Archive for Monday, August 4, 2008

Dole gathers health care suggestions at bipartisan forum

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., entertains guests gathered for a forum on health care policy that took place Monday at the Dole Institute of Politics on Kansas University's West Campus.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., entertains guests gathered for a forum on health care policy that took place Monday at the Dole Institute of Politics on Kansas University's West Campus.

August 4, 2008, 4:27 p.m. Updated August 4, 2008, 11:13 p.m.


Dole hosts forum on health care

Former U.S. Senator Bob Dole visited Lawrence Monday in hopes of reshaping health care in America. Enlarge video

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The overriding issue in discussions about health care reform isn't so much whether anything should be done, but where to start.

And so the Bipartisan Policy Center's Leadership Project on Health Care is taking a look at all issues surrounding health care to get an idea why the U.S. system is breaking down.

"Whether it's President McCain or President Obama, the time for health care is next year," said former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, a member of the bipartisan center. "I really believe the American people are ready."

Dole was in Lawrence on Monday afternoon to mediate a health-care reform forum. But the discussion was limited to just three areas: preventive wellness, accessing quality care and rural health care.

The former senator said that if people wanted to discuss every issue facing health care, it would take much longer than one afternoon.

"Do you have 30 days?" he asked.

Many people who attended the forum work in health care.

Marcia Nielsen, executive director of Kansas Health Policy Authority, said she felt one of the biggest hurdles many people faced when it came to seeking quality health care was a lack of information.

Nielsen said many people, especially those with disabilities, tended to remain on Social Security because they did not know of many options that would give them access to insurance.

Information was also key for Bill Wing, vice president for Healthe Services for the Cerner Corporation of Kansas City, Mo. Wing said he encouraged the center to push for a centralized information system to provide doctors complete patient information.

One of the biggest drains on the current health care system, officials said, was that many people could simply avoid expensive bills if they took better care of themselves. And that begins with children.

Arneatha Martin, co-founder of the Center for Health and Wellness in Wichita, said it was important to increase low-income patients' knowledge that by living healthier, they would be able to cut back on expensive medical bills.

"We have all these little fat kids walking around," she said. "It's a train wreck waiting to happen. People don't want you to say it, but you have to say it."

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Roderick Bremby said that although preventive health may not be the silver bullet to solve the health care problem, it was a bullet that should be added to the country's arsenal.

Of particular concern to Kansas, however, was the lack of health workers in rural Kansas, especially the western side of the state.

Mike Kennedy, a professor of rural health for Kansas University School of Medicine, said of 30 students going into primary care nursing he spoke to, only two were interested in working in rural areas.

Kennedy said the problem could be partially solved by offering additional funding to people willing to work in "frontier" counties.

Jackie John, vice president for resource development for Great Plains Health Alliance in Phillipsburg, said rural areas often are forgotten in the national health care discussion.

"We're swallowed up," she said.

With the plethora of suggestions and issues, it was immediately clear that some sort of reform was needed.

Dole said he would take the recommendations back to Washington, D.C. From there, ideas from Monday's forum will be cobbled together with those from forums conducted by former Sens. George Mitchell, Howard Baker and Tom Daschle.

The center won't produce any findings until the end of the year, said project co-director Chris Jennings.

"We won't be making decisions until after the election to avoid the politicization of any progress we have," he said.


Confrontation 9 years, 10 months ago

We need universal health care. It's the only way to keep people from having their financial lives destroyed by illness. The people against this system are people who already have insurance and think they're safe. I know several people who had to declare bankruptcy following their illnesses, even with private insurance. If you really want to be fully covered, then expect to pay a fortune for extra "riders" on your insurance. You'll need cancer coverage, etc. Private insurance companies are only concerned with profit.

BrianR 9 years, 10 months ago

"The best thing for health care in this country is to get government - federal, state & local - completely out of the equation."The private sector sucks out loud at providing health care. Who do you propose would do a good job? Please, no government interference fantasies.For someone who cannot afford their medication(s), there is neither liberty nor personal freedom.

Jonathan Kealing 9 years, 10 months ago

Bozo,That was my bad. I clicked on the wrong link to remove something. Feel free to repost. And my apologies.Jonathan KealingOnline editor

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

pace 9 years, 10 months ago

They demanded $69 dollars cash to move 12 pages of records, of tests that I paid for, to a new doctor after my doctor left town. Boy,

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 10 months ago

Confrontation, Before I had employer-provided health insurance, I was 100% against socialized medicine. As a matter of principle, I do not want other people having their income involuntarily confiscated by government to take care of my needs, perceived or real. Unless one is truly destitute (and "truly destitute" is not a description that can be attributed to 98% of Americans), let's keep government completely out of the equation.

denak 9 years, 10 months ago

Personally, I am all for universal health care. I do not think that the quality of care would be any less if the "government paid for it." The government already does through medicare and military insurance.When I was in the service, CHAMPUS took care of everything when I went into premature labor and gave birth six weeks early. I didn't deal with any paperwork or anything. It wasn't a question of can she afford it, or where is the money, just a case of someone needing health care and getting it.My foster kids get all of their health care paid for by the state.So, the belief that the government shouldn't or can't extend benefits to everyone is a bunch of bunk. They already do it for a number of individuals.My son's best friend has Type I diabetes. His mother has a master's degree and has always worked but it has been an absolute hell trying to get everything that he needs. He can't get insurance because of his disease. She has to get insurance through her employers. She has changed jobs twice for no other reason then to get the best insurance for her son. She has a friend in her diabetes support group whose daughter is in this no man's land of being over 18, and therefore no longer eligible to get coverage through her parent's insurance and to young to get insurance though a full time employer because she is in college. She has to rely on a free clinic to get her insulin.This is the problem with the way our system works today.These two kids are at the mercy of their parent's employment. If one of these parent's dies, or is disabled or unemployed, these children, through no fault of their own, or their parent's will become seriously ill.Even if you do not agree in universal health care for everyone, there should be no question at all in this country that all children under the age of 21 should be covered. We cover foster kids, we cover those with a medical card, we cover those in the military, we could easily use the same system to cover all of our kids.Dena

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