There are people in life you are privilged to have known.
The late Ben Lawton is one of them.
Ben Lawton died in 1987. He was only 64 but had a rich life which included being a cardiac surgeon, president of the Marshfield Clinic and University of Wisconsin regent.
What impressed me the most about Ben Lawton was his ability to speak for the common man.
On the cost of medical education: "If I had to pay what these kids do now, I'd still be driving a beer truck."
On the high cost of medical care: "Do you need $70,000 in tests for a 70 cent answer?"
Ben Lawton was no country quack. He helped bring top quality health care to the rural areas of central Wisconsin -- "gold card" care by urban standards.
And he and his cohorts did it in such a way to avoid duplication of costs and services.
As Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and others look for ways to deal with their health care issue, it's too bad Ben Lawton isn't around to advise them.
One thing I think he'd point out is that you'll never do anything meaningful if you don't control insanely spiraling costs.
Simply stated, the health care industry has run amok and just throwing money at it -- our money -- won't fix it. (Of course, the auto industry "bailout" model should work for them, shouldn't it? Nah.)
Cost containment. Reducing paperwork burdens and duplication of services. Caps on unnecessary spending by health care providers. Ferreting out corruption and kickbacks.
These are just a few ideas to get the ball rolling. It's time that health care provders return to acting like health care professionals instead of car salesmen.