Don't be shy...........

Insist that elected officials and candidates for office explain their positions.

Here's a letter written by a SPAN activist after reading a speech given at the City Club by a candidate for the office of Governor of Ohio:

Dear Congressman Strickland:

You and I met at a Labor Day picnic at the home of Robert Clarke Brown in Shaker Heights, and I support you for Governor of Ohio. Certainly, I agree that "Our great state is in desperate need of change."

Therefore, I was distressed to read your remarks about health care in a speech to the Cleveland City Club on November 22. You said, "I believe there are several things we can do in concrete ways to help bring down the cost of health care, expanding coverage and protecting jobs in the process."

Yet your proposed solutions would not achieve those objectives. Let me address them one at a time.

First, you said "Number one, we can provide financial and technical support to industries seeking to establish insurance purchasing groups. COSE, right here in Northeast Ohio, has tremendous expertise and success in doing this and that needs to be shared with other regions of our state."

FACT: I happen to be self-employed and purchase my insurance through COSE. Since I have no pre-existing conditions, do not smoke, and am not overweight, I am able to purchase catastrophic insurance with an annual deductible of $2,000 for only $300 per month. However, if I were a cancer or heart attack survivor, no COSE plan would insure me. In fact, the industries you mention would probably refuse to hire me because I would drive up their insurance premiums. The fact that insurance purchasing groups such as COSE exist is a symptom of our broken health care system, not the solution to it.

Next, you stated, "Number two, we should allow companies with low-income employees to buy in to Medicaid, allowing the state the increased affordability to help provide lower cost health care to an expanded group of our working uninsured."

FACT: The best all-around jobs program you could create for the state of Ohio would be to de-couple health care from employment with single payer, everybody-in, nobody-out health insurance for every citizen of our state. THIS is the kind of change Ohio so desperately needs. Band-aids such as your proposed expansion of Medicaid are completely inadequate to the task.

Why does the business community not support single payer? I can only surmise that it is a case of ideology trumping self-interest. But note that auto makers, for example, are quick to move manufacturing jobs to Canada, and have been vocal in their support of nationalized insurance there.  

Your third point was "...we need to lead an effort in this state to focus on the growing success of health care management, disease management and more direct preventive medicine programs. Many private businesses are slowing the rising price of their health care plans by including data-driven care management in their insurance contracts. This not only saves money but it leads to a better quality of life for our citizens."

FACT: We will never have "health care management, disease management and more direct preventive medicine programs" until we have ONE comprehensive system that covers everyone. "Data-driven care management" is simply gobbledygook, and anyone who has studied our health care situation knows it. Right now, 20 percent of our health care dollars are being wasted on the paperwork required by a completely dysfunctional and inequitable for-profit system of funding health care.

Of course, ultimately we will have national health insurance in this country, although how many people will have to suffer and die for the lack of it before then, we cannot tell.

Carla Rautenberg,Cleveland

Bullet Points for Legislators

  • Single Payer saves money.  For the past 20 years, states have commissioned studies on different types of health care systems.   In EVERY case, single payer was shown to be the only way to cover everyone and the only system that saved money and controlled costs.

  • Publicly financed does not mean government run health care.  YOU have publicly finance health coverage, but the government does not make decisions regarding your health care.

  • Cost conscious patients often don't get the care they need.   Most decisions are made by the doctor in concert with the patient, but the patient relies on the doctor's knowledge to make a decision.  Expensive tests and treatments cannot be ordered by the patient, only the doctor.

  • Lifestyle choices are not what is fueling high costs in health care.   The United States ranks low in general health indicators, but high in good health habits.  We smoke less, drink less and consume less animal fat that many other countries with better health indicators and much lower health care costs.

  • Businesses can accurately determine their health care costs and are not subject to unanticipated large premium increases.

  • It will reduce labor costs due to a more efficient way of financing health care, eliminating much wasteful administration.

  • Workers' Compensation costs will be reduced, likely by half, due to the fact that everyone has health coverage and there is no need for the medical portion.

  • It reduces the need for part time employees and provides easier recruiting.  There are no pre-existing conditions or Cobra issues.

  • Eliminates the oversight of health benefits and bargaining health coverage with employees.

  • It creates healthier personnel and more stable employees, reduces absenteeism and eliminates employer health coverage complaints.

  • It reduces employee health related debt and personal bankruptcies.

  • It frees up family income that can be spent on other goods and services, thus stimulating the economy.


Donations to SPAN Ohio help cover operating and lobbying expenses and ARE NOT tax deductible.

Donations to HCFAO go to our education fund and ARE tax deductible.



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