In healthcare, we are trained to first define a problem, evaluate the solutions available, consider the impact of each on those involved, and then to make a rational choice. Considering the public's desire for healthcare reform verses the disastrous direction that Congress seems to be going, I felt that it was just a matter of educating those in Congress as to the issues and possible solutions for healthcare reform and they would then be rational in their actions. However, as I have talked with my representatives and their offices in this effort, I was disheartened to discover that education is not the issue (though they are clueless). The real issue is their pre-determined concepts, opinions, and their unwillingness to consider that they may not be correct, not to mention their placing the welfare of the special interest groups above the welfare of the American people. In consideration of how much money many of our representatives receive from the insurance companies, it is no wonder they want private plans to be the backbone of "reform".Shares in our representatives themselves seem to be available for purchase, if the price is right. I wonder if the American people could pool our resource, buy some shares in our elected officials, and then expect that they would represent us for a change.
As we are getting so far away from any true reform, I contacted the legislative director of a very prominent democratic senator and gave him a list of reform items that I feel should be in any bill passed. In reply, he informed me that the senator agrees with each of the items, but that the votes for passage of such a bill were not available. Further, there was a bill that may have enough support for passage and, though not a very good bill, the senator would probably support it "in order to get something out." This is the same as saying "we are driving the wrong direction but we're making good time." We may get somewhere faster, but we are likely to be disappointed when we arrive. As these one-sided hearings drag on, it seems there is an ever increasing frustration in Congress and a tendency for them to compromise on reform instead of delivering a rational, functional, and sustainable healthcare program to the people of which they can be proud.
Mr. President, we have to have legal reform of this catastrophe. Congress, we have to have a sustainable public plan as an option. Democrats, reform cannot be borne solely by the tax-payer, no matter what bracket they are in. Republicans, you must realize that the for-profit healthcare giants only take from the system and give absolutely nothing in return. AMA, open your eyes, for this is not just about us. People of America, you must unite into a single voice for true and rational reform and hold each of our elected officials accountable for their actions. None of them are indispensible and all can be replaced.
Mark E. Green MD
463 Physicians Office Building
Blount Memorial Hospital
Maryville, TN 37803