Tuesday, March 09, 2010

10th CD happenings

I attended the annual Kiss the Blarney for Carney event on Sunday along with a couple of hundred other people. Despite being to subjected to bagpipe music it was a good time. Many local Lackawanna County elected officials and candidates were in attendance along with reps from Senator Specter's office. I chatted with a few including State Rep Jim Wansascz who is running for State Senate to succeed Bob Mellow.

Carney asked me for my assessment of the race and I told him that I think he is in good shape. I'll repeat it again; Challengers don't win elections, Incumbents lose them. He hasn't done anything to lose this thing. Addressing the Health Care Reform bill in his remarks to the crowd he pointed out that we can't continue with the status quo. Something has to be done to get costs under control and insurance companies can't be in charge of who gets health care in this country. I offered my observation that he voted for it once because it was the right thing to do and his Republican opponents will howl about it but if he now voted no on the bill he becomes John Kerry, I voted for it before I voted against it.

He was little iffy on the FRAC ACT but assured the crowd that he was in favor of clean drinking water. He made the national security argument that the US has to off foreign oil. I'll keep bending his ear on this one. There is no reason this should be excluded from the the Clean Water Act and I'm sure that Kayak Dude can make that case.

I asked him about some of the other races this year. I was surprised that he endorsed Manan Trividi in the 6th CD primary against Doug Pike. His 2006 campaign manager is running Pike's campaign but Chris was adamant in his support for fellow military officer Trividi. As far as the Paul Kanjorski-Corey O'Brien race he said "I serve with Congressman Kanjorski" and supports him. 2 years ago O'Brien and fellow Lackawanna Commissioner Mike Washo showed up for the event but were not to be seen this time nor were any of Kanjo's people.

A real treat was meeting the author of NEPArtisan and we plotted another blogger meetup. For some strange reason he really wants to meet the Blogfather. I'll call Mark tomorrow and try to set up a meeting of his fan club and coordinate with the Northeast Blogging Council and the Saturday OT Committee to find an agreeable date.

The Republican candidates had an event in Lewisburg yesterday before 50 people. The tax cut triplets of Tom Marino, Malcolm Derk and Dave Madeira made it but Steven Solieri and young Ted Yale were no shows. Just a guess but I don't think that Yale or Solieri will make the ballot.

The Republican candidates all decry deficit spending but offer no realistic solutions to cutting the federal budget putting large portions of the budget off limits. At the same time they all advocated cutting taxes. Maybe they all need course in remedial mathematics.

I'm not going to pick it all apart so read these press write-ups.

Carney out of touch, Republicans say

Candidates lay out issues at forum


Anonymous said...

There is nothing, i repeat nothing in the health care bill that addresses costs - it is simply a bill that expands coverage via cost spreading (with young people bearing the burden since their costs go up because they are much less expensive to insure). The total costs of the system are not touched. No market based pricing from Big Pharma, no tort reform, no outcome based payments to hospitals or doctors.

This is a sham being pushed by Obama and the liberals - too bad Carney is either falling for it or showing his true colors.

Carney says we need to do something - just remember - for every step you take in the wrong direction . .

Please, just start over with the GOAL of eliminating costs. Our current system is a problem and must be fixed - but coverage isn't the issue - it's costs (coverage is a symptom - no pun intended).

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:25, I agree with your final paragraph, the real issue is cost and a very important step to providing coverage to everyone is controlling costs.

However, you are absolutely wrong to say that nothing in the bill addresses cost control. The problem is that those who oppose the bill have distorted the provisions to scare people. Specifically, the bill provides for incentives for outcome based practices. This is what is being done at Geisinger, Mayo and Guthrie. Two of which are in the 10th district and the Congressman has visited and discussed with the administrators how they control costs. Every time an opponent says that the Govt will be making your health care decisions for you they are referring to the cost provisions in the bill. The above hospitals use a panel of doctors and nurses to determine “Best Practices” that lead to the best outcomes. According to the critics that is govt control.

I’ll give you a very simple example:

1) Dr 1 treats a patient with a heart problem by cutting open his chest and doing major surgery that results in 30 days in the hospital and a high infection rate. The total cost is 130K

2) Dr 2 treats a patient with the same problem using new technology that does not require opening the patient’s chest and has him out of the hospital in 5 days with a very low infection rate. Total cost 25k

The current system pays both Doctors the full cost even though option 2 costs much less to perform and is less likely to result in repeat visits to the hospital. Also, the over all results are better for option 2.

The only reason Dr 1 uses this procedure is because he is comfortable with it and he prefers it to option 2. Geisinger decided to create incentives to get doctor to use the best practices and as a result the total cost for cardiac care has been reduced by 60% and they have 100% compliance by their doctors. Their panel determined how much a doctor would be paid for treating the condition then added incentives to get the patient well as quickly as possible. These are the cost provisions that are in the House bill.

It doesn’t surprise me that you don’t know this. Those most critical of the bill, the people who scream that members should “read the Bill,” are nothing but hypocrites. They have clearly not read the bill themselves.

Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

Students, you eat cheeseburgers, pizza, tacos; you chug down every liquor known to mankind. Parents: you fill up your childrens bellies with fast foods because today's liberated woman does not dare subject herself to the practice of operating an oven and cooking something healthy. You don't exercise and chain smoke daily. Then when you get sick---you want ME to pay for it???? Class dismissed!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:34
I agree with a portion of what you say regarding the people loudest in rebuking the bill - but the fact remains the system we have today is precisely because government is involved in the payment process and pay for procedures - via medicare - and not outcomes. The fee for service model needs to be fixed, but this bill doesn't do that - it provides some weak incentives that will not drive the outcomes the market could. When will liberals learn that the market creates efficiencies and government incentives create waste.

Forty Ghosts said...

Mr. Carney avoids a direct answer about the FRAC Act like the plague. Is his staff still studying a one page document? That was his response over two months ago.