for the rest of us. So why should it matter? Dr. Ray explained: “Here’s why it should matter. If physicians are being led to change their practices - that would limit access to care. It would create some kind of public health problem. That’s why it should matter.”

Just as Obamacare has not reduced costs or improved the quality of health care, the deluge of administrative duties dumped on our doctors has been counter-productive. One of the physicians in the national survey put it all in perspective with this comment: “This would be the greatest profession in the world if only the government would not be involved.” Amen.

Online: https://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/

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Oct. 23

The Valdosta Daily Times on welcoming back members of the military:

When we see them walking in uniform among us, we may thank our military men and women.

We let them step in front of us in line, or we buy their meal, if we’re thinking, if we’re not in too much of a rush, but often, even when our intentions are good, we still forget.

We place stickers advocating our Armed Forces on our cars, without really thinking of the meaning behind the words, “We Support Our Troops.” We’ve seen these stickers for so long that we now see them without really seeing them at all, and still we forget.

Yet, we should remember that men and women are still serving our nation, still leaving families behind, still traveling overseas to defend our country.

Last week, the community witnessed a powerful reminder as several airmen returned to Moody Air Force Base from deployment overseas.

A powerful reminder as men and women serving their country returned to the families waiting for them at home.

Airmen of the 822d Base Defense Squadron came home.

The 822nd BDS is a unit within the 93d Air Ground Operations Wing. The 822nd provides “fully integrated, highly capable and responsive forces to protect Air Expeditionary Forces around the globe at a moment’s notice,” according to Moody Air Force Base.

These are our fellow Americans.

While stationed at Moody, they are also our neighbors.

Too often, we forget that.

We forget that members of our community are still making the sacrifices to fulfill their sworn pledges of duty, risking all to keep our nation safe.

While they were away, their families celebrated birthdays without them, their children grew a few inches taller without them, their spouses managed the jobs of mother and father without them.

And these families likely never once stopped worrying about their uniformed loved one overseas.

Their families never forgot, not for a moment, where their loved ones were and what they were doing.

Nor should we.

As a nation and a community, we were diminished in their absence, but we were made greater because of their sacrifice.

That’s something we should all remember as we welcome them home.

Online: https://www.valdostadailytimes.com/


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