The most important meeting held thus far on health care reform was totally ignored by the media. I mean totally. Even Rachel, Olbermann and Ed.
The meeting was the most important because the witnesses are the health care providers, representing those who actually deliver health care to patients.
Imagine, this is America, and people who actually know what they are talking about were asked to inform policy decisions!
The American Medical Association. The American Nurses Association. The American Hospital Association. The AARP representing all who consume socialist medicine, the Medicare population. Only that other socialist medicine group, the Veterans Administration, was not present.
They all testified before the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. It was televised on CSPAN.
They were asked relevant and intelligent questions by House members concerning the specifics of health care reform. Amazingly, they responded to the questions with cogent, concrete answers.
They were addressing HR 3200, the bill portrayed by the 'news-as-Jerry Springer' outlets as the government "taking over" health care... and yet, and yet, they all supported it. The providers all support it. And, the AARP, there to defend Medicare, where some of the savings are to come from, also supported it.
Certainly, there were comments about the bill's implications, that is why they were testifying. For example, the AMA pointed out that the Congress froze intern/residency positions in 1997; thus, while medical schools could -- and are -- expanding to produce more people with medical degrees, the critical part of physicians' training, when they learn patient care, is during internships and residencies that need to be expanded as well. That's a good, and very important point. [What party controlled Congress in 1997, hmmm?].
The American Nursing Association pointed out that there were insufficient numbers of Nursing faculty to train more nurses. That's another good, and very important point because HR 3200 has money to train more nurses, but the authors apparently did not realize the need for more people to teach nursing. [No one suggested that nursing faculty were too busy serving on death panels to attend to teaching].
I have been one of the most severe and persistent critics of Democrats' assuming that correct policies sell themselves, and I do not suggest that digging into these details would help the cause.
But, people still trust their physicians and nurses. Imagine, therefore, a YouTube and TV ad, with the table of witnesses as they appeared identified by profession and organization -- with cutaways to nurses, doctors, hospitals and elderly patients -- using a key sound bite from each witness indicating support... something like that, done by a pro, could be very effective because the witness table and the House panel come across as genuine, and compare well to all the contrived, actor-laden pieces.
And, it might do the media well -- from the major evening and morning news, to the Ed/Olbermann/Rachel cable groups -- to devote more than one segment, on more than one night, to the reality that the major health care providers and established patient organizations support the President's health care reform.
If they need something startling and frightening and outrageous to enliven the presentation, try this: in 1999 health care costs were 8% of the median family's income, today they are 18% and, if nothing is done, will be 35% in less than a decade.
Now, that's something to scream about.