Pay It Right

America is in the midst of
a healthcare reform debate that has been a long time coming.  It’s
the kind of debate that starts with a central truth – our healthcare
system is not working.  The definition of how it isn’t working
varies.  For those of us who have healthcare insurance through
our employer, the rising cost of healthcare and the demands that puts
on our budgets and our employer’s bottom line are concerns. 
For the uninsured and under-insured, the nation’s healthcare system
fails to provide coverage and empower wellness every day.  Uninsured
and under-insured Americans also factor into the costs insured Americans
pay.  People who work for and in the many industries associated
with healthcare have their own two cents to toss into the debate too. 
So, it comes as no surprise that the healthcare debate has heated up
as the Obama Administration tries to usher reform through Congress. 
Likewise, it comes as no surprise that some lawmakers and organizations
are working to make sure that addressing disparities in accessing healthcare
is part of that healthcare reform. 

Associated Press recently reported

that Black, Latino and Asian lawmakers are seeking to broaden healthcare
legislation to include more funding for community health centers that
provide care to poor neighborhoods.  Among the Asian Caucus,
Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus there are
91 legislators with the power to influence and shape healthcare reform
legislation.  Armed with research showing
the ramifications of healthcare disparities in communities of color
, these legislators are pushing hard
for funding and for the public option.   

I’ve been following the healthcare
reform debate and discussing it with family and friends.  Most
of them are concerned that the public option appears to be in trouble
on the Hill while others are concerned about whether coverage for reproductive
health care would become a political issue that will threaten coverage
through a public option.  But one friend pointed me toward the healthcare crisis
facing Native Americans

as an under-examined example of healthcare gone wrong and an under-utilized
guide to what we need to avoid as we seek to reform healthcare for all

Tim Giago recently tackled the subject
of how healthcare reform would impact Native Americans in an article entitled How Will Universal
Health Care Affect Native Americans?

Giago, an Oglala Lakota and the publisher of Native Sun News, points out that healthcare
in America may be failing but, by way of comparison, Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius calls the health care of Native
Americans a "historic failure."  Our government,
obligated through treaties and agreements, provides healthcare to Native
Americans through the Indian Health Service.  So, the "historic
failure" is actually another government failure in a shamefully long
line of government failures involving Native American people.   

Giago poses some very important
questions about whether healthcare reform will cover Native Americans
too, how it will impact care on reservations and in urban areas and
whether reform will impact the Indian Health Service.  He also
points out that Americans who point to Canada and Europe as examples
of how "socialized" medicine can go wrong may want to look closer
to home and at the government run Indian Health Service.   

Giago’s piece provides some
insight into the key issue funding plays in the failures of the Indian
Health Service.  He quotes the new head of the Indian Health Service,
Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, saying "It’s clear that there’s a call for change
and improvement in the Indian Health Care Service, and it’s also clear
the IHS has been significantly under-funded for many years. The staff
of Indian Health Service has been doing the best it can with limited
resources, and in some cases they are providing excellent quality of
care with limited resources."   

In other words, if we want
public healthcare to work we’ve got to come up with the money to fund
it.  To that Giago adds a question – as legislators search for
ways to fund the estimated $1.5 trillion required to fund healthcare
reform, how will the budget cuts anticipated to free up those funds
impact the Indian Health Service?  The answer to that question
is playing out in Congress right now. 

Those of us who champion healthcare
reform point to that one central fact – our healthcare system is not
working.  With the perspective provided by the Indian Health Service
we should take care to learn how programs might be set up to fail through
a lack of adequate funding.  How and if a program is adequately
funded speaks volumes toward our commitment to that program.  Will
we rob Peter to pay Paul and, if so, who gets to play Peter and who
gets to play Paul?  Will we fund healthcare for the long term or
set it up to go broke in a few years?  We should also take care
to address the barriers to accessing healthcare that exist in communities
across the nation, on reservations and in urban areas.  If we’re
going to do it we need to do it right lest we expand the historic failure
of healthcare for Native Americans nationwide.  As advocates and
legislators demand that healthcare reform include a public option we
should all keep in mind that if we wouldn’t want it for our family
we shouldn’t propose it for anyone else’s and we should fund healthcare
reform as if our lives depended on it.  

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    It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


    We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

    And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

    Progressive democrats the Tri-Caucus and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and request that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

    Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

    In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

    If President Obama has to declare a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY to rescue the American people from our healthcare crisis, he will need all the sustained support you can give him. STICK WITH HIM! He’s doing a brilliant job.



    Join the fight.

    Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

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    the Commonwealth Fund showed what Obama’s advisers know, that a public plan competing with the private plans — even if it pays more than Medicare does — saves the nation trillions and most Americans get health insurance.