Essentially Ashland: By Lance K. Pugh — The other afternoon while on my porch in Ashland, I happened to listen to T.R. Reid, an author of several books, and an acclaimed journalist who works for the Washington Post.

The other afternoon while on my porch in Ashland, I happened to listen to T.R. Reid, an author of several books and an acclaimed journalist who works for The Washington Post. His latest book is entitled, "The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care." He has been posted in many places around the globe and possesses the intelligence, wit and humor that makes his observations both poignant and memorable.

He has spent the last many months visiting health facilities worldwide and I would like to share some of his insights, as they are pertinent to our partisan bickering about possibly improving our system of medical care, though real reform has been blocked by insurance companies and what we now call Republicans for the last 100 years.

Some of T.R. Reid's highlights: No Canadian or citizen of the United Kingdom has ever lost their home due to the inability to pay for medical care. Here in the United States we are forecasting that another 2 million homes will be foreclosed upon next year, many due to the inability to pay for hospital bills due to lack of coverage or simply because the claim was refused, thank you.

A second observation: In France, everyone carries a Carte Vitale, which contains all your medical records on a chip and by swiping it the doctor sends the bill, which, by law, is paid within three days. No front offices with a room full of specialists trying mightily to file your claim.

My Republican friends who seem to sit glassy-eyed watching Fox News have been on the march inventing "death panels," forced government insurance, the false assertion that the government will give illegal immigrants free health care, open bigotry against a non-white president, the prospect of more social programs other than Medicare, veterans health care, fire departments, police departments and, well, you name what makes you nervous and it is their new battle cry. I smell Carl Rove in the hen house, again. To scare and confuse them in return I need only mutter a single word: Medicare. This causes the cable channel to change randomly until BBC America locks on as sanity and logic get a toe-hold on the bombastic diatribe.

They argue that a trillion dollars is too expensive to ensure that health insurance covers us all, but lock and load the Middle East to the tune of five billion a month while raining death upon militants (Reagan called them Freedom Fighters) and civilians alike. We have two deep ruts in this road to traverse. We will overlook the impossible task of training an Afghan army, composed of recruits of which 90 percent are illiterate. So, billions more need to be spent teaching them to read, which comes in handy when you are ordered to surround the corner of Kebab and Burka.

What does any of this have to do with the current heated screaming and kicking coming from the Far Right about health care reform? Everything. We moan about the price tag, then gladly support an ongoing occupation of two countries, with very little hope of "success."

The mouthpieces of the GOP insist that under no circumstances shall illegal immigrants receive any health benefits for free. If they have the money and want to pay for insurance they might well be hearing a knock on the door late one night. If they fall out of a tree on your property, no worries. Simply walk into the house and speed-dial the Immigration and Naturalization Service, who will whisk them into Mexico faster than an automatic weapon. No medical bills to be paid, no lawsuits to be filed. Just get another yard-boy, preferably one who does not moan about a few broken bones.

Lance@journalist.com was last seen putting Fox News in the freezer and reading a book on the porch. Please take off your shoes and white sheet when entering his house and kindly leave the burning cross in the back of your pick-up.