Four health reform activists from across the United States have organized a super PAC, The American Health Security Project, which is intended to make better, simpler, cheaper health care for all Americans a political reality. Donations will be solicited from the growing population of Americans, now numbering in the tens of millions, who have recognized that health care business as usual in the United States is too expensive, administratively wasteful, and, in many cases, actually harmful to patients. All funds donated to this political action committee will be used to bring political pressure to bear upon state and federal elected officials all over the United States, inducing them to stop supporting the medical industrial complex or face unelection. The American Health Security Project will also use funds to support ballot initiatives at the state level which are designed to sustainably reform health care delivery and guarantee health care for all.
The four health reform activists are from Pennsylvania (Lisa Theobald), Washington (Laura Fielding and Georgia Davenport), and Utah (Joseph Jarvis).
Ms. Theobald is a former Fiduciary Officer of two health care providers, one a nonprofit and the other a mid-sized company, and has experience in the health insurance industry. She’s a former auditor, federal tax consultant, and has worked in the banking industry from 2001 to 2009. From her unique perspective she can see the parallels between the derivatives of the investments which caused the financial crash of 2008 and the current health insurance industry takeover and vertical integration of our health care delivery system. She is a mother, wife and full time activist in the movement for better, simpler, cheaper health care for all Americans.
Ms. Fielding grew her roots as a future healthcare justice activist by observing health systems in countries which guarantee health care as a right to the citizenry while serving in the United States Air Force on active duty and later as a military spouse. She is currently practicing holistic health at Marconi Chiropractic and Wellness and lives with her husband and son. She is the founding director of Red Berets Medicare for All, a coalition of hand workers and artisans across the country who use their handcrafting as an advocacy vehicle for universal and sustainable health care in America.
Georgia Davenport is a former democratic nominee for the Washington State House of Representatives. She is the founder of Whole Washington, a non-profit advocacy organization bringing better, simpler, cheaper health care to all residents of the Evergreen State through legislation and ballot initiatives.
Joseph Q. Jarvis MD MSPH is a former national board member for Physicians for a National Health Program and currently sits on the board of directors for One Payer States. Dr. Jarvis served as the State Health Officer for Nevada and has experience as a family physician serving low income communities and as a faculty member with a referral based specialty practice at an academic medical center. He was twice nominated as a Republican candidate for the Utah Legislature. His book, The Purple World: Healing the Harm in American Health Care, tells the story of how a politically conservative public health physician came to understand what’s wrong with American health care and what reforms are needed. Dr. Jarvis has been advocating for better, simpler, cheaper health care for all Americans for thirty years. He will release a second book about American health system reform, “For the Hurt of My People”, in August 2022.
Health care delivery in the United States has been held hostage by profiteering corporate interests for 75 years. Health care costs in the US have skyrocketed with per person expenditures double that of the average other first world country. About 70% of the funds spent on health care are from public sources; Americans pay higher taxes for health care than do the citizens of any other nation. High health care costs in the US are due to inefficient health system financing and poor quality care.
Dr. Jarvis notes that “business as usual in American health care wastes $500 billion each year on massive administrative waste and another $700 billion each year on waste due to poor quality care, such as clinically inappropriate care, poor patient safety, and failure to uniformly follow known clinical science in health care delivery.”
Polling across the entire United States reveals that Americans everywhere, regardless of their political leaning or socio-economic status, and no matter their personal characteristics, beliefs, or choices, are deeply insecure about health care. All Americans worry about what health care in the United States costs and whether we will be able to afford care for ourselves and our family when the time comes that we need help.
Ms. Theobald opines that “we Americans have come to doubt whether for-profit health care institutions have the patient’s best interests at the forefront of health care delivery, or instead are simply intent on making a sale no matter the consequences to the sick and injured.”
Despite spending far more of our gross domestic product on health care than any other nation, American patients are more likely to die from illness and injury conditions amenable to known clinical interventions than are the patients who live in any other developed nation.
Ms. Davenport comments that “it is long past due that our country join the rest of the developed world by providing health security to the American people.”
The major flaw in American health policy is the pretense that market forces and competition will magically cure all the ills of business as usual in American health care. The pretense of market economies in health care delivery induces perverse incentives for health systems to offer inefficient, mediocre quality services leading to higher and higher prices. Unlike a real market, pricing in health care is unrelated to demand. Lowering prices in health care does not increase demand for services; no one buys an appendectomy because it is on sale. And raising prices does not decrease demand for health care goods and services, it merely bankrupts the families of patients with life threatening illness and injury. To pretend that healthcare is delivered efficiently through markets is to guarantee that patients and their families will suffer.
Ms. Fielding says that “it was a national embarrassment for her while serving in the US Air Force in countries with guaranteed health care for their citizens when people would ask her how she could be proud of a country that leaves so many of its people without resources when they are ill or injured.”
Across the United States many proposals for arranging better, simpler, cheaper health care for all have surfaced, with many millions of Americans embracing these concepts. Washington, Oregon, Maine, California, New York, and several other states have large, active advocacy groups pushing hard for sustainable health system reform guaranteeing medically necessary care with no point of service out of pocket costs. What these groups need is a well funded political organization to put needed muscle into the growing movement for health security for all Americans. The American Health Security Project will articulate the failings of business as usual in American health care, support the state based movements for better, simpler, cheaper care, and elect a generation of leaders who will make change happen in Congress and across the nation in state legislatures.