Monday, March 14, 2011

The Character Assasination of Dr. Don Berwick

Dr Don Berwick, one of the most highly qualified administrators ever nominated for public office, is about to be sacrificed on the altar of politics.  Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, recently told reporters  that he has discussed Berwick's nomination with Republican senators and they plan to oppose Berwick under any circumstances. “Republicans won,” he said about the nomination.

Trouble is, I don't remember hearing about any fight.

Tom Curry, Executive Director and CEO of the Washington State Medical Association wrote in his March 14th Monday Memo to physician members that:

This is one of those instances where it would be better to fight and lose (while defending one’s view of the underlying reform legislation) than “duck and cover”.

I agree. This deserves to be a fight - a big fight - a loud fight. Dr Berwick is a world leader in understanding the problems of quality and inefficiency in US healthcare. It is an area of study and learning that he has dedicated his life to. His nomination is supported by all of organized medicine. Why? Because physicians know the quality of his work and the seriousness of our problems. The barrier to his confirmation is, interests that profit from our current mess are going all out to scare people and paint Don Berwick as a radical who wants to ration their health care. Consider the website This site is a project of The Heartland Institute, who according to sourcewatch is "a frequent ally of, and funded by, the tobacco industry" who "now refuses to publicly disclose who its corporate and foundation funders are". They are also known to have been funded in the past by the tobacco, oil and gas industry as well as the infamous Koch Brothers.

Do we want shadowy, secretly funded pressure groups paid for by big business to make our decisions for us, before debate occurs, or do we want a full discussion in the light of day? This is disgusting. Our legislators need to hear from us now.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Healthcare and YOU

Sorry to say, but when it comes to understanding health care reform, our media have done a woeful job of keeping us informed and the general public remains very confused and unenlightened. For example, recent studies demonstrate that many Americans who believe they understand how the law works are actually thoroughly misinformed, and some are not even aware it is still in effect.A poll released by the Kaiser Family Foundation at the end of February found that about 20 percent of people wrongly believe that the law ended when Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to repeal it earlier this year, and 26 percent replied that they didn’t know if it was still the law or not! Well, it is.

What is a person to do if they would like to get a cogent, accurate understanding of the new law, without the partisan bias and media spin? Fortunately, there are now some good choices! A new site, called HealthCare and  avoids the heated politics behind the legislation and focuses instead on what the plan means for consumers. People who log on to the site can slect their state, age group, and circumstances to find a personal and customized explanation of the law’s provisions, with a timeline indications when portions of the law will take effect.The site has been developed by a coalition of groups t hat includes the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the AARP,  the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association; the Catholic Health Association; the National Community Pharmacists Association; the American College of Physicians; and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Check it out!

 Want to find out what actual coverage options are available to you right now? Remember