Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What does a Public Option look like?

"The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die." -Edward M. Kennedy

Remembering Senator Edward M. Kennedy for his tireless efforts and dedication to guarantee the basic right to health care for all Americans.

I've been following the social media coverage from other parts of the world covering the debate here in the Unites States regarding the pros and cons of a "public option" as part of health care reform. Some people in other countries have found it amusing and some have expressed feeling that their system has been misunderstood. Social media campaigns such as the WeLovetheNHS campaign have sprung up on twitter. Even Gordon Brown has found his way to Twitter to make a 140 character (or less) public proclamation of pride in Britain's National Health Service.

It prompted me to think about our system (CCHS). We too are a fully integrated health system based on primary care and prevention. I'll admit, I was feeling a little misunderstood as well. When I asked, I found others shared my feelings. I realized that like those who "lovetheNHS", I love our public system, CCHS. I am proud to be a public servant and proud to be a part of what has been since 1880, our community's public option.

So today I decided to take to heart Paul Levy's recent comments in his blog ecouraging us to "stand on a soapbox" and be "seen." He reminds us that "people have given their lives to allow us to have freedom of speech."

I realize and accept the debate about the public option appears to be dominated at the present time by debate about insurance/coverage/money, which is a critical discussion. I would, however, like to offer a moment of pause to remind those of you in our system (and others who may find it worthwhile) that the public option as we realize it through fulfillment of our mission is so much more. It's about safe, efficient, effective, timely, patient-centered and equitable care for everyone. It goes beyond coverage (but yes, it does include it). It's about health.

One of the things I have learned through my exposure to Lean Methodology is how important it is to go and see for yourself (Genchi Genbutsu / 現地現物) to thoroughly understand the situation. I would ask that we all take the time to understand and to "Go and see" , for ourselves what a public option is.

Earlier this month in his Directors Report Dr. William Walker said that "Above all, we should encourage people to get information from objective sources and not rush to judgment."

You can find Dr. Walker's podcast (available at http://cchealth.org/topics/podcast/) about this topic with others and let them know they can get more information at these sites:


Although you won't find any speeches or soap boxes, in the spirit of being "seen" and participation, I thought I would offer a friendly hello from a publicly owned and operated, fully integrated health system here in America.



  1. Thank you for showing us some of the faces of the people that care for us.


  2. Julie Freestone27 August, 2009 12:07

    This is a useful site for finding out more about the health reform plan and comparing competing proposals: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/sidebyside.cfm
    It also describes different aspects of the pubilc options, which includes expanding the public option to insurance - Medicare - to cover more people