Have fun with Staying Sharp’s latest brain health challenge: Replay, Recall, Repeat. Try it out!
by AARP Bulletin Editors, AARP Bulletin, December 1, 2007
As in many things, Harry S. Truman set the standard.
When a Washington music critic wrote that his daughter, Margaret, “cannot sing very well,” Truman warned the writer that he would need “a new nose and a lot of beefsteak for black eyes” if they ever met. During World War II, he chaired a special Senate committee that discovered hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of fraud and waste and led the effort to reclaim it. As president, he made a series of historic decisions that defined the notion of presidential responsibility—“The buck stops here.”
Just as important, when his mother, Martha Ellen Truman, at 94, broke her hip and then had a stroke, Truman moved the White House to Kansas City’s Muehlebach Hotel so he could visit her Grandview, Mo., home each day. While in Kansas City, he also outlined an ambitious plan for expanding the nation’s public health services.
Then as now, the way people treat their family reveals their priorities. And Truman’s story underscores the important link between personal experience and public policy.
The American public has placed health care on its priority list for the upcoming presidential campaign. The challenge posed is who among the candidates has the instinct of a Truman to draw on personal experience and fashion a vision for the health care system of the 21st century.
We know three things about health care in America: It costs too much, we’re not getting what we pay for, and people are compromising their own well-being because of soaring prices. Health care consumes 16 cents of every dollar, prescription drug prices outpace inflation, and Medicare premiums have doubled in seven years.
Yet we have lower life expectancy and higher child mortality than other industrial countries.
Look at the consequences. There are 47 million uninsured Americans. Half of Americans with health insurance say that because of higher prices they delayed doctor visits; two-thirds say they’ve limited them to only serious conditions or symptoms; and 28 percent say they skipped or did not fill prescribed medications.
That brings us back to presidential priorities. Thank goodness for mothers. In the tradition of Mattie Truman, the mothers of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and John McCain have helped galvanize their children’s attention on the importance of health care. The candidates’ attitudes, sharply divergent, help shape the debate over a crucial issue in the 2008 election. What is the role of government, of employers, of workers? How are costs contained? Is universal coverage mandatory? Our commitment is to make sure this stays a front-burner issue, even if some candidates don’t want to discuss it.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Learn about isolation and how you can make a difference
Rate bonus on high-yield online savings account
This tool helps you identify your pills by color, shape and markings.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at