Health care is complicated

Recently hospitals in our area have acquired 3D imaging equipment. 3D is reported to be about 40% more reliable than traditional imaging.Two friends have mentioned this to me, and their experiences are different in that one was offered the 3D for an amount paid out of pocket in addition to the insurance payment, and the other was told that 3D was only available if the entire cost were paid out of pocket, since their insurance policy did not cover that.

At the same time, President Trump is trying to get a replacement for Obamacare (ACA) that will fulfill his campaign promises of lower cost, better care, and more individual choice in the health care market. He is finding it complicated. It is complicated at a very personal level when a 3D machine is sitting there and one person can have a 40% advantage for additional cost because they have the money, and another person does not have the money and has to take second tier service, and yet another person has to find another insurer or a different plan that will pay for 3D or pay the entire cost out of pocket.

Choice of provider is the most touted and greatest benefit of President Trump’s still-nebulous proposal, but it is elusive. Insurers can drop providers, and when the contract between insurer and provider changes, people frequently lose their familiar providers. Your choice of a plan makes you – along with other enrollees in that plan or with that insurer – a bargaining wedge permitting the insurer to control billing by telling the provider what they will pay for each service. The insurer can write the ticket for both patient and provider, and leave both of them in the lurch in the interest of profit.

As to lower cost and better care, good health care costs a lot less than bad health care. Obamacare both reduced costs and improved care significantly by making preventive care free. You might skip a screening if the kids need shoes, but that choice is not necessary if the screening is free. You can get both shoes and the screening, problems can be diagnosed early, and treatment can be more successful and less costly.

Lower cost and better care both serve the interests of the actual payer for care and the actual recipient of care, and serve the provider better also, since providers work toward better health and better outcomes for patients. It is an often-obscured fact that your insurance company is neither payer nor recipient. You and/or your employer pay for your insurance and are beneficiaries. Insurance companies use the crystal ball of actuarial tables and the wedge of negotiation with all parties to make a nice profit for themselves. They raise the cost of insurance beyond the cost of care to maintain their profit margin. It is easy to see that their stock, their CEO salaries, and their contributions to legislators have all soared along with the premiums for their plans.

The methods by which President Trump expects to provide good health care for everyone are all guided by profit principles, and he has called the insurance companies together to advise him. Suggestions include health care savings accounts and refundable tax credits, useful to upper-middle and high income people, many of whom would still be unable to put aside money enough to comfortably pay for a bout with cancer or contracting a chronic condition. Even more onerous is the idea of high-risk pools. The whole idea of insurance is the distribution of risk, which widely distributed becomes manageable.

Savings accounts, higher cost based on age or risk, and subsidy in the form of refundable tax credits all suffer from the same flaw. They continue the situation we now have with 3D imaging – a tiered system that divides people into groups that receive a different level of care and pay a different cost, some able to afford what actually everyone needs, and some falling far short of adequate care. Since 1954 and Brown v Board of Education we have known that officially “separate but equal” is inherently not equal. We also know that everyone – rich or poor, young or old, male or female – has a continuing need for good health care. My friends all need the diagnostic tool that is 40% better. We can have these benefits at a reasonable cost only if we abandon the exploitation of illness for profit.

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Thank you!

Thank you to many visitors who stopped by the 2016 campaign headquarters to chat and pick up information and campaign materials. Also a special thank you to those who helped us keep the headquarters open by contributing and working! Sadly our candidates lost nationally, but we did get enough votes for Hillary here in the Ninth District to make sure that she had the Virginia delegates!

Now is the time to get acquainted with local Democrats and prepare for the mid-term elections in 2018, and we also have state and local elections coming up. So check out our calendar, like and follow our Facebook page, and sign up to receive our e-mail newsletter a couple of times a month. Your vote counts!

I know that this is a discouraging time for Democrats, but if we can change the composition of the national legislature and keep our state representatives in Richmond, we can continue to press for quality affordable health care, jobs and benefits for workers, economic justice, civil rights, and the freedoms we cherish.

Join the conversation and be a part of the changes you want to see happen!

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2016 Campaign Headquarters

Our 2016 Campaign Headquarters is now open, and will be staffed until Election Day in November. Our hours will be based on demand and available volunteers to staff the office.

Our office location is 1318 Lee Hwy, Bristol VA between JR’s Market and the Marathon Gas Station.

Our hours are: Tuesday-Friday, 3:00-6:00pm, Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm. Sunday and Monday Closed.

 

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Virginia Election Data Project: more voter registrations are coming through the Virginia Department of Elections citizen portal on line

(News release from The Virginia Department of Elections, May 17, 2016)

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Department of Elections (the Department) released the Virginia Election Data Project, a collaborative effort with local election officials and the State Board of Elections (SBE), with technical assistance provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.  The Virginia Election Data Project, available at http://elections.virginia.gov/dataproject, analyzes election and voter data provided to the Department by local election offices and presents the data visualized in a user-friendly online format.

Highlights from this data analysis include:

·       Highlighting changes in how Virginia voters are choosing to register to vote:  In every year since 2012, the majority of voter registration applications were submitted through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  However, Virginia voters are beginning to rely more heavily on online registration, which was introduced in 2013.  In the first three months of 2016, approximately 40 percent of registrations came via the state’s online registration system, while 33 percent came from the DMV.  Online voter registration is available through the Department’s citizen portal at http://elections.virginia.gov/register

·       Preparing for Presidential election year activity:  While Presidential election years generally bring high levels of participation, local election officials can use this tool to see that voter registration activity is almost 35% higher during the first three months of 2016 in comparison to the first three months of 2012.  This allows local election officials to prepare to hire additional staff for processing voter registrations to ensure timely responses to voters.

Governor Terry McAuliffe applauded the release of the Virginia Election Data Project and said, “This approach to data analysis enhances government transparency and accountability as part of my administration’s commitment to make voting more accessible.”  These visualizations enable members of the public to assess their locality’s performance in several areas, such as voter turnout, voter registration application acceptance rates and absentee ballot application processing times.

Virginia continues to be a national leader in leveraging technology and data to improve the voting experience.  Commissioner of Elections Edgardo Cortés said, “We are delighted to debut the Virginia Election Data Project as part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to improve the administration of elections in the Commonwealth.  This tool allows us to use a data-driven approach to recognize best practices that will result in a better experience for Virginia voters.”

The Department and the SBE will use this data to identify general registrars with the best election administration practices and share them across the state.  James Alcorn, Chairman of the Virginia State Board of Elections, said, “This tool helps the Board, policy makers, and the public to better understand and evaluate election administration in Virginia.  This is in line with the Board’s practice of conducting quality reviews of elections with local election administrators.”

The Department of Elections created a working group of local election officials to provide feedback and guidance during development of the Virginia Election Data Project.  Donna Patterson, the City of Virginia Beach General Registrar and a member of the working group, said, “This project provides a useful tool for identifying strengths and challenges in local election offices.  We are building on the long history of working together as an election community to identify ways to better serve our voters.”

“Virginia’s year-long effort to use local-level data to assess and improve the elections process is an important step in identifying what’s working as well as where there are challenges,” said Sean Greene, project director for The Pew Charitable Trusts’ election initiatives.  “This is a good example of how states can bring together local officials to both share best practices and take a hard look at how to improve election administration.”  Pew’s election initiatives examine pressing election problems, share successful practices, and undertake projects to help states implement efficient and cost-effective solutions.

The working group of local election officials that assisted the Department consisted of Tammy Alexander, Electoral Board member, City of Petersburg; April Cain, Electoral Board member, Henrico County; Lisa Jeffers, Director of Elections, City of Waynesboro; Bill Lewis, Electoral Board member, City of Hampton; Margaret Marcenelle, Electoral Board member, Mecklenburg County; John Nunnaly, Electoral Board member, Caroline County; Donna Patterson, General Registrar, City of Virginia Beach; Greg Riddlemoser, Director of Elections, Stafford County; and Allison Robbins, Director of Elections, Wise County.

The Virginia Election Data Project is available at http://elections.virginia.gov/dataproject. ###

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Call to Caucus 2016

NOTICE OF CITY OF BRISTOL VIRGINIA

  DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS

     The Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee hereby announces that it will hold an assembled caucus beginning at 7:30 p.m. on April 18, 2016 at the Bristol Virginia Courthouse, 497 Cumberland Street, Bristol, VA for the purpose of electing 3 delegates and 1 alternate to the 9th Congressional District Convention to be held on May 21, 2016 at the Wytheville Meeting Center, 333 Community Boulevard in Wytheville, VA.

Doors to the caucus will open at 7:00 p.m. for check-in. Any person attending the caucus, before participating in that caucus, shall sign a standardized declaration form stating that he or she is a Democrat, believes in the principles of the Democratic Party, does not intend to support any candidate who is opposed to a Democratic nominee in the ensuing general election, and is a registered voter in the City of Bristol, VA. Declaration forms must be filled out at the caucus prior to voting. Doors to the caucus will close at 7:30 p.m., and no person may complete a form or enter the caucus after that time with the exception of those persons in line at 7:30 p.m.

Any person wishing to seek election as a delegate or alternate to the Ninth District Convention must file a written Delegate/Alternate Pre-filing Form with Edward Harlow, Chair of the Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee, Bristol, VA prior to 12:00 p.m., April 18, 2016. There is a voluntary administrative fee of $10.00 (which may be waived) at the time of filing. No person who has failed to comply with the pre-filing requirements may be considered for nomination.

Should the exact number of individuals file for the delegate and alternate positions, those individuals will be declared the delegates and alternates and the Chair may cancel the caucus. For further information, please contact Edward Harlow, Chair of the Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee, at 276-466-9541, or Carl Williams, Vice-Chair of the Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee, at 276-591-3355.

 

Paid For and Authorized by the Bristol Virginia Democratic Committee

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D. Clay Pugh withdraws from Ninth District race

D. Clay Pugh has suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination for the Virginia Ninth Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives as of Thursday, March 31st. We are disappointed that he has endorsed Morgan Griffith, whom he previously opposed as ineffective and not a good representative for the District.

Bill Bunch and Derek Kitts are the candidates that will be voted on at the Ninth District Convention on May 21, 2016, in Wytheville. Both of them were present and spoke at the regular meeting of the Ninth District Committee in Radford on April 2nd, and each has made more than one visit to Bristol!

If you have not met them, you can find them on line at the links below. Check their calendars to see where they will be, and get to know the candidates! Also encourage them with a contribution, as both of them are expending resources in order to be out and about in the District to speak with voters.

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Ninth CD candidates

There are three persons seeking the Democratic nomination for the Virginia Ninth District seat in the House of Representatives. The Bristol Herald Courier introduced the candidates in an article titled “3 seek to unseat Griffith in 9th District,”  published on Sunday, March 20, 2016.

For more information about the candidates:

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