Health commentary Dr. Mike Mc Gee

States focusing on Health Care Policy

But will the nation?

With the Iowa caucuses just around the corner, presidential candidates are increasingly camped out in the state. And the state is greeting the process with open arms. HealthCommentary.org is there in part through the efforts of Atul Nakhasi and Greg Baker at the University of Iowa. They are the student leaders of the College Democrats and the College Republicans respectively, and are encouraging their members' participation in our Healthy Voices campaign this week.

Elsewhere in the state, citizen activism around health care is in the air. Take, for example the work of Kathleen O'Connor and her Code Blue Now organization. It recently completed a statewide survey gauging citizens opinions of their own health care and the need for health care reform.

The executive summary states:

"While it appears that Iowa voters are in a good situation personally with respect to health insurance, access to health care, and quality of care, they believe the national health care system is in need of improvement. Iowa voters value having enough information to be active participants in health care decisions. They also want accountability for health care spending, high quality health care standards, and affordable access for all Americans. Although they see the need for reform, there is no clear consensus about who should lead the charge, who should oversee a national health care system if one emerges, or how it should be paid for. Most voters find the idea of a non-partisan, non-profit organization of citizens and professionals appealing for this role but many want assurances about the expertise of the people within the organization, its goals and how it will be funded. While they do not trust government to solve the problem, they may not embrace a completely private-sector organization either. The only clear agreement is that whatever group tackles the problem needs to rely heavily on health care professionals for advice and counsel."

Health care reform clearly is, once again, front and center. What remains to be seen is whether it is possible, as part of our political process, to coalesce the will and the means to tackle the reform of this large and critical pillar of our society, which after over a century of use, with minimal incremental change, is now incapable of bearing the weight of a modern preventive, planning-oriented health care system.


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