Health care reform is divisive dinner conversation here in the Nation’s Capitol. Ok, maybe not at everyone’s dinner table, but it is a very hot topic lately. On July 17, 2009, I attended an event hosted by Dr. Val Jones, CEO of Better Health, LLC, titled - “Healthcare Reform: Putting Patients First” - at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
As was noted in the larger medical blogosphere, there were no patient bloggers invited to participate on the medblogger panels. In response to the minor uproar, Dr. Val commented, “The spirit of the conference is about expressing the need to preserve the patients’ right to choose (along with their providers’ advice and input) the best path for their care. It was never my intention to exclude patients from the conference in any way – patients and physicians/nurses are each others best allies, and we need to stick together!”
Ok, with that out of the way, let’s talk about what was discussed during the conference.
The keynote speaker was Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) who started with - “This event is a landmark in how we get discussion and debate going in the 21st century. We are communicating with the grass roots, with medical bloggers here in this room and across the country.
“Let me tell you this: I don’t want government interfering in the relationship between doctors and patients…and I don’t want insurance companies interfering either! I want a vibrant health care market that lets patients choose the health care options that are right for them and their loved ones. I want a free market democracy that puts patients first. We can have this, and I’ll say something more about that in a minute.”
The majority of Ryan’s speech (transcript available) was dedicated to demonizing the role of government in healthcare reform solutions and the Democratic bill recently introduced in the House and supported by President Obama. Ryan finally said this out loud, “The fact is, this is ultimately not about health care but about promoting an ideological objective.”
“Not About Health Care” - That’s a frightening admission, but spoken from someone who has access to excellent coverage and care. For more on Ryan’s speech, read Duncan Cross’ commentary.
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