As manufacturing crisis looms, alarm sounds for state medical tsunami?

The Madison County Record Feb. 19, 2011, 5:56am

There's a manufacturing crisis in America and it's going to get worse. The average age of machinists and other skilled workers in our country is 55 to 60, and nobody's following in their footsteps. They'll be retiring in the next 5-10 years -- and when they're gone -- there'll be no one to replace them.

Think about that. Not near enough skilled workers to make machines for us, and too few to repair them. Will everything grind to a halt? Speaking out is an actor named John Ratzenberger, otherwise known as barfly Cliff Clavin on the television series, Cheers.

Ratzenberger has joined forces with the Center for America to increase awareness about the need to rebuild our nation's skilled workforce. Right now, he's working on a film called Industrial Tsunami to explain the crisis before us and what we need to do to avert it.
Unfortunately, it's not the only crisis on the horizon. Here in Illinois, we also face a medical tsunami.

If you've been putting off going to the doctor, delay no longer. Wait too long and you may not be able to find one. In other words, if you're going to get sick, do it now.

Likewise for the avaricious. If you hope to get rich by suing a doctor, you'd better do it soon. Wait too long and you may not have a target.

Think about that. No one to diagnose our illnesses, no one to help restore our health. If we get sick, we could stay sick.

Someone's sounding the alarm for this crisis, too – Dr. Steve Malkin, president of the Illinois State Medical Society.

Malkin warns that a high percentage of primary care physicians in Illinois are near retirement age and few young doctors are following in their footsteps. Why? Exorbitant malpractice insurance rates, for one thing.

Like Ratzenberger, Malkin is trying to increase awareness of this problem and the solutions for it.

We better start listening.

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