Now don’t get me wrong—I’m all for fair competition, fair profit, and everyone trying to make as much money as they can. That system works, but only when the marketplace is truly free and fair. In free and fair markets, profits are established by performance (service, quality, availability, etc.), and those that earn it deserve it. But we don’t have free markets in healthcare, and thus the profits are obscenely high and there is nothing driving prices down so that everyone can enjoy inexpensive, high-quality healthcare.
Think about the market for food. Food in this country is abundant and very inexpensive relative to the rest of the world, but that’s because we have highly efficient farms, distribution systems, and grocery stores. It’s a marketplace that works. Why is healthcare different—no one has explained that to me yet. They’ve tried, but I have yet to understand why we cannot have abundant, available, accessible, and high-quality healthcare in our country.
The House Health, Insurance and Environment hearing on our bill is scheduled for 1:30pm CT next Thursday, April 19th. I’ve already heard from people who say they’ve never been to a hearing before, but they’ll be at this one. Packing the committee room is important. It sends a strong message (and perhaps you can edge out some of the lobbyists if you get there early). If you can make it, or if you can release some of your employees for the afternoon, a strong showing is vital. The hearing is scheduled for the lower level of the Capitol, room HCR 0107. I’d also like to meet you, so please introduce yourself if you come.
The lobbying against us is in full force. We hear from new organizations every day. When I ask them why we haven’t heard from them before or why they did not respond to our calls when we were working on the language of the bill, the answer is always the same: “We never thought it would actually get this far.” Truth be told, neither did I. That’s why we’re pursuing the ballot measure. That’s not how this should happen, but it’s likely it’s how it will.
In case you’re interested, here’s the firm hired by the Colorado Hospital Association (at least that’s the best info I have) to prepare the negative ad campaign and to lead the fight against the bill: http://www.crlassociates.com/. Feel free to let them know how you feel.
And thus far there are 18 lobbyists who have registered to lobby regarding the bill. The pharmaceutical companies are best represented with 12 of the 18.
Other Ways to Help
If you can’t make it to the hearing (or even if you can), there are plenty of ways you can help make sure the healthcare lobby doesn’t keep us from a better healthcare system. Signature collection for the ballot is well under the way. Start looking for us at events you go to, whether to run a marathon, standing in line outside of a concert, or at art festivals, street fairs, and other places. We could use volunteers to man tables and booths at large events. Paid signature collectors (formally known as circulators) will also be there, but every signature collected by a volunteer is like making a $10 contribution to the cause, so we really need volunteers. You can collect dozens of signatures by hanging out with like-minded people for a couple of hours. Of course, you can also donate the money to help pay for the paid signature gatherers.
As you consider if, and how much, to donate, consider this, too: all of those lobbyists and the marketing firm working to prevent this law will be paid many times what we need to enact it. And who’s paying them? You are—through the fees you pay to healthcare providers and the premiums you pay to insurance companies. The industry is using the high prices it charges to make sure that prices can continue to rise. That has to stop.
I believe in a free market. Everyone should make as much money as they can—but in a free market. Our market is anything but free today and that is what we are going to change. So, say “no” to hospitals, physician associations, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies spending YOUR money to LOBBY AGAINST YOU.