For the past 30 years, my career has focused on health promotion, disease prevention, behavioral research, and communications. I have seen, photographed, and written about the good, the bad and the ugly parts of our country’s healthcare “system”.
I saw the rise of HMOs (health maintenance organizations) in the 1980s. I cheered the Clintons for at least trying to fix the overly complicated mess in the early 1990s. I saw costs going up every year and service going down. I saw a health insurance system that was creaking under the weight of its own complexity, while big insurance and big pharma collected huge profits. As managing editor of the American Journal of Medicine, I stood proudly by the Editor-in-Chief when he and the Editorial Board called for Medicare for All on multiple occasions.
Along the way, I have heard stories about huge medical bills, uncompensated hospital care, outrageously expensive drugs, limited or delayed access to medical care, premature death and disease, medical bankruptcy, and the medical consequences of poverty.
Now, as a member of the Arizona House and the ranking Democrat on the Health Committee, I want to hear your stories.
Do you have concerns about the future of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Medicaid and Kids Care? Is the cost of medical care or prescription drugs a worry for your family? How would dramatic cuts to these programs impact you? Come to the 200 Stories: Tucson Healthcare Forum on Oct. 29.
I am appalled at Republican attempts to scrap the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and throw millions of Americans off of health insurance– when they really have no plan.The ACA used to have many plan choices but not anymore, as insurance companies leave the marketplace. Is the ACA perfect? No. Obviously, the ACA needs to be reformed. We must recognize that the ACA does much good in Arizona, thanks to Medicaid expansion. Also, an tens of thousands of Arizonans have good-paying jobs in the healthcare sector since ACA expanded coverage in Arizona. (Check out this report.)
Whether you are a patient or a provider, we want to hear your medical and health insurance stories. The LD9 and LD10 Legislators are holding an open mic forum in which we listen, you talk, and we all learn.
This is a free educational community event open to Pima County residents. It’s about listening and learning from each other. Senators David Bradley and Steve Farley and Representatives Kirsten Engel, Randy Friese, and I have confirmed their attendance. (Rep. Todd Clodfelter was invited but has a scheduling conflict.)
In the news, we hear what politicians and big corporations think should be done with our country’s healthcare/insurance system. At this event, the people of Southern Arizona will have an opportunity to tell us their stories and help shape future policy. This event will be videotaped and live-streamed via Facebook Live on my Facebook page here. We will have free childcare for the event.