Saturday, February 7, 2009

It's about time...

It's been way too long since I have commented here; ...

We find ourselves in some new days.  All of us.  And, I guess, "It's about time."

At our Community Health Center, we've been feeling the changes.  In the late fall, one of our Behavioral Health Professionals sent out an email asking for help.  You see, she had been finding more and more patients who were seeking help because they were losing their homes.  Her plea:  does anyone know of any resources to help these people?  The answer:  No, other than to refer them to the limited shelter beds available in our communities.  The Great Recession is real, and it's touching us now.

I had a wonderful chance to hear a leader in the National Association of Community Health Centers ( speak at a regional conference in October.  Dan Hawkins is Senior Vice President at NACHC, and in those days leading up to the election, spoke of the differences in the candidates plans for healthcare reform.  (Run this google search for "Dan Hawkins" and "NACHC" and you can see some of the work Dan has done for Community Health Centers.)  The analysis of Mr. Obama's plan offered some promise.  Maybe now we could do something together to get this fixed... As I did a photowalk around Denver, I was struck by the message of hope echoed in the sign, "All Together Now".  

But, where are we now?  The country, and the world, has turned nearly all attention to the economy, blaming greed and housing and bad business practices for the onset of the Great Recession.  And, the nation and it's leaders seem to have mostly forgotten about healthcare.  

And, I think back to many discussions I've had over the past few years.  Discussions about how inhumane our current healthcare "system" is toward our less-fortunate neighbors.  Even our previous President thought that the Emergency Department was the answer to the millions of children he had denied access to healthcare by refusing to sign the State Childrens Health Insurance Plan into law.  "After all, you just go to the Emergency Room."  [Our current president sees this issue a little differently.]

And, during these discussions, I'd often hear the sentiment that, if the poor people need something else from our healthcare "system", the should just use their political power to influence our elected leaders to make it happen.  The poor, I'm afraid, don't have that power.  If they did, perhaps they wouldn't be poor!  

But, now, all of us are poor!  The list of names of those losing billions to Mr. Madoff includes many people who are smarter than the rest of us.  And, have you taken a look at your 401K lately?  So, now, maybe the "nouveau poor" will be able to speak for the "old poor".  Maybe now, we can really turn our attention to the work of creating a healthcare system for all of us.  Even the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine sees that there may be a silver lining to the recession which is causing so much suffering now - finally, healthcare reform.  

It's about time...All Together Now...

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