Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Federal Health Care Reform Legislation

There seems to be general agreement among members of Congress that there is a significant need for health care reform. The rising cost of health care cannot continue unabated, and the need to provide affordable health care for most, if not all Americans, is subject to little debate.

Legislative action on this issue cannot be allowed to turn on anecdotes. Unfortunately, people always have and always will fall through the cracks. During the debate in Congress, one will hear of isolated incidents after isolated incidents; the person who had to wait an inordinate amount of time to get a follow-up appointment; the person who was sent to the wrong specialist. These are the statements of members of Congress who realize the need for reform, but want the reform to wind up looking as much like the current system as possible.

The real question for people to focus on is how large are the cracks in the system, and how to close those gaps? A person with cerebral palsy may need physical therapy every week for his or her life. It is a common feature of health insurance plans to pay for only 10 visits per year for physical therapy. This is a major crack in the system and needs systemic reform.

A number of organizations that are involved with people with disabilities are working hard to try to shape the legislation to address the needs of people with disabilities. One such organization is Easter Seals. You can go to its Health Care Reform Web Site for information or directly to its "Support Health Care Reform Legislation" site to send messages to your members of Congress. I hope you will go to its "Support" web page; but, if not, at least, become familiar with the issues at its Health Care Reform site.

Thank you.


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