Thursday, July 24, 2008

Community Comment...

Earlier this week, I had a wonderful opportunity to sit with a group of people in my community to discuss the state of health care.

It was an evening hosted by Gail Ross, co-founder of America in Solidarity. And, I was asked to join Larry Sequist, a State Representative for the 26th District, in talking about the state of our current system, and how we might consider moving forward. Foremost in our discussion was the enhancement of the "medical home" model, and reducing administrative costs of our disjointed "system".

The stories around the table included many who currently had healthcare insurance, but were afraid that the future would see them unable to find adequate coverage for healthcare costs. That is actually a common finding, it turns out - many Americans have seen the trend, and are concerned that employee-sponsored health insurance will become unaffordable, and that they will not be able to find coverage for their family. In fact, the coverage offered by my own employer has premiums of over $20,000/year to cover my family.

I'm encouraged that more people are becoming concerned about our failing system.

And, I would certainly agree with the editorial piece in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, co-authored by someone I'm proud to consider a colleague in this work. Teresita Batayola is the Executive Director of International Community Health Services, the nonprofit agency serving the healthcare needs of the many of the residents of the International District in Seattle. The theme of this editorial is that our priority would be to ensure that all Washington's citizens have access to affordable healthcare coverage.

For me, it always comes back to the basic question - do you believe that access to health care (not health care insurance, by the way), is a basic human right? Do you agree with the World Health Organization that health care is a fundamental human right? Do you agree with the motto literally etched in stone at the Harvard School of Public Health - "The highest attainable level of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being"?

If you do, then all the other issues seem to fall into place...


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