This week-end I went to see Michael Moore’s Sicko. Regardless of how you feel about the Moore go see the movie. At the show I attended the audience was with him, there was laughter and tears and applause at the end.
Before I launch into a rant, let me say I understand that the film was a propaganda piece, that the views were one sided and tailored to represent a certain point of view.
That being said, our market driven health care system in this country sucks.
From the New York Times:
“Both Zevalin and Bexxar are very good products,” said Dr. Oliver W. Press, a professor at the University of Washington and chairman of the scientific advisory board of the Lymphoma Research Foundation. “It is astounding and disappointing” that they are used so little. The reasons that more patients don’t get these drugs reflect the market-driven forces that can distort medical decisions, Dr. Press and other experts on lymphoma treatment say. A result can be high costs but not necessarily the best care.”
My point of view comes not just from watching Sicko or from the New York Tims, but also from personal experience. My first wife died after battling cancer for just 18 months. During those 18 months the total cost of treatment approached a million dollars and generated about 2 inches of paper work per month. Financially we were lucky; we were among the few with adequate health insurance. So instead paying hundreds of thousands of dollars, we only paid thousands of dollars for her care.
So what needs to be done?
Here is a good first step:
United States National Health Insurance Act (or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act) (Introduced in House) – Full Text
Who thinks this is a good idea?
Physicians for a National Health Care Program
City of Louisville
Kentucky Senator Gerald Neal and Kentucky Representative Joni Jenkins both introduced resolutions in the General Assembly Neal’s died in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. Here are the current members of the Committee that killed the Senate resolution:
Sen. Julie Denton [Chair]
Sen. Tom Buford [Vice Chair]
Sen. Charlie Borders
Sen. Perry B. Clark
Sen. Denise Harper Angel
Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr
Sen. Joey Pendleton
Sen. Dick Roeding
Sen. Ernesto Scorsone
Sen. Dan Seum
Sen. Katie Stine
Sen. Johnny Ray Turner
Jenkins resolution had a better ending and was posted for passage in the Regular Orders of the Day for Tuesday, January 24, 2006. Co-sponsors on the resolution were: T. Burch, Dw. Butler, L. Clark, D. Graham, W. Hall, J. Higdon, D. Horlander, M. Marzian, R. Meeks, L. Napier, F. Nesler, S. Nunn, D. Owens, T. Riner, J. Stacy, J. Wayne.
According to Healthcare-Now.org the only Kentucky Representative to support this legislation is John Yarmuth.
From Yarmuth's website:
By any measure, healthcare access is a crisis in America, today. Although we lead the world in medical innovation, 47 million Americans, or 16 percent of the population, live without health insurance. Millions of hard working Americans face the escalating cost of coverage while their benefits are being reduced. That is why I have cosponsored legislation to guarantee every American access to quality, affordable health insurance.
Where does the rest of Kentucky’s delegation stand on this issue? I called their Washington offices this morning.
According to Christie, who answered the phone, Senator McConnell doesn’t have a position on the issue and won’t until it gets to the Senate.
According to Katherine, who answered the phone, Senator Bunning doesn’t have a position on the issue, but she did take my name and address so they can send it to me when he adopts a position.
Chandler’s office is will mail me a letter on his position. He appears to have an opinion but the perky intern that answered the phone was smart enough not to speak for the Congressman. I have to agree with Lou Grant, I hate perky early in the morning.
Davis office gave the same response as Chandler’s. The intern wasn’t as perky but needed more contact info before she they could send a position statement.
The intern here sent me to the voice mail of a staffer Megan Spendal (I think that was the last name) to get an answer. I left a message with contact info.
Victoria answered the phone in Roger’s office. Rep. Rodgers doesn’t have an opinion but Victoria really wanted to know my opinion. I told her I was in favor of the bill and gave her my address, so if and when Hal has a position on the bill he can let me know.
Jordan, the first male intern, gave me the now standard “I don’t know the position, but we’ll get back to you response.”
As I get responses I'll publish them here.