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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
June 5, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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June 5, 1997

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10 Thursday, June 5, 1997 Pahrump Valley NRMC needs our solutions, not complaints I've watched the glowing reports about Nye Regional Medical Center over the past month or so and have inten- tionally not commented on them. As strong as my support is for the troubled northern hospital I've seen, all too many times, how glowing reports are followed by problems requiring much more money from the commissioners. Cameron McRae is justified for his past skepticism of glowing reports. I am certainly pleased at the recent revelations. The hospital, in the past month, has been able to stay in the black. They've made payroll and paid the bills and still had a couple bucks left over. Not much more than enough to buy a bottle of aspirin but, what the heck, black is beautiful. I wish them continued success and congratulate the state "taskforce" that's running the show over there now. I've wondered about a few things and I'll bring up some of my thoughts here-- but I'm way out of my league on this. I don't know if my thoughts arc even legal. First and foremost, these stinkin' HMO plans. Managed Health Care they call it. It's really money management and has absolutely nothing to do with your health. I have an HMO plan. Under this plan I'm required to visit Las Vegas for, all my health needs. If I go to Nye Regional Medical Center I have to pay 40 percent of all bills incurred, plus there is a larger deductible. If I go to a so-called "preferred provider" in Las Vegas I am only responsible for 10 percent of the bills and a smaller deductible comes into play. If it's an office visit I only have to pay $10 max. So, I'm expected to drive nearly 250 miles to obtain health services simply because NRMC and my HMO can't come to terms on a plan. It'll be interesting to see if my HMO assumes legal liability for requiring me to drive 250 miles when I'm sick. Perhaps someday I'll find out. NORTHERN EXPOSUm00 by Dave Downing Now, our rural hospital can't afford to compete with the Las Vegas medical cen- ters. Sheer volume of patients allows them to reduce various costs and accept these cheap plans. NRMC can't do that. The health plan gains all around since I'm responsible for the expenses of going to Las Vegas. The expenses to me are: about 40 gallons of gas; lodging and food; time lost from work, at least two days. Everything here works in favor of the cheap plan. NRMC loses because I have to go to Vegas. I lose because I pay more for getting less service. What a deal, eh? How can we hit these HMO's over the head with a hammer and fix this problem? It's nothing but a seam. Let's show them who the boss is here. We need the legislature to pass a state law requiring that any insurance company that requires their insured to travel more than 100 miles to obtain medical help, when such help is available locally, to pay for all travel expenses, food and lodging and all time lost from work. Is such a law constitutionally legal? It must be, the federal government does it all the time. Take the old 55 mph federal speed limit. Any state could reject that law if it wanted to. The federal government cannot tell the states what to do. But, what they did instead, was tell the states that if they did not follow the 55-mph limit then they wouldn't get federal highway monies. Precedent set. If the federal government can extort the states then surely the state can extort the insurance compa- nies. Next comes a county law. There are people working in town for employers that offer health insurance, but they don't sign up for the plans available. In some cases there is a spouse who already has insurance through the other half. That's OK. In other cases, they claim they can't afford the insuranceit , Nuts. You can't afford to be without insurance, unless you'rdll. pretty darn sure that the county will have to declare you indigent and pay all your bills for you. Guess that's the best insurance plan on the market. Well, it stinks. Free rides should be over. If a person attempts to declare indigent status and it is discovered that he/she has previously declined available health insurance from their employer, then that person should not be declared indigent. The county should immediately begin to attach thaperson's wages. If the person declares bankruptcy, then fight in court. At least you can only do that once in seven years. Force the option. I have full sympathy for those who are truly indigent, unemployed, or insurance not available. These people need our help and should get it. But there are those who take advantage of our sympathies -- the free ride should be over. Two films on a lost Tibet by Richard Reul In 1950 the Chinese invaded Tibet. They have since ruled the "Land of Snows" as a conquered province, re- pressing its Buddhist culture. In 1959 they exiled the Dalai Lama from his country. One film," Seven Years in Tibet," is based on a true story. Produced by the French director Jean-Jacques Annaud, it stars American actor Brad Pitt as the German mountain climber, Heinrich Harrer, who set out to scale Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas during World War IL Interned by the British in India, he escaped by climbing over the mountains into Tibet. There, he became a convert to Buddhism and an adviser to the Dalai Lama. The other film is" Kundun, "based on the Dalai Lama's autobiography, Written by Melissa Mathison, Harrison Ford's wife, it is being directed by Martin Scorsese as a Disney production. It is being filmed in Morocco. The Chinese government has typically condemned both films as interferences in China's internal affairs. It has warned that Disney' s planned expansion into China will be threatened by the release of "Kundun,". Banned from Tibet, Annand initially attempted to shoot his film in north- ern India. The Indian prime minister eventually called off the effort, reportedly in response to Chinese pressure. Both films are supported by the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile. Changing Patterns by Richard Reul 00llll[]lll011iiiiiiiiiiiiii II Undeterred, Annaud set up shop in the Argentinian Andes, in an area that bore a striking resemblance to Tibet. Armed with 21,000 photographs he had previously taken in Tibet, he recruited a cast of 150 Tibetans including the Dalai Lama's sister, Jetsun Pema. Tenzan Tethong, one-time prime minis- ter of the Tibetan government-in-exile, is his technical ad- viser. In Argentina he has recreated Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, in the form of 40 incredibly detailed film sets. An interesting sidelight to the Argentinian production is the popularity of Pitt with the local teen-age girls. They all it Brad-O-Mania! "Seven Years in Tibet," a $60 million production, is on schedule and on budget. "Kundun," however, is lagging. Mathison and Ford are allegedly furious that "Seven Years" has taken the lead and will undoubtedly be completed first. They blame Disney for procrastinating over the opposition and threats by the Chinese government. China seems to have incredibly intimidated American companies seeking to do business there. The old commu- nists who run it are living in the past, when governments could really control the means of communication. In the era of the fax machine and the Internet, liberty is ascendent. This technology is essential to economic growth and at- tempts to restrict access are doomed to failure. The story of Tibet will be told, whether China likes it or not. As Michael Kinsley has written in a recent Reader's Digest article: "Orwell Was Wrqng!" Author's Note: Most of this column was condensed frora an article by Lawrence Chollet in the London Guardian. Hello, is this the party that I'm talking to? The other morning as I was busily working away on one of my projects, the phone rang. In the past, when this happened I would untangle myself from whatever I was doing and go answer it before it rang more than a couple of times, or ifI was really hung up on what I was doing, I'd just let it ring until the answering machine kicked in. This gave me the choice of answering it if it was someone I wanted to talk to, or just ignore the whole thing, as most of the time it wouldn't be for me anyway now that the bride is into the newspaper business. In a way it's kinda interesting listening to some of the one-sided conversations going on. Tuning out on the mun- dane ones. But everY now and then as you're absently monitoring the flow of talk, something will trigger your attention. A lot of people, when they get on the phone, think that no one else can hear what is being said. They're off in a world inhabited only by themselves and the person they are talking to. Anyway, as I was saying, the phone rang and Ditto Slim Sez by Slim Sirnes l II answered it and was soon engaged in a long conversation which I tried not to pay too much attention to. And I was doing pretty good until it got around to the uses of Preparation H. Now, I have never used this product, being one of the fortunate few, as some have said, blessed with a perfect constitution. I listened a while and then my curiosity got the better of me and being the polite sort and not wanting to interrupt, wrote out a note asking: "Wh are you talking to? And do you want me on the other phone?" I never did find out who the caller was. I guess I shoulda stayed in my corner working on my project. Which, by the way, is one that we will be taking out on the road this year as we do the wandering artist bit. I'm not sure what it will be yet as my supply of materials may be cut off with all the new regulations that will take effect when the Goldfield dump becomes a Class 2 dumpsite and scavenging (I prefer calling it"recycling") is prohibited. it's not all bad though, as trash from all the rest of the county will be .brought to the site and maybe I can get hired on to oversee the operation. Have a good one. J