Last night I had a pretty good honor bestowed upon me without anyone really noticing it other than me.

I went to a political fundraiser, which doesn't happen all that often, and it was at someone's house, which would be even rarer. The only other political fundraiser I'd ever been to was held in the ballroom of some hotel, and someone else paid for me to go. Actually, the same thing happened this time around, only it cost my benefactor a lot more money.

To preface this, I'll say that I don't belong to any political party. I'm totally independent, but when you're independent, you don't usually get invited to things like this, or even know about them. However, the guy who wanted me to go, Sean Branagan, said he'd pony up my contribution; he wanted me to be there.

So I went, and let me say that, as I was driving across town, knowing it was at someone's house, I was speculating on just how large this house had to be. I'll say that I wasn't disappointed; it was beautiful. I don't have a tiny house, but this lady's kitchen was larger that my living room, and my living room is more than 250 square feet.

I was introduced to the hostess, and guided into the area where "food" was, and I say it that way because initially there wasn't anything I would eat. I'm known to be fussy in general, but I'm not a big hoidy-toidy eater; I like my food fairly basic most of the time. However, as I stood there next to four big name local and state politicians, I said out loud to them "I feel like I'm at home watching the news." They enjoyed that.

I spent a lot of time talking to one of our state legislators, a lady I've met before but who didn't remember me; I'm betting she'll remember me from now on. We agreed on a lot of topics, and that was really cool; with the mess New York state politics is in right now, it was good to see some sort of agreement.

Then it was time for our federal representative to speak, and he did about 10 minutes of a presentation that wasn't bad, as all politicians learn this way of speaking, then he took a few questions. After that, he said he'd be around for awhile to answer any other questions or talk about things we might wish to talk about.

I decided to fill my glass with more diet soda first, which I did, then I went to seek him out. He was talking with one person before me, and I figured I would stand there and wait my turn. They were talking about energy, as our representative, Dan Maffei, is on the energy committee, but suddenly the guy started to ask a question about health care. That was my topic, so my ears perked up.

He asked about getting coverage for health care for people because of this statistic that came out saying that around 60% of those who declare bankruptcy usually had a major health care expense that helped put them over the edge. He expressed his worry about this and said he hoped Congress would eventually do something for these people.

That's when I jumped into the conversation. I mentioned that I was a health care revenue cycle consultant, and how this was a topic I had a lot of interest in. I then kind of pitched my own health plan, and as I was going step by step, he was agreeing with me on most of the points; after all, there are some things one just can't refute. I said that, with my plan, it wouldn't cost more than $100 billion dollars, and probably would cost half that, based on the habits of people, and that my problem was trying to figure out what the President wanted to do with this $600 billion dollars, which the Republicans say will end up costing $1 trillion, that made it cost so much. I also said that this country couldn't afford to have the federal government taking money away from Medicare and Medicaid, the two groups that needed the federal money the most (and, for Medicare folks, a plan they've paid into) He pretty much said he didn't know; he actually said they'd have to look at the full plan more closely.

But I wasn't done, now that I had his attention. I mentioned that the federal government had to find a way to work with states to cap the amount of malpractice awards, because physicians were getting killed with some of these judgments. That's why they request so many lab tests, which we probably don't need, and why President Obama got a very muted, non-positive response when he spoke to the AMA and said that he knew physicians worried about malpractice lawsuits, but that the government couldn't continue to support physicians requesting more tests, while not agreeing with limiting malpractice.

He said he didn't like limits on malpractice either because some people get hurt pretty seriously, and might need further healthcare. I then said why not have a cap, say maybe $2 million, with the caveat that the physician, or their insurance company, must pay full health insurance benefits for the victor in any of these cases for as long as they need coverage. It costs way less over the course of time to pay for someone to have health care coverage than it does to award someone $10 million at the whim of a jury.

He looked at me, said he'd never heard that idea before, and thought it was a great idea. The other guy standing there said that the representative was probably going to take it back to Washington, get it passed, and take the credit for it; we all laughed. At that point he asked me for my card and asked if he could talk to me again about it, I said yes, and that was that.

Look at that; I got to talk one on one with a federally elected politician, I got to present something to him that might help save health care for some physicians in this state (as a sidebar, New York is losing OB/GYN physicians with some of the highest malpractice insurance rates in the country), and hopefully got him thinking about health care for all in a different light. I'm not against universal health care by any means; I just want to know what they're hoping to cover, and I want it done right, otherwise leave it alone.

Hanging with the big boys; yeah, I'm shaking and moving a lot lately. I like it.