On the road again

“On the road again –
Just can’t wait to get on the road again.
The life I love is making music with my friends

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.
On the road again

Goin’ places that I’ve never been.
Seein’ things that I may never see again

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

Like Willie Nelson, I imagine a few of us took advantage of the long Memorial Day weekend to be on the road. My wife Sydney and I had the opportunity to visit my brother and his family in Minnesota. Of course, he almost immediately took off to Amsterdam for business. As they used to say in old colonial Jamaica, “such is life in the tropics!”

By taking cultural biopsies, I have again confirmed that our country is fairly homogeneous. E pluribus unum is alive and well. I am also impressed by the many nuances in our geography, culture and diversity. These distinctions offer intriguing insights.

In its May 26 edition, the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota presented a different emphasis than I have observed in our North Carolina news media. Newspapers pander to the local population, or else they face obsolescence. So, I guess the front page must immediately be relevant to the folks who live here. One conclusion that I could draw is that this must be an “outdoorsy” sort of place.

Two feature articles were about exercise and the outdoors. One was about the “Apple race” and duathlon participants breaking a sweat, and the other spoke to “learning everything that you need to know before you purchase a tent.”

The main headline really caught my attention: “Health law means more work, hiring – counties expecting flood of applicants.”

Minnesota currently is one of 17 states that have volunteered for Medicaid expansion. They have already created their own health care exchange. The paper asked St. Cloud readers to vote in online poll if they plan to investigate the Minnesota health exchange.

Here is the lead paragraph:

“The Affordable Care Act is expected to provide health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans, but it’s also creating more work for Minnesota counties.” This was not a complaint. The article continued: “St. Cloud-area counties are hiring additional human services workers for the first time since before the recession.”

The article then went on with an informative discussion as to how the Affordable Care Act will help Minnesotans.

I am guessing what some of us are thinking. Here is the liberal media pushing more government and entitlements. I also want to declare right away that personally, I am neither an ideologically rigid Republican or Democrat. As a private citizen, I reserve my right to be thoughtful and have intentionally supported decisions made by both parties when I feel that they serve our needs in eastern North Carolina.

To be clear, as a state employee, we must be nonpartisan, and my opinions must not be misconstrued as being an official stance, in any way.

But there must be something for us all to learn and ask ourselves a few questions.

Why is the Affordable Care Act viewed as valuable to some constituencies and not so valuable in others? Why is Minnesota’s unemployment rate at 5.5 percent or so, and Edgecombe County’s hovers in the mid-teens?

Some thoughtful analysis and a deeper, even more searching conversation is in order, I think.

I really like staying at home, but sometimes, being on the road in other parts of the country can make one ponder.





One comment

  • Suzanne Kraemer

    Thank you Dr. Cunningham. I have provided this link regarding a study by the Rand Corporation that came to me from the Alliance of Academic Internal Medicine. Heartbreaking to watch the health and welfare of the citizens of North Carolina and especially those of Eastern North Carolina be jeopardized by state politics.
    Perhaps a road trip is in order.

    RAND Study Supports Financial Benefits of State Medicaid Expansion under ACA

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