Dennis Smith was appointed by Governor Scott Walker to serve as Secretary of the Department of Health Services on January 3, 2011. He rolled up his sleeves and jumped right into the work at hand. Smith has been laying the groundwork for changes to Medicaid for many years. He has an impressive resume to support his credentials as an expert on this subject. As we now know, no time was wasted on drafting the Budget Repair Bill which will give Smith unprecedented power to make the changes he has outlined over the years in his various roles as a Medicaid Representative.
Eye Opening Research
Something kept popping up as I was doing my research and that was Smiths connection to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that proudly and prominently features Rush Limbaugh and Shawn Hannity as members on their opening page. I found some comments on their 'about us' page rather interesting:
We generate solutions consistent with our beliefs and market them to the Congress, the Executive Branch, the news media and others.
We believe that ideas have consequences, but that those ideas must be promoted aggressively.
We constantly try innovative ways to market our ideas.
As a product demonstrator, it's my job to aggressively promote the products my company represents. My job is to convince you to buy a product you may not have considered purchasing otherwise. I show you all the bells and whistles and how shiny and new it is and explain how this product will make your life better, save you time and money. Sounds nice doesn't it? Except that product might have hidden costs to you as a consumer later on, but, by then you're convinced you can't live without it. Don't get me wrong, I love doing product demonstrations, but I have also fallen victim to my own hype as I just described. The difference is what I promote is an object, a material possession, people can and have said no to it. What the Heritage Foundation 'aggressively promotes' is their beliefs which as most people will tell you are subjective. They don't give you the option of saying no. Which leads me to my next point.
PLEASE READ THIS!
I will let their 'objectives' speak for themselves. Phrases like: generate public pressure, change the public's view of entitlements, convincing Americans that raising taxes harms growth and jobs, should concern us all. They are 'aggressively' promoting their 'beliefs' and it has resulted in them gaining major victories.
Where is the Humanity?
As I was reading the articles published by Smith, that are posted on the Heritage Foundations website I noticed that at one point it seemed as if he understood the 'human' aspect of what health care is about. Then it becomes apparent that something changed and it became more about a political agenda. The human element was removed in favor of privatization and aligning himself with a specific group intent on a power grab. It's sad to see someone lose their humanity. I wonder if as a father of four daughters, he is willing to subject them to the same rules he is now proposing that 1.2 million residents will have to endure, including limiting funding for end stage renal failure, which is a death sentence. How do you make those decisions as a parent, a representative, as a human? Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has already made this decision and two people have died, she is now facing a recall.
What frustrates and scares those of us that rely on Medicaid here in Wisconsin is the lack of details from Smith. What we do know is that funding for mental health is gutted. This affects my son, as it is, he is not able to get counseling because it is not covered under the Core Plan. He suffers in silence and hides from the world, unable to get the help he needs to be a functioning member of society. The system is heartless and cruel to those most in need and it appears it will get worse. I would love to be wrong, but as I mentioned in my first post, the powers that be seem to have no interest in what the residents of this State have to say. Time will tell what happens to us.
Thank you for your time today.