KQED, San Francisco’s public radio and television organization, is soliciting ideas from health care professionals, reform advocates and the public on how to reform health care, from a California perspective.
“Healthy Ideas: Californians Weigh In on Health Care Reform” will feature posts from doctors, medical professionals, academics, lawyers, executives and other prominent stakeholders. The site’s creators hope the public will take advantage of the format to interact with these prominent figures and help foster a deeper public discussion of national health care reform. From now through June, each of the blog’s 13 contributors will create at least one post a week.
In July, a summary of the ideas and issues raised by contributors and readers will be presented to Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Chairman, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
KQED points out that California’s needs are unlike any other state:
- The California Healthcare Foundation reported in December 2008 that Calif. has about 6.6 million uninsured, more than any other state.
- Its economy contains a large proportion of service industries, which are less likely to offer health insurance.
- California also has a large immigrant population in a state known to have a high cost of living.
In a recent post, Dana Goldman, Ph.D., of RAND Corp., discusses “upstream rationing” and “downstream rationing,” arguing that “the policy goal should be to get the right drugs and treatments to the patients who need it. But it also sometimes means withholding treatment in cases where it might do only very little good.”
In another post, Anthony Iton, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., the Alameda County (Calif.) Public Health Department director and health officer, writes about health inequity. He says that “deliberate new policy is needed to ‘unmake’ inequitable neighborhood conditions and to decouple health from race and place.” Some AHCJ members might remember that Iton spoke about health disparities and stories that are not being covered in multicultural communities at an AHCJ workshop, “Multicultural health in the Bay Area: The untold story.”