It was a long hot August for those who would like to see health care reform, as rabid "Town Hall" protesters proffered visions of public options that would lead to death panels and socialism and government tax collectors with special alien mind control powers that would use sex education and child indoctrination and black helicopters as the means for gay people to impose their dangerous agenda on the innocent, God-fearing citizens of someplace in Mississippi that I'm not likely to ever visit.
Part of the reason that opposition was so rabid was because health care interests were spending millions upon millions of dollars doing...well, doing whatever the opposite of giving a distemper shot to the angry mob might be, anyway.
So wouldn't it be great if all the CEOs of all those health care interests were to gather at one time and place so you could, shall we say, gently express your own thoughts regarding the issues of reform and public options?
By an amazing coincidence, that's exactly what's going to happen Thursday in Washington, DC, as the Patient Centered Primary Care Cooperative (PCPCC) holds its Annual Summit.
Follow along, and I'll tell you everything you need to know.
The Who, The What
There are two important bits of setting up that are required to make this story work; and the first is to explain who the PCPCC is, exactly. To quote their website:
"The Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative is a coalition of major employers, consumer groups, patient quality organizations, health plans, labor unions, hospitals, clinicians and many others who have joined together to develop and advance the patient centered medical home. The Collaborative has well over 500 members.
The Collaborative believes that, if implemented, the patient centered medical home will improve the health of patients and the viability of the health care delivery system. In order to accomplish our goal, employers, consumers, patients, clinicians and payers have agreed that it is essential to support a better model of compensating clinicians."
The "patient centered medical home"?
Is that anything like "precious bodily fluids"?
Actually, the original idea was to create a "home" where a patient's scattered medical records could be gathered. Forty years later, the concept has evolved to a "home doctor" who coordinates all your health and wellness care from all your providers.
This is a huge shift in how care is delivered (and how healthcare dollars would be distributed), which is why the Collaborative has so many members...including seven of the top ten health insurers in the country.
I've been getting emails that tell me CEOs such as Stephen Helmsley of UnitedHealth and Angela Braly of WellPoint (insert booing and hissing here) will be present--and these are the exact people that you should be giving a "Town Hall-like" welcome of their own when they hit Washington.
Groups such as Democracy for America and TrueMajority will be working together to bring people who have been personally affected by the insurance crisis to the meeting--even though we're not invited inside to support something like, oh, I don't know...maybe a public option?
They want you to attend as well, to make lots of noise, and to send the message that we won't be ignored. It's a critical time in the debate, as there are Democrats yet to be convinced, and if you can be at this meeting it will capture media attention that could help move those Democrats to our positions.
The Where, The When
The event takes place in Washington DC all day Thursday (from 9-4:30) at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, conveniently located at 801 Mount Vernon Place NW; just six blocks from the Executive Office Building and the White House complex...and, on its south side, just 50 feet from K Street, the "Glitter Gulch" of lobbying.
There's a handy Metro station, and if you walk to the south end of the Convention Center (the Mt. Vernon Square end of the building) you'll find that the American Federation of Labor occupies a building across the street from the Square on the west side--and National Public Radio occupies a building diagonally across the Square on the east side.
So if you're planning to be in Washington Thursday--or you've been looking for an excuse to visit--make a day of it: stroll by the White House, see lobbyists and unions and National Public Radio at work...and most importantly of all, make sure the CEOs of the health insurers in attendance get the same kind of rousing "Town Hall" welcome at the Convention Center that they spent millions of dollars to create in our own home towns.
In other words, bring Mr. Bullhorn--and the extra batteries.
Of course, I don't want to make this too much of a hard sell.
After all, it's not as if your life depends on you attending some--hey, wait a minute...actually, I guess it kind of does.