Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The White House Forum on Health Care is Window Dressing

by paradocs2:

The [sic] is a disappointing report from the last White House Forum on Health Reform held in Los Angeles on April 6. My general impression is that the attendees are being used as window dressing to preserve the power of the insurance companies.

I am a family doctor who has practiced in San Diego for almost thirty years. Five per cent of my patients are uninsured, 10 per cent are on welfare (MediCal) and many are under-insured or loosing their insurance.

Today April 6, 2009, by personal invitation of the Governor of California, I attended the last of the five regional White House fora on health care reform. I was in San Diego along with about 100 other folks, participating in a live satellite feed from the main meeting in Los Angeles.

Governor Schwarzegger with the ease of Hollywood hogged the microphone extolling his long lived interest in health reform and healthy lifestyles without mentioning his twice vetoing our state’s single payer legislation (SB 840.)

His attitude was seconded by SEIU representatives and the AARP invitee (who neglected to reveal she worked for an insurance broker not a patient advocacy organization.)The whole tenor of the meetings revolved, in truth, around using the memes of technology and prevention to avoid any substantive discussion about social justice, the uninsured, the poor performance of our medical system, the role of private insurance companies, or the current constrained discussions in Congress.

Rarely was any distinction made between guaranteed and subsidized access to private health insurance and guaranteed access to universal medical care. No mention was made of the excessive inefficiencies, costs, and profits of the insurance companies. Early on in the program the health reform activist Anthony Wright representing HEALTH ACCESS was personally called out of the audience to give his reflections. Remarkably he was uncritical of the process and content of the meeting. He made no mention of the single payer option but did sneak in the sole mention of support for a public plan along side the commercial ones.

The single exception to all this obfuscation was the great Marion Wright Edleman who gave many embarrassing international comparisons in health care outcomes for women and children, comparing the USA to third world statistics, in her impassioned plea for real change.

Nonetheless, it was apparent to me that everything is not on the table and the Obama Administration and Congress, along with state and local officials are using these fora to obscure the true causes of the failures of our contemporary medicinal care system and protect the politically potent lobbies.

No comments:

Post a Comment