A friendly letter from Peter Morales

I’m encouraged by a change of tone in the new Unitarian Universalist Association administration. Peter Morales, the new president, has been writing letters to his constituency without them being “pastoral”. This habit of his predecessor — who was never called to be the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Association; no such role exists — grated on me for years. They also struck me as a bit condescending and puffed-up.

I’ll take a letter addressed to “friends” any day. Especially this one on health care.

And I’ll say what he might not say, given the rules about grassroots lobbying: please call your lawmakers and politely insist on a public option for health care, and be clear that you will not be satisfied on a plan that leaves any American without at least basic health coverage. If you have a “Blue Dog” Representative, your input is especially valuable.

4 Replies to “A friendly letter from Peter Morales”

  1. He uses a fine Chicago word: clout, and I agree it’s much better to see a letter addressed to friends.

    But we deserve to know who he finds the cynical demagogue.

    When the Pharmaceuticals kick in $80b it a seeming pay-to-pay move on health care reform we deserve to know what clout they’ll have. (Plenty I would think).

    We have a clout list know in Illinois for University admissions. Where Pols have gained access to the best of our schools for less than the best students.

    Will that be the fate of wait lists under health care reform? It doesn’t seem demagogic to ask that.

  2. Bill – I’m not sure I understand your analogy to Illinois university admissions and clout lists. Not being in Illinois, the reference goes over my head (or perhaps around it).

    As far as wait lists, we have some of that already. My insurance carrier is a PPO. Right now I can not get a general practitioner who is “in network” in my own county. I’m on a wait list untill one of them is willing to take new patients. Switching insurance carriers is not an option. Other carriers do not want to cover me because of pre-existing conditions (mold allergies).


  3. Wait lists invite using clout to get to the head of the line. It’s pervasive in Illinois for Universities and Charter Schools. Mayor Daley was on the radio today explaining there is nothing wrong with it. Good politicians do favors for constituents and donors, and when of those favors is using their influence to get a kid bumped ahead in line.

    Create a system governed by a Commissioner of Health Choices, and a system that squeezes supply with price controls through protocols and benefit plans, your going to get queues. Get queues in America, and you’ll get people using clout to jump to the head of the line. Visit Disney World at peak times and you’ll get a taste of what’s to come for Health Care.

    We have wait lists many places in health care. I’ve had similar experiences with PPO referrals and the solution was more primary and specialty care docs came to the area as it urbanized.

    Right now HR3200s solution is to deal with rising costs by slapping price controls and protocols on supply. Not creating additional supply to resolve cases like yours by graduating more providers. HR3200 wants to suppress Demand to meet a Supply the Gov will cap.

    It’s exactly the wrong thing for a young and growing industry. If we want to reduce overheads we need to think of things like exporting our Health Care. Something we do better than any other nation. Things like telemed, telesurg, make that increasingly more possible. The idea is to grow the industry to serve more people, not shackle it with regulations which ultimately create queues, and queues invite corruption.

    Unlike the Brits who politely stand in line for the bus, Americans are prone to using clout because we expect immediate service.

    As an aside, Obama, Axelrod, Jarret, and Rahm have done this whole deal in a classic Chicago manner. Get the key players like Phrama, AARP, AMA, AHA, and extract concessions, blackmail them a bit, and divvy up the contracts to administer this creation; and then assume Americans will just go along as Illinoisans have gone along with many years.

    This blew up in their faces instead and it’s rattled them.

  4. Scott, this post raises for me three distinct little points. I’ll just note them here and then go get my second cup of tea.

    Thanks so much for directing my attention to the UUA website again. I, too, had grown tired of Bill Sinkford’s tone. Part of the loss is that I had a genuine respect for so much of what he was said and did, especially in the earlier years. He spoke always with courage, and I wish him well in his new life.

    People concerned about healthcare can check in with our esteemed former gov up here in Vermont, Howard Dean, M.D. His On Point interview from WBUR (http://www.onpointradio.org/2009/08/howard-dean-no-appeasement-on-public-option) was pretty near perfect.

    As to the “pastoral tone,” I could write a bundle, going in a hundred different directions. But for now, I’ll just comment that if the Board of Trustees, under the Moderator’s leadership, has indeed pulled off a Dick Cheney-style coup by implementing Policy Governance (a term copyrighted by Ray Carver), then the President has indeed been reduced to a pastoral figurehead.

    Makes it all the more ironic that we keep not electing women, traditionally considered better pastors. Perhaps, though, the presidency actually functions as our crucifixion-substitute, and we just can’t bring ourselves to pillory females.

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