Saturday, June 02, 2007

Live Blogging Round 2

Round 2 questions. Everyone was on time, moderator gave kudos.

Now people only get 30 seconds to answer questions, basically yes or no with a little elaboration. I don't like this format. I'll reorganize this later, just trying to keep up.

Q: fast tracking drugs sounded like good idea, is it worth cost?

Tsongas: not with this FDA, they've failed. There's always a need for people who need expiramental treatments, need to look into that.

Finegold: need to streamline fda, but not at risk of not testing drugs properly. Red tape can be concern, but still needs to be safe.

Donoghue: Doesn't support it. Vioxx caused lots of sufferring, etc. Safety concerns outweights benefits.

Miceli: hasn't worked. An emphatic no. Expiramental drugs should be available if there's no other remedy.

Eldridge: under current FDA, a definate no. Need fed gov't supporting bulk drugs, to make it cheaper. Kinda unrelated, but did somehow, sort of relate it... don't ask me to explain =p

Q: Is fed gov't doing enough for avain flu

Finegold: no and no w/state. Is serious epidemic.

Donoghue: not doing enough, fed gov't hasn't funded. Need stockpiles of beds, med needs, etc. Hospitals cannot sustain surge avain flu outbreak or other things.. or even natural disasters.

Miceli: no. Katrina - no transparency of responsibility. No leadership. Same thing with here.

Eldrige: Gov't needs to do more. Stockpile drugs, etc. USDA must hire more to go out to where poultry is produced, that's where the problem starts. Mass used to have best health infrastructure in country, but it's failed as of yet. Supports gov't patrick's plans to add to services.

Tsongas: It's going to come, we don't know when, but we need to plan for it. Shared responsibility. Middlesex Community College, where she works, discussed how they'd respond.

This was a silly question.

Q: Position on tort reform on medical malpractice.

Donoghue: increases in costs has little to do with malpractice. 100,000 deaths in country due to avoidable medical error. Depends on details, but skeptical. Applause.

Miceli: Doctors practicing defensive medicine, look at case and worry about malpractice. Doesn't want to shut people out, but needs to look at situation. He obviously supports tort reform, but was being polite about it. Some sort of a schedual to hold doctor harmless in certain respects. Weird? I want to know more about that.

Eldrige: Tort reform is in the republican playbook. Universal healthcare would be best system to prevent against a lot of these costs, would reinburse doctors.

Tsongas: only would favor it in developing systems approach, developing culture of safety, etc. Doesn't single out doctor, but allows them to be part of the team (the system approach). Until then, reform isn't appropriate. Just as weird as Mecelli.

Finegold: stop frivilous practices. Insurnace rates are too high - why are they going up. It is a major concern, esp gynocologists. Small applause.

This should have been a 1-2 minute question.

Q: Expand on what, if any, part of problem of cost lies at the doorstep of positions:

Miceli: way they're practicing medicine. Defensive medicine.
Eldridge; Not doctors fault, the problem is the system (makes them practice defensive medicine) and too much administrative costs.

Tsongas: Less tests when not needed. Lower costs forms of treatment. Cost containment.

Finegold: Admires what doctors do... I guess he doesn't find them at fault for costs. Needs more funding.

Donoghue: doesn't blame doctors either. Trustee of community hospital (should have mentioned that earlier). Often hospital has to eat time not covered by gaps in system.

Q: What types of restrictions favored on abortion:

Eldridge: Fully supports roe v. wade. 100% NARAL record. Extremely concerned about SCOTUS. Blames nat'l Dems. Needs Dem President to reverse SCOTUS. Huge applause.

Tsongas: Supports roe v. wade. Emily's list endorsement. Blamed suprreme court. Be 'ever vigilent"

Finegold: Gov't stay out of our bedroom and stay out of our rights.

Donoghue: "Ditto" she agrees with everyone else.

Miceli: He's pro-life. Voted for stem cell research, but would support abortion if mother's life at risk.

Round 3:

15 Second Questions. Ewww. This was almost a 2 hour debate. Why?

Q Do you support medical marajuana: no, but not criminalization either.

Finegold: yes, needs good dist. system. Some concerns (oxyconton, etc.)

Donoghue: at present, no. Legality, quality, control problems. Sympathizes, but says there are other drugs. "That's where I'm at right now."

Miceli: I don't know how you'd contorl it. No.

Eldridge: Yes, he would. Doctors can provide oxyconton, but not marajuana? Big applause.

Personal note on all of them: Control problems? We can't control it now, so throw that out the window.

Q: Bush's Stem Cell position:

None of them support it, including Micelli. Needs more research, not less.

Q: Needle exchange programs, do you support?

Donoghue: HIV rate high in lowell. Looking into it, don't need perscription program if it doesn't support it.

Meceli: no.

Eldridge: Yes, proud to support over the counter. Science is there, reduces disease being spread. Don't ignore the science. Big applause. The crowd likes him.

Tsongas: Needle exchange program has been effective, bringing addicts into system. Hasn't increased crime, etc. Would expand pilot programs. Good applause.

Finegold: Yes.

This was an interesting question and could have used more time.

Q: Importation of drugs from Canada

All yes, except for Finegold. He says we need to cut down on our own prices, good applause (no ads). Tsongas says they need to make sure they're safe. They do come from America, so I'd suggest to her they are.

Q: Health spending accounts, support?

Eldrige: Republican talking point: no. Need nat'l system.

Tsongas: no, supports edward's plan.

Finegold: can't be used for substitute for health care. Tentative yes, doesn't like republican plans for them.

Donoghue: no. How do you know when you're going to get sick and how much it's going to get cost.

Miceli: absolutely not. Mentioned "golden rule" - a company that would have been disaster.

Round 4: End of quicky answers. Audience questions now.

Q: Why is political debate focused on the market, when the're not helping things (Kind of missed some of this question).

Tsongas: we have to contend with political realities. Past has shown it won't work. Massachusetts's success = emerging consensus (it's not going to work though, IMHO).

Cost of insurance tied to cost of care. (I'd like to see them lower costs. I won't hold my breath, even if costs go down.)

Finegold: Health Markets will offer choice between public or private system. IN the end, most efficient system will win out. AMount of time to spend to find best plan is difficult and costly, confusing, etc. Large buying pools is good too, lowers costs all around.

Donoghue: Medicare, VA, etc. efficient systems. If the political will were there, she'd support it. Will fight for it, if elected, but in mean time will go toward efficient access.

Meceli: Public versus private, everything has to be on the table. Still a lot of questions and would keep everything in the mix.

Eldridge: going down to Capitol Hill to show political leadership. Medicare is universal health care. Recognizes mass helath law did little to reduce costs and already a lot of people are being exempted because costs are too high. Applause.

Q: Would anyone not support a change in medicare part d, to negotiate costs as an entire medicare system.

Unanamous no.

Q: Same-sex couples are single according to medicare. No protection for joint income. What would you do in congress to protect it.

Finegold: strong supporter of gay rights, would support any type of leg to help gay people out to get everyone the care they deserve.

Donoghue: expand federal rights to massachusetts same-sex couples.

Miceli: wouldn't support it.

Eldridge: leader in HoR in standing for gay rights. Huge applause. 4th whip in ConCon. Still couples in Massachusetts that aren't allowed to receive benefits - the federal employees. Marty Meehan has shown leadership, DADT, he'll be "the lead sponsir in congress." Kudos. Big applause.

Tsongas: supports marriage equality and all the rights that go with it. Would work against DADT, DOMA. Good applause.

Q: Mentally ill, post-dramatic stress disorder, including of reporting troops. Big question, so she gave the card to the candidates.

Donoghue: needs more beds, treatment, in-patient treatment doesn't exist. First act in congress would be updated GI bill of rights. Good applause. Education, unemployment, health care, etc.

Finegold: 26.6% of adults have mental illnesses. We need to destigmatize it, like we did with cancer. Applauded Senator who came out about his mental problems. Insurance must cover all mental illness ailments. Ditto Donohue on veterans.

Tsongas: agrees. Bush adminstration = caused a tragedy in their treatment of returning veterans. Good applause.

Eldridge: Proud to be a mass resident/legislator. Mental health parity law, requiring care from HMOs. Universal health care will provide mental health coverage. Untreated mental illnesses - lead to prison, high expenses, etc.

Miceli: Walter Reed Hospital was bad... etc. He has one of the largest mental health facilities in his district, he's strongly advocated for it. Not happy with what's been done on nat'l level, owe returning veterans better.

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