Sam Rasoul came to Fishersville, with Augusta Medical Center in the background, to state his case for single-payer health insurance and for H.B. 676. That legislation, which is in a congressional committee, would guarantee access but would still allow patients to select their own doctor and hospitals would not be under government control. Rasoul also called for tax credits to help small businesses provide health care to employees, improved access to health services for individuals with disabilities, and creation of a digital medical records system.
Also speaking Terry Holmes, owner of the Mill Street Grill, and Dr. Jim LaGrua, with a family practice. Holmes talked about the rising costs of providing health insurance and the effects on his employees. LaGrua related the personal experiences of several patients who found themselves uninsured or unable to get coverage because of preexisting conditions.
Bob Goodlatte, the incumbent, opposes H.B. 676 and even supported President Bush's veto of SCHIP, which provided coverage for children. His "plan" really isn't one. He vaguely wants the market to provide more affordable health care.
CCC has been critical of the local media for being asleep in coverage of this race. Well, cackle cackle, they all showed up yesterday. Check out their coverage:
WHSV and NBC29 were both there, but the Charlottesville station apparently had no coverage on-air or online.
The News Leader, The News Virginian, and the Daily News-Record gave the press conference prominent coverage in the print and online versions - kudos to all. Bob Stuart at the Waynesboro paper seemed to have more depth than the others. The DNR's headline, "Rasoul Differs" seems to be sort of an editorial dig. Sam should take it as a compliment - positive change only occurs one person at a time standing up to find solutions to problems.
The U.S. has great doctors, great technology, great health care - if you have private coverage through employment. For those who don't have that coverage, a health issue can quickly become a financial crisis leading to bankruptcy. Our failure to provide a national health policy also drains our economy in many ways - small businesses have to devote huge often prohibitive resources, to coverage, big business it put at a disadvantage in a global economy, and hospitals and doctors must write-off or pass on the costs of uninsured patients. H.R. 676 might not fix everything, but it will be a huge step in the right direction. Rasoul should be commended for putting it squarely before 6th District voters.