Last evening, I attended a public gathering at Terrace Park in Sioux Falls which was sponsored/organized by Patients United Now. The location was excellent, with the exception of the rather loud party which started up a couple hundred yards away during the event. Though given the opportunity, Mr. Mogen (of Mogen’s Heroes) did not get up on stage to lead a battle of the bands.
The meeting was attended by somewhere between 100 and 200 people. Todd Schlekeway was the chief organizer and did a pretty good job of moving things along and staying on schedule.
HyVee provided burgers and tubesteaks and corn syrup bubbly for those who came. The audience was largely comprised of those in the over-60 demographic, though there were several couples with small children and a sprinkling of students/young professionals. Outside of the presenters, several other local politicians (present and past) were in attendance.
While we were munching on supper and waiting for the main events to begin, one young man somewhere behind me remarked (in reference to the jazz which was being broadcast over the PA system) that “We are in the political minority right now. They should be playing “Rage Against the Machine.”
The first speaker was Craig Dewey, who had the experience of living in Canada for several years and dealing with his mother’s health issues (including cancer) under the Canadian system. His story was well laid out and served to establish a useful context for the rest of the evening.
The second speaker was Lawrence Hunter, the founder and president of The Social Security Institute. He pointed out that he had dealt with/helped to defeat expanding government health care coverage in the 80s (when seniors were to get expanded coverage) the 90s (when Mrs. Clinton was going to save us all) and is still working on it now in its current guise as Obamacare. From his talk, I took away two key things:
- The promises haven’t changed. It boils down to “We are going to get everything we need, cut costs, save money, and do it all without raising taxes.”
- The American citizen is largely on his/her own this time around. The pharmaceutical companies and large medical providers are thinking that this move toward socialized medicine is inevitable. As a result, they want to be at the table–no matter what the patients might be thinking.
The final speaker was Blake Curd, another state representative as well as a practicing orthopedic surgeon. His part of the presentation focused on the numbers, as he put it. This included the fact that the health care legislation that is being talked about would cost many times what we’ve been told, the fact that the 46-48 million uninsured really aren’t, etc.
Both Dr. Hunter and Dr. Curd talked about how beneficial current health care is, touching on the fact that it has become increasingly expensive (a in terms of the percentage of their incomes which patients spend on health care). They both gave reasons for the expense: (bearing the cost of R&D for much of the rest of the world, for example) but neither addressed the role which essentially unrestricted malpractice litigation has in increasing costs for the patients. I found this a surprising oversight, but also realize that time did not allow in-depth coverage any particular sub-topic.
All in all, a good way to spend a couple of hours. I’m guessing that more people were not there because they saw the program as being very similar (in terms of message) to what will be occurring tomorrow at the Tea Party in Sioux Falls.