Harry Reid may have more to do with your future health care than any single individual, more than your doctor, your pharmacist, that scientist searching for cures, or your spiritual advisor. Harry Reid is Majority Leader for the United States Senate, and he wants the entire Senate to vote on a health care reform bill this year.
Harry Reid has a heavy burden. His task is to take the bills that two Senate committees have already passed and make them one. His challenge is knitting together contradictions in both bills while honoring deals that have already been cut with major stakeholders.
We know that deals have been cut with the big players. The doctors and hospitals want higher payments for their services or at least not having cuts. Drug companies want pricing freedom. Health insurers want more customers, like every legal resident of the United States, or if not all, at least the healthier ones. The deals have been cut but neither Senate bill gives these groups everything they want.
I hope that Mr. Reid enters this challenge with an eye toward cutting a deal with patients, the ones who rely on the health care system now to manage and improve their conditions. What should patients ask of Harry Reid as the big deal is cut?
Mr. Reid, please don't restrict our care to the cheapest treatments, facilities, and services regardless of whether they work for us. Many of us struggled through one promising medication to another breakthrough procedure to another and another just to find something that works for us. Please cut a deal that lets us continue to use what makes us better.
And while you're at it, Mr. Reid, please cut a deal with all of us who suffer from chronic conditions that medicine can treat. Don't let our lack of money, the fact that we are aware of our condition or our jobs that don't offer health benefits bar us from the medical care that millions of others take for granted. We know you want this bill to add zero dollars to the nation's deficit over the next ten years, but you just shoveled $199 billion to the Bank of America. Why not some billions for the Patients of America.
Mr. Reid, please apply the ancient notion that we care for other humans as we would like to be cared for ourselves. Let's make a deal with patients. We may not get everything we want, but let your endgame honor the bargain you strike with us.
- Charlotte W. Collins
Published On: October 21, 2009