|As I write this, I am watching a recording of the July 31st House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing to mark-up the so-called "universal" health care bill that has been so hotly debated across America lately.
Wait... is that true? Has health care really been debated? Hmm?
It seems to me that real debate has once again been denied by you on "both sides of the aisle" in our nation's capital. Truly, the depth of thought and imagination that has gone into solving a very real crisis has been so shallow and narrow-minded on both sides that many viable possibilities for reforming and improving America's currently dysfunctional health care system have been overlooked or intentionally ignored.
We can not REALLY solve the problem of inadequate preventative health care in this country unless we can find a way to pay for it. If new American health care policy is developed without regard to deficit spending, it will ultimately fail. I am currently developing an Economic Transformation plan that will include feasible means for both paying down the federal debt and paying for the steps that will be necessary in transforming our health care system.
That being said, I do believe that Health Care is a Defense Issue. Ensuring that all of us in the United States of America have access to a primary physician will literally save millions of lives within a decade; Look up disease statistics on Wikipedia, and you will see for yourself. Honestly, an Army of Doctors would serve to save an inconceivable number of human lives in comparison to any prior army that has every served our nation. Health care is a human right, an issue of common defense, which we have been ignoring for far too long.
Representatives Waxman, Blunt, and others in leadership positions, you are so busy trying to figuratively slap each other in the face that you haven't allowed very many solutions at the table in the first place. Shame on you! If you were REALLY listening to the American People, you would be offering us more than an intentionally limited debate on "universal" health care that is mostly used for political advantage.
We must start at the root of the problem to find real long lasting solutions. Rather than trying to put a band aid on a gushing wound, I feel that it would be a much wiser investment to begin health care reform by implementing a program that would pay ALL college tuition for students seeking medical degrees and for students in medical school. If doctors did not have to begin their careers with half a million dollars of debt, they would be able to offer their services to their communities more affordable. Free college tuition for physicians will lower doctors' fees significantly, and the insurance companies would no longer be able to hold doctors hostage.
Ultimately, "profit" has got to be taken out of America's health care system. To those who argue that a Not-For-Profit Single-Payer system would decimate an entire industry, I say, "You're damn right!" The insurance companies have become nothing but a pyramid-scheme type scam that stands between a person and her doctor, and then takes cash off the top for every transaction that is made. The insurance industry does NOT provide medical services; in fact, if the health insurance industry did not exist, all the medical services available today would still be available; all the technologies and all the doctors with all their skills would not go away, and they would be much more affordable than we ever thought was possible.
I have heard a lot of good ideas from Missourians with whom I have had conversations in the past few months. Without a doubt, Americans have lots of innovative solutions for solving our health care crisis. Are you listening Congress?
We are talking to YOU Representatives Blunt, Waxman, Pelosi, Boehner, and Frank. We are talking to YOU Senators Reid, McConnell, McCaskill and Bond. We are talking to all of YOU in the halls of Congress who are hog tying the debate on health care while trying to force one clunker or another on the American taxpayer. You are not helping solve any problems when you intentionally limit the imagination and ingenuity of the American People.
Commentary by Midge Potts, Springfield, MO
Progressive Party of Missouri Co-Chair
Editor's note: Potts originally sent this on August 7, 2009, as an open letter to Congress.