Beth Frederick and I (Shelly) left Friday morning to head up to the Jones Center in Springdale. We were excited and a little nervous wondering what would happen. There were no swastikas, no GOP plants, and no out of control people. What we found were well informed citizens who were anxious to be heard. I would estimate that the crowd was about 95% against government healthcare and about 5% who were either for or were unsure. Congressman Boozman had a great panel including a doctor from Rogers, AR, the State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business, a representative of AARP, a lady who has owned her own small business for 24 years, and most interesting to me; a lady whose family lived under socialized medicine in England.
Congressman Boozman first set forth the principles under which he would support healthcare reform. These are:
- Tort reform (This would cut doctor’s costs tremendously-those savings could be passed along to us and would keep doctors from doing tests that they only do for fear of being sued-saving big bucks)
- Portability of policy (You should be able to take your policy with you when you change jobs)
- Allow small businesses to form groups so that they could obtain lower cost insurance for their employees and have the same negotiating power as large businesses.
- More Health Savings Accounts (When people spend their own money, they watch for fraud and get the biggest bang for their buck
Here are the problems that Boozman sees with the current bills:
- Medicare at the current rate of expenditure will be bankrupt sometime between 2017 and 2020 (The bill doesn’t address this problem)
- Medicare reimburses doctors at a rate of only 70 to 80 percent of what private insurers reimburse doctors (This is why the elderly are having a hard time finding doctors who will take on more medicare patients)
- 10% of medicare is waste and fraud because the government basically just stamps approved without having sufficient auditing practices. (Private insurers have invested in lowering fraud and waste which is why they have more administrative expenses than Medicare)
- The current bills would be job killers because most of the new taxes would effect small businesses the most. (Small businesses have always been the engine that has led the way out of past recessions)
- The current bills do not have a verification process for proof of legal citizenship. (This is how illegal aliens would end up being covered.
- The Lewin Group estimates that 2/3 of people will lose their current policies
- Congress excluded themselves from the current bills
Probably the most interesting member of the panel to me was a lady whose family has lived under socialized medicine in England. She told a horror story that her grandfather (a WWII veteran) had gone through. She explained that the initial visit to a doctor in England is usually a brief interview with a doctor sitting at a desk across from you asking what your symptoms are. When the lady’s grandfather complained of chest pain, (remember he’s in his late 80s at this point), the doctor said he probably pulled a muscle and should go home. The doctor didn’t listen to his heart or do an ekg or anything. The next day her grandfather experienced a massive heart attack. In the hospital the doctors determined that since he wouldn’t last the night they would just make him comfortable. Miraculously, he did last the night. Two days later the nurses station called the family to come get him because “He has lived his life and we need the bed for younger patients.” When the family arrived grandfather was slumped in a chair waiting in a hallway. She said if she had the time she could have shared many more stories that would “curl our toes.” Her warning was chilling. She reiterated over and over that America must not allow that kind healthcare system to end up here.
After the panel, Boozman answered questions for almost 4 hours. Everyone who wanted to be heard was heard.
The main thing that Congressman Boozman stressed is that we need to keep up the pressure on congress by calling, emailing, writing, and attending any events that we can find. Be informed and protect your rights. Get involved!!!!