Report from White House Health Care Summit

Posted March, 10 2009 by arianne

On March 5, 2009, President Obama opened the White House Health Care Summit with the following statement:  “Health care reform is no longer just a moral imperative, it is a fiscal imperative… Our goal will be to enact comprehensive health care reform by the end of this year. That is our commitment. That is our goal. The status quo is the one option that is not on the table. And those who seek to block any reform at any cost will not prevail this time around.”

The Summit convened  more than 150 participants, including members of Congress, doctors and leaders of labor unions, business groups, hospitals, insurance companies and consumer organizations.

Read what participants said:
Dr. Oliver Fien, Physicians for a Nation Health Plan
Ron Pollack, Executive Director,  Families USA
Nancy Nielsen M.D., President, American Medical Association


Arthur Springer • Mar.13.2009 at 09:32:pm

As long as the dead weight of inertial political correctness continues to propel us away from the idea of universality, and towards more talk about categorical eligibility (children, COBRA, racial and ethnic “disparities,” the 20-29 age group etc. etc etc.) it is time to get a word in sledgewise about two more groups totaling 48 million Americans: diabetics and people with lung disease.

The American DIabetes Assoc. has issued an excellent, model statement that calls attention to the largest disease organization that was not at the White House summit … was the American Lung Association not invited? Why? Or did it just not show up? Is COPD still the third highest cause of death in New York? Does Barack still smoke?

How does the Obama administration propose to address the needs of about 24 million Americans with respiratory diseases other than asthma who are constantly screwed by the greedy, narrow-minded and self-serving ALA, whose narrow agenda has not changed for half a century?

What do we do about so many large and small groups of people with common and rare health problems and no tax-exempt lobbyists participating in federal, state or local war dances? What are we going to do about the underinsured and unrepresented? Continue to ignore and neglect them while the organized special interests (e.g. the single payers et al) bash their way into the room while bellowing about Patient Centered Health Care? We who can’t breathe well don’t bellow well either. Does Barack still smoke?

Arthur Springer
Lay Advocate for People With Disabilities

American Diabetes Association Statement on the White House Health Reform Summit
updated 11:05 a.m. ET, Thurs., March. 5, 2009

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The American Diabetes Association is honored to participate in today’s White House Health Reform Summit. The purpose of the Summit is to begin to identify ways to address reforming the health system. The Association was invited along with Members of Congress, Administration officials, and other patient advocacy, provider, consumer and insurance organizations.

There are nearly 24 million children and adults in the United States who have diabetes, and another 57 million people have pre-diabetes. Every day, Americans pay a horrific price to diabetes: 4,100 people are diagnosed with the disease, there are 230 amputations in people with diabetes, 120 people will enter end-stage kidney disease programs, and 55 people will go blind. During this same time period, there will be 613 deaths due to diabetes. As the diabetes epidemic grows greater by the minute, the economic and health consequences are too great not to act.

“We are pleased to see the President bringing together policymakers and key stakeholders to begin putting ideas on the table and to begin to discuss the difficult choices and decisions surrounding health reform,” said Larry Hausner, Chief Executive Officer, American Diabetes Association, who will attend the Summit. He added, “President Obama’s budget proposal of $634 billion dedicated to health reform is a crucial first step toward positive change in reforming the existing health system.”
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The American Diabetes Association has offered a series of recommendations for comprehensive health reform to reduce the burden of diabetes and other chronic diseases by ensuring access to adequate and affordable health coverage, improving quality of care and health outcomes, eliminating disparities among ethnic and racial groups, and containing costs. Emphasis must be placed on prevention of chronic diseases and their complications through accessible, adequate, and affordable health care and through promotion of healthier lifestyles.

Mr. Hausner will be available for comment both prior to and following the Summit.

The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, our mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information, call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.

Christine Feheley
Colleen Fogarty
703-549-1500, ext. 2146
© MarketWire 2009

arthur springer • Mar.18.2009 at 09:22:pm

3/12/09 Billings Post, Billings Montana
Baucus draws big money from health industry
by Cathy Siegner – Helena Handbag

A new study released this week by a California advocacy group shows that U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., has received more campaign contributions from health insurance firms and pharmaceutical manufacturers over the past four years than any other Democrat in Congress.

According to the Consumer Watchdog study using Federal Election Commission data, Sen. Baucus has received $413,000 since 2005 from insurance companies and drug makers, third behind U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The study by Santa Monica-based Consumer Watchdog ( was the subject of a story in Sunday’s Washington Post, which also noted that the ailing U.S. healthcare system appears poised for significant reform, possibly this year.

Sen. Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has already had a lot of influence on the discussion, including issuing a “white paper” last fall advocating mandatory health-insurance coverage in the United States.

He has indicated that he doesn’t favor a single-payer approach to health coverage in this country, a position at odds with the ever-growing number of his constituents who have had it with the health-insurance industry. Sen. Baucus has said that the United States needs a combination of public and private coverage and that the country “isn’t ready” for a single-payer system.

Predictably defensive quotes were included in the Post story, including this one from Baucus spokesman Tyler Matsdorf: “For 30 years, Max Baucus has only been influenced by one thing: what’s right for Montana and what is right for the nation. Health-care reform is the same. His only goal is to make sure that every American has access to quality, affordable health care.”

He also noted that Montana’s senior senator has taken many stances counter to the interests of health insurance and drug companies, which, after three decades in Congress, isn’t surprising.

Politicians whose actions become linked to contributions almost always protest the implication. Yet those who have worked for members of Congress (including yours truly) or been close to the political process in other ways know that contributors don’t make campaign donations unless they’re pretty sure that doing so could help them out in some way, and Sen. Baucus is uniquely positioned to do just that.

Complaints about our ludicrously expensive and inadequate healthcare system have only grown since the abortive 1993 revamping attempt by the newly elected Clinton administration (remember the Harry and Louise scare campaign?). Since then, however, more and more people have become fed up and aren’t going to take much more of a healthcare system that eats up a record 17.6 percent of the economy yet doesn’t give them the care they want and need.

President Barack Obama convened a healthcare summit last week at the White House and is sounding like he wants to do something substantive about the situation sooner rather than later. Industry officials knew this was coming for some time and seem to be resigned to the inevitable.

But, resigned or not, they’re going to do whatever they can to make sure that the reform we get is the reform they want us to have. And that’s where Sen. Baucus and his colleagues come in.

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