Friday, August 22, 2008

Be Bold!

As expected, I am not the only one to immediately jump on the figures presented in the most recent Commonwealth Fund Report. (See yesterday's post.) Chellie Pingree, Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives for Maine's 1st District and former Maine State Senate Majority Leader, has written a piece that not only looks at the figures, but puts them into a local context for her state. She also provides a call to action to politicians to be bold in their decisions when legislating on health care issues.

Chellie Pingree on The Huffington Post:

Access to quality, affordable health care is particularly important here in Maine, where many of us own small businesses or are self-employed. Many Maine families have put together a way to make a decent living (and often it includes more than one job) -- until it comes time to figure out how to pay for health care.

When I was in the Maine Senate and proposed Maine RX -- a plan to lower prescription drug costs by forcing the pharmaceutical companies to negotiate -- I was told by many people that it was too big an idea, and we couldn't overcome opposition from the drug companies. Those corporations certainly put up a good fight -- all the way to the US Supreme Court -- but in the end we prevailed.

The lesson is that, as elected officials, we shouldn't be afraid of a bold idea. More often than not, the public will already be there while the politicians lag behind. This new survey from the Commonwealth Fund provides the hard numbers to back that up: almost everyone believes we need to fundamentally overhaul or rebuild the system.

It is my belief that no matter what side of the political aisle you are on, the exhortation to be bold is one worth listening to. The health care system of the United States is obviously broken. This is not only common wisdom but extensively documented by a variety of sources. Universal coverage is something I would term a fundamental rebuild. Do you agree?

We need health care reform now. It is a mission critical issue for American citizens. George C. Halvorson said it very well, “It’s definitely time to bite the bullet on universal coverage. The ethnic, racial, and economic disparities in care that exist now ought to push us all into creating universal coverage at the fastest possible speed -- and the new opportunity to link universal coverage to real health care reform using electronic data about actual care delivery ought to give us a sense that the time to act is now.”

Your health is your greatest asset. Isn't it time to treat it as such?

SOURCE: "Healthcare System Overhaul -- 82% of Us Want It" 08/20/08
photo courtesy of jepoirrier, used under its Creative Commons license

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