Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Healthcare Reform: Getting It Right This Time

President Barack Obama listens to Senator Edward M. Kennedy speaking during the Health Care Summit second session. Thursday, March 5, 2008, in the East Room at the White House. Photo by Pete Souza.

"You have got to think this will be the Ted Kennedy Health Reform Act, because he's a beloved figure and he's championed the issue for so long...There are a lot of unknowns right now, but what we do know obviously is he is very close to Obama, and he also has quite a network of health policy experts that he can draw from."
--John Rother, policy director for the AARP, Boston Globe, July 2, 2008

Listen up. This past week, The Prez (President Barack Obama) did something very important, something that will, one way or another, affect all of us: he began an organized discussion about how to reform healthcare. It was the first in a series of discussions that will occur in other states all across the country with doctors, patients, policy wonks and other folk.

These regional forums will take some time, but they are very necessary. First, they are needed to make sure Americans understand that The Prez is listening. Remember when First Lady tried to do universal healthcare in the 90's? Remember how she tried to manipulate it through congress with backroom deals without the American people knowing what was going on? Remember how Republicans dissed her, saying she wanted to drain the government treasury while developing another socialist government program? Remember what a failure it was? Well, by meeting with Americans from different parts of the country and making it all transparent, The Prez is demonstrating that he has learned from the First Lady Clinton's experience.

He is also demonstrating that, after all these years, he has not forgotten how to organize. As organizers well know, you don't make decisions ahead of people. Instead, you let people have their say, have their day. Then you pull them back together to move forward: to formulate recommendations or solutions and to fight to implement them.

The second reason it should take some time is that The Prez needs to let the American people hear just how complicated healthcare is in this country. It involves a convergence of many players: Patients, doctors, insurance companies, hospitals, HMOs, unions, etc. It involves a delicate balancing act of providing information more efficiently and effectively to doctors while, at the same time, protecting the patient's privacy. And, just as importantly, healthcare is deeply woven into the crisis in the American economy. For example, several Ford and several big auto companies have already begun pulling out of America and setting up shops in Canada, where they don't have to pay their workers healthcare coverage. This means a significant drop in the cost they have to pay workers to make each new vehicle. So The Prez is making Americans gain a greater understanding of the relationship between healthcare and business: how getting a handle on healthcare can help the government to get a handle on the economy as well. In opening up the forum, he stated:

"Health care reform is a fiscal imperative.Skyrocketing health care costs are draining our federal budget, undermining our long-term economic prosperity and devastating American families."

The main idea of these forums, says The Prez, is to "...bring together diverse groups of people all over the country who have a stake in reforming our health care system and ask them to put forward their best ideas about how we bring down costs and expand coverage for American families."

By putting into the budget a 634 billion downpayment on healthcare and holding transparent, nation-wide discussions about it, The Prez is following through on his campaign promise to reform healthcare, to move it more closely to universal healthcare.

The regional forums will be in California, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina and Vermont over the coming weeks.


CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Hey MacDaddy. Hope all is well. I've probably mentioned it before, but I've worked in health care for my entire career (both on the non-profit and for profit sides). I totally agree that there's a delicate balance, each stakeholder has their own interests/concerns and being scrutinized is never easy or fun. One thing I know won't work (and one of the reasons Hillary's efforts fell flat) is a single payer system. The government (HHS) isn't set up to handle that kind of responsibility nor are insurers. I think Prez O's townhall approach will be effective in highlighting all of the important issues to consider.

I applaud the stimulus funding granted to the community health centers who are often overlooked as a major safety net for the un- and underinsured. It'll be a long, hard road but I think a multi-dimensional approach is the way to go. Great post!

MacDaddy said...

CurvyGurl: Well said. I just wanted to note that the Obama's funding of community health centers was mentioned as an example by Republican senators as "wasteful spending." Then they followed that up with a Republican-only meeting and came out of it saying that Obama needs to implement a "spending freeze," something Hoover tried and failed at back in the day. They just don't want the government to spend any money to help working and poor people-- not even on their health.

Keep us updated. I used to comment on your blog a lot. I miss that.

rainywalker said...

I agree with CurvyGirl Hillary wanted the government to run the program and the states would have no say. In Canada each province controls their own healthcare program monitored by the government. Some provinces charge citizens extra for certain services. Private doctors are allowed. Dental, medicine, eye care, etc., outside of hospital care is paid for seperately by the individual. But medicine is cheap in Canada because it is subsidized by the government. Some provinces charge an extra medical fee yearly on income tax which is extra. Most here in the US believe Canada is covered for everything which is not true. So depending on who runs the program and what our program will include is going to be quite expensive.
I still contend that past [health care bills], the present stimulus package and future ones will remove service to the elderly over time. Without restrictions many will run to the doctors and hospitals for free service and overextend the system until it collapses.
I don't have a problem with socialized medicine. I have a problem with who is going to pay for it shortly when we don't have enough taxes for the program. The average to poor senior American can not afford more tax. Look around your city, more and more people are being driven to the street because they couldn't afford the tax on their house, electric, gas, water, food, sewage, run off fees, telephone taxes, etc., etc.

MountainLaurel said...

Wasteful spending my Aunt Fanny, as Mother used to say. It is an extreme cost SAVINGS. Why can't these folks realize it?

Where in NC is the meeting? I'm afraid that Appalachia will get left out once again. I should be used to it by now.

actually, Curvy Girl, I know that Hillary did a good bit of research on the topic. She visited the Health Right clinic in the town where I was living at the time to use it as a model. That place was a lifesaver in all senses of the word.

MacDaddy said...

Mountain: I'll find out where the healthcare forum is in North Carolina and get back to you in this same segment...

I remember how confident, committed and knowledgeable the then First Lady Clinton wasabout healthcare even back then. But, coming after Reagan and his big government is the enemy nonsense, congress was in no mood for universal healthcare anyway, especially with it being steered through congress by a non-elected woman. So only part of this is about Clinton. The other part is that congress wasn't ready for it.

MacDaddy said...

Mountain: I can't find where The Prez is speaking in North Carolina. But I'm sure they're going to say where in the next few days. They usually makes these kinds of announcements on his blog, which is

jacksmith said...

Finally, the time has arrived to fix Americas Healthcare crisis, and Americas healthcare knightmare. Hundreds of thousands of you are killed needlessly every year by your healthcare delivery system in a rush to profit. And because of a rush to profit Hundreds of thousands more of you are needlessly dying from treatable illness that people in other developed and civilized countries don't DIE! from. Rich, middle class, and poor alike. Insured, and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies.

Additionally, thousands more of you are driven into financial ruin, and bankruptcy just because you, or one of your loved ones got sick or injured. And all of this is happening at a time when America spends twice as much of it's GDP (Gross Domestic Productivity) on health care than any other country in the developed world. Individual Americans spend about ten times as much on health care as any other people in the developed world. This is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. AND IT MUST END!

But before we can truly fix this healthcare crisis and disgrace, everyone needs to clearly understand what the problem is. And everyone needs to clearly understand the real enormity of the problem. The problem is that HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL DELIVERY IN AMERICA IS SEVERELY CORRUPTED AND COMPROMISED BY GREED! AND THE PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MOTIVE. And it is corrupted, and compromised IN EVERY ASPECT, AND EVERY PLACE OF HEALTHCARE AND MEDICAL DELIVERY. Unfortunately for all Americans, compromised healthcare ALWAYS results in needless suffering, injury, disability, and or death. Which is exactly what is happening now in America in shocking numbers.

Health care is NOT! a private for profit business. Healthcare is an essential public service. Like police, and fire. And healthcare is also a human right! PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTHCARE IS AN OXYMORON, AND AN IMMORAL AND UNETHICAL PERVERSION OF HEALTHCARE AND HUMAN RIGHTS.

So how do we fix this healthcare disgrace? I believe the fix for Americas healthcare disaster is essentially the same thing that every other developed country in the World has essentially done. "NOT FOR PROFIT, TAX PAYER SUPPORTED, SINGLE PAYER, AUTOMATIC, FREE UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE FOR ALL. Essentially HR676 (enhanced, and expanded medicare for all). Just like every other CIVILIZED! country in the developed World has. There is no other way to truly fix and reform our current disastrous healthcare delivery system.

All Universal health care systems work best when everyone participates. But I know that the healthcare lobby, and some politicians will try and undermine "Not For Profit, Tax payer supported, Single payer, Automatic, Free Universal Healthcare for all" by falsely claiming that it will limit your choice, and require you to participate.

So, I propose that everyone be included in the national plan unless they choose to opt out. If you opt out and need medical care the national plan will insure your provider that they will be reimbursed under the rules for members in the national plan. But those who opted out, and their insurer will be responsible for the FULL! cost to the national plan for providing your care if you or your private insurer fails to reimburse the provider or the national plan in a timely manor to at least the standards of the national plan.

Including reporting you to credit agencies, withholding of taxes, leans, and garnishment of wages for unpaid medical bills. Just like you have now under private for profit healthcare, and private for profit health insurance.

Further, people who opted out will be required to provide proof of financial responsibility for future illness or be required to participate in the national plan. And everyone with children will be required to participate in the national plan. Or provide proof of insurance coverage on each child to the standards of the national plan. It will be against the law to report anyone in the national plan to a credit agency for unpaid medical bills.

Frankly, only a dope would want to opt out of the national plan and opt to keep our current disastrous private for profit medical, and insurance plans. But they will be free to choose. The most important thing is that the vast majority of Americans that want the protection, benefits, and higher quality of a universal national plan have that choice.

You see, one of the most important aspects of a universal healthcare system is easy access, and patient protection. This is accomplished by having a single payer without a conflict of interest in patient care. And by having a payer who has the power to enforce minimum standards of excellence in healthcare delivery for everyone in the plan. This is much of what Medicare does now for senors. "Aeger Primo" (The patient first). Unfortunately in our healthcare system the patient comes last. We are just a peace of meat to them. Cash cows to be slaughtered for profit.

So this is IT! my fellow Americans, My fellow human beings, My fellow World Citizens. And my fellow Cyber Warriors. :-) The time has come. D day. H hour. HEALTHCARE REFORM THIS YEAR! Let no one stand in our way. Contact your representative and tell them you want "Not For Profit, Tax Payer Supported, Single Payer, Automatic, Free Universal healthcare for all. And tell them you want that choice now. Tell them you want President Obama's budget passed as is, without delay. President Obama's budget is brilliant. And exactly what is needed now.

President Obama, and his allies will need all the support you can give them. The healthcare lobby will try to take out his people if they can, like they did with Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer. And they will try to neutralize President Obama's popularity, and political power. Or they will try to take him down someway. Don't stand for it. If they attack him. Go after them ten times harder and remove them from office. We had an election. And you the people chose President Obama's leadership, and change agenda. Let no one in government disrespect the will of the American people and remain in office.

To President Obama, his Cabinet, the Congress of the United States, and the Supreme Court. I have noticed for some time a disturbing tendency for key members of your bodies to come down with illness, or medical problems at critical legislative times. This may just be coincidence. But I can tell you that there are a million subtle ways to medically injure someone just by doing nothing when something needs to be done. Or by doing things to someone when nothing needs to be done except to give them reassurance. I know for a fact that there are those that would have no qualms about hurting any of you to preserve our current disgraceful medical status quo.

So, I recommend as a matter of national security that you enlist the help of a friendly power to regularly review, and oversee the medical care you receive from your local regular healthcare providers. Briton, France and many other countries have excellent medical providers. As well as Canada. Briton, and Canada may be less of a language barrier for Americans.

Let's get this healthcare reform done now my fellow Americans. This year. Take no prisoners.

God Bless All Of You

Jack Smith — Working Class :-)