Smithfield Group Comes Up With Recommendations For Obama


About 20 people met in Smithfield Monday night to come up with suggestions on how to reform the healthcare system.

Participants included doctors, pharmacists, and several uninsured people.

President-elect Barack Obama's transition team asked that communities across the country meet and offer ideas for creating universal and affordable healthcare.

More than 45 million Americans did not have health insurance in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Smithfield group talked about the importance of preventive care, personal responsibility, and reducing the cost of medical care.

Dr. Steven Landau, who organized the meeting, said the experts can't solve the healthcare problem alone.

"We have to get everybody who is involved, who can give feedback about the problems, making the suggestions."

The group wrote up the following recommendations and will send them to Washington:

1. Our government needs to provide incentives, both positive and negative, for people to care for their own health. These could include tax credits or other rewards for exercise, weight management, smoking cessation, etc. Additionally, employers should be provided with similar reasons to incentivize their employees in a like manner.

2. A single-payer system was recommended to provide all with a minimum level of health care, with the proviso that those with some extra money should be able to purchase more expensive options and get private insurance as well to supplement it. This would perhaps be similar to Medicare for all, with perks for those who could afford it.

3. Schools should teach and inculcate good health practices, including diet and exercise, not only in class but in demonstration/participation projects designed to give the students the actual experience of healthy living. This would also include proper cafeteria food, gardening vegetables, and avoidance of high-calorie low-nutrient foods like sodas and candy in the schools and vending machines.

4. There should be a ban on direct advertising to patients of prescription medicines on television and other public media. The notion that a pill can correct a person's poor lifestyle choices needs to be corrected, since it is not true.

5. Medicare and other government agencies need to be able to negotiate prices for prescription medicines. Insurance company rebates to pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies need to be investigated for their propriety.

6. There should be a cap on insurance premiums.

7. There should be strong incentives for people to go into primary care specialties, as well as incentives for them to engage more in preventive medicine.

For further information contact Dr. Steven Landau at (919)-209-9930 or

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