Saturday, September 21, 2019

Dr. Manny Sethi advocates health care reform at First Tuesday speech.

Dr. Manny Sethi at First Tuesday
by Rod Williams - Yesterday I attended the First Tuesday luncheon and enjoyed hearing from our guest speaker Dr. Manny Sethi.  This is the first time I had ever heard Sethi speak and I was very impressed.

In a contested race, if there is more than one acceptable candidate, I don't commit early.  I want to hear from all of the candidates before I decide who I am going to support and weigh all of the factors that go into my decision, but I must say, Dr. Manny was very impressive.

What I liked most about Sethi was his passion for health care reform and firm ideas of what changes need to be made in the American health care system.

I have been disappointing with the Republican response to Democrat proposals for health care reform ever since Hillarycare was proposed in the early 90's. Most recently, I have been disappointing by the Republicans failure to repeal and replace Obamacare after years of pledging they would do so. For a while, Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress but could not replace Obamacare.

Face it; Republicans have no health care plan.  All Republicans can do is defend the status quo or the pre-Obamacare status quo.  The status quo is not working and it was not working prior to Obamacare.  The status quo is not acceptable.  Americans spend more on health care per capita than any other advanced country and we have worse outcomes than most.  It is true that we have some of the best healthcare for difficult operations and we do not have long wait periods for selective operations, but on most metrics we do not excel.

Not only is American health care not very good, it is getting worse. Obamacare may have given more people health insurance but it did not bend the health care cost curve as was promised; cost continue to rise and that is not sustainable.  Too many people are without health insurance and too many households have bankruptcies because of exorbitant health care cost.  Health care is the only product we buy that one buys without having any idea what it will cost you. The price of health care services depends on who is paying the bill, as much as what service is delivered. Americans may pay a hundred times the price for what the same drug cost in other countries.  I am convinced that unless Republicans offer real market-orientated solutions as alternatives to Democrat proposals, we will end up with a single-payer health care system and government rationing of health care.

I did not record his speech or take good notes of Dr.Sethi's comments yesterday and I am relying on memory, but he addressed the deficiencies of  our system of health care.  He spoke of a need to support preventive care and said the way we compensate doctors is wrong.  He said we pay doctors for treating decease but not for keeping people healthy.  He said medical schools do not emphasized the importance of diet and living a healthy lifestyle.  He says too many doctors to not get to know there patients and establish a relationship that shows the doctor cares. He said when the doctor has a relationship with the patient, often the doctor can convince the patient to quit smoking or change their diet. He says one of the most costly and deadly deceases is diabetes and it is largely preventable.

Dr. Sethi spoke about the need to create a vibrant individual health care market place with the ability to purchase insurance across State lines. I agree.  I want to learn more about how Dr. Sethi proposes to make that happen and I do not want to put words in his mouth, but it is my believe that we must transition away from employers providing insurance and getting the tax deduction for doing so, to a system in which the individual gets the tax deduction for purchasing insurance.   One should no more get their health insurance from an employer than they do homeowners insurance or auto insurance or groceries.

Dr. Sethi has a compelling life story. His parents legally migrated from India to the United States and settled in Coffee County Tennessee where both of his parents were physicians and where he was born and raised.

Dr. Sethi described himself as an outsider conservative. He has never ran for any public office before.  He said that in addition to focusing on health care reform, other areas of emphasis would be supporting fixing the the immigration crisis along the southern border and combating the opioid epidemic. Dr Sethi is the founder of the preventative health nonprofit organization Healthy Tennessee. Sethi has traveled across the state holding health fairs and clinics and providing health education.

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