A labor union president once told me that the worst Democrat in Congress, at least from the point of view of ordinary working families, is Oklahoma reactionary Dan Boren. I’ve never been able to find anyone to persuade me that he was wrong. The video above should explain that pretty well.
Today Blue America is very proud to present the courageous populist who’s decided Boren doesn’t deserve a free ride from Oklahoma Democrats. State Senator Jim Wilson, long considered Oklahoma’s most pro-family state legislator, made up his mind after Boren voted in favor of the anti-Choice Stupak amendment and then against the overall healthcare reform bill– twice. Healthcare reform has been one of Jim’s signature issues as a state Rep and state Senator. He’ll be joining is for a free-ranging discussion below in the comments section.
Jim, whose political career has been dedicated to the most needy in his community and who has fought a long and unrelenting battle on behalf of public education, the environment and health care reform, decided to take the plunge into national politics when his congressman, Dan Boren, once again joined the Republican Party in trying to derail healthcare reform.
“I’ve been working on healthcare in the state legislature for 10 years,” Jim told me. “Oklahoma ranks 50th in overall delivery of healthcare statewide… Health care costs are escalating at the compound rate of 6.7% per year. This year’s increase for every man, woman and child, directly or indirectly, is $428. That represents income that can’t be used elsewhere in the economy which removes, to some extent, discretionary spending which in turn hurts other business or quality of life segments.”
There doesn’t seem to be a resulting justification for the increased expenditures. One-third of health care spending doesn’t seem to help or prevent sickness. If in Oklahoma we were to return the waste in health care to the people, the savings would be equivalent to all the state taxes paid by individuals and businesses. In Oklahoma we have in statute a floor of 60% for a medical loss ratio. The new federal reform legislation will require a medical loss ratio of not less than 85% for big groups and not less than 80% for small groups. The savings in Oklahoma will be at least $210 million.
Just automating health records in Oklahoma would save $800 million and 750 lives annually. Nationally we have one medical error per patient day and have an 80% error rate on provider billing. Cleveland clinic has to have 1,400 clerks to support 2,000 doctors– and it’s more cost effective than any other major provider with the possible exception of Mayo and the VA.
To improve quality of life for our citizens we should strive to improve disposable income. If we are resistant to increased pay or if increases in pay are mitigated by rising health care costs, we owe it to the citizens to make the health care system more efficient which will produce better health outcomes at less cost.
Jim, a former combat marine in Vietnam, who walked away with the valuable lessons of that tragic conflict, would be another voice of reason in Congress regarding Afghanistan. His astonishingly progressive record in Oklahoma shows what kind of a Member of Congress he would be. We can be absolutely certain we’d be trading in the worst Democrat for someone who will be giving Members like Alan Grayson and Raul Grijalva a run for their money! After Boren crossed the aisle again to support Boehner, Wall Street and the GOP in their jihad against regulating the money-changers in the temple, Jim issued a simple and direct statement that shows the contrast between the two of them:
“While driving around Eastern Oklahoma in my pickup truck, I have met thousands of people whose lives were ruined by the crash just two years ago. How can Dan Boren forget about those people and vote for his donors instead? It’s a shame that he’s been in Washington so long he’s forgotten about the people in Eastern Oklahoma… This is common sense legislation. I have not met a single person on the campaign trail begging me to be compassionate to Wall Street. Dan Boren needs to spend less time in Washington with his Wall Street lobbyist friends and more time in Eastern Oklahoma.”
The last two mangy Blue Dogs we’re trying to dislodge in this cycle are John Barrow– who faces off against Regina Thomas on July 20– and then Boren, who will be facing Jim on July 27. If you can, please consider donating to his campaign so that Jim can continue getting out his message to Oklahoma Democrats. By the way, that labor union president I referred to above? Nowhere to be seen on this race– or in Regina’s. I guess we should be happy his union isn’t endorsing their Blue Dog opponents this time.