We were in Montana last weekend. We had not expected the visit to provide a preview of this week's bizarre performance by the Republican Party.
I am a part of the human services "industry" and, as such, you can count me among those who have this crazy belief that we could live more fulfilling lives (as in "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness") if we had a more rational approach to aging.
Since its enactment 10 years ago, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, also known as Part D, has been one of the federal government's greatest successes.
Whew! And wow! It took an online application that I did on a Saturday, an office visit and a follow-up office visit, and now Karin is taken care of for Social Security and Medicare! We are thrilled that this trailblazing went so smoothly and happened without a lot of hassle.
The contrast between tea party extremism and populist progressives could not be more telling. Both are based in part on the anger tough times stir up, but these two movements are moving in opposite directions.
There are serious complaints about the inadequacy of Obamacare that will have to be addressed in the years ahead. But none of these problems changes the fact that the ACA is an enormous step forward.
Denying food to the hungry, chemo to the cancer-stricken? That is not American. That is what ruthless dictators do. That is the stuff of Kim Jong-il. That is not how Americans treat each other.
The Republicans who are attempting to force a showdown over Obamacare are still railing against the programs they call "entitlements." They're all looking for a face-saving deal, and Social Security and Medicare could very well become its Ground Zero.
Republicans are possessed by an overpowering psychological compulsion to repeal Obamacare even at great cost and harm to America and the GOP despite forty-one previously failed legislative attempts to do so.
The mantra in the health care industry has become "bill, baby, bill"-- taking a page from the oil industry's chant, "drill, baby, drill."
Information technology is negatively affecting productivity and the care delivery process. What happened to real quality improvement and change management process?
The American economy today is a house of cards, wherein each added layer of cards at the top increases the pressure on the lower tiers and threatens the stability of the entire structure.
Republicans would be far better served embracing Obamacare, labeling it correctly, taking credit for it, and using it to "prove" the virtues of free market competition.
We have the opportunity and the time to change the culture of health care and the expectations of patients and providers. We have so many effective prevention interventions that address the major causes of chronic disease and early disability and death.
We need to start at the beginning. Support our children. Educate all children. Rework the justice system. Help those who make small mistakes to atone for them and reintegrate successfully into society, rather than losing them into the system.
The PRIME Act is an example of a responsible step that improves care, reduces health care costs and creates real savings for taxpayers -- without cutting benefits. We urge you to support it.