Thursday, February 11, 2010

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...

The game is truly afoot, dear friends, and with just a couple weeks until the "Health Care Summit" on February 25, I urge you dishonour not your mothers, follow your spirit and upon this charge cry 'Give us substantive health care reform!'

The breach that needs filling today is not the gap in the wall of Hafleur but the gap in health care access, cost and quality. What I'm asking you is ├╝ber-simple: contact your state representatives and the media and show them your mettle. One website allows you to do both with a couple clicks and you can use the following letter as you see fit, or compose your own, to tell them just what you want them to do.


I am writing to you as a member of [INSERT YOUR COMPANY or ORGANIZATION NAME] because today offers a special opportunity to make history through the passage of substantive and intelligent health care reform. We believe that today we have come too far to turn back and that many lives, not just elections, will be lost if we do not make changes to the way health care is accessed, paid for, regulated and researched in our country. The stakes may never have been higher.

We believe in giving the best evidenced-based medical care that money can buy, and giving it so that it helps the greatest number of people. We believe in a fair and compassionately regulated system that guarantees every member of our society a minimum level of care and services while still encouraging the best that innovation and research has to offer.

In short, we believe in the following fundamental areas of reform and we believe that a majority of rational and compassionate Americans like us would agree to their necessity:

Prevention… we believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and costs less too. We need to support and expand primary care, preventative care as well as community-based and home-based care.

Research… providers need to be free to do what is best for the patients that they know best, but they deserve to have the best guidelines, protocols and clinical research possible to help guide them in their decisions. We support Evidenced Based Medicine which means more high quality and unbiased comparative trials and research. More longitudinal meta-anayses. More safety studies. This is a job for someone like the NIH, not drug companies or groups that have vested interests.

Choice… people should be able to choose their doctor and should have at least several insurance plans available to them. This is not the case in many areas of the country or with many employers, which is why we advocate for public options and national exchanges where individuals and groups can shop for insurance plans in a regulated and fair market.

Cost… there will always be a finite amount of resources. The question is how they are allocated. These decisions should not be driven by profit, but from a public health perspective of what will do the most good for the most number of people. Currently there are insurance companies telling providers what they can and cannot do, we believe these decisions would be better made by public health officials. We also need out of pocket caps for policyholders because there is no point in having insurance if you can go bankrupt when something goes wrong. Finally, we need to lift the yearly caps for insurance companies because there is also no point in getting chemotherapy for cancer only to die of a cold because you passed your yearly limit.

Accountability… taking care of people is a serious responsibility and all aspects of the system need to be held accountable. Nevertheless, punitive malpractice suits may not be the best way to do this. We need to put an end to defensive medicine by reforming malpractice law. National oversight and regulation of hospitals, payers and providers is a better way to enforce policy, set best practices and create accountability.

Access… the best health care in the world is all for naught if there is not adequate access to it. This means starting with giving access to the millions of uninsured, but it also means guaranteeing proper access to the basics of a healthy lifestyle: fresh fruits and vegetables, clean air and water, reproductive services, and education about age appropriate diet and exercise.

Because we hold these ideas to be vital to the very survival of our health care system, economy and moral fiber as a nation, we urge you to take action now!

We urge you to pass a substantive, intelligent and compassionate health care reform package that includes the fundamental issues described above.

Respectfully yours,
A concerned and voting citizen

1 comment:

  1. Help organize a letter writing campaign at Columbia using this letter as a springboard. We added a rider specifically addressing reproductive rights and services (to both highlight the issue and avoid people not sending the main letter if they are against abortion). The School of Nursing offered to pick up the postage costs. After about a week, we collected 144 letters to various senators and representatives around the country. Hopefully, even more people will add their voices--and maybe already have through the net!