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I’m back, raring to go

After two weeks in wind-swept Ireland and rainy Scotland, where temperatures usually got no higher than 60 degrees, I am back, and more tolerant of Florida heat and humidity.

I'm ready to dig into the challenge of reporting what's going on in Florida's health-care sector and highlighting important stories that others report.

But I'm not sure I'm ready for TV, much less political TV, as I discovered last night when I switched on the tube for the first time in weeks.

First I watched a Dr. Seuss cartoon with my two toddler-age grandkids. Then I watched Paul Ryan's speech to the Republican national convention. What a combo!

Ryan looked fit and confident. In fact, he looked as though he had been sent in by central casting. Kind of like Sarah Palin did last year.

But Ryan's no Palin. He's articulate and knows the federal budget backwards and forwards. He has some good ideas, and some risky ones. You have to know a lot about Medicaid and Medicare to figure out which are which.

Voters don't know much about either program, and what little they know is often wrong, as pollsters discover when they ask fact-based questions instead of seeking only opinions. The voters' knowledge has been polluted by unscrupulous political ads on all sides.

If you want to bone up on Medicare, here's a good, objective resource: Medicare Finances Made Simple.

Vice President Joe Biden, who knows a lot but isn't good at explaining things, had better get a debate coach. I predict Ryan will eviscerate him.

But that's politics. Not policy. Policy is what matters in real life.

--Health News Florida is an independent online publication dedicated to journalism in the public interest. Contact Editor Carol Gentry at 727-410-3266 orby e-mail.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.