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The Obama administration is seeking input from the public on how we can use health IT to help reform our health care system, provide higher quality, more effective patient centered care that helps to eliminate disparities. They have even created 2 Federal advisory task forces with online blogs but very few people are giving them feed-back on the somewhat arcane Health IT policy committee blog. Aneesh Chopra the White House CTO heads up the work group and they read the blog so please help spread the word and participate.

Get involved in the 3 open questions on the blog.

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On Friday on Robert Reich's blog How Pharma and Insurance Intend to Kill the Public Option, And What Obama and the Rest of Us Must Do

I'ved poked around Washington today, talking with friends on the Hill who confirm the worst: Big Pharma and Big Insurance are gaining ground in their campaign to kill the public option in the emerging health care bill.

You know why, of course. They don't want a public option that would compete with private insurers and use its bargaining power to negotiate better rates with drug companies. They argue that would be unfair. Unfair? Unfair to give more people better health care at lower cost? To Pharma and Insurance, "unfair" is anything that undermines their profit

As I have been advocating for the last year that a patient centered medical home model combined with technology actually allows medical providers more time to spend with patients, lets them provide better care that is patient focused and results in higher quality outcomes while increasing their incomes in most cases.

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In the various economic recovery bills being debated in Congress there is $20 billion being proposed for health care information technology. Most of this $18 billion will be in the form of incentive payments to doctors versus out-right grants to implement new electronic medical record systems.

According to Bloomberg If you look at the stock prices of the various companies in this sector the one that has increased the most Athena Health is owned by ex president Bush's cousin - and it makes it money by increasing the rate at which hospitals and doctors are paid versus increasing the health of the patients.

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Mon Nov 03, 2008 at 02:02 PM PST

One More Day

by Cascadia

All of us must summon the strength and grace to bridge our differences and unite in common effort. All of us must come together black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, Democrat, Republican, young, old, rich, poor, gay straight, disabled or not, all of us have to come together.

Hope is what lead those who couldn't vote to march and organize and stand for freedom and cry out it may look dark tonight but tomorrow will be brighter. That is what this election is about. That is the choice we face right now.

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Mon Oct 20, 2008 at 01:25 AM PDT

Pro-Life Catholics moving to Obama

by Cascadia

While researching a healthcare company tonight, I came across an article on "Medical News Today" under the Abortion News Tab. In it they disccused how new fault lines are being defined in the body politic now that Catholics are moving to Obama and I am encouraged by what it tells us about the future of the party and more importantly our community at large.  

In an opinion piece by Newsweek contributor George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, examines the emergence of Catholic abortion-rights opponents who are backing Sen. Barack Obama (Ill) in the presidential race despite his support for abortion rights

Since the percentage of people who identify themselves as Catholic has remained at about 22% since the 1960's this is an important shift.

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Today I read  how baby boomer women (1 in 6 women in the 2004 election) are one of the most prized blocks of undecided voters

White women age 45 to 64, evenly divided between Barack Obama and John McCain, and wide open to being pulled either way, according to a recent Associated Press-GfK Poll.

I am a strong supporter of Obama (flew to Montana to volunteer this past spring) but in my circle of friends and family (scattered across Colorado, Washington and Arizona) there are still undecided voters. I wish that Obama would draw on the same courage and fore-sight he had to stand up to the war in Iraq and stand on the third rail of politics and propose cutting the military budget.

He did early in the campaign (in fact one of the best utube videos was put out by people who oppose him).

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 at 06:19 AM PDT

Leonardo DiCaprio says DON"T VOTE

by Cascadia

Don't Vote

According to Project Vote.

If households with less than $25,000 in annual income voted at the same rate as those with incomes above $100,000, there would be 7 million more voters on Election Day.  Millions of low income and minority voters are being denied opportunities to register to vote by state agencies.

In most industrialized counties it is the government's responsibility to register voters and it is considered a civic responsibility to vote. In Australia you can be fined if you don't. Across the Nation community organizations are stepping up and registering low income, minority, immigrant and young people wherever they can find them.

Here in Washington State one powerful grass-roots community group called Washington Community Action was registering voters at Wal-Mart in Renton today and a local radio station interviewed them.

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Since 2006 the Republican Secretary of State in the State of Washington has removed over 450,000 names from the voter lists and reports indicate that almost 1 in 4 elgible voters is not currently registered to vote.

This Saturday is the last day to register to vote online or by mail (you also have to update if you moved or haven't voted in the last two general elections) for the General Election in Washington State. Thankfully we are one of the two States that let you do it online and you can register in person until 15 days before (October 20).

Some of the changes were appropriate

Since 2006, more than 450,000 voter registrations were canceled; of those, nearly 95,000 were ineligible felons or dead, and almost 55,000 were canceled because they duplicated registrations that already existed. The rest were people who moved out of state, asked to be removed, or had not voted in the years covering two federal general elections.

but it is the last section that raises real concerns since over since someone who might not have voted in 2 general elections would also have been removed.

Poll

Have you confirmed your eligiblity to vote in the General Election?

82%90 votes
11%13 votes
3%4 votes
1%2 votes
0%0 votes

| 109 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Mar 08, 2008 at 01:56 PM PST

Loss of Community and Obama Wins

by Cascadia

Is Obama the Token character from South Park?

Is there a correlation between the States that Obama seems to win easily and those that he doesn't? Is it size, location, race, class?

Benji Krudwig,  a young student reporter at the University of Colorado, has an interesting take on it based on the work of Robert Putnam of Harvard University. In his book Bowling alone, Putname identified the loss of community that has spread across the US.

His research is based on comparison of communities that are homogeneous to ones that are racially diverse. And the results of the Democratic primaries, so far, support the conclusion that local diversity (or lack of it) might be the decisive factor in explaining how Democratic voters behave.

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When someone runs for office and fails to address the most pressing needs of his own neighborhood or his own culture how can I trust that he has the empathy to understand some white upper middle class woman in the suburbs? Why do people like Oprah and Bill Cosby of all people have more insight into the issues of inner city youth and black men in America then either candidate? Why has the board become so "violent"?

  * At least a third of all homeless men are African-American.
   * African-Americans make up 12 percent of the general population, but they account for almost half of the prison population.
   * According to the U.S. Justice Department, 28 percent of black men born today will go to prison in their lifetimes.
   * Black youth are six times more likely to die of homicide than white youth and seven times more likely to commit a homicide.
   * Homicide is the leading cause of death among African-American males ages 15 to 29.

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Mon Feb 04, 2008 at 09:12 PM PST

Is Obama the Secret?

by Cascadia

Last year nearly all of my friends got caught up in the "secret" helping drive the book to the number 1 position on the best seller list.. I wonder if Obama is the political version of the same phenomenon?

everyone would like to believe that there is a solution to their suffering — better yet, a solution that requires you only to think to receive it. The truth is that positive thinking (part of what The Secret promotes) is a valuable tool and has been known about and written about for well over a century but there is no evidence to back up the idea that thoughts alone can change the future.

In Politics is it enough to just hope for change in order to  bring it about??

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Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 11:06 PM PST

Do Washington Voters Count

by Cascadia

Here in Washington State we have one of the oddest hybrid presidential elections in the country. It is a caucus or a primary? both? Why doesn't the  State tell people that the $10 million dollar primary on February 19th doesn't count for the Dems and only counts for half of the Rep delegates?

We are already receiving our ballots for the February 19th Presidential primary but it is only a symbolic vote for the Dems and the only way you can actually influence who will win in the state is to attend an hours and hours long caucus 10 days before that on February 9th. The Republicans aren't much better as they will use it to elect 19 of their 4o delegates to the GOP National Convention at a total cost of over half a million per delegate.

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