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Health | Opinion
Mark Trahant: Ideas for health care reform


"Where do ideas come from?

When it comes to discussions about health care reform – strike that, this is now officially an “insurance reform” proposal – lobbyists, company bosses, experts, attorneys, bureaucrats and politicians dictate the sentences in the conversations. Across the country voices from town halls only serve to add spice to the narrative. The deal will be struck based on the simple but absolute requirement in politics: What will earn enough support to pass Congress?

But last week Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer tossed out another idea. I don’t think he was talking about health care – but he should have been – when he said that the Obama administration should listen to the tribes to sort out the complicated issues facing the country.

“In the heartland in a place like Montana, we have people who have lived sustainably on the land and they may well have the ideas of the future. All great ideas don't start in Washington, D.C.," Schweitzer said.

I wonder what the town halls had been like had the president heard and followed this advice. The discussions certainly would have been more about health care than insurance if the conversation included clients from one of the half-dozen Indian Health Service units in Montana. Indeed, there are only three segments of the U.S. population that now receive direct “government-run” health care: Native Americans, Veterans and inmates in federal prisons."

Get the Story:
Where do ideas come from? A bill’s history (Mark Trahant 8/17)

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Mark Trahant: Health care from a different view (8/4)
Mark Trahant: Indian businesses and health care (7/28)
Mark Trahant: First Americans are last in health (7/21)
Mark Trahant: Getting into Indian health reform (7/14)
Mark Trahant: Lessons from Indian Country health (7/10)
Mark Trahant: IHS isn't broken, just underfunded (7/9)
Mark Trahant: Indian health care at the local level (7/8)