Tucson Test Party organizer Trent Humphries offers this week's commentary, focusing on health care.
There are many reforms desperately needed to improve the quality and availability of health care in Arizona, but the current health care bill contains none of them. Quite simply this bill is bad for Southern Arizona.
As a small businessman, parent, and sometimes patient, I have watched as Southern Arizona's available health care has plummeted to crisis levels. While paying for insurance can hurt and sometimes be complicated, the real danger we face is a shortage of medical professionals—both general practitioners and specialists.
A couple of years ago, my then 5 year old daughter broke her foot. It took three days to have it cast. It wasn't an insurance problem, but an availability problem. Nothing in the current bill helps resolve this in Southern Arizona. In fact, the measures included in the bill will likely make things worse.
Recently a survey was sent to doctors to determine how they felt about the bill. A full 45 percent of doctors responded that they would consider retirement before they would practice under the constraints of the bill. Obviously the medical community has concerns that are simply not being addressed or reported. When you consider that the chief medical spokesman for the bill is the brother of the President's Chief of Staff, you have to wonder about the depth of the pool from which supporters are drawn. Every day doctors ask me how they can get involved in speaking out against the bill. They evidently don't feel like they have a seat at the table. How is that possible?
Mainly it is because the bill was cobbled together to appease powerful special interests, both in the government and out. Any true reform would include lawsuit reform, yet it has been squelched . Relief on drug costs? A deal has been cut with big Pharma to prevent real savings. And, again, rather than speaking to real doctors, the administration approached the AMA who doesn't represent doctors but exists mainly to write the insurance reimbursement codes. That is not careful consideration, the American people know it, and have rejected this bill.
Knowing this, some supporters of the bill have responded to opponents with charges of extremism and racism, including our own representative's office. This is not helpful. Debate the bill on its merits without disparaging the other side. The fault lies not with the character of those opposed to the bill, but the failings of the bill itself.
Hopefully, we can now return to the drawing board and come up with a plan that addresses REAL healthcare reform.