Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin : -- Health Care Reform
The Health Care Reform Initiative
ESCAPE FIRE: A FREE MOVIE SCREENING
Friday, June 14, 6:30 p.m.
at the Mineral Point Opera House
Mark your calendars now for this free screening of Escape Fire which tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: what can be done to save our broken medical system. Award-winning filmmakers Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke follow dramatic human stories as well as leaders fighting to transform healthcare at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government, and even the US military. The film examines the powerful forces trying to maintain the status quo in an industry designed for quick fixes and profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground. Escape Fire is about finding a way out.
Refreshments and a panel discussion with Dr. Sarah Fox, Dr. Aaron Dunn and an Upland Hills representative will follow. Upland Hills Health is the lead sponsor of this free film screening at the Mineral Point Opera House, along with Grassroots, Dodgeville Library Foundation and the Mineral Point Wellness Committee.
Gov. Walker has rejected $4.4 billion dollars in Federal funds to improve BadgerCare. Sen. Dale Schultz is trying to convince his fellow Republicans to overrule Walker’s decision.
SEN. SCHULTZ NEEDS OUR SIGNATURES!
Please click here to download a petition which the Grassroots Health Care Task Force urges you to sign and mail to Sen. Schultz. Encourage your friends to sign it as well. This action is vitally important for our rural communities. The health of many of our low income residents during the early implementation of the Affordable Care Act is at stake. Our rural hospitals are also at risk because many more patients will require uncompensated care. County Boards will be faced with increased costs for mental health, substance abuse and children’s development disabilities – which would be paid for by these rejected Federal funds. That means cuts in other vital county services or higher property taxes.
THANKS FOR BEING PART OF OUR HEALTH CARE TEAM!
What is in the News
If you haven’t read the March 4th TIME Magazine in-depth article "BITTER PILL: WHY MEDICAL BILLS ARE KILLING US,” check it out at the library or find a friend who subscribes. (Unfortunately, it is no longer available free online.)
THIS IS A MUST READ ARTICLE FOR EVERY AMERICAN.
THE ARTICLE ASKS:
- What are the reasons that cancer treatment often means a half-million or million-dollar tab?
- Why would a trip to the emergency room for chest pains that turns out to be a false alarm result in a bill that can exceed the cost of a semester of college?
- Should a single dose of a ‘wonder drug’ cost thousands of dollars?
- Why can simple lab work performed during a few days in a hospital cost more than a car?
- And what is so different about the medical ecosystem that causes technology advances to drive bills up instead of down?
The author, Steven Brill, examines actual medical bills line-by-line to find out what happens when powerless buyers – whether individuals or health insurance companies – meet sellers in what is the ultimate sellers’ market.
What Brill found is that hospital charges are grossly inflated over true hospital costs, even after factoring in hospital overhead, capital expenses, executive salaries and insurance.
Hospitals are “non-profit” in name only, often being the most profitable businesses and largest employers in town and presided over by the regions’ most richly compensated executives. In big cities, many hospital administrators are paid lavish $1 million plus paychecks. Profits go into hospital expansion, executive compensation and buying up rival hospitals.
The health care industry has powerful political connections, spending more on lobbying in Washington than the military-industrial complex, the aerospace industry and the petroleum industry combined.
Taken as a whole, these powerful institutions and the bills they churn out dominate the nation’s economy and put demands on taxpayers to a degree unequaled anywhere else on earth. Yet, in every measurable way, the results our health care system produces are no better and often worse than the outcomes in other countries.
Here’s the story of a $21,000 Heartburn Bill, not at all atypical in our health care environment. A 64-year-old sales clerk feels chest pains and goes to the emergency room by ambulance. The good news is that after 3 hours of tests and some brief encounters with a doctor, it’s determined to be a false alarm due to indigestion. The bad news: $995 for the ambulance ride, $3000 for the doctor visits and $17,000 for the hospital for a total cost of $21,000.
Medicare, by law, collects troves of data on what every type of treatment, test and service actually costs hospitals to deliver, and it pays accordingly. It is the only player in the health care industry that pays anything resembling a reasonable price.
Overuse of expensive tests is rampant with the number of CT tests quadrupling in the last decade, having little apparent benefit for the patient.
Steven Brill’s suggested remedies:
- Allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of drugs, which current law forbids.
- Require more transparency in pricing.
- Use antitrust regulation to end hospital mergers that stifle competition.
- Regulate the over-ordering of tests and procedures.
- Reform malpractice payments.
- Control self-referring by doctors who own outpatient clinics.
- Allow and fund comparative-effectiveness evaluations of drugs, procedures and medical devices.
DO YOU CARE ABOUT THIS ISSUE?
Then contact Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin and Reps. Mark Pocan and Ron Kind. For contact information, click here.
Honoring Choices - Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Medical Society has announced the launching of Honoring Choices Wisconsin! Honoring Choices Wisconsin is a major initiative to build system change, advocacy and education around advance care planning. Through Honoring Choices Wisconsin, the Society will serve as convener, coordinator and catalyst to build clinical pilot projects combined with proactive outreach in communities across the state. Read more here. OR Listen to the
At Issue with Ben Merens program here.
Consider the Conversation
"Consider the Conversation" is an intimate film about the American struggle with communication and preparation at the end-of-life by Burning Hay Wagon Productions. It is a remarkable, thought-provoking film that looks at many of the issues that we will all face at the end-of-life. It opens the floodgates of thought and conversation on this most difficult and often taboo subject. It helps to illustrate many areas of improvement in our health care system. I would encourage everyone to watch this important film including physicians, healthcare workers, patients and families. This film will help us to be better physicians, better nurses, better patients and better people. - James Roberts, M.D., Medical Director, Mayo Clinic Health System-Home Health & Hospice
Learn more at http://www.considertheconversation.org/
If you missed the showing of "Consider the Conversation" at the Dodgeville Public Library, you can check out the DVD and watch it at home. The library also put together a helpful resource list of other books available there, click here to see it.
What is Next
Our Heath Care Task Force continually seeks reliable sources of information about new and proposed federal and state health care legislation. We communicate this information to our local communities through forums, press releases, etc. The task force is also deeply interested in researching and recommending modifications that would improve state and national legislation.
OUR CURRENT HEALTH CARE PROJECTS:
- Monitoring Walker administration proposals - With cost-cutting as its paramount goal, the Walker administration will soon be unveiling its vision for health care in our state. We can expect significant changes to the BadgerCare system and tense interplay with the Federal government over implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is essential that we monitor these developments closely and initiate public discussion when appropriate.
- Considering end-of-life care - Often neglected as a healthcare issue, palliative care and end-of-life planning are on the agenda for Grassroots Citizens of Wisconsin this year. Working in cooperation with the Bioethics Committee of Uplands Health in Dodgeville together with regional and statewide coalitions, we are developing plans to raise awareness of the medical, legal, ethical and spiritual dimensions of decision-making as life moves toward its close.
Who We Are
In 2006, Grassroots members concerned about the lack of universal health insurance coverage and escalating medical costs started a Health Care Reform Task Force to monitor the rapid-fire developments and to educate local people about what is going on in Washington D.C. and Madison. We work closely with the statewide Health Care Reform Coalition, headed by Citizens Action Wisconsin, and host local forums and discussions. Today over 100 people from throughout southwest Wisconsin are part of our Health Care Reform Initiative.
Core group members include Dr. Aaron Dunn, John Simonson and Bill Spevacek of Mineral Point; Earl Barnes, Kent Mayfield and John Wright of Dodgeville; Gail Ginsberg of Ridgeway; Lola Gregg of Avoca; and Jeff Ware of Fennimore.
What We Have Done
Topics for our local forums, held in Spring Green, Dodgeville, Platteville and Darlington, have included:
- "Exploring health care models around the world"
- "A close-up look at the top national health care reform plans"
- "Defining the key issues in health care reform"
- "So why is health care reform so hard to achieve?"
- "Health care reform: A question and answer session"
- "Paying for health care"
- "National health care reform: What should it look like?"
We've run a Dodgeville Chronicle advertisement addressing the need for health care reform, which was signed and paid for by local citizens.
In partnership with the Dodgeville Chamber of Commerce, we co-sponsored a dialogue between Dr. Aaron Dunn and a representative of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce organization.
We continue to encourage our members to volunteer and financially support the Community Connections Free Clinic in Dodgeville.
To Join Our Health Care Reform Initiative contact:
2473 Mount Hope Road
Dodgeville, WI 53533
Telephone: (608) 623-2109