If Broken, How Should Health Care Be Fixed?

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

Both major party presidential candidates have talked about the nation's health care system being broken. If so, what's the best way to fix it?

"We have to include the public in addressing these needs," said Roy Mitchell, director of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program. "They deal with this on a daily basis."

Mitchell said he has spoken with Mississippians about changes they'd like to see to health care in the state.

"People are just totally frustrated with the current system and they have their own ideas about how we should address them," Mitchell said.

Mitchell says Mississippians want affordable health coverage, whether it be at the doctor's office or pharmacy.

Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama agree; they just have different ideas to get there.

Obama said he wants to increase enrollment in Medicaid and the children's health insurance program. McCain is proposing a $5,000 tax credit so families can buy their own coverage.

Over at the Mississippi Department of Health, state health officer Dr. Ed Thompson says he wants to see more money spent on preventative measures.

"Such as screening for diabetes, screening for hypertension or counseling and provision of services for smoking cessation," said Thompson. "Those are clinical preventative services and we need to see reimbursements for those."

Board of Health president and private practice physician, Dr. Mike Lampton agrees.

"There's no positive reimbursement or any sort of push to get physicians to be aggressive in managing preventative health measures," said Lampton. "That needs to be the focus of our health system."

The Mississippi Health Advocacy Program has scheduled five more meetings to talk with Mississippians about the state of health care in Mississippi.

The first one is on the University of Southern Mississippi campus. A list of meeting places and dates appears below, including a meeting Oct. 30 in Meridian. And if you can't make it to the meeting, officials will be taking comments on-line as well.

HATTIESBURG
USM Campus Union-Thad Cochran Center
Monday, October 13, 2008 5:30pm-9:30pm

GULFPORT
MS Gulf Coast Community College
Thursday, October 16, 2008 5:30pm-9:30pm

TUPELO
Itawamba Community College –Health Occupation Bldg.
Monday, October 20, 2008
5:30pm-9:30pm

GREENVILLE
Greenville Higher Education Center
Thursday, October 23, 2008
5:30pm-9:30pm

MERIDIAN
Meridian Community College-Webb Hall
Thursday, October 30, 2008
5:30pm-9:30pm

Click on the link below to visit the Web site of the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.


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