Reporter's Note: President Obama has a lot of advisors. But perhaps he needs one more. And who can express himself, for example in a letter a day to the man in the Oval Office.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
At one point during your big health care summit this past week some lawmaker (not sure which one, because sometimes they all seem so much alike; if I were President I would totally be requiring name tags) said something about how we can’t even carry on a conversation unless we agree on some basic facts. I think he was pleading for everyone to accept that the Farmer’s Almanac can be trusted…or something like that.
The problem is, in these really hot debates, even if the sides agree on which sources to trust, they inevitably start cherry picking which facts they use so the standardized source doesn’t really matter. For example, you and I could absolutely agree to use only official USLDL statistics (of course I mean the United States Lawn Dart League) and yet we might individually find plenty of evidence to support our differing choices for USLDLICDC (United States Lawn Dart League Intramural Champion Dart Chucker.)
That’s why I think you should appoint me Official Keeper of the Truth. Please allow me to run through my qualifications.
A massive magnitude 8.8 earthquake rocked Chile early Saturday, killing at least 122 people and triggering tsunami warnings for the entire Pacific basin.
Numerous tsunami waves have been reported in the Pacific, with one reaching as high as 7.7 feet in the central Chile coastal town of Talcahuano, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
Sirens sounded at 6 a.m. Friday across Hawaii, warning people of a possible tsunami and telling people in coastal areas to evacuate.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/WORLD/americas/02/27/chile.quake.hawaii/story.car.buried.afp.gi.jpg caption="An 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile set off tsunami waves expected to hit Hawaii later Saturday." width=300 height=169]
Tens of thousands of residents began evacuating from coastal Japan on Sunday in anticipation of a possible tsunami following the 8.8-magnitude quake that rocked Chile the day before, CNN's Kyung Lah reported.
The northern part of the main island is looking at the possibility of a tsunami more than 9 feet high, she said. Rail service has been halted and residents have been urged to evacuate low-lying areas of the island nation.
The warning primarily affected fishing areas and tourist areas; major cities like Tokyo, which is inland, were not affected.
Reporter's Note: President Obama always seems to have something on his schedule, but frankly I think he gets more vacation than I do. Or at least it feels that way as I wrap up a long week on the road with my latest letter to the White House.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Dear Mr. President,
Well, I don’t know everything that you’ve been up to this week, but I’ve been working! By the time you read this, I hope to finally be in the air on the way home for a truncated weekend, and we all know how painful that can be. My team and I pulled pretty much 15 hours every day that we were in Austin. Apparently when they say everything is bigger in Texas, they’re including the work week.
The only real down time we had was at meals, and we ate like horses. My favorite dish of the week was an appetizer: a lightly fried ball of risotto and mozzarella with a red sauce that was so good it would make you slap your mama. That’s a New Orleans phrase. It means something is so good you’d resent the fact that your mother’s cooking fell short, which as you might guess means it’s pretty darn good.
I guess I also had a wee tiny bit of free time just before sleep each night, and I spent it trying to catch up on the Winter Olympics. I know that we talk a lot these days about understanding other cultures and appreciating the rest of the world and all that, but I still cheer for the U.S. in every event.
Tonight we're looking into what's causing the shortage of primary care physicians in the United States. What impact will health care reform have on this trend? We're also digging deeper on what really caused the attack of the killer whale on the trainer at Sea World this week. What do you think? Join the conversation on the live blog.
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Tonight, new details on the killer whale attack at Sea World. We’ll tell you what happened inside the tank as a massive whale named Tilikum held his victim in his jaws, underwater, for nearly 40 minutes. Did the 40-year-old trainer make a fatal mistake in the moments before the whale grabbed her?
Also tonight: broken government, family doctors and your health. We’ll be digging deeper on one piece of the heath care reform puzzle—a trend that could leave you in the lurch when you need to see a doctor.
Over the next decade, the American Academy of Family Physicians predicts a shortage of as many as 40,000 to 50,000 primary care doctors. Fewer medical school students are choosing to go into this line of medicine. We’ll look at the reasons why and what health care reform promises to do about it. 360 MD Sanjay Gupta heads up our coverage.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
Three men walk their dogs in Central Park February 26, 2010 after a snow storm dropped 9.4 inches (23.8 cm) in New York. More snow is expected in the next two days.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Kaiser Family Foundation
State Health Facts
In the debate surrounding overhauling the nation's health care system, one factor keeps coming up: the shortage of primary care physicians. Tonight, we're digging deeper on this phenomenon and taking a look at what health care reform will mean for the number of doctors in America. Are medical students steering clear of primary care? Why? Take a look at this map from the Kaiser Family Foundation. It shows the "shortage areas" by region. You can search by state to drill down on the most recent numbers.
There are 6,033 Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) with 64 million people living in them. It would take 16,336 practitioners to meet their needs for primary care providers (a population to practitioner ratio of 2,000:1).
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Boyce Watkins, PhD
One of the obstacles being faced by President Obama as he works to overhaul the health care system is the shortage of doctors across America. Our country is woefully unprepared for the number of primary care physicians that we will need as the American population ages. The problem is that fewer doctors are interested in doing primary care, since the medicare payments to primary care physicians are lower than those made to specialists. As a result, there's been a 51.8% decline in the number of medical school students going into primary care since 1997.
The American Academy of Family Physicians predicts that by 2020, we will be short 40,000 family physicians relative to what our nation will need by that time. The American Medical Association is one of the primary culprits in the doctor shortage. A 1994 article, as well as many conferences during the 80s and 90s, predicted a 165,000 surplus in the number of doctors by the year 2000. As a result, medical schools agreed to voluntarily restrict the supply of medical students entering their programs. The only problem was that the predicted surplus never occurred. Instead, we got a shortage.
Dr. Elaina George, a prominent physician out of Atlanta, says that the doctor shortage is going to have lasting consequences on the American public.
"In the short term, there will likely be a decrease in access since we will be unable to accommodate the increase in patients," says Dr. George, one of the few black doctors willing to discuss health care reform in public. "In the long term a patient will have to wait even longer to see a specialist."