Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Just the Facts Please" -- Casper forum will analyze Affordable Care Act

This cartoon is a few years old, but the corporate influence in U.S. health care is still the main problem.

"Just the Facts Please." Great title for a health care forum.

Ever since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there has been precious little in the way of fact-based discussions on health care issues.

Raucous yet clueless Tea Party Republicans, propped up by lots of money from insurance conglomerates and right-wing think tanks, have hammered away at what they snidely call "Obamacare." A slew of conservative states, Wyoming included, have joined in a lawsuit to block implementation of the ACA. Our Congressional delegation has used the issue to scare constituents and to push their own ultra-conservative agendas. One of them, Sen. Barrasso, is one of only two physicians in the U.S. Senate. Instead of trying to find ways to insure thousands of uninsured Wyomingites, he uses it as a political football and a surefire way to get on Fox talk shows.

So, it is in this poisoned atnmospehere that One Health Voice, a group of Wyoming agencies and organizations "working together to improve access to healthcare in Wyoming," is hosting the 2011 Wyoming Health Care Symposium on Tuesday September 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ramada Plaza Riverside in Casper. The symposium, “Just the Facts Please,” will be the first in a series of informational programs about the Affordable Care Act. Policy experts will be on hand to speak on the issue and take questions.

Keynote speaker will be T.R. Reid. He is the bestselling author of “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Healthcare,” 

Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say about the book when it came out in August 2009:
Washington Post correspondent Reid (The United States of Europe) explores health-care systems around the world in an effort to understand why the U.S. remains the only first world nation to refuse its citizens universal health care. Neither financial prudence nor concern for the commonweal explains the American position, according to Reid, whose findings divulge that the U.S. not only spends more money on health care than any other nation but also leaves 45 million residents uninsured, allowing about 22,000 to die from easily treatable diseases. Seeking treatment for the flareup of an old shoulder injury, he visits doctors in the U.S., France, Germany, Japan and England—with a stint in an Ayurvedic clinic in India—in a quest for treatment that dovetails with his search for a cure for America's health-care crisis, a narrative device that sometimes feels contrived, but allows him valuable firsthand experience. For all the scope of his research and his ability to mint neat rebuttals to the common American misconception that universal health care is socialized medicine, Reid neglects to address the elephant in the room: just how are we to sell these changes to the mighty providers and insurers?   
Great question, PW, especially when so many opportunists are clouding the waters.

I hope that the forum helps get us down the path to adopting and understanding the ACA, which still only puts a few steps along the road to real universal health care.

Key presenters, aside from Mr. Reid, are:
·        Lynn Quincy, Consumers Union (Non-profit Publisher of Consumer Reports);
·        Nona Bear,  healthcare consultant and former president of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance;
·        Elizabeth Arenales, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
·        Doyle Forrestal, outreach specialist for Regional Director or U.S. Health and Human Services
·        Marguerite Salazar, Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service; and
·        Elizabeth Hoy, health policy advisor to Wyoming Governor Matt Mead

Organizations involved with One Health Voice include AARP, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Children’s Action Alliance, Consumer Advocates: Project Healthcare, Equality State Policy Center, National Multiple Sclerosis Society CO-WY Chapter, Wyoming Center for Nursing and Health Care Partnerships, Wyoming Epilepsy Association, Wyoming Health Care Access Network/PhRMA, Wyoming Hospital Association, and the Wyoming Primary Care Association.

To register and see the full schedule of events, please visit or email

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