Monday, January 15, 2007

Arnold "The Governator" Schwarzenegger Kickstarts HealthCare Debate

The more I thought about the drama that unfolded last Tuesday night when California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his health care reform plan the more I felt compelled to write again.

Firstly there he was "The Terminator"- Austrian born Republican Governor of the nation's largest state -former 7 time winner of the Mr. Olympia title (in part thanks to anabolic steroids) -standing before a crowd on crutches just recovering from a severe right broken leg- calling for Universal Health Care coverage for his fellow citizens. 6.5 million Californians are uninsured -more than any state in the union.

Billy Shakespeare would have loved it.

The plan, which is another complex "Rube Goldberg" legislative initiative, is designed to please or piss off every special interest group or medical system stakeholder in the Golden State.

While I can't seem to download the multipage legislation per se-the devil being in the details- I found one statement the Governor's office that interested me most. In a press release of January 8th Schwarzenegger shared responsibilities and shared sacrifices

Of course I was particularly interested in the paragraph of the release that dealt with "Encouraging personal responsibility for Health and Wellness by implementing the Governor's Healthy Incentives/Rewards Programs in both the public and private sectors" Here is the language from the press release and I assume the speech.

"Encouraging personal responsibility for health and wellness: Implement "Healthy Action Incentives/Rewards" programs in both the public and private sectors to encourage the adoption of healthy behaviors. Californians, who take personal responsibility to increase healthy practices and behaviors, thereby reducing their risk of chronic medical conditions and the incidence of infectious diseases, will benefit from participation in this groundbreaking program."

I wrote to the Governor's office to provide details since this interested me a great deal. I honestly never thought I would live to see a US Governor use the term "wellness" in my lifetime since the word grew out of the health lexicon of the 1960's counter culture.

Anway I give the hybrid "Republicrat Governator" credit for standing up on crutches just a few days after a serious skiing injury requiring surgery and kickstarting (The Gov. is a motorcycle enthusiast as well) a national dialogue on healthcare.

I fully understand that the Feds have more important issues to cope with right now but US Health Care is too far broken and much too expensive to ignore much longer.

Thanks Arnold!

Dr. Rick Lippin


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