Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Forum deserved coverage

To the editor:

I’m at a loss to understand why the South Whidbey Record neglected to cover an event that was obviously of interest to readers, namely a Citizens’ Forum on Healthcare Finance Reform that was held in Oak Harbor Aug. 31. I say obviously, because you’ve covered several events advocating single-payer government-run medicine.

Whatever the reason, let me help by submitting this report on the aforementioned forum that took place last Monday evening at the North Whidbey Middle School.

In response to the distinctly partisan League of Women Voters’ presentation featuring Rick Larsen in favor of a government-run healthcare plan, the Whidbey Island Tea Party facilitated an opportunity for area citizens to hear real, solid information about the proposed legislation and the effects it will surely have on their lives and businesses.

Our five panelists and our moderator are all professionals, have studied the plans as proposed and knew what they were talking about.

In addition to Washington Rep. Barbara Bailey, who sits on the Health Care and Wellness committee in the Washington State Legislature, and who addressed the subject of mandates and alternative legislation, we had Roger Stark, MD, of the (truly) non-partisan Washington Policy Center.

Dr. Stark, a cardiothoracic surgeon who was a co-founder of the open-heart surgery program at Overlake Hospital, retired from private practice in 2001 and is currently a healthcare policy analyst at WPC. Another panel member was Donna Steward, director of governmental affairs for the Association of Washington Business. Steward spoke clearly and comprehensively about the practical effects of HR-3200 on business, particularly small businesses.

Sam and Debbie Cunningham of CGI Financial, who between them have 58-plus years of experience in insurance benefits consulting, advising employers and employees on health-insurance plans and benefits, spoke to the problems, issues and benefits of our current employer-based healthcare insurance system. Last, but certainly not least, was Kathryn Serkes, president and founder of Square One Media Network, co-author of “Patient Power: the Patient’s Handbook,” and public affairs and policy consultant to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons for the past 15 years. You may have seen her on “Larry King Live,” “The Today Show” or the Fox News network. Kathryn did a wonderful job moderating and provided a wealth of information about the certain effects of HR-3200 on the practice of medicine from the perspective of AAPS member physicians.

Once each of the panelists had an opportunity to present, a microphone was made available to the audience to ask questions. Some of the questions had to do with individual situations, some with general concerns about HR-3200 and the Senate’s “Affordable Health Choices Act,” both of which were available for perusal, along with a number of informational handouts at the entry.

From what feedback we’ve received so far, the forum was a valuable time of information sharing. Too bad you missed it.

Terresa Hobbs

Whidbey Island Tea Party

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