[COMM-ORG] Virginia Organizing health reform organizing
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colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Fri Aug 27 14:14:41 CDT 2010
From: Joe Szakos Virginia Organizing <szakos at virginia-organizing.org>
Last week we let you know about the Governor's new Virginia Health
Reform Initiative Advisory Council, which he stacked with big insurance
CEOs, hospital CEOs and not a single consumer. We asked you to write
letters to the editor on the fact that the panel did not have a single
consumer. Your response has been amazing and letters are popping up in
newspapers across the state.
I would like to share with you an article that ran in the Richmond
Times-Dispatch this morning calling attention to the lack of consumers
on Governor McDonnell's panel.
Your efforts and energy have made a huge difference in holding the
McDonnell administration accountable to regular people.
Please take a moment to keep the pressure on by calling Governor
Tell Governor McDonnell that:
Â· There should be a consumer on the Virginia Health Reform
Initiative Advisory Council. And please get your friends and neighbors
to call, too.
Â· Consumers like yourself know first hand what is wrong
with the health care system and should have a seat at the table!<o:p></o:p>
Â· Putting hospital and big insurance CEOs in charge of
implementing the federal health care bill that they vehemently opposed
makes no sense at all.
If you have not done so already, please write a letter to the editor of
your local paper, too. And thanks for all that you do to fight for a
more just Virginia.
(434) 984-4655 x222
Some say McDonnell's health-care panel needs representation from
By http://www2.timesdispatch.com/staff/492/ Olympia Meola |
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published: August 24,
Buzz up! Richmond, Va. --<o:p></o:p>
The composition of Virginia's new health-care advisory panel is causing
some consumer advocates heartburn.
Gov. Bob McDonnell's council is tasked with helping the state prepare
for implementing the massive federal health-care reform and also with
overseeing a broad inspection of the state's system of care.
The 24 people doing that work include health-care professionals,
insurance executives, legislators and members of the business community.
Missing at the table, some say, are the consumers.
"The people who provide the services have one perspective and the people
who use the services have another perspective," said
Sarah Williams, a
resident who supported the federal health-care legislation. "I don't
think that with a one-sided panel that the consumer interest will be
Williams recently wrote a letter to
editor of her newspaper calling for consumers to be added to the
Virginia Health Reform Initiative Advisory Council -- a cry echoed in
other corners of the state.
"I understand that the administration wanted it to consist largely of
people with day-to-day expertise on implementation and health-care
delivery, but it seems like they're really missing the mark with not
having uninsured and underinsured people who have not been able to get
care as part of the panel from the get-go," said
executive director of the
National Alliance on
Mental Illness of
"Those are the people who can really describe very accurately what's
really wrong with the system, what's missing, what really needs to be
addressed and what works well."
secretary of health and human resources, serves as the panel's
chairman. He said yesterday that he thinks the administration has done a
thorough job of bringing together people with different perspectives,
including that of the patient.
Everyone at the table, be it health-care executives or
secretary himself, are patients and have family members who have to
navigate the system, he noted.
"This is about making the system work better for everybody,"
said. "The system is very complicated and the political blocks to
improving it are going to come from people with vested interests, and
they're the ones that need to be there and we have to get all of those
on the table in a situation where they can be addressed and discussed."
Virginia Organizing, a
liberal advocacy group, is mobilizing its grass roots around the state,
urging people like
Williams to write letters or to contact the governor's office. The group
also wants to set up meetings with the five legislators on the
"While we are very disappointed by the panel's makeup, we will be taking
every opportunity possible to make sure that consumers can weigh in on
the panel," said
Janice "Jay" Johnson,
Additional people will be asked to serve on one of the council's six
task forces to drill into more specific issues,
said; all of those meetings will be open and the public will be given an
opportunity to speak.
But hearing from people in a public forum and having them at the table
are different, advocates insist.<o:p></o:p>
"This is a critical perspective that needs to be at the table where
decisions will be made. Providers,
insurance companies and academics are there. Consumers have vital
interests too," said
staff attorney with the
Virginia Poverty Law Center.
The result is a lopsided panel, said
Signer, with the
mental health alliance, which is a statewide organization that focuses
on people with
serious mental illness.<o:p></o:p>
"The reality is that the people who have not had care and have been
marginalized are the ones who are able to describe very accurately
what's wrong with the system," she said. "Having them on equal footing
Anthem, it also send a message to those million people out there
pounding on the door saying 'Something's wrong, I can't get care.' It
sends a message that they're part of this."<o:p></o:p>
703 Concord Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903-5208
(434) 984-4655 (434) 984-2803 fax
On 8/21/2010 10:00 AM, Discussion list for COMM-ORG wrote:
> This is a COMM-ORG 'colist' message.
> All replies to this message come to COMM-ORG only.
> From: Joe Szakos Virginia Organizing<szakos at virginia-organizing.org>
> Dear Randy,
> It seems like Governor Bob McDonnell finds a way to show how out of
> touch he is with regular Virginians on a weekly basis! This week
> Governor McDonald announced his 24-person Virginia Health Reform
> Initiative Advisory Council, whose task it is to figure out ways to
> implement the new national health care law in Virginia. This panel will
> be advising on Medicaid reform, insurance reform, delivery and payment
> reform, capacity, technology, and will have considerable influence on
> the future of Virginia’s health care system.
> The problem is that there is not one health care consumer or consumer
> advocate on this panel! In fact, it is mostly made up of big business
> leaders, hospital CEOs and of course the CEO of Anthem, C. Burke King.
> As you may know, I found out just how much C. Burke King wants to hear
> from health care consumers when I was arrested in front of Anthem last
> year for trying to ask about our health insurance rates! I don’t have
> any confidence that he or any of Governor McDonnell’s big business
> appointees will look out for consumers like you and me.
> For the last two years we fought—and won—the right to reign in the
> insurance companies. Now, Governor McDonnell is putting them right back
> in the driver seat without a single consumer to hold them accountable.
> I find it offensive that our Governor thinks so little of Virginia
> health care consumers and the uninsured that he would allow corporations
> to speak on their behalf. So we are encouraging folks to write letters
> to the editor about it. Would you take 10 minutes to write a letter to
> the editor of your local newspaper? Here is a list of contacts for
> newspapers across the state. Please email our Communications Director,
> Julie Blust, at blust at virginia-organizing.org if you need any talking
> points or tips on writing a letter to the editor.
> Thanks for everything you have done to continue the fight for health
> care for all Virginians. And thank you for supporting the idea that real
> people should have a say in their government.
> Take care,
> Joe Szakos
> Executive Director
> (434) 984-4655 x222
> 703 Concord Avenue
> Charlottesville, VA 22903-5208
> (434) 984-4655 • (434) 984-2803 fax
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