Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tom, Tom, Tom

Tommy, we hardly knew ye. Another would-be reformer flushed down the toilet of politics by his own poor judgment.

That would be you, Tom Daschle.

You needed a WHAT? A limousine? Who are you kidding? Do you see yourself as a health care rock star, requiring round-the-clock protection from the poor, uninsured masses? And the 5 million in lawyer-strategist and speaking fees for the health care industry? I mean, really!

But you had such great ideas. A Federal Health Board, that would have power over federal programs, and would assess effectiveness and cost of different treatments. More regulation of health insurance companies. Unlike Obama, you believe that all Americans (not kids only) should have health insurance, and had some neat-o ideas about developing an insurance pool based on the one for federal employees. Oh yeah, you also understood the importance of primary care for prevention of the unnecessary complications of preventable diseases. And if all this weren't enough, you actually acknowledged that health care relies too much on physicians and does not effectively incorporate nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists and other allied health professionals.

Many have balked at your cojones in suggesting there might be a--gasp--socialist bent in your proposals. Not me, man. Bring it on. If socialism means ensuring that people get the access to the care that they need, that we take a good look at our health care "system" and change our priorities to focus on prevention, if it means loosening the stranglehold that insurance companies have on the allocation of health care resources, then by all means, call me red!
I'm disappointed. Upset, even. Worried that the next candidate just won't
get it and will cave to the powerful, monied interest groups that have eaten away at the soul of health care like a cancer.

In the meantime, I'll just get back to doing my barely reimbursed primary care thing. To the next in a long line of diabetic, hypertensive, obese, depressed patients:

The nurse practitioner will see you now.

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