Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has staked his claim in the health care debate, stressing “patient-centered care” and making solid arguments based on programs he says are working in Colorado. But it’s already campaign season on the ground in the state and Bennet’s senate floor speeches aren’t likely to ease doubts about his stump skills.
In May, Bennet introduced the Medicare Care Transitions Act of 2009, which seeks to emphasize education so that patients and their caregivers know what kind of symptoms to look for and how to act on them fast to avoid grave illness and spiraling expenses.
This from his Web site:
For every five Medicare patients released from the hospital, one is re-admitted within a month, and more than three-quarters of these readmissions are preventable. This alone costs Medicare more than $17 billion dollars every year. Too many patients do not receive coordinated care and feel lost in the system.
And here’s an excerpt from a speech on the floor of the Senate that Bennet delivered earlier this month:
We need care that views nurses, doctors and family members not as isolated caregivers but as partners on a team whose ultimate goal is to make sure patients get the guidance and care they need. Hospitals aren’t the problem. Primary-care physicians aren’t the problem. And nurses aren’t the problem. Our fragmented delivery system of care is the problem.
Sounds good. Watch the video, though, and the words “accidental senator” begin to hover in the air. That’s the title Colorado Republicans have given Bennet in reference to the fact that he was appointed to his seat by Gov. Ritter and has never run for office.
In the video, Bennet looks like a speech-writer filling in for a speech-giver, which may be refreshing on one level, but Bennet has got to do a whole lot better than this on the stump if he’s going to face down the “accidental senator” tag and stand up to a firebrand opponent like Weld County D.A. Ken Buck, who soon will be pushing hot-button issues like gun rights and anti-illegal immigration measures in town-halls across the state.