Forum answers leave questions

To the editor:

I attended Monday’s Obama Health Care Forum sponsored by the Woman’s Club of Steubenville. There were many knowledgable speakers including representatives from health care, the insurance industry and government. The featured speaker, Sarah Poulton, director of constituent services for U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, gave an overview of the patient care act.

The main message from Poulton was that there is still a lot unknown about this act. There were then questions from the audience. Panel members attempted to answer the questions, but it was apparent that there is still much unknown about this act. One panel member, Jenne Wilson from Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office, was very supportive of the act. Wilson proudly stated that Brown helped to author parts of this bill and voted for it. Let’s look at the data she used to support this questionable legislation.

One of Wilson’s arguments for the bill was a study that she quoted about doctors in Texas. According to the report of this study, which was not published in a scientific journal but in a mainstream media outlet, two cities in Texas were studied. In one city the doctors frequently performed surgery to remove gallbladders instead of treating these patients with medications. The patients in the second city were treated with medications. I have been a nurse for 41 years, and to my knowledge, there is no medication to treat gallstones. When I questioned Wilson about the validity and reliability of the study, she gave me the doctor’s name and some information about his place of employment. She could not answer any questions about the study. In order to judge the credibility of this study, additional information needs to be known. One needs to know such information as the number of people who were treated by both methods, and any underlying medical conditions that the patients were experiencing. Without knowing this information and other important information, the results of this study are not a valid and reliable example of health care in the United States. Many people in the audience, including me, were appalled by her insinuation that physicians perform unnecessary surgery to make more money.

Another claim by Wilson was the number of Ohioans who have received previously denied health services since this legislation has been implemented. She did not cite the source(s) for her statistics, so we have no way of knowing if the numbers are accurate. Considering that she cited questionable research findings, I question the number of people in Ohio who have been helped by this legislation. It is quite apparent that Wilson’s presentation was biased in support of a monstrosity that her boss helped to author.

I applaud the woman’s club for hosting this forum. Unfortunately, we learned that we still do not know a lot about a mandate that will affect our personal health and quality of life. Remember that elections have consequences and we will be faced with dire consequences unless this monstrosity can be stopped.

Michalene A. King