2004 Election: Voting & Saving Lives

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It is inconceivable that your vote and the votes of millions of other Americans will ever be more meaningful than on or before November 2, 2004. If you want to Save Lives in the next four years, Please Vote! 18,000 Americans die annually for lack of healthcare coverage. 45 million Americans are permanently uninsured. Tens of millionsmore are temporarily uninsured for weeks or months at any given time. The Bush-Cheney and Kerry-Edwards healthcare plans are drastically different. One will not appreciably expand access, address costs, or promote consistent quality and accountability.The other will expand access, eradicate some waste, and be intolerant of our national healthcare quality and patient safety epidemic. Our healthcare non-system is the third leading cause of deaths in America. The United States suffers more than 200,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries and infections annually because of medical errors, most of which are preventable. More Americans are killed and injured each year because of medical malpractice and negligence than were killed and injured during our entire decade of involvement in the Vietnam War.

Medical malpractice and negligence is an international problem. Project Hope has completed and published a research study of the self-protective culture of Australian, British, Canadian, New Zealand, and American healthcare organizations. To reduce healthcare costs, government must be prepared to eradicate the massive amount of greed, waste, and inefficiency, which is inherent in the private sector healthcare arena. Hundreds of billions of healthcare dollars are lost annually to excessive and unnecessary administrative, marketing, and billing expenses. At least $100 billion annually is lost to healthcare fraud.

The Kerry-Edwards plan is much more likely to address frivolous lawsuits without prohibiting victims of medical malpractice and negligence from pursuing legitimate claims. Their reinsurance proposal and other features will expand healthcare access to tens of millions of uninsured Americans. All children will be covered under their plan.

Tens of millions more Americans will be insured under their plan than the Bush-Cheney plan. Most importantly, their approach to resolving the healthcare cost crisis will treat healthcare consumers compassionately and hold the beneficiaries of the current non-system — healthcare corporations, their shareholders, and their executives — accountable for price-gouging, fraud, waste, and inefficiency. The co-dependency of our political process and healthcare corruption must be exposed and ended. The Bush-Cheney Plan moves us in the direction of more privatization, further enrichment of the healthcare industry, and no hope of controlling healthcare costs. The Kerry-Edwards plan begins to move us toward broadening access and a universal healthcare system. If healthcare remains inaccessible and of inconsistent quality, hundreds of thousands of Americans will continue to suffer and thousandsmore will die. Voters have a clear choice in 2004 unlike they have ever had in the past. They can vote for the incumbent administration and pray that if they are seriously ill or injured, they will be insured. They can vote for the Kerry-Edwards team and begin to move the nation toward a universal healthcare system. In the absence of fundamental and dynamic change, there will be 50-60 million Americans uninsured by the next Presidential election in 2008. The choice America makes on November 2, 2004 has broader implications for us than even our policies on terrorism, Iraq, jobs creation, curbing environmental pollution, and the deficit — the survival of thousands of American civilians withouthealthcare access are at stake also.

Terry Brauer is the CEO of HealthCare Initiatives, Inc., a national healthcare consulting firm. His firm’s comprehensive and in-depth analysis and evaluation of the Bush-Cheney, Kerry-Edwards, and single payer universal healthcare proposals is available at: http://www.healthcare-consulting.com/2004ElectionVotersGuide.html Kindest regards, Terry B. Brauer, CEOHealthCare Initiatives, Inc. Portland, OR503-761-5100www.healthcare-consulting.com