Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Friends Commitee on National Legislation

Dear friends,
If you want to understand a political issue and are bewildered by it, a good place to start is with the FCNL. The organization is by the Quakers-- who call themselves "Friends". I believe them-- they are true friends of Jesus, and each other. There is no hierarchy to support, and so they do not skew the data or twist the truth. They can be believed, and their opinion is both ethical and valuable. I am praying that what they have said about health care reform will be more widely heard. They have been pointing out that it will lower the federal deficit== and that should appeal to EVEN the most ardent Republicans! Please check it out. Love, Martina

Monday, August 10, 2009

More on Health Care Reform

Recently, I got a page from a blog talking about how the whole reform will be at seniors' expense. It is obvious to me that it is part of the big misinformation campaign being spread by powerful interests who do NOT want reform, because they are making billions of dollars, siphoned off the top of the cost of health care. I worry about how this kind of stuff is being spread, and by whom. It seems guaranteed to cause radical paranoia, which will thwart the needed changes, and will allow the robbers to keep robbing the screwed up system.
One problem is that the "Medicare advantage" program is spending 15% more of taxpayers' money, paying Large Insurance companies, for Medicare patients. If we could regulate and stop the robbery from these insurances, we could use that extra money, which is NOT being spent on actual care, but is being given to wall street profiteers, to take care of patients.
The systems which are getting put into place will utilise medical care differently. Every thing will be much more "cookbook"-- which means, you get the mammogram, labs, colonoscopy, bone mineral density, and a short visit to follow up on all of the "screening" tests. More nurse practitioners will be utilised by docs to do the quick blood pressure checks, and follow-up visits, at the "medical home" office. The patients who have congestive failure of their hearts will be getting phone calls daily or weekly, and will be going to the clinic for anti-coagulation follow-up fine-tuning on a routine basis. But overall, there will be less holes in the system this way. Patients will be followed more meticulously by every screening parameter, in standard ways. There will be more teamwork with social services, home nurses, in-home caregivers, and all the ancillary testing groups, and specialists working with the primary care docs in a more concerted and coordinated way. You won't have so many right hands not knowing what the left hand is doing.
The insurance companies are spending millions to try to block this bill. They already have bought the blue dog democrats, and they took the pearl from the crown-- the national malpractice reform which is the MOST important piece of how to save the TAXPAYERS' money. They are so devious, and so rich! It is pathetic; and the country is full of people too ignorant to see what would be best, or good for them, because the issues are complex, and easy to manipulate. The fearmongers are going to the 9th circle of Dante's inferno, if I get my way with the heavenly authorities!!
The two main issues we need to have are a public option, and malpractice reform. That will save all the needed money, and distribute it where the care is needed, to the actual caregivers. What we need is a public option which will take care of the sick and the poor. The public option should be the same as what the congress gets. And if anyone wants to pay more, they can buy a private option, which will cost more, but hopefully deliver more. It should include the perks, like plastic surgery, and infertility, and advanced treatments still considered experimental, and drugs with no generic equivalent, yet. Everyone will WANT private insurance, but not everyone can afford it.
For the sick and the poor, who are going bankrupt and losing their homes, and unable to hire in-home help to take care of their children as they struggle to pay for chemotherapy, there will be the "rescue net" of the public option, I sincerely hope and pray. Medicare doesn't pay enough, but it is better than nothing. What has happened is that the private insurances are now paying docs Medicare rates, and using the extra money they get for their policies to pay these exorbitant salaries to their CEOs and investors. Physicians are screwed by the system, but we have to remember that the sick are poor and the poor are sick, and that the job is also partly a vocation, not just a business. Docs who are making huge amounts of money as entrepreneurs are not always respected and loved by their patients or colleagues. Patients know when we have their best interest at heart, not our own. Humility is needed in any profession, and ethics always apply. Doing the right thing should always be built into the system as the best answer. We have to take a hard look at greed and profit-making, and make an effort to discern where the common good of our communities lie.
Real reform is going to be costly, and yet, citizens should be satisfied that the safety net for all our families is in place. That is absolutely the best guarantor for any person who falls ill, that the right thing will be done in their case. A few years ago, there was a ballot measure to pay about 50 cents for each cell phone user per year, into a fund which would cover 911 calls for emergencies throughout the state. The private phone companies defeated it, with smearing tv ads. That money would have helped coordinate ambulance, police and fire services. When we look at the state budget, and we see bankruptcy, we need to realize that the citizens have to push for better use of the tax money. We need to overcome lobbyists for special interest groups that warp the discussion, and help themselves rather than the "common good". My vote for state funding is to spend FIRST on healthcare and schools. I do not want to see us spending more on prisons than on education. I believe it is worth our efforts to have a healthy populace. Please see my 10 points of health reform, for a more coherent "big picture".
Love, martina