Talked with Don Shawl, 54, at the Mercy Health Clinic (see previous entry) in Athens, Georgia. He is a construction worker who has been laid off for two years because of the recession. He also has a list of health problems: diabetes, heart issues, an infected tooth… He has no health care insurance currently. However, the services at Mercy is free… and apparently quite good. Mr. Shawl said he’d been coming to the clinic for three months and had been treated with the utmost professionalism. For instance this day, he was seen by Dr. Jonathan Davis who volunteers at the clinic. He said Dr. Davis not only diagnosed a specific problem that he was having, but he took the time to give Mr. Shawl an in-depth explanation of the physiological dynamics of the issue. He said seldom, if ever, had he gotten such considered, thorough care… I spent the rest of the day talking with Dr. Davis, who is the kind of common sense doctor we would consider for: Secretary of Health. On the front end of the health care debate, Dr. Davis said a health care issue that’s not getting much discussion is, well, that we’re going to the doctor way too much these days. And we’re taking too much medicine to boot. He said that he estimated that as much as 30% of visits to doctors are simply not needed. Dr. Davis referred to these colloquially as “runny nose and sprained ankle visits.” What’s more, not only are we extraneously going for these kinds of visits, but we are often given medication for things we could simply tough out. We’ve, in essence, become addicted to always being comfortable. “The immune system is a marvelous thing,” said Dr. Davis, referring to the curative properties of the immune system, given time. (Dr. Davis gives annual lectures to the new Chinese students at the University of Georgia here about common sense ways to treat these minor injuries and illnesses at home.) Dr. Davis said another reason that people aren’t discouraged for coming in for these minor things is because: “…medical people get paid for these visits.” Dr. Davis is a graduate of Covenant College in Look Out Mountain, Tennessee, and did his residency at a Community Health Center in Appalachia. He now works as an emergency room doctor in rural Georgia. Note: I put up a campaign flier in “Jittery Joe’s” coffee shop in Athens. I’m sure my potential 2012 competition are indeed ‘jittery,’ knowing I’m out here. (Sorry.) More seriously, we’re asking our supporters to go to the home page, click on the “hand out” button at the top, and post them in your own local “Jittery Joe’s,” or wherever. This is our answer to the million dollar TV advertising. Thanks.