Tuesday, July 21, 2009

First Steps on a Long Road

Congratulations to the Dems in the state legislature for bucking up and overriding the governor's veto of the SustiNet bill yesterday. While this is a great thing, it doesn't mean we'll have universal health care coverage by the end of the year or anything.

What this does mean is that a nine-member board is empowered to begin work crafting a plan for the legislature. As a nurse, I can tell you this is a well thought out plan that addresses healthcare from many sides: prevention, risk reduction, increasing efficiency, maintaining high quality and accessibility. It is unusual to see an approach that is this comprehensive. And, that's why the plan is to take a year to map this out and to present recommendations to the General Assembly. That takes us to July 1, 2010.

By January 1, 2011, SustiNet will submit a bill to the legislature detailing implementation plans (PDF):
  • Improve health, quality of care, and access, while slowing growth of health care spending
  • Effective management of chronic illnesses, preventive care and addressing ethnic and racial disparities in care
  • Establish provider networks and set payment methods
  • Design a range of options under the plan
  • Provide coverage to all -- including those with pre-existing conditions
  • Examine revenue sources and maximize Federal reimbursement dollars
The plan is to begin enrollment July 1, 2012. There is a long way to go, but there is no doubt this is an important first step. Key to moving SustiNet forward is to not let up on the push for a national health care bill in this Congress. Chris Dodd is leading the charge. Joe LIEberman is trying to stop it. You know what to do.

This quote is particularly meaningful, given this veto override occurred on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing:

"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."
-John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962

We are committed to health care reform, not because it is easy but because it is hard and because it is the right thing to do.


Inspector Clouseau said...

We have a tendency in America to argue for or against a concept based on our own personal philosophy or view of the world, what advances our personal interests, or the interests of our party, family, organization, or region. Perhaps viewing the issue from a management or systemic perspective might result in innovative approaches to the issue. The American national mindset, citizen philosophy, lack of citizen motivation to be proactively healthy, and governance model make the socialization of health care in America very problematic, particularly at this point in time. A country needs to know its limitations.

Inspector Clouseau said...


Read through your blog more thoroughly and noted that you started in April 2006. I started in April of 2008.

I also use Sitemeter, and noted the large number of visitors you have had over the last 3 years. Any tips which you could pass along? Thanking you in advance: RDGreene@triad.rr.com

Nopartisan said...

Healthcare HAS to be reformed. All the philisophical points aside, it boils down to one thing. Do we want a country where people die or are chronically ill because of decisions made only for financial gain? Or do we want one in which every citizen has at least a fair chance at a healthy life? Obviously even with healthcare people make poor lifestyle decisions and personal responsibility needs to be addressed or billions will be wasted. A good first step would be eliminating the use of all tobacco. 60% of healthcare costs would be eliminated over a period of time.

CT Bob said...

Great post Kirby!

I think the thing we need to take from this is that, yes, it IS just a first step. We need to keep the pressure on our legislature to continue the process and form a workable plan...and then, implement the sucker!

tessa said...

Thank you for the JFK quote, I was beginning to think he was referring to expensive watches. But maybe that's just the ad on MSNBC.

Kirby said...

I agree that this has gone past the philosophical stage -- as the H1N1 flu showed us, we cannot isolate ourselves from people who can't afford and don't go to health care providers.

For those who say they don't want to pay for X group, well, if you have insurance you are already paying for it. If you pay taxes, you are already paying for it.

And for those who say they won't tolerate rationing, clearly you have not skipped crucial medication because you couldn't afford it or try to make a choice between paying for food, heat or your healthcare. People without coverage live with rationing every day.

Nopartisan said...

As a center right independent I view the free market as the only way to have sustained economic growth. However I know that regulation is needed to keep things even and fair. At this point in time the greatest threat to our economy is the cost of healthcare. Right now my employer is in contract talks with my union. Healthcare expense is the biggest hurdle. Right now the company's demand would cost me roughly $6,000 more a year. This would be money NOT spent on consumer goods, entertainment and other purchases. Multiply my example by millions of other workers in the same scenario and you can see the devestation healthcare expense can cause to the economy, people don't buy companies layoff it really is that simple. In politics you have to accept that sometime the other side is right and on healthcare reform the left is on the correct side. Reforming healthcare makes sense for the overall health for our citizens and our economy.