Dodd Holds Health Care Forum

EAST HARTFORD — Sen. Chris Dodd, accompanied by Rep. John Larson and a panel of health care experts, held a town-hall style forum today at Goodwin College’s beautiful new riverside campus in East Hartford. The forum was the first of several planned events on Dodd’s health care “listening tour,” which is an attempt to gauge public opinion and need before Congress and the administration undertake a major health care initiative.

Both Dodd and Larson spoke briefly about the kind of health care program they wanted to craft. Dodd emphasized that any new health care plan had to meet three criteria: It must be universal, it must be affordable, and it must focus not just on treatment, but on prevention as well.

Dodd drew contrasts between the current initiative and the failed effort to institute a national health care plan in 1993, claiming that there were fewer “bright lines” sharply dividing people on the issue now, and that the huge health care costs of the auto industry, among others, made reform more obvious and urgent. Larson also spoke animatedly of the failure of 1993, saying that “Fifteen years ago, there was not enough emphasis on what [the people] had to say.”

Sen. Chris Dodd listens as a man shares his health care experiences

Sen. Chris Dodd listens as a man shares his health care experiences

Several audience members asked Dodd and the panel questions about the state of the health care system. One audience member, a man who runs a homeless shelter, questioned why corporations were getting such large amounts of money from the government when many people couldn’t afford health care coverage. Dodd defended the bailout as necessary to prevent further unemployment. State Rep. Demetrios Giannaros asked why we weren’t examining what other countries were doing when it comes to health care.

However, many audience members simply wished to share their stories and experiences. A gray-haired man told Dodd about losing his job, paying high monthly premiums for COBRA, and then being unable to afford both a mortgage and health care. He feared ending up homeless. A cancer survivor worried that she’d never have coverage again, as no one was willing to cover her despite being free of cancer for five years. Another man explained how seniors have difficulty understanding MEDICARE.

Dodd also spoke about prevention and other aspects of a possible health care plan:

The event lasted for over two hours, long past the scheduled end time, but few audience members left. The general mood was one of frustration with how the health care system worked now, but many had hope that the new administration could effect some positive change, and that at least some of their concerns would be addressed.

Dodd himself seemed energized by the turnout and by the intense interest in this issue, and took as many questions as time would allow. “Health care ought to be a right!” he proclaimed near the end of the forum. The audience broke into cheers.

Via press release later in the day, Dodd said: “The response today was overwhelming. The discussion we had affirmed how deeply committed and passionate people in Connecticut are about seizing the moment that President Obama spoke about this week to transform our health care system. The stories, experiences, and concerns people shared with me today will be a tremendous resource as we get to work to craft a reform package that makes health care affordable and accessible for every American.”

Dodd promised that presumptive Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Daschle will journey to Connecticut in the coming months to hear peoples’ concerns as well.

Kennedy Doing Well

Dodd also informed the audience that his friend Sen. Ted Kennedy was doing better, and that after undergoing an MRI he had received a “clean bill of health.”

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18 responses to “Dodd Holds Health Care Forum

  1. Has he found those mortgage papers yet?

  2. AndersonScooper

    After waking up to the fact that interest charges of 25-30% are downright un-American, Dodd has been too busy taking on the Credit Card industry to bother with his mortgage papers.

    What’s in them anyway?

  3. AndersonScooper

    Former NY Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno-R, indicted.

    Read the complaint. It’s Corrupticut redux.

  4. Republitarian

    Ah Chris Dodd -pandering as only he can do. Obviously, he is already campaigning for his Senate seat.
    Dodd and Larson both ought to be in jail for their part in this mortgage debacle. They are both criminals.
    Their constituents forgoing the ability to pay for decent private pay insurance while suffering high taxes which are being used to feather the nests of Wall Street executives and other pork.
    Shame on these corrupt legislators that have the audacity to go on a “listening tour” and make like they really care about the plight of the poor.
    Hey Chris – show us the papers. Tell us how come you got such a sweet mortgage deal when the everyday Joe gets screwed.
    I’d say you were lower than scum but that still would put you on a pedestal.

  5. Dodd himself seemed energized by the turnout and by the intense interest in this issue, and took as many questions as time would allow. “Health care ought to be a right!” he proclaimed near the end of the forum. The audience broke into cheers.

    So what exactly is a right, anyway?

    If healthcare is a “right”, that means that someone’s “rights” include the requirement that other people give up something. Freedom of the Press can be a “right” because no one has to give up anything for you to have it. But if the government is going to provide health care, it needs to either tax someone to provide that health care, or it needs to demand that the doctors and nurses provide something for free. So now a “right” is going to be something that you want, and you can use force to take this thing from other people. So if healthcare is a right, what is a right?

  6. The wait time in Canada, a single payer system, for MRI’s is 4 weeks or more. Treatment time from initial referral by a GP through consultation with a specialist to final treatment, across all specialties and all procedures (emergency, non-urgent, and elective), averaged 17.7 weeks in 2005. Dodd and Larson no doubt shared such information with the crowd in East Hartford.

    I’m home to day from surgery in Manchester. MRI was done in the doctors office; wait time 10 miniutes. Wait time from GP to surgery 3 weeks.

    “This is a country in which dogs can get a hip replacement in under a week and in which humans can wait two to three years,” the New York Times reported one doctor as saying.

    There is a shortage of doctors in Canada; average salary $202,000 per year.

    The Ontario Medical Association agreed to become a province-wide closed shop to guarantee its members’ incomes, further restricting the supply of doctors .

    According to CTV News, “One in nine trained-in-Canada doctors is practising medicine in the United States… If Canadian-educated doctors who were born in the U.S. are excluded, the number is one in 12.”

    Please cut out and mail to appropriate senators.

  7. So if healthcare is a right, what is a right?

    Whatever Dodd tells us it is.

    For instance, it is a “right” for billionaire bankers to be bailed out.

    Btw, for all believers in open, accountable, transparent government… please ask President Obama why he believes Tim Geithner is a good pick?

    Since the election… The Fed got FOI’ed by Bloomberg News and Fox… and Geithner continues stonewalling.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&refer=conews&tkr=NWS%2FA%3AUS&sid=akUQZ2Y1M7WE

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=apx7XNLnZZlc&refer=home

    The Treasury got FOI’ed by Fox News… will Geithner release those documents (all relating to the bailout)? Sorry… can’t find a link.

    Back in ’07, I applauded Obama for his work with Coburn on the Transparency in Federal Spending bill.

    So what gives now? Obama is saying he wants transparency, but Geithner stonewalls on everything.

  8. Here’s the FBN link explaining their FOI challenge against Treasury over bailout info:

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/fox-business-sues-treasury-failure-respond-freedom-information-act-requests/

    President Obama had Whitehouse.gov up’n’running at 12:01pm on Tuesday. It mentioned how he was going to have the most accountable / open administration in history.

    So why must the press wait for this bailout info?

    Ok, ok… I don’t expect the info out immediately necessarily (though I see no reason stopping it… I mean, we’re not talking Valeri Plame “sources and methods” stuff).

    Geithner runs The Fed. He opposes open, transparent, accountable government.

    Geithner is an integral part of Bush’s failed bailout team of Bernanke / Paulson / Geithner.

    So why Geithner?

  9. The wait time in Canada, a single payer system, for MRI’s is 4 weeks or more. Treatment time from initial referral by a GP through consultation with a specialist to final treatment, across all specialties and all procedures (emergency, non-urgent, and elective), averaged 17.7 weeks in 2005. Dodd and Larson no doubt shared such information with the crowd in East Hartford.

    For people with no medical care, or who had to pay thousands of dollars per month for care, I don’t think they’d mind all that much.

  10. For people with no medical care, or who had to pay thousands of dollars per month for care, I don’t think they’d mind all that much.

    And why should those who can afford it have to wait?

  11. And why should those who can afford it have to wait?

    We aren’t Canada. I don’t think we’re going to implement the same system they have.

    But I think we can probably agree that the current system has an awful lot of problems, and needs major reform.

  12. We aren’t Canada. I don’t think we’re going to implement the same system they have.

    No we’ll probably come up with something along the lines of what the Brits have!

    Hospitals infested with rats

  13. We aren’t Canada. I don’t think we’re going to implement the same system they have.

    Actually, Canada didn’t think it was going to implement the 70% single payer system Canada has and, to be sure, Dodd has laid it down as a non-negotiable demand that, after his tinkering, the US will not end up with a single payer plan, nor will insurance businesses in Connecticut be driven out of business. The times and the tide of public opinion tugged Canada into its present system. So, what’s in Dodd’s noggin? The larger question is: Will Dodd and Larson do to the insurance industry what Dodd and Barney Frank have done to the housing industry? Chris and Barney, remember, put thumb screws on bankers to force them to provide a product to people who could not afford to buy it – resulting in the current mess. Canada socialized the health industry by stages. Even Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez – who has now moderated his opinion of President Obama following the lead of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro — did not nationalize the economy all at once. Dodd, Frank and their co-conspirators in congress and the media attempted to socialize the mortgage industry by stages – that didn’t work. My guess is the same strategy will have the same predictable results when applied to the insurance industry.

  14. But I think we can probably agree that the current system has an awful lot of problems, and needs major reform.

    The political problem is no one wants to admit There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

  15. Oh, Canada! If you didn’t exist, then the American health insurance industry (where profits are immense — and value-added to our health is, what, microscopic?) would have to create you from whole cloth. “Mooreland” they might name their straw-man of an imagined country, “Where the lines for Band-Aids stretch from one end of the nation to the other, then back again, twice.” And every American would be granted a dear friend who has a cousin who once lived in “Mooreland” and met someone there who had to wait six years for an emergency Botox treatment.

    Unfortunately (for opponents of authentic health care reform in the US), the quality, published research puts the lie to the Canadian myths.

    Look – here’s a report from some place called the “Harvard Medical School.” It concludes that U.S. residents are less healthy than Canadians. And that despite spending nearly twice as much per capita for health care, U.S. residents experience more problems getting care and more unmet health needs. (American Journal of Health, July, 2006).

    And check this out. According to the World Fact Book put out by some organization going by the initials “CIA,” the average Canadian lives more than two years longer than the average American. So if that quality-of-life measurement known as “Being Alive” is important to you, perhaps you’d consider suffering through the Canadian health care system, eh?

    I don’t mean to suggest that we shouldn’t base our nation’s and Connecticut’s health care policy on anecdotal stories and unsubstantiated statistics.

    Oh, wait. I guess I do.

    And lunch is on me.

  16. I don’t mean to suggest that we shouldn’t base our nation’s and Connecticut’s health care policy on anecdotal stories and unsubstantiated statistics.

    Right. We should base it on statistics not relevant to the issue at hand.

  17. Sure hope Chris doesn’t do for the health care industry what the did for banking and finance.

  18. gerardw,

    Good call. I see now, upon reflection in my Original Pew-Wee Fun House Mirror (1994 Collector’s Edition), that a study showing that our neighboring country has found a way to provide better health care at half the cost is NOT truly relevant to the issue at hand. Get this: They’re trying to keep it hush-hush (understandably!), but my source now tells me that Senator Dodd’s listening tour is ACTUALLY focused on his recent invention of a (shhhhh . . . ) Perpetual Motion Machine that will have us independent of foreign oil within six months. The whole “how do we reform the health care system” theme is just a lame cover story.

    In any case, I’ve worked hard to come up with some truly “relevant” statistics for you. How about these:

    1) 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed feel really crappy about all the kids who can’t afford to see a dentist.

    2) In a January, 2009 survey of the 22,000 Americans who died in 2008 because they did not have health insurance, 98.6% of respondents had “no opinion” when asked if they think that our private-insurance-based health care system is working for America.
    3) Nearly 94% of Americans who believe that cigarettes do not cause cancer, that global warming is not real, and that the earth is flat, also believe that universal health care is not the answer.

    Now, about that perpetual motion machine . . .

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