Mielke: “We’re not China. Not yet”

During a Wednesday work session with Vanessa Gaston, director of Clark County’s Community Services Department, Commissioner Tom Mielke did not like what Gaston was saying when she was talking about access to health insurance and incentives for preventative care.

Gaston was updating commissioners on how she was figuring how national health care reform will play out locally.

Mielke said he’d recently watched a documentary about China.

“You are pointing us that way,” he told Gaston. “It’s not pretty.”

Mielke, 68, recalled when he didn’t have health insurance by choice because he was young and healthy.

He said he has the same problem he does with health care as he does with the idea of affordable housing.

“By providing everything for everyone when it’s a choice, we are on this edge of mandating personal behavior, and providing health care and housing for everyone,” Mielke said.

“It’s like China,” Mielke continued. “And we’re not China. Not yet.”

Gaston said the goal of social services was to help people who are struggling because they’ve lost their job or have mental health problems or other issues, and the idea is to help them get back to being self-sufficient. When parents are struggling, she said, that leaves children without a home or health care.

Mielke said his parents took care of him, and he takes care of his family.

He said homeless teenagers are “children who don’t want to abide by the rules of the house so they run away.”

As for health care, Mielke said the United States already has the one of the greatest systems in the world.

Said Gaston: “For people who can afford it.”

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