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Sunday, April 09, 2006

Town Meeting Trickery

As dearly as Porcupine loves Town Meeting (see HERE), he is annoyed by the recent addition of inappropriate citizen petitions to its agenda - by people mostly from away who manifestly have their own agenda! Last year, it was to repeal the PATRIOT Act. This year, some towns like Wellfleet wish to continue their involvement in foreign policy, and ten-plus Wellfleetians have placed an agenda item to withdraw from Iraq. While these items are annoying and incongruous, they are not actually harmful.

However, as you attend Town Meeting this year, one proposal will be before many of us which does have the possibility of harm. This is the Cape Cod Universal Health Care article which will be on the agenda in many towns. The trickery is in the writing. Porcupine has posted the complete language HERE.

The first several paragraphs go into a presentation of opinion as fact, stating that the lack of health insurance is a literally life and death issue, and a grave threat to out collective welfare. Here is the section that should be looked at very carefully:

We petition our County Government to support the development of a proposed regional universal health care program, known as Cape Care, which would, at a minimum, meet these criteria:

Not 'explore'. Not 'investigate'. Support. County Government will SUPPORT. These games have been tried before, most notably in the first Land Bank, when everybody was told that it was just a non-bringing, sample of how a Land Bank could work - and once it was passed, it was pointed to as the unchangeable will of the people. Until the people voted it down. We may not get a chance to vote on this, if they learned thier lesson.

- provide broad health care coverage for ALL residents of the Cape and Islands, to improve individual and community health; and

No mere piking emergency coverage - BROAD health care coverage

- control health care cost inflation by reducing excessive administrative expenses, as well as through bulk discount purchasing of necessary medications and medical supplies; and

Porcupine remembers when HMO's were going to eliminate health care price problems by making wellness a priority, and reducing administrative expenses. It reduced some rates for about three years, and then the necessary cost of administration pushed HMO's right up there where the fee-for-pay companies had been. And where will this bulk purchase be stored? At the old county jail? And who will decide what is necessary?

- shape health care delivery to meet community needs for appropriate care, through a representative policy-making board of community members and health care providers; and

Ah! THIS is where the 'jobs for the boys' will come into play!

- strengthen the ability of our existing network of health care providers and institutions to provide high-quality care, by assuring adequate funding for necessary services.

Oh! ASSURE funding? How? Through the County levy on the towns, which the County will support?

We call for a public hearing process in Barnstable County, to include analysis of the proposed plan's organization and governance, its expected effects on community health, and its financial modeling, to be initiated by the end of the year 2006.

Gee - that doesn't sound like too much work for six months does it - especially if you just happen to have this keen plan all ready in your back pocket....

Massachusetts has just passed a compromise version of a state-wide health care plan. As Porcupine said upon its passage, nothing but universal single-payer will satisfy the pseudo-Eurpoean social engineers among us. The County does not want to be in the health insurance business, thank you very much, but it will be wished upon them with the passage of this plan.

It deserves a hearty 'Nay!' and Porcupine hopes it will be rapidly consigned to the dustbin of history.


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