September 25, 2012
Six weeks. 42 days. A little over 1,000 hours. That’s how much time is left before voting wraps up in the November 6 election. Early voting starts on October 22.
There’s an awful lot at stake on the ballot, even items that are way below the Presidential race. But don’t just take my word for it. Ask the cast of the West Wing:
Sure, it’s an ad for a judicial candidate in Michigan. But it makes the point. (Plus, it’s four minutes where we get to pretend that the West Wing is still on TV. Not bad for a Tuesday morning.)
My personal focus and passion, of course, is Proposition 1, the initiative that’ll help keep Austin and Travis County families and individuals healthy by supporting a new medical school at UT, creating a pipeline of new doctors to serve our community, and funding a number of efforts to help folks who are uninsured and underserved avoid expensive trips to the emergency room. It’ll also add options for treating major illnesses – helping Central Texans take advantage of cutting-edge treatments without traveling to another far-off city – and create roughly 15,000 permanent jobs and $2 billion in economic prosperity.
Check out www.HealthyATX.org to learn more about how Central Texans have been touched by healthcare issues and what a significant investment in health care could mean for this community. And you can learn more about the effort to pass Prop 1 at www.KeepAustinHealthy.org.
I’ve really got to brag on the list of groups endorsing Prop 1. I think it’s a great representation of our community – and the list keeps growing:
Travis County Democratic Party
Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce
Austin Central Labor Council
Cap City African American Chamber
Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber
Austin Tejano Democrats
Austin Travis County EMS Association
Hispanic Physicians Association of Austin
Lance Armstrong Foundation
Downtown Austin Alliance
Real Estate Council of Austin
Austin ECHO (Ending Community Homelessness Coalition)
Children’s Medical Center Foundation
Austin Environmental Democrats
Central Austin Democrats
North By Northwest Democrats
Austin Urban League
National Association of Black Accountants
Black Austin Democrats
Capital Area Asian American Democrats
Austin Progressive Coalition
Capital Area Progressive Democrats
South Austin Democrats
Austin Young Democrats
Lake Travis Democrats
The Daily Texan
… And a list of more than 400 physicians.
What a list! I don’t recall ever being associated with a project that had such a broad base of support across the community. It’s great to be a part of it.
There’s also been a fair amount of press on Prop 1 over the past few weeks. Here’s some of what you may have missed:
Medical school a plus (Daily Texan editorial endorsing Prop 1): “While Austin enjoys a robust health care infrastructure, the city and UT students will still benefit from the development of a leading medical school and associated research hospital. The school will not only increase access to health care for residents of Central Texas who travel to Austin for advanced medical treatment, but will also replace the aging and overtaxed facilities at University Medical Center – Brackenridge.”
The Med School Solution (In-depth Austin Chronicle story looking at what Prop 1 could mean for all of Travis County, including historically neglected areas such as Dove Springs): Central Health President and CEO Patricia Young Brown “sees the medical school, and all that it will bring with it, as an opportunity for Travis County to partner with other agencies so that it can extend its reach in the community. She points to the lack of physicians in the area, the first-class residents that supporters hope the medical school will attract, the programs that already exist in the community, and the leverage offered by the federal 1115 waivers. ‘We’re really taking advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of opportunities,’ she says. ‘We’re using the waiver dollars to serve the population that we are responsible for.’ ”
The Doctors (Could Be) In Austin… (Great overview of the issue and effort by the Texas Exes’ Alcalde Magazine): “UT missed its chance at a medical school more than a century ago. Now our time has come again. Here, see the resources UT already has in place and the successes from elsewhere it could replicate. Then meet the key players behind the medical school—and find out what it could offer our University, Austin, and Texas.”
Austin’s medical school: The big players and what’s next (Austin Business Journal article looking at the “Six Degrees of Kirk” origins of this effort): “Efforts had been underway for years to try to drive a medical school and teaching hospital forward, but the big bang was Watson taking the reins, said Seton Medical Center Austin and University Medical Center Brackenridge President and CEO Greg Hartman . . . Watson pulled together leaders from UT, Seton Healthcare, Central Health, and other health and business-oriented organizations to work together, hoping for the same kind of results. ‘I can’t imagine putting such a deal together without being able to rely on people who know each other well enough to work through any issue, no matter how tangled.’ ”
TCDP endorses Keep Austin Healthy (Newsletter from Travis County Democratic Party Chair Andy Brown on why Democrats – along with business and advocacy groups – are overwhelmingly supporting Prop 1): “Prop 1 will improve health care for you and your family, create more healthcare options so you won’t have to travel to other cities for treatment, support a new medical school at UT-Austin, create 15,000 jobs at all skill levels and dramatically improve health care for the uninsured and under-insured — saving taxpayers money as more folks avoid the emergency room.”
That’s a lot to catch up on, and there’s going to be a lot more happening over the next six weeks. Please stay involved, keep in touch, and tell your friends, family, neighbors, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and anyone else you can think of to support Prop 1.