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Letters, 6/21: Deserve better (Heinemans record regarding BSDC)

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Leo 9 Donating Member (560 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-30-09 04:09 PM
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Letters, 6/21: Deserve better
Saturday, Jun 20, 2009 - 11:59:02 pm CDT

Deserve better

We all know that Gov. Dave Heineman is a good political operative. He had a successful career as a campaign operative before he entered elective office, and he ran a good campaign when he beat Tom Osborne in 2006. However, it is apparent that Heinemans skill-set is limited to electioneering and spin because Heineman has proved to be incompetent when it comes to actually governing our state.

The problems at the Beatrice State Developmental Center provide an object example of Heinemans failure as a governor. Up until the Mike Johanns administration, governors of both parties made BSDC a high priority. BSDC was a model facility that other states attempted to emulate.

However, beginning with the Johanns administration and continuing with the Heineman administration, conditions at BSDC steadily deteriorated.

Since Heineman has been governor, BSDC has gone through not one but two CEOs. After BSDC was cited for several jeopardy incidents in 2006, Vince Benjamin resigned. After that, things didnt get any better.

In the hopes of saving money, a small on-campus hospital at BSDC was shut down. That proved to be disastrous, because two BSDC residents died after inadequate medical care. In a panic move following those tragedies, Heineman moved 47 medically fragile residents out of BSDC, against the wishes of their guardians, into hospitals. Unfortunately, the cost of this in-patient hospital care was much higher than the cost of caring for these residents at BSDC.

Another cost of Heinemans mismanagement is that Medicaid has ended its contract with BSDC, and the state will now lose roughly $25 million a year in federal funds when its appeal is denied.

When you add it all up, Heinemans record regarding BSDC is a sorry one. The taxpayers of Nebraska and the residents of BSDC deserve better than this.

Dennis P. Crawford, Lincoln
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Leo 9 Donating Member (560 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-30-09 04:12 PM
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1. Here are some of the comments.
Mark wrote on June 21, 2009 11:16 am:

" Here's another angle to look at: Republicans notoriously defund any social services they can at any opportunity. When the public has either forgotten that this was done or did not know to begin with, they can point and say, "See, it doesn't work!" When we have inept leadership who desires to defund and deprive social services, you're absolutely right, they don't work. But if we get people who aren't evil ideologues out to prove social services don't work in charge, I'm willing to bet that they will work. When the government is in charge of things that both parties support (i.e. military) they get funded and they work pretty darned well. But defunding and depriving social services for the very purpose of causing them to fail to prove a point is sick and wrong, but a common tactic. It can work, and will. "

Zoomie wrote on June 21, 2009 1:42 pm:
" Mr Crawford-you get right to the heart of the problem with modern Republicanism, namely, they can run great elections and win; they can't govern!

Mssrs Hunt/Francis - you confuse health with health insurance. True, better health lifestyles will result in generally (much is driven by genetics not lifestyle) better health hence lower healthcare costs and lower insurance premiums (in theory). But the purpose of health insurance is to cover ALL healthcare situations, just as auto insurance (required of all drivers) is intended to cover ALL drivers, whether they drive safely or not.

Mr Lamb - you, frankly, contain much mis- and dis-information. You briefly cite the VA Healthcare system as though its obvious evidence of failed gov't healthcare. Where do you get this idea from? The non-partisan and independent NCQA has cited the VA has the BEST healthcare system in the U.S. several times in the last 10 years, leading major healthcare provider systems (ie. HCA) and insurance firms (ie. BCBS). Additionally, a New England Journal of Medicine study just 2-3 years ago found the percentage of vets who were happy and satisfied with the quality of their healthcare under VA was consistently 10-15 percentage points HIGHER than private health insurance covered lives.
I'm not sure what your point is with Medicare. It is a gov't provided, single-payer healthcare system, in which Medicare uses its clout (size and numbers) to use a very capitalist process to negotiate the best possible rates. The proposed public option would do exactly that as well. Indeed, your whole letter seems to demand recognition of the capitalist system. Well, the Obama proposed, and House supported, public option does EXACTLY that! It will be a health insurance company (albeit gov't owned) which competes directly with private insurance, under the same rules. Indeed, most Republican opponents openly admit they oppose the public option because it will in fact provide health insurance, better, cheaper, more effectively than the capitalist system can deliver!
And I repeat - for literally the 100th time at least - only YOU are talking about emulation of the UK or Canadian healthcare systems. Absolutely no Democrats are talking about that. If anything, we recommend following the French system (named best in the world by UN's OECD several times in recent years). It is NOT socialist; it uses private health insurance firms, is a single-payer system; doctors and hospitals are in private practice, not gov't employed/owned; results in consistently better healthcare outcomes for patients than we get here in the US; provides 100% coverage of everyone (including non-citizens, fyi); and costs the French about 40% less per capita than we currently pay (or put another way, France spends 11.2% of GDP on healthcare while we spend about 15.7% of GDP, for less coverage and worse results).
Oh, and just an FYI - foreign medical/pharma firms discover almost as many advances as does the U.S. And even those discovered here in the U.S. are often totally funded by American taxpayers and discovered at Universities, the NIH, the CDC, and other gov'tal or gov't funded research facilities. It is generally estimated about half of medical and pharmacological advances come entirely from corporate sponsored research. "

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residentfan Donating Member (98 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-20-09 08:16 PM
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Heineman is ultimately responsible, no doubt. But I have to ask where was the state employees union's role in this whole mess? Do they have a presence in that institution, and if so what were they doing to try to protect these resident's lives? Or were they simply showing up in labor management meetings and attempting to keep up a good relationship with management by not mentioning any of these concerns? There comes a time for a union to start to stand up for the people they work for: the residents of BSDC. Did they do that? The record shows nothing.
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