2018: It’s Cold Outside
…and I’m not just talking about the weather.
CHCW workers performed admirably in 2017. Your efforts advanced our service and education missions in important ways. All the while, the collaboration between staff and Leaders to improve CHCW as a place to work and to receive care progressed, thanks to the incredible efforts of all to optimize our Ignite program. Within CHCW, the forecast looks warm and bright.
Unfortunately, the environment that we live in is looking colder and darker. We are here to serve the poor and those in need. We can’t do it alone, but they and the programs that they depend upon are under attack. We need to lift our voices to help them be heard.
Employment is high! That’s a good thing, and we hope that, with employment, people will have financial security and health insurance so that they can pursue health and wellness. But many low and middle income people will be left out.
We sincerely hope that the tax reforms recently passed will live up to hype and provide benefits for those in need. But the $1.5 TRILLION deficit created by the new law is causing, predictably, calls for reduction or elimination of the programs that the low income people depend upon, and that support the service they receive from us. The rhetoric in the other Washington is ramping up against Medicaid, Medicare, subsidies for insurance for low income people (aka: Obamacare) and more.
Not only are the proposed reductions in service cruel, they are short-sighted. For every dollar invested in essential health benefits, savings in downstream health care costs are multiplied. Spending on basic health services makes sense whether you are liberal, or a fiscal conservative.
The work we do will continue to be as important and meaningful as ever. But the results we can achieve will be equally dependent upon working to restore and preserve essential services for our patients. You are right to feel that our work is a noble and high calling. If you believe that politics is dirty and beneath you, get over it. It will take both care and advocacy to deliver outcomes for those in need.
I will be judicious about it, but I will call for action from time to time this year, Please help us to strike when the iron is hot, and forge positive change in health care policy.
Mike Maples, MD