The Archimedes Movement: A Message to President Obama and Health Secretary-designate Tom Daschle

Posted by on 01.30.09 | 1 Comment
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There’s probably no more pressing issue at the heart of our country’s crisis than that of health care.   Past Governor of Oregon, John Kitzhaber, has founded the Archimedes Movement (think ‘huge lever’) to make a monumental effort to reform the giant, broken system. 

The Archimedes Movement, founded in 2006, created a new forum for civic engagement around the complex social issues facing our communities and the nation. To date, more than 5,000 people from Oregon, Washington and several other states have participated in dialogue resulting in a framework for reform and clear articulation of the objectives for a new health system.

The following is an article on the site for the movement, ‘we can do better’  There’s a link at the end if you care to add your name to the letter. Please forward this info to your friends and family.  There is a deadline of February 1st.

A Message to President Barack Obama and Health Secretary-designate Tom Daschle

Dear President Obama and Secretary-designate Daschle,

jkIt is increasingly clear that simply trying to get all Americans access to health insurance will not result in better health for Americans or reasonable health care costs. Without simultaneously having a public debate about what we are buying with our health care dollars and how the delivery system is structured, we will not solve the nation’s health care crisis.  

Given the turmoil in our financial markets, we can no longer afford a system that gives us only a small return on investment in terms of population health for an annual expenditure of over $2.3 trillion in health care.

People all around this nation are looking for political leadership which will squarely confront the real issue involved here: that we cannot control rising health care costs unless we fundamentally shift our goal from financing health care to improving the health of the American people. And unless we can change our current fiscal trajectory (driven by the aging of the Baby Boom Generation) we will face a national debt of staggering proportions and an ever-increasing portion of the federal budget will be consumed by the entitlement programs.

Not only does this pose a serious threat to the fiscal stability of our nation, but the costs involved will make it difficult to invest in our other pressing national priorities, such as renewable energy research and development, and the other transitional investments necessary to move to a post-fossil-fuel economy.

There is not a simple solution to this problem, but there is a solution – as long as we have made the right diagnosis. Universal coverage is important, but unless that coverage results in better health and comes at a cost that does not bankrupt the nation, we will not have fulfilled our obligation to the future. We can do better.

We are here to help. We invite you to Oregon where we have spent the past three years in exactly the type of engagement that you are now asking all Americans to embark upon. We have held town hall gatherings, community forums, house parties and chapter meetings in people’s homes, coffee shops and community centers. We passed legislation in 2007, leading to a year-long dialogue with legislators, policy makers and key stakeholders. We know what we want in a health system.

People in Oregon, and all across this nation, are willing to do the hard work, and to discuss the necessary tradeoffs, because we believe in America’s ability to find innovative solutions to its most difficult problems.
We look forward to meeting with you in Oregon and to working together to shape this nation’s future.

John Kitzhaber

John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.
Oregon Governor, 1995-2003
Founder, The Archimedes Movement
www.WeCanDoBetter.org

Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign the petition:

A Message to President Barack Obama and Health Secretary-designate Tom Daschle | The Archimedes Movement

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