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More "Opining" on Recently Proposed Virginia Healthcare Legislation

Posted by Chip Block on March 5, 2018 10:30 AM EST
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After writing about Delegate Chris Jone's effective Op-Ed piece in The Virginian-Pilot's "Other Views" section, I'm pleased to be able to present an excerpt of another well-written and supportive opinion piece...

...which was published in the "Other Views" of today's (March 5, 2018) edition of The Virginian-Pilot.  The piece was titled, "Health care compromise will work for Virginia".  Here's a link below to the actual Op-Ed piece https://pilotonline.com/opinion/columnist/guest/article_a71eb9a2-d927-53ee-8f67-0567183a8e5a.html

This follow-up to Delegate Jones' earlier opinion piece, like Jones', is particularly well-written.  According to The Virginian-Pilot, today's Op-Ed piece's author himself is Frederick M. Quayle, who is a Republican who served 20 years in the Virginia Senate representing a district that included parts of Chesapeake, Franklin, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Hopewell, and the counties of Surry, Isle of Wight, Prince George and Southampton.  So, his experience and length of service, again like Jone's spans a long period of time and represents a large span of the Old Dominion's geography and population.

I enjoyed Mr. Quayles writing style.  And his message was one of unilateral support for the policy advocated by Chris Jones and the one being considered by the two branches of the Virginia state legislature for advancing health care coverage while also maintaining cost controls and an eye on political compromise.  That said, it's message was also deeply enshrouded in the worthiness of the politics of the legislation, not necessarily in the power of it to bring bold change to health reform-albeit health care legislation reform.

And there was almost nothing that addressed exactly how the legislation would bring about the needed change.  That change, as frequent readers of this blog space may recall, is largely around the "four legs of health reform", namely: changes in the way health care services are delivered, improvements in the costs and quality of the health care delivered, ways to improve population health in general, and most importantly, mechanisms to drive improved individual health amongst those being insured through the "public dollar".  Nonetheless, I recommend reading the Mr. Quayle's Op Ed piece-it does a good job of enlightening why the legislation is such a good move for the state legislature as a political act.  And Mr. Quayle's argument for why it represents the kind of collaboration many yearn for in our government and in the political parties that have been so stalemated around ideology and process for so long on important and urgent issues is indeed palpable and powerful.

Before closing, I want to share the actual excerpt that gave me some optimism that there are real and relevant changes in the legislation that may deliver on one or more of the "four legs of health reform" mentioned earlier.  So, here goes-from Frederick Quayle's pen and The Virginian-Pilot's pages.

"Led by Republican leaders such as Speaker Kirk Cox and my delegate, Chris Jones of Suffolk, the chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee, the House had produced a health care coverage plan both sides can agree on".

"The House plan accomplishes the goal of getting more low-income people insured-to benefit public health and our economy-in a measured way that protects Virginia financially and requires new beneficiaries to invest in their own health and personal betterment".

"The House compromise requires both sides to be flexible.  It isn't a slam dunk for either side.  It is a typical example of governing from the middle, which is what more Virginians want from their elected officials".

So, in the sense that the health care crisis itself spurs some "political reform", meaning that we will see the possibility for real democracy to occur through compromise and "governing from the middle", this new legislation is very exciting.  But until more is written as to how exactly this legislation will drive all, or most of, the "four legs of health reform" so that we have meaningfully lower costs of healthcare and more healthy and productive citizens of Virginia, then it is really just a small step forward.

But, hey, my favorite physical therapist and my wife's favorite personal trainer tell me that with 10.000 small steps every day, great health is just right around the corner!

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