I am wondering how many parents are like me in their inability to keep up to date on political issues. It is frustrating to say the least, to not have the time to listen to the news or to read the newspapers and whenever I do get the chance to get better informed I usually wind up either in tears and angry from reality or completely confused.
Listening to educated people is my alternative and I try to listen to all sides so that I can make my own opinions. One of the most important topics right now is Obama’s Healthcare Reform Plan and I could not hold an intelligent conversation about it to save my life so I went to a meeting on Organizing for Health Care to get better informed.
As I hobbled with my broken toe into the remarkably beautiful Aspen home with a view of Aspen Highlands looming outside the kitchen window. I felt like a fish out of water and proceeded to gobble down some fellow shrimp that were served on a platter and decided to listen only and keep my mouth shut for once.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Pramenko, a family physician from Grand Junction, Colorado. Grand Junction has one of the lowest-cost, highest-quality heath care systems in the country comparable to The Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanents. It has an accountable-care organization where the leading doctors and the hospital system adopted measures to blunt harmful financial incentives and took collective responsibility for improving the sum total of patient care.
This approach has been adopted in other places and all have produced enviably higher quality and lower costs than the average American town enjoys.
The first question that Dr. Pramenko asked was why anybody would want this relentless momentum of no change. It is true that Health Care does not work so why would people prefer to keep this system and allow our nation’s balance sheet to continue to skyrocket the cost of health care?
Dr. Pramenko, cited in The New Yorker in a June 1st article http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/06/01/090601fa_fact_gawande, said that there are three tenants to the plan that make it worth fighting for:
1. Universal Access
3. Cost Control
The second speaker was Sheri Cogley, a regional Field Director for Organizing for America, and she made the point that President Obama is staking his entire Presidency on Health Care Reform. Why would he risk serving only one term unless he believed that America needed a change?
The fact is that we are the only country that does not provide health insurance to it’s people and consequently there are more than 46 million Americans who are without health insurance.
My questions are:
Why wouldn’t we want to drive quality and control costs with a more efficient plan?
Why would we want to stand the risk of getting dropped by our insurance company when we are sick and need it the most?
Why wouldn’t we want to get rid of pre-existing conditions?
What convinces me the most that we need a change is that 70% of the people that support the bill today are Doctors, Nurses and Hospitals. Clearly, they are the ones who have the knowledge of how badly the system needs to change. It seems to me that we should pay attention to the experts.
On my way back to the car I decided that I can no longer be an innocent bystander. If this plan does not get passed than I will be guilty of letting my ignorance preclude me from helping to make our country a better place to live in.
I am very interested to hear why you, my readers, are for or against Health Care Reform. Please put your answers in the comments section of my Blog and I will do what I can to learn from all of you, whether you are for or against the plan.