July 24, 2009, 10:00 pm

Valerie Jarrett, White House Senior Advisor Talks to Bloggers at BlogHer09

Valerie_Jarrett_official_portrait_smallI was honored to receive an unprecedented opportunity to hear a Senior Advisor to President Obama speak about his health care reform efforts at BlogHer 09.

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, spoke to an intimate group of bloggers at a luncheon today.

And I was 15 minutes late.

How humiliating! This was definitely not the event where one should be “fashionably late”.

Ms. Jarrett was totally cool though, and said “Come on in and tell us who you are!” Apparently I had just missed intros; the discussion was just starting.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

********************

Now I’ve been pretty clear about not wanting a government run health care system, and I attended the luncheon knowing I did not have a clear grasp on the President’s proposal. (I have downloaded the Bill, have not had a chance to finish it.) I wanted to keep an open mind; I wanted to learn as opposed to opine.

The best way to learn is to keep your mouth shut and listen. That is exactly what I did.

It was not easy.

*****

Ms. Jarrett is warm, sincere and truly passionate about the President’s efforts at health care reform;  Ms. Jarrett has full faith in the ability of the President to positively reform our health care system.

Now, if I heard and understood correctly, what the President wants is a public plan as an option; a choice to obtain health care coverage through the government should you find yourself unemployed/without any health care coverage.  Ms. Jarrett was adamant that the goal is not a single-payer government run plan, but there was some group questioning of (1) why the idea of a government plan is perceived as scary and (2) whether or not it would be tantamount to socialism and indeed, what would be wrong with that anyway. One blogger noted that she knew many Canadians who were happy with their health care.

These questions were more rhetorical in nature. Honestly, I don’t think time would have permitted in-depth discussion.

*****

There was discussion on how bloggers can get out the message of health care reform and ideas on how the President can best communicate his ideas to the public.  It was noted that the President is holding press conferences for which he is asking full coverage because he wants the entire story told, not just sound bytes.  (Side note: I found this interesting because just recently ABC News encamped in the White House for an entire day – and the topic was health care reform.)

I actually did have a question enter my mind, as I was intrigued by the idea that the public plan was an option: I wanted to know if one could move in and out of the public plan as desired, or were you stuck in the public plan once it was chosen.

I didn’t get a chance to ask, as the discussion moved forward with two bloggers sharing stories of their personal experiences with the health care system.  Very personal, heart wrenching stories. Their frustration and anguish was palpable. Ms. Jarrett listened with empathy; she truly cared about what my fellow bloggers had/were enduring.

I found out later that both bloggers left with her personal business card with her office number for them to call her directly after the conference.  That was impressive.

*****

So, some final thoughts.

I like Valerie Jarrett.  It was amazing that she took time to come and speak to us, and it was informative. She speaks straight, she is sincere and she seems very passionate and compassionate regarding health care reform.  I’m a bit more informed about what the President is looking for.  This was the advantage shutting up and listening. I don’t necessarily agree but I’m starting to at least get a hold of the concept.

Gratuitous political commentary: I think a little too much time was spent decrying the last administration. It’s over; time to move on.

Now for my totally off-the-cuff observation. I could not help but notice this was the exact opposite of my experience in DC last week. This was a full-on Obamafest, last week seemed like an “anything BUT Obamafest”. This week the “opposition” was putting out misinformation, last week the “opposition” was trying to cram a bill through before Congress could read it.

Is there no middle ground? Does it have to be this contentious? Maybe it’s the way of politics and I’m just now realizing it.

Between the two events, I guess I have now been exposed to a “fair and balanced” view of health care reform by Washington insiders.

So….why does it still feel like I have vertigo?

*****

This post was written from my own notes and memory. It was actually live-blogged in real time and if you would like to read the entire transcript, it is written here: Valerie Jarrett/Health Care Reform Live Blog BlogHer 09.

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

3 Comments

  • jacksmith
    jacksmith

    July 25, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    LEAD, FOLLOW, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY. (Thomas Paine)

    We have the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed world. Conservative estimates are that over 120,000 of you dies each year in America from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Insured and uninsured. Men, women, children, and babies. This is what being 37th in quality of healthcare means.

    I know that many of you are angry and frustrated that REPUBLICANS! In congress are dragging their feet and trying to block TRUE healthcare reform. What republicans want is just a taxpayer bailout of the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry, and the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry. A trillion dollar taxpayer funded private health insurance bailout is all you really get without a robust government-run public option available on day one.

    These industries have been slaughtering you and your loved ones like cattle for decades for profit. Including members of congress and their families. These REPUBLICANS are FOOLS!

    Republicans and their traitorous allies have been trying to make it look like it’s President Obama’s fault for the delays, and foot dragging. But I think you all know better than that. President Obama inherited one of the worst government catastrophes in American history from these REPUBLICANS! And President Obama has done a brilliant job of turning things around, and working his heart out for all of us.

    But Republicans think you are just a bunch of stupid, idiot, cash cows with short memories. Just like they did under the Bush administration when they helped Bush and Cheney rape America and the rest of the World.

    But you don’t have to put up with that. And this is what you can do. The Republicans below will be up for reelection on November 2, 2010. Just a little over 13 months from now. And many of you will be able to vote early. So pick some names and tell their voters that their representatives (by name) are obstructing TRUE healthcare reform. And are sellouts to the insurance and medical lobbyist.

    Ask them to contact their representatives and tell them that they are going to work to throw them out of office on November 2, 2010, if not before by impeachment, or recall elections. Doing this will give you something more to do to make things better in America. And it will help you feel better too.

    There are many resources on the internet that can help you find people to call and contact. For example, many social networking sites can be searched by state, city, or University. Be inventive and creative. I can think of many ways to do this. But be nice. These are your neighbors. And most will want to help.

    I know there are a few democrats that have been trying to obstruct TRUE healthcare reform too. But the main problem is the Bush Republicans. Removing them is the best thing tactically to do. On the other hand. If you can easily replace a democrat obstructionist with a supportive democrat, DO IT!

    You have been AMAZING!!! my people. Don’t loose heart. You knew it wasn’t going to be easy saving the World. :-)

    God Bless You

    jacksmith — Working Class

    Republican Senators up for re-election in 2010.

    * Richard Shelby of Alabama
    * Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
    * John McCain of Arizona
    * Mel Martinez of Florida
    * Johnny Isakson of Georgia
    * Mike Crapo of Idaho
    * Chuck Grassley of Iowa
    * Sam Brownback of Kansas
    * Jim Bunning of Kentucky
    * David Vitter of Louisiana
    * Kit Bond of Missouri
    * Judd Gregg of New Hampshire
    * Richard Burr of North Carolina
    * George Voinovich of Ohio
    * Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
    * Jim DeMint of South Carolina
    * John Thune of South Dakota
    * Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas
    * Bob Bennett of Utah


  • Am Ang Zhang
    Am Ang Zhang

    July 28, 2009 at 7:53 am

    Thank you for being part of the Tour de Grande Rounds.

    The Cockroach Catcher


  • Anna
    Anna

    July 30, 2009 at 5:50 am

    I really liked this post.

    I’m Canadian, so I don’t quite understand the health care situation down south. I appreciated the way you talked about this meeting, and the way you relayed your opinions and experience.

    I’m here via the Carnival.


About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

Continue reading »

Find Me On...
Twitter     Technorati

Subscribe to Emergiblog
Office of the National Nurse

Zippy Was Here


Healthcare Blogger Code of Ethics

  • Perspective
  • Confidentiality
  • Disclosure
  • Reliability
  • Courtesy

medbloggercode.com

I Support the Public Library of Science

RN Pocket Guide
Drexel Online Nursing Programs
Drexel Online Nursing Programs
Dr. Val
NaNoWriMo 2010
Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson Health Channel
Webicina
Nursing and Web 2.0
IOM Nursing Report



Health blogs

Medicine Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Alltop. Seriously?! I got in?

Health Blogs - Blog Rankings