Universal health care

Dr. Devi Shetty of Narayana Health is trying to grow healthcare services in India to service the world, and he says ”There are many positives in India’s favor. Indians are born healers. The younger generation is very studious. We have 381 medical colleges. We produce the largest number of doctors, nurses, and medical technicians…….Globally, healthcare is a 4.5 trillion USD industry. It is the second largest industry after food and agro-processing. Despite its size, it is only addressing about 30 percent of the world population. Nearly 70 percent of the world population is nowhere close to receiving decent healthcare services. We need a revolution in order to service the entire market.”
There is a change coming to world healthcare and the US, UK and the rest of the world are struggling with different models to provide the best care. In the UK the NHS distributes GBP 5.58 billion in salaries every month to 1.4 million employees and is a big driver of their GDP. In the US baby boomer aging is going to drive even more GDP to be assigned to Healthcare. The next fifty years will bring a spreading of healthcare to those who need it the most. Technological change will drive better monitoring. Diagnostic, pharmaceutical, robotic aided procedures, radiology that will reduce the costs of delivering care to the masses. Eradication of most mass killing diseases will be finally achieved through genetic knowledge and prevention. .
Human ingenuity and research can often surmount some of the toughest problems of our species and more research and development can only lead to better results. The question for the future is how will the giant conglomerates that are required; for development of modern facilities be funded, – how much will the private sector invest and how much will the government invest. Obama care is just touching the tip of the problem of funding and costs and development and improvements in delivery. Creating healthy populations is a tremendous responsibility as oftentimes the individuals who are the most prone to diseases like smokers, diabetics, obese and even people with bad lifestyles continue on in their ways and it is tough to change. Private corporations, NGOs and the world governments will have to work hand in hand and the population will have to learn to pay for healthcare for all. The super-rich can always buy the best care in any case and it is the invincible young and the working classes who will have to pay for these innovations, to support the graying population.
Somebody has suggested that we need an additional one trillion dollars a year to be spent to continue the rapid pace of development in Health Care Services. We do not need to go very far to get this trillion dollar savings; as it is available by reducing wars and working on peaceful development. Education, employment, development and innovation are all at stake here for the future of humanity. If we all take the long view where we are all dead, we can start today to pave the path for us to let our parents, us and our children go in peace to that endless shore. We can at least make the journey for those who are following after us productive, easier, healthier and more livable.

Healing wounds

Earth - Winter Wallpaper

Casper and me were glad to get out of the freezing cold after last night’s storm, which had garnled the traffic and a state of emergency was called by Christie. Today morning was the same frigid weather, but at least we got things done and now are back home and warm. The evergreen still has white branches from the dry snow which is swirling around with some wind gushes and a bright sun has appeared. The snow drifts and the side of the walkways have enough of the snow to dissuade Casper from venturing into them despite his coat. Cleaned the snow and moved the car to a designated spot for parking in an unending game of musical spots whenever the snow comes down, to allow the association to shovel the driveways. We slink in from the cold and play throwing the toy polar bear down the passageway and back. Life is good again as he crawls into his bed with his face peering over the side; as if reaffirming that life has been very unsettled, and rough lately. Ugly cardboard boxes of all shapes rearing their horrible heads; and strangers consistently step on him, even when he hid behind them. Equilibrium restored he contemplates life as it should be and sleeps, with only the occasional eyebrow quivering from the horrors of the recent past.
As Harry Crew states we should allow certain traumatic incidents to just heal and move on with our lives. As we live in constant change there are bound to be times of stress and times of restoration. We need to make sure that we don not carry our old baggage constantly with us everywhere we go and allow the time for restoration to be focused on the present through exercise and meditation if required. We have to build a routine where we take time to heal the wounds and let the scars of time remove them from our minds. Only when we are internally done with our Karma through the appropriate actions; can we proceed on the path of Dharma, where we renounce and anjoy. The actions themselves become pure; as there is not attachment to them, and it is just done with compassion to the creatures around us. Think not of the precieved or actual hurt but realize that you are done with it and have moved on to your present and future life towards bliss. Healing has to first start from within; where we look at our own faults, and work on improving ourselves – Om shanti!

There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with. -Harry Crews, novelist and playwright (1935-2012)

Relatively speaking

While the rest of the country is still suffering through the winter cold, here in Los Angeles it was sunny once the sun burned away the morning fog that had rolled in from the bay. Walking along the river I saw a family of dolphins come swimming up from the Pacific Ocean. While the adults were more discreet in the rise and fall of their appearances, the youngster was more excitable and would rise complete out of the water, as they swam up river. The usual sea birds were there and the fisherman were motoring off to their morning outing in their motor boats. The Catalina express had some tourists gawking from the top deck, at the city of Long Beach; as their catamaran pulled out passing under the tall bridge, as I walked under it. It is just another beautiful Sunday and I walked over to the trailers housing the National Health Survey and wondered what the Center for Disease Control is researching now.
Meanwhile in nearby Las Vegas the 2014 Consumer Electronic Show just ended and it highlighted the latest gadgets on display. We now are headed into the new internet of everything; where we will start seeing inventions from wearable tech and smart cars to Internet-connected cookware, lights, baby cams, and more. Things we do not think of normally as connected will now become available on a network like smart street lighting, traffic flows and smart power grids. Technology is moving to drones, personal space flight, driverless cars, social media on steroids and entertainment delivered anywhere and anytime on connected TVs and devices. At the same time privacy and security concerns are everywhere as major retailer’s data bases were hacked and millions of people had their personal information stolen and it is probably being auctioned off to the highest bidder and criminal out there.
Everything is relative as Einstein showed and we need to keep the faith that we are good people and will move into the future with our eyes open. Happiness is not defined by the objects we accumulate during our life time or how much information we accumulate. Joy may come from that music or video we listen to; or any other form of virtual entertainment, which engrosses us and burns away the hours of our lives. We are after all human beings and our life is about experiencing things through our senses. All the descriptions of gourmet food will not feed hunger and watching vaults of gold or shows on the super-rich, do not make us rich. We are social creatures and need to be interactive with others of our species and need to learn knowledge through our own experience.
We need to study Vedanta to really look at the deepest research ever done in human history, into the individual and his relationship with the universe. On Swami Vivekananda’s 151st birth anniversary we should all remember that life is about seeking the true knowledge from our existence. The more we allow ourselves to get entangled in the maya of illusions that engulf us, the harder it is to find the reality behind the veils. I do not know about you but I feel bad, as the dolphins ignored my good vibes and just continued swimming upstream faster than I was walking. Fellow creatures of this universe know more about living, than we as the largest predator on this earth. My advice would be for each of us to look inward; and first learn to live in harmony with ourselves, before we consider becoming the masters of this universe. Life is lived in small everyday moments and nothing and nobody can free us, except our own hopes and experiences.

Missed call

She called me while I was in a meeting with my boss and surprised me as I turned off the ringer. Later on when I came down for a smoke with my buddies I called her back. She said it was a bad timing as usual as the kids had just returned and now she had no time to talk to me. Oh I could not recall the last time that she had called me, just to spin a yarn or pass the time. I am now less than nothing, as I feel the time to talk and remiss about our love and our desires and our hopes is gone. Why do we fight incessantly, when we are together and the kids have to tell us to calm down. I know no other whose love is so important, yet I am the one who instigates and presses those buttons that she hates.
Tomorrow will be another day and I will call her and we will discuss as she watches her serials and answers in those hun hun hun monotones as I spill my life history to her. The time is not now and the timing is off as usual. I do not talk about her hair being long or short or the beauty of the sunset or the sunrise, on the Pacific. There is no time to discuss the passage meditation course that I want to take up with Easwarn Ekanath’s group in CA as she has no interest in it, even though she forwards me daily snipets from Brahmakumaris. I read the email and am lost as to who is this person and why does she continue to improve me after all the decades that we have spent together. I am who I am and will never live up to her expectations. As Bob Dylan sang “its not me babe that you are looking for,” but she never knew him or his music and I wonder if the Sufis ever experienced my pain.
It is a celebration of life and I ring her back and she acknowledged my existence and also warns me that if she ever sees my behavior deteriorate beyond her acceptable limits that I might as well pack and leave. I know no other love and am devastated as this is my reality and talk to my son and he says Dad why can’t you just move on and make Mom happy. Happiness I want to tell him is so ephemeral, but do not have the words to express myself. I dare not talk to my daughter as she is rearing my beloved granddaughter and she will surely rake me over the coals, even though I love her more than life itself.
So I am here alone in my hotel room and enjoying the view of the Pacific and the waters are no longer peaceful and the lights of the city of angels is a vortex that draw me to the depths of my soul. I reach out and touch none and only Brahma is here with me, in this endless space. I repeat the gayatri mantra and then the void takes over. I am who I am and this hopeless crud of humanity is my very soul. Who will recognize this time or this space for I am lost and she is so far away. I crawl into bed awaiting tomorrow, as I know today will never end and the lotus of the heart will not blossom and the Buddha is there on my horizon, and just a hair width out of my grasp. Life is full of despair; but hope is never lost, till I talk to her again and can express that I am sorry for whom I am. She will respond with her hun hun hun and I will be ecstatic in the Sufis dance, for I am the one who will finally find life’s ecstasy at just her one hun.

Tick-Tock, Tick – who will fix the clock?

A file picture showing Boeing 787 Dreamliners on the assembly line in Everett, Washington.
“More than one million engineers, for example, about 30 percent of the U.S. industry’s total engineering work force, will be eligible to leave in the next five years, according to a study by Deloitte”
Boeings decision to build the new wide body jets 777X planes with the latest technologies in Seattle is being forced by the reality; that skilled workers like engineers and machinists, are just not available in the other states that were ready to give billions in tax breaks, to welcome them to move there. Similarly Airbus’ plans to build a new plant in Alabama, is sucking in engineers from neighboring southern states. Aircraft manufacturing is getting more sophisticated needing advanced electronics and fiber composites and new engineering and manufacturing skills. Same can be said of the automobile industry and of many other manufacturing industries that are needed for our modern world. At a time when the US manufacturing is regaining its legs and a continued expansion of the economy appears on the horizon; the retirement of the baby boomers will cause a major shortfall, of engineers and qualified personnel.
A decade ago with the Y2K systems upgrades we had a similar situation; with a shortage of engineers and skilled coders for mainframes and major banking, financial, insurance and other large systems, that run most of the US computing. At that time the ramp up by what are now the IT majors in India to provide these services, helped bridge the looming gap. That problem was different as system maintenance and development does not need physical presence in the US; and can be done remotely from anywhere in the world, with the right information pipes and communication channels. You cannot build a car or an airplane remotely; and design and development has to be carried out near the actual assembly lines or plants, to ensure that they are practical and usable. While the Indian and Chinese universities are churning out millions of so called engineers they just do not have the right skill sets and need years of incubation and practical training to be able to do the jobs. In fact most Chinese engineers are not innovative enough and a majority of the so called Indian engineers are unemployable, without huge external help and training. Hopefully the setting up of research and engineering centers by giants like GE and IBM in these locations will help fill some of this gap.
Robotics and automation is now extensively used to replace skilled workers; and that has led to the demise of the working middle class, as union jobs disappear, as machines take over many repetitive and mundane tasks. So while a high school graduate could previously make a good living working on the assembly lines; now advanced mathematical and science skills are needed to use the machines and systems used in modern manufacturing. The collapse of the cities and the infrastructure decay is a result of the loss of these high paying jobs, for what was at one time one of the best educated workforces in the world. Now we need more advanced degrees and sophistication and it is at a time when the engineering colleges are not producing enough graduates for our future. The brightest engineers who are graduating are being pulled into the high-tech startups and internet age companies like Apple, Google and Amazon. Manufacturers are starved of talent and left scraping the bottom of the barrel for the dredges from the great universities.
The story is similar when we look across the economy at Pharmaceuticals scientists, bio-medical engineers, chemical companies, energy sector, petrochemical industries and the list goes on and on. While the US still graduates the largest number of PHDs in the world; they will not be enough to replace the baby boomers as they head off into their well-deserved retirements, sipping from tall glasses with strange little umbrellas after a round of golf or sunning themselves on a beach after a set of tennis or a jog or a swim. Instead of paying into the social safety net, they will start withdrawing social security and Medicare and Medicaid costs will continue to rise, putting a greater burden on future generations.
An engineering degree at a good private university now costs close to a staggering quarter million dollars and at the same time the high schools are not graduating enough qualified graduates, who want to enter science or engineering fields. Where will the next generation of engineers come from and the case in Europe is similar to the US or may be worse as their population is aging too and not enough replacements are available. Will the great western civilization reach its peak in our lifetime and die the death of a thousand cuts as the dearth of skilled personnel bring their mighty industries to their knees. Will the ‘Atlas Shrugged’ world depicted by Ayn Rand finally come alive; as the most capable retreat into their exclusive preserves leaving the masses to their fates, with less being produced and new innovation dying? The have and the have-nots are already living in different worlds, and the trend is multiplying all across the globe. Where will the resources and leadership come to raise the standards of the masses as poverty and hunger elimination can only come from raising productive citizens, who can better contribute to society and become self-sufficient? The race is on and the clock is ticking, as we fall further behind each day while billions more are adding to our earth’s burden.