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Health Care Legislation: It's A Debate
“”I am always uneasy when I start on something I cannot at least faintly see the end of the road.”
This is a quote from a letter dated December 27, 1954, written by then President Dwight D. Eisenhower to Oveta Culp Hobby, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare about his Health care budget.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library sponsored a forum on a historical, yet current subject on Wednesday, November 4th in Abilene, Kansas. My husband and I were two of approximately 30 people in attendance.
The Eisenhower Presidential Library Auditorium is an impressive, well run venue in this small town. We were seated around large round tables. The meeting lasted approximately two hours. Erika Imbody of the Kansas State University Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy began by setting discussion ground rules aimed at promoting better citizen dialogue on tough issues. No party affiliations were disclosed. The central issue presented for discussion was, "How can we get the health care we require in the face of rising costs?"
At first glance, the three topics, "Reduce the Threat of Financial Ruin, Restrain Out-of-Control Costs and Provide Coverage as a Right" might sound leading in content. However, we were asked to look carefully at three subtopics, "What Should Be Done, Arguments in Favor, Trade-Offs. Finally, it asked for "Opposing Voices" for discussion.
Agreement that financial ruin by a major health problem is a worry for Americans of all ages. Solutions for discussion at our table included the requirement of all to have a form of health-care coverage, requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage which could hurt small businesses, and bigger pools to spread out costs, (small group pools is a major concern for rural areas). Trade offs include affordable plans with higher deductibles discourage routine health care which inturn create major health problems.
Restraining out of control costs included a discussion of greater government control in this area. A retired health care employee added health care procedures are expensive. High drug costs in place to cover required research with the trade-off of no new drugs was a focal point. Again, the rural aspect of the availability of expensive procedures those of us in more populated areas take for granted. There is agreement that attention needs to be placed on the cost of health care with further discussion who would conduct the oversight.
Finally, providing coverage as a right. Agreement on the fact that no one should be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions or loss of income. Agreement that in America, we cannot deny insurance to someone who chooses to live an unhealthy lifestyle. Question of exactly how many do not have coverage and if those with current coverage would abandon policies for a less expensive government type policy. This discussion led to financing of a government health plan, higher taxes and who should pay.
As a final conclusion Ms. Imbody asked for an open discussion which revealed all tables discussed similar issues and all ages were in agreement with concerns about the future. Also, everyone agrees it is an extremely complex matter.
The only time currently health care legislation was mentioned is as we leave. Here is the list of names and email addresses of legislators if we want to voice our opinion.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20500 202.456.111 – comments 202.456.1414 – switchboard 202.456.2461 – fax
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20201 1.877.696.6775
US SENATE United States Senator Sam Brownback 612 S. Kansas Ave. Topeka, KS 66603 785.233.2503 - Topeka 202.228.1265 - Washington DC 316.264.8066 - Wichita 913.492.6378 - Overland Park 620.231.6040 - Pittsburg 620.275.1124 - Garden City 202.228.1265 – Washington DC Fax http://brownback.senate.gov
United States Senator Pat Roberts 444 SE Quincy Ave., Rm. 392 Topeka, KS 66683 785.295.2745 - Topeka 202.224.4774 - Washington DC 316.263.0416 - Wichita 913.451.9343 - Overland Park 620.227.2244 - Dodge City 202.224.3514 – Washington DC Fax http://roberts.senate.gov
US CONGRESS Congressman Jerry Moran - 1st District 1200 Main St., Suite 402 PO Box 249 Hays, KS 67601 785.628.6401 - Hays 202.225.2715 - Washington DC 620.665.6138 - Hutchinson 202.225.5124 – Washington, DC Fax www.jerrymoran.house.gov
Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins - 2nd District 3550 SW 5th Street Topeka, KS 66601 202.225.6601 - Washington DC 785.234.LYNN (5966) – Topeka 620.231.LYNN (5966) – Pittsburg 202.225.7986 – Washington DC Fax http://lynnjenkins.house.gov
KANSAS Governor Mark Parkinson Capitol, 300 SW 10th Ave., Ste. 212S Topeka, KS 66612-1590 Voice 1.877.KSWORKS (1.877.579.6757) Local 785.296.3232 For the Hearing Impaired 1.800.766.3777 www.governor.ks.gov/contact
Lt. Governor Troy Findley State Capitol, 2nd Floor 300 SW 10th Ave. Topeka, KS 66612 Toll-Free 1-800-748-4408 Local 785.296.2213 Fax 785.296.5669 For the Hearing Impaired 1.800-766.3777 Lt.Governor@ks.gov
INSURANCE COMMISSIONER Sandy Praeger 420 SW 9th Street Topeka, KS 66612 785.296.3071 1.800.432.2484 (in Kansas only) email@example.com