It’s time to take a breath — but not for all of us

I know I pick on our government all too much. I know this for two reasons. First off, because many people tell me I do. And I guess that’s good and bad, as some tend to agree with what I have to say, but others tend to think I say it all too much. But secondly, I do it because it’s so easy with the target-rich environment the over-caring, over-bearing folks in our government tend to create.

Craig Hall

Have you heard the latest? The government is looking to outlaw affordable inhalers that are literally a breath of fresh air to asthmatics and others who have respiratory problems. And can you guess the reason for the possible new regulation that would prohibit the use of inhalers? You got it — GLOBAL WARMING and an oldie, but goodie, CFCs. I’ve pontificated many times on my beliefs in manmade global warming (full disclosure, I don’t believe in it!) and I’m willing to put those thoughts and all of my research aside and head toward a completely different line of thinking as it relates to another ill-fated, unneeded attempt to “save the planet.”

This announcement comes literally on the heels of our president making the assertion the people of the United States are using hospitals for medical needs that are easily treatable with low-cost, readily available, preventative medications. The president insisted that the people who are using medical facilities for these kinds of things are using up precious medical resources and driving up costs. And this statement was a cornerstone of selling Obamacare to an unwilling populace.

Obama went as far as to use asthma patients as a specific example, although it did take him three tries to get to inhaler from breathalyzer and inoculators. Perhaps Obama was really targeting drunken asthmatics in desperate need of an immunization — in which case I agree that might be a case of medical overkill on the cost and services scale. But let’s get back to the gist of the matter. Obama’s example on asthma patients was indeed spot on, and that’s easier for me to say than one would think.

You see, I live in a house with a wife who has asthma and a 4-year-old daughter who has allergy induced asthma. So we have countless times when we are grateful for an affordable, readily available means of treating the symptoms when they appear. For my wife, it’s an inhaler and for our little girl, sometimes it is an inhaler or when symptoms are worse, we hook her up to her nebulizer (which is designed to make it look like an elephant’s trunk to make the experience more enjoyable, but I just don’t see that from any angle). The treatments we keep on hand fit the bill for what should be at least one of the answers to lowering health care costs in this country.

The government’s answer is to force s to buy more expensive or prescription “green” inhalers that will cost consumers much, much more — all in the name of fixing something that’s been fixing itelf for years, the ozone layer.

But alas, as with all government panaceas, the solution isn’t needed. What sounds great in a speech doesn’t occur in the reality of everyday Americans’ lives. But what do exist in our country are the special interests that bring useless regulation into existence in the minds of those politicians who are at the beck and call of the donors and voting blocks. And sadly, this case with inhalers is a prime example of what can happen when a good concept — one that has been in place for a very long time, mind you, and was in little need of revamping — runs headlong into ideology. What’s good for the public is now basically in danger of being cut off, for some asthmatics literally to the point of having no air to breathe, and for our president who is now more than happy to stifle an actual salient argument for keeping health care costs down — by creating a new requirement to make special interests happy.

I simply can’t fathom how anyone with a modicum of sense can accept the argument the president is now making when it comes to inhalers. What is more insulting is how no one in the press has the nerve to actually bring this up to the president or anyone in his administration. How is it that no member of the White House press corps sees the twisted irony of this new concept in our president’s thinking? How exactly would this new law make our health care better, more available and more affordable? As I said, if the alternative exists, it’s the best kept secret in Washington.

I guess to paraphrase our president and his analogy on how many bridges must fall before we start to repair them, I simply have to ask, just how many asthmatics need to stop breathing before you notice that inhalers, much like the bridges you refer to, actually work and work well?

My guess is that if President Obama is having trouble breathing, it isn’t asthma, it must be the low-oxygen atmosphere from which these kinds of ideas come.

Craig Hall is owner and publisher of the Business Times. Reach him at 424-5133 or