on the road, September 12

I wrote this on September 12, at the Salt Lake City Library.

I am on the road with the madashelldoctors, day 5.

I am a Mad As Hell Doctor because my patients are not coming in. They are calling to get refills because they have lost their jobs, lost their health insurance, are losing their houses, are stressed and frightened. We Americans agree that anyone who shows up at the  emergency room has to have care, but that is last minute care. We give care when someone is dying, their cancer is advanced, their heart attack is happening, they are near death. It is expensive, inefficient and stupid. This road trip brings home that we take better care of our highways and rest stops than we do of our citizens. How can we have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without health? Our health is our wealth! Single payer, one system, just like police, highways, our mail — single payer is the way to go! It is time to get mad and make Congress put it back on the agenda! It is an embarrassment to have a Canadian citizen ask, “Why don’t you Americans take care of your own people?” and I want my health care dollar to go 100% for health care, not for insurance company profits and CEO salaries over 14 million dollars yearly. Fire them! Single payer!

HR676! A single payer proposal. Remember that the insurance companies are pouring 1.4 million dollars a day into lobbying to protect their profits!

Follow us on the website and fight the corporate medical behemoth!

Yours,

On the road, incoherant and down to 6% computer power….

Katherine Ottaway MD

1:42pm

Salt Lake City Library

Whew, finally computer access. We haven’t had time.

This morning we awoke to a knock on the door at 5:59 in a Motel 6 in Idaho Falls, Idaho. We were supposed to be on the road at 6:00. I am rooming with Barbara, a researcher from the Department of Family Practice at the University of Washington. We rushed around and left before most of the guys.

On the road, to Pocatello, Idaho, to the Holt Arena Park, S. 18th Avenue and E. Bonneville Street. We were early and went to find coffee for everyone. We wondered for a bit if Starbuck’s had missed Pocatello, but no, hidden in a grocery store.

In spite of the fact that it was 8:30 am on Saturday, nice crowd. Adam introduced the single payer theme, each doctor said why they personally were mad as hell, and then the audience was invited to step up. Each person has one minute to say why they are Mad As Hell. A woman who has been at two previous venues spoke and said that her beloved had committed suicide because he couldn’t pay his medical bills. I hugged her afterwards. She said that she had to leave us now and it was her last chance to tell us. She was very brave.

An elderly woman with a red-tipped blind person’s cane said, “I’m covered but the woman who helps me and cleans house for me has no insurance. She has breast cancer, two lumps removed, but it’s been infected and she has no money for chemotherapy or radiation It is a shame on us as Americans.” People are speaking up and the more people that speak, the more we all realize that it isn’t just a few people but everyone has been touched by this. Two thirds of bankruptcies are for medical bills and we are the ONLY industrialized country where you CAN go backrupt from medical bills.

Our next Town Hall is here in the Salt Lake City Library at 3:00 pm. We’ve been trying to cut the program down to 90 minutes, from two hours. We are getting used to the pattern. Yesterday I woke up feeling like death warmed over from a combination of exhaustion, 4500 foot altitude and one beer (I know, I’m a wimp with alcohol). Got on the road anyhow and Barbara drove the 250 miles from Helena to Idaho Falls while I displayed my talent at sleeping anywhere. By the time we met the caravan, I was shaky but improved and by the time we did the Town Hall at 7:00 pm, I was fine. Adam has nearly lost his voice but still is the MC and everyone is a bit glassy eyed and tired. We have to look at the notebooks to remember which city we are in. “What day is it?” we ask each other.

I will blog when I get a chance.

Town halls coming up:

9/12/09 Orem, Utah: Utah Valley University Student Center Room 206C 7:00 tonight

9/13/09 Rally at Fort Collins, 4:30 pm @ Civic Center Park, corner of LaPorte Ave & Howes street, Fort Collins, Colorado

9/13/09 Town Hall 7:00 pm Greyrock Commons, 2265 Shooting Star, Fort Collins, Colorado

9/14/09 Town Hall 8:30 am Plymouth Congregational Church, 916 W. Prospect Road, Fort Collins, Colorado

9/14/09 Rally Denver 12:00 (noon) West Steps, State Capitol Building 200 E. Colfax Ave, Denver, Colorado

(I leave on a 5 pm plane for my daughter and home.)

9/14/09 Town Hall — Picnic 5:00 pm Washington Park Boathouse, E. Virginia Ave and S. Downing Street, Denver, Colorado

….and I don’t have the rest of the schedule, but caravan from Gettysburg to the White House on 9/30/09 and meet us in Lafayette Park in Washington DC on October 1, 2009!

Originally published on Everything2.