From Montana: 8/16/07
Thanks to all of you who commented and wished me luck. I quickly reviewed all the comments. It’s clear the pandemic influenza blog is still generating conversation.
Several of you expressed interest in Tamiflu being an over the counter drug. I don’t possess the technical background to detail the challenges presented by that idea, however, I feel certain its status as a serious antiviral is a significant barrier.
I can’t remember if I mentioned on the pandemic blog that we are testing various distribution alternatives, including making available medical home kits with personal supplies of various emergency medications. CDC actually designed the kit and we have placed 5,000 of them in homes. We need to assure that families don’t break them open and use the medications etc. in advance of a true emergency. I’m told the first phases of the test have gone well.
We’ve also tested postal service delivery of medications in emergency situations in two cities with a third test scheduled soon. Those have been extremely instructive.
Tonight I’m sitting in a hotel room in Montana. I’ve got the television on in the background. Ironically, Charlie Rose’s program is about pandemic influenza. He has David Nabarro, Jeff Koplin, Larry Brilliant and a couple of others on. It’s a very thoughtful discussion.
My primary reason for being in Montana was to work with Senator Max Baucus. We visited a Boys and Girls Club in Bozeman.
One of the blog comments I read tonight was from Goju who referred to herself as “an ordinary mom,” and said she was glad to have her health care concerns heard. The event I did with Senator Baucus was an opportunity he provided to hear from several “ordinary moms” about SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program). Their situations were all a little different but all expressed how important it was to them.
They are right; SCHIP needs to be reauthorized before September 30th so no child’s coverage is endangered. There is significant disagreement right now between the Senate, House and Administration on what constitutes a low income child. We need to get reauthorization done and then get on with the question of how we solve the problem for adults and children who aren’t eligible for SCHIP or other programs for those in hardship.
I am a passionate believer that our nation, in a relatively short period of time, could organize a system so that every American could have access to affordable health insurance coverage; a topic for another night.
Friday, I’m headed to Africa. I hope to use this blog to record some of my feelings and experiences.