Saturday, March 31, 2007

Health Champions Project

Getting back to the main sponsor of last Saturday's 3 hour forum for Democratic presidential hopefuls(see my immediate previous post) The Center for American Progressive Action Fund headed by John Podesta has a HEALTH CHAMPIONS PROJECT that may be worth your consideration.

I'm not quite sure from the site how to become a "Health Champion" and collaborate with this group but I like their 4 goals of:

-Providing affordable coverage for all Americans;

-Controlling health care costs;

-Guaranteeing choice of doctors and health plans;

-Making prevention a national priority

As you know from my previous posts on this blog I resonate with #4 the most and probably number #3 the least.

(But we know how obsessed American's are with freedom of choice of doctors and health care plans? Don't we?)

Lets's hear from you on these #4 goals of The Center for American Progressive Action Fund.

By the way the 3 hour forum should have been televised! given the importance of this issue which may very well elect our next president.

So those out there in TV land pick it up!

Dr. Rick Lippin


Anonymous lams712 said...

Dear Dr. Rick:

This is lams712 from the In Theses Times discussion forum. First, in response to your question YES you have my permission to cross reference or use anything I said there.
I'm sorry I didn't contact you earlier. I want to tell you that I visited your blog a couple of weeks ago and liked what I saw. I look at it every week now. Keep up the good work!
I think the main point of my last post at ITT is very relevant now: The other side, the same side that quashed attempts at health care reform in 1994, has had 13 years to do something about it. Their "solution" was to let the market sort itself out. Now 13 years later, the problem has only gotten worse. More people have NO insurance than 13 years ago and there are many that have LOWER QUALITY insurance than they did 13 years ago. The people who advocated this "do nothing" approach should be held to account and step aside. They had their chance and blew it.

7:21 AM  
Blogger xine said...

Blake, I wanted to add my two cents as a frequent "consumer" of health care. I agree that we as a nation on whole are overly anxious about choice, and that much of that anxiety stems from fear tactics about !GASP! "socialized medicine", but I do think that comes partly from the 90's HMO debacles, and from not just lack of choice of plans, but because some of those plans are truly crappy, and will do whatever they can to deny you mediclly necessary services. Being stuck in such a plan can be ruinous to your health, your finances, your emotions.

Also, as a patient, and as a patient with many different doctors, I have to say that having the choice to switch to another provider is something that I truly value, and consider to be important to the state of my health.

Health outcomes can change according to the level of trust and openness you have with your caregiver. There are some Docs who, if I had been forced to stay with them, I would have simply stopped going to the doctor's all together. I would have instead chosen to be constantly sick (and probably in and out of the hospital because of it) than to have to deal with such a horrible dismissive, judgemental person who I couldn't trust to be honest with (no, not a surgeon). And as for those surgeons, while I don't necessarily need some great bedside manner from them, I would want to be able to choose who is going to cut open my body.

These are issues that need to be addressed, and are too often written off by health system change advocates as something that will need to be sacrificed for the good of the whole. I think we can do Single Payer, covering everyone, at or below our current expenditures, without sticking our fingers too much into that doctor/patient relationship.

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...


Thanks for your interest in this blog

Also I tend to agree that those who insist on employer based -big insurance carried health care plans have had their day.

I am personally for single payer with much more emphasis on individual and institutional prevention. I AM NOT about "victim blaming"

I am for building into single payer some opportunities for physician or even hospital choice but probably with some finacial penalty?

Please visit again lams712

Be Well,

Dr.Rick Lippin

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...


thanks for the visit. Sorry about your problems with some of your health plans.

I think we can do better under single payer and I agree we should have some mechanisms for switching doctors or hospitals. But it is impossible to maximize quality, access and choice.

Also a treatment only disease care system is not economically sustainable -especially high tech for the elderly and dying.It is an economic black hole?

Be Well,

Dr. Rick Lippin

11:46 AM  
Blogger Kim Stagliano said...

Found you on HuffPo. I am the mother of three girls with autism. The medical world hasn't abandoned us - it has excluded us for decades. The original mental illness diagnosis did us no favors. So few docs even realizet the myriad medical conditions associated with autism - please, doc, grab a copy of the April DISCOVER magazine and read Dr. Martha Herberts (MGH) brain/gut connection, won't you.

Yours in health.

Kim Stagliano
HuffPo Fearless Voices

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...

kim stagliano

Sorry about your three daughters. I have not studied the autism issue since I have never seen pediatric patients in my entire career.

But I will get the magazine you recommended since autism seems to be a growing diagnosis and no-one seems to know why?

My very best to your family

Dr. Rick Lippin

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am the kind of guy who asks blunt questions when it seems like the time is right. Generally, I have the ability to accurstely guage when the time is right. Thankfully.

Over approx. the last two years, I have found myself engaged in conversations with people who work in the overall field of health care. This group includes doctors, nurses, pharmacists, people in social services of varying disciplines. All of them, to a man or woman, speak to the need for single-payer health care in the US. They only differ in their forecasts regarding when we will move to a single-payer system. They all agree that the present system is a broken travesty.

Their overall unanimity is quite surprising.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 4 goals are nice, but they fall short on a very critical goal; making effective delivery of health care a priority.

There is a very big problem when the health care system is controlled (at least in part) by people who see the utilization of health care as a "loss". I'm talking about the insurance industry. Insurance executives used to talk all the time about their "medical loss ratios". It's phrased differently now, but the concept is the same. When health care payers are looking for excuses not to pay for care, the system doesn't work well. The most egregious failures are in the mental health arena, but other facets of health care are open to the insidious influence of systme that strives to reduce delivery of care to maximize profits.

Sounds like a typical far-left liberal complaint, right. Only problem is that I'm the CEO of a high tech company in the DC area, which generally rules out the above categorization. I suppose I could be the exception, but I don't think so.

We've tried to provide our workers with the best available plans, but the increases in cost have been brutal and the decrease in satisfaction with health care delivery has been increasing. The executives get the same plan as the folks on the production floor so we know.

And the reimbursement processes are absurd. My wife is a bulldog accountant; she won't let go til they get it right, down to the last penny. It routinely takes 6 - 9 months to get payments straight...and this is BC/BS!! Of course, if you can hang on to the money longer it improves cash flow and profitability. I know.

For many people this is hardly news. But the problem is that until delivery of health care is the main priority and cash issues are secondary, we will continue to suffer the consequences. Some of those consequences include the US being almost dead last in overall measures of healthcare among the "industrialized nations of the west".

John S

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Dr. Rick Lippin said...

Thanks Anonymous and John S

I agree with you both.

The premise of this blog which Cervantes and I began in December of 05 was that the U.S. Healthcare System was in rapid realtime meltdown on many levels

We are financially,ethically and morally bankrupt on this issue.

I am for single-payerwith much more emphasis on compassionate and ethical-individual and institutional-prevention.

Thanks for your input and I hope you visit again.

Be Well,

Dr. Rick Lippin

3:07 PM  
Anonymous Ann, RN said...

This "Health Champions Project" has got me and many other activists worried and I'd be happy for someone to ally my fears.

When WalMart and At&T are at the helm as they are here, along with SEIU and CAP, pushing general principles towards who knows what actual reform policy (Health Savings Accounts?) it's time to be worried.

As another poster has already said here, more and more people support single payer universal coverage reform. Why is this "champions project" not advocating for it?

Single payer universal coverage reform makes the most sense for economic and for health policy/public healht reasons.

It is the smartest solution to our HC mess. It's the model for reform that we each should be educating everyone who will listen about and enlisting their support. This ncludes business people and politicians -- and their staff, too. And always incude asking what they will do to help this movement win.

As other posters here have identified, it's time to put people before profits in our healthcare system.

What is the logic of perpetuating the middle-man role of the insurance industry that wastes so much of our healhtcare dollar?

Hre in my state of MA, the "nonprofit" insurance companies (that control 80-90% of "the market") divert 16% of what they collect AWAY from healthcare (hc).

The total amount of our state's hc spending that is diverted away from actual hc expenditures is 39% !!!

Think of all the layers of wasteful bureaucracy in hospitals, dr's offices, etc, -- largely driven by the insurance industry's bureaucracy -- that must exist to add up up to 23% of our entire state hc spending ($62 Bil in 2005, public and private monies combined)

This 23% added to the 16% insurance co waste gives us the obscene figure of 39% of our hc spending that is comprised of "admin. and overhead costs" (ie paper pushing, layers of "managers" to oversee pushing the papers, advertising, marketing, and profit) that is diverted away from hc services here in MA.

This analysis is publicly available in a state study that taxpayers paid for. The legislators never used the findings to advance menaingful reform because it would have meant taking on "special intersts"--the corporate cabal that in reality run this state. Pathetic but true. Maybe not too different in other places...sigh.

Which brings me back to why I'm worried about the "champions project". Whose interests and needs will be championed?

We've really got to be watching each other's backs in this health reform arena; I know this from 20 years experience. is a place to get involved with SP Univ reform on the national level with links to various state groups too.

Lastly, you can read report on MA hc spending (final report released by the legislature in 2002 on new years eve) it's avail at

The "Addendum" reports from state advocacy groups' such as mine are also avail at

10:49 AM  
Blogger esolt said...

I looked at their web site. I see lots of attorneys, economists, public policy type experience. Can't say there is much depth regarding healthcare.

Am I missing something?

7:58 PM  
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4:20 AM  

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