The Cure for Most of Our Ills, Including High Drug Prices: Bipartisanship

ALPERN AT LARGE--As stated in my last article, the elections are over but the fires are certainly NOT.

And neither are the water problems, the Weiners of the world who want to overdevelop us into inhabitable oblivion without a thought to environmental law or the rules of physics, or the identity politics that seek to divide us and prevent consensus.

Those decrying President Trump or Governor Brown as part of the problem, or even the center of the problem...are as much a part of that problem as those who they decry. The improper infrastructure spending (which always ends up last after all the other trough-feeders are fed) and the lack of preparation for our fires lies at the feet of both our President and our Governor.

Did President Trump march up and down our state after the last set of fires, and/or did he march up and down our state and push for an infrastructure/transportation/water plan that made sense? No.

Did Governor Brown listen to the faux-intellectuals who call themselves environmentalists (who probably slept through their physics and biology classes after being "woke" for so long in political correctness courses) instead of the engineer and forestry experts? Yes.

Did President Trump, the national GOP and the California GOP come up with an infrastructure plan beyond the Wall? No.

Did Governor Brown and the Sacramento Democrats embrace the influx of those here illegally, and those overdeveloping illegally, without considering the environmental consequences? Also...no.

Well, we just lost a whole bunch of Californians who were cooked alive because we thought that our politics and pseudo-environmentalist ideologies could "Trump" the laws of Nature, and only now is the sight of Governor Brown, Governor-Elect Newsom, and President Trump working together filling our television and computer screens.

And everyone's health is at risk for the smoke coming from these fires, so if your skin and airways are now also on fire, you probably know the cause.

We need WATER--cut the diversions, cut the politics and cut the self-denial of our reality. We need adults, not ranting children. We voted to tax ourselves on infrastructure and water, and so we need as well to spend it right. Water reclamation and desalination plants up and down the coast are in order, as well as reservoirs and dams to prevent our rare winter stormwaters from being lost.

And don't presume that the Sierra Club, which stopped being environmentalist and became hyperpartisan a long time ago, has all the answers; some within that entity are true environmentalists, other are just mental (and misanthropic, to boot).

GOP leader Jim "I love to eat food as much as I love to eat the donations of gullible political donors" Brulte needs to go and be replaced by new leadership who will focus more on spending our taxes well, and to work with the public sector to establish a sustainable solution to our pension woes.

GOP John "I love to attack fellow Republicans and rant against Democrats more than I know how to win over Californians and fix their problems" Cox deserved to lose, because he committed (with Brulte's approval) political malpractice at a time when Californians needed a choice.

Governor-Elect Newsom can either work with the President, or fight the President, for a long-overdue water plan that is needed for both California and other states. Arguably the best thing about the Democrats taking over the House is that they can focus on infrastructure in ways that cheapskate Paul Ryan and other GOP stalwarts have for too-long ignored.

(And if the new House leadership wants to waste their time on endless subpoenas against the President...well, that their funeral in about two years.)

As a physician, I am both appalled at the runaway prices and the lack of coverage by the media that the Orange Man in the White House is actually in sharp opposition to Big Pharma, and that Big Pharma is ignoring and fighting even our President. 

Perhaps Big Pharma will think differently should Nancy Pelosi and Donald Trump team up to consider price fixing a la Europe or Canada, which President Trump has threatened to do. As a dermatologist, I am appalled that a month of Doxycycline for acne or infections costs up to $200 a month, or even that Clindamycin Lotion costs up to $80...because they're made for pennies.

President Obama made it clear that pre-existing conditions were not to be discriminated against, and current House Speaker Paul Ryan's reversal of that declaration makes his departure also welcome (and why DIDN'T you resign, Mr. Ryan, from the Speakership when you declared you were leaving politics?).

Ditto for President Obama's "Moonshot Against Cancer" effort, which is carried on with President Trump's "Right to Try" campaign that allows experimental drugs better access to patients with cancers and terminal disease.

So, if you hate fires, poor infrastructure and higher medication costs, then by all means double down on partisan gridlock. 

Yet if you want solutions, perhaps we can put the losers of Jim Brulte, John Cox, and Paul Ryan in our rear-view mirror, and put California and national Democrats to the test now that their GOP counterparts have earned the right to be tossed out on their ears.

Partisanship goes both ways...so let's see how many fires we can put out, and prevent, over the next two years.


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of both its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure and Planning Committees. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at [email protected]. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)