Sunday, June 21, 2009

Building a better future

With a few glitches, we made it through the first week. We thank you all for your support, enthusiasm, patience and most of all, for your appetite.

Emma, Flora and I spent the week in Washington, DC. Emma presented her National History Day documentary on Margaret Sanger. We enjoyed the sites and during a photo opportunity with Senator Snowe, I peppered her with a few questions on her work with the Senate Finance Committee. For some reason I don't have photos to show. But back at the farm John took some shots of another kind of work:Back to Politics. I try to keep the writing on the blog to issues pertaining to food and agriculture, but I want to mention health care because as my friend Russel Libby pointed out, eating well is health care, going to the hospital is sick care.
2nd picture from the farm...In the 2.5 minutes that we were given with our senator, I managed to garner a few tidbits of information. The Senate Finance Committee will be responsible for determining a funding plan for whatever health care reform proposal that emerges. According to the Senator, the cost will be somewhere between 1 and 2 trillion dollars over the course of 10 years. (The difference between 1 and 2 trillion dollars seems... substantial to me...) I asked her about the response she is receiving from Mainers regarding health care reform. She replied that her office has received only 1400 letters regarding this matter and all speak to the need for some type of reform but fail to offer any consistent message as to the means of achieving it.
Here's where I get up on my soap box for a few minutes...

  • As a state, I believe we stand the most chance of sustaining our economy with the development of small, entrepreneurial business opportunities. With an employer-based health care system, this will never happen. The fear associated with leaving the workforce to experiment with a new business idea is a challenging paradigm to overcome. Determining the path to affording the experiment can be paralyzing. We need to urge our Congress to support a non-employer based model in an attempt to increase the development of our state's independent, small businesses.
  • Our for-profit health insurance companies are in the business of insuring the healthy. Denying claims, increasing premiums, increasing deductibles and slashing benefits. There are very few reasons why they would support any other model for covering the expense of providing health care that what we currently have. Their lobby is rich and powerful. In addition to the insurance industry lobby, the hospital association lobby and the pharmaceutical industry lobby also prove to be a force to reckon with, all standing to lose a substantial profit if we reform our health care system to include a government option.
  • Finally, I want to share a true, sad, little vignette with you to illustrate that even if you have insurance, work hard to do the right thing, if you get sick, you probably won't be covered. A family in our community is struggling. The mom has a medical condition that has landed her 56 days of time in the hospital this past year. She worked hard as a nurse before getting sick. Her husband is self-employed and she provides the coverage for the family. When her illness sent her to the hospital, she had to leave her job. They activated their COBRA insurance and are now close to the deadline of the insurance running out. Her long term disability claim was denied, despite her surgeries, hospitalizations and need for skilled home nursing care. What does this mean for the family? When their insurance ends, if her disability appeal is not honored, they will surely go bankrupt if she is to continue to seek the care she needs. This is a middle class family, hard working folks doing the right thing and following the scripted plan many Americans choose in an attempt to insure they receive care when they truly need it.
Here's the pitch.....please write to our Maine Senators and Representatives and urge them to support a health care reform package that does not force us to go bankrupt to access health care when we need it and helps to decrease the profit model associated with our current system. Rising health care costs make someone, somewhere wealthier. Encourage Snow, Collins, Michaud and Pingree not to cave to the industry lobbyists. Urge support for a non-employer based health care reform.
Point being: with all hands working together, we can build a health care system that shelters all of us....
If you've made it this far, thank you for your patience with my soap box moment. I PROMISE next week: recipes instead!
But... like I said, real health care starts with healthy food.

This week's harvest:
Green Onions
Garlic Scapes
Napa Cabbage
Basil Seedlings

The struggle of farming is 90% dealing with the weather, and 9% raising crops (the other 1% is armed conflict with predators just because any struggle has to have some guns right?) Today the Portland Press Herald placed their annual call in to Broadturn Farm to ask "How the weather is affecting our farm." Honestly, the more times you read about Broadturn Farm in the paper is only an indication of journalistic habit than any real news-worthiness, but we oblige regardless... Anyway, in case you don't get tomorrow's paper, the weather is... rain, rain, and more rain. The effect is slow growth, or no growth, and sometimes death. I won't depress anyone with the details unless you ask. The weather is hardly ever perfect (except in California and in our hoop houses).

Blessings on the meal,
Stacy and John

1 comment:

  1. I recently found your blog when checking on the strawberry crop and came back to see what else might be happening at the farm! Thanks for your impassioned post and thoughtful discussion of health care. I agree that the creative/entrepreneurial/self-employed model will become increasingly important to us, and hope to encourage my kids that way as they grow and develop interests... Having paid into the ridiculous self-insured program (via Anthem) "between jobs" your proposal seems a desirable option. Did the senator have anything specific to say about this, or did you not have the chance to propose it to her? Best to you (and some sun too), annette (I was at the farm picking 25# strawberries Sunday afternoon in the rain with my family -- thanks for sharing the chicks and ducks too!)