News & Opinion

SPAN Solidarity Statement drafted by activist Elisa Lenssen

Elisa drafted the following statement at the request of the SPAN Executive Committee in response to all the divisive rhetoric we've been hearing lately. SPAN Ohio Solidarity

As a community concerned about the health of all Ohioans Single Payer Action Network (SPAN) Ohio strongly opposes any discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity, nation of origin,  refugee status, gender or sexual orientation.  Martin Luther King, Jr. said not only that “injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane” of all inequalities, but also that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” Our destiny cannot survive unlawful bans and bias. SPAN Ohio supports justice in health care and justice for all.


Bob Krasen's Columbus Presentation - Read the transcipt

SPAN Ohio Presentation

Bob Krasen

Columbus Plumbers & Pipefitters Hall

January 15, 2017


News about health care in the US is now pretty dismal.

            ACA-Obama Care, Medicaid, Medicare, SCHIP are under direct attack.

            VA – not exempt from privatization

Not a time to become “weak kneed.”

            Hold up a Medicare Card.

This is what SPAN Ohio wants for everyone, a card that enables everyone to get enhanced Medicare, not just at 80%, but without copays, deductibles, out of pocket costs. Health care would be free at the point of delivery. Medicare needs to be enhanced. This means dental and eye care, long term care. You can choose your own doctors. Care can be received from anyone who is a licensed health care provider.

While we are striving to make this happen for Ohioans, we really want it for everyone in the Nation.

Some may say, “It costs too much.” You understand that 31% of health care dollars are spent on administration. 31% that has nothing to do with helping people get better. You know that a hospital has as many people in their accounting departments as it has beds. You know insurers complain that they can take only 20% of premium dollars for administration. You know that the VA saves at least 40% on it drug costs, by negotiating prices and purchasing in bulk. We can actually spend far less on health care while covering everyone, and join the countries all over the world which have had systems in place for years, and spend half of what we do, either per capita or as a measure of GDP.

I do not have a lot of hope about the prospects of this Legislation, as all inclusive and inexpensive as it is, either on a National or State level. As long as law makers are dependent upon the campaign contributions of corporations, i.e. health insurance, PhRMA, and hospital conglomerates, that is whom members of Congress and State Legislators will listen to. It is tragic that the need for health care services cost the American people so much, they receive so little, and many remain excluded all together. Healthcare in the U.S. has come down to the line spoken in an old western film during a train robbery, "Your money or your life."

To this end, SPAN Ohio is planning a state constitutional amendment –referendum in 2020. We will need every woman and man in the State to accomplish this, talking to friends, collecting signatures, raising money.

Please go to to become a member, and learn more what we are doing.

You can sign a letter today that we will deliver to Senator Portman’s office, or that of your legislators.

You can also Join us on Facebook and Twitter

This is a struggle for our survival…literally.

Doctors Join Writers Resist Action in Toledo

Dr Vo Dr Ross WritersResist Collingwood Arts CenterDr. John Ross & Dr. Phung Vo spoke at the Writers Resist event in Toledo on January 15th – Dr. Vo is an OBGYN who has lobbied with Dr. Ross and other members of SPAN at Senator Portman’s office in Toledo. Dr. Vo has practiced for 30 years in rural clinics in Northwest Ohio.









  More Writers Resist participants.


All Our Healthcare Programs are in Jeopardy


Expect an assault on healthcare in the coming Congress.   According to a Congressional staff member, that assault could come as soon as January 4th through the Budget Reconciliation process.  

Last year, Congress defunded the ACA through the Reconciliation process as well as defunding Planned Parenthood, but President Obama vetoed it.   The veto protection will no longer be in place.

Here is what to watch for:

Affordable Care Act:

Look for Congress to defund the subsidies for insurance purchases on the exchanges as well as reduce the penalty for not having insurance to zero.  The effect will be the collapse of the exchanges, driving premiums, co-pays and deductibles even higher.


Look for Congress to defund the expansion of Medicaid and turn it into block grants.   Block grants allow the states to make their own rules, which will cause many to lose coverage.  Rarely do block grants keep up with inflation, so this could lead to the eventual elimination of the program.


Look for proposals to turn Medicare into a voucher program for those under age 55 to purchase insurance on a special exchange (sound familiar?).   Apparently, Congress does not think people over age 55 have siblings, children or grandchildren that they care about and will be satisfied that they have theirs.

Vouchers will not keep up with inflation and previous analysis of Paul Ryan’s proposal showed that in too many cases, seniors could be spending up to 60% of their income on health care. 

The goal is the eventual elimination of this program.

Employer Provided Health Benefits

Look for Congress to reduce or eliminate the tax credits business gets for providing health care benefits, making it fiscally impossible for businesses to continue offering health benefits and pushing more people into the individual market.  


It is up to us to provide the backlash against these proposals.   The best way to do this is to have a strong offense.   We must:

  • Make Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump own this.
  • We must pick up the phones and call them and our own representatives and senators to tell them in no uncertain terms that this is unacceptable to the American people.
  • We must also demand the solution:   Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.  
  • If staff indicates they don’t know the viewpoint of the Representative or Senator, ask them to find out and give you a call back.   Make them take down your name and number.
  • Call back in a few days if you have not heard back from them.
  • Keep calling.  

Phone calls are more effective than emails or postcard campaigns.

Postcards, letters and emails are simply sorted according to broad topics and then a standard response is sent.   Phone calls require staff members to listen to the actual topic at hand.   Calling disrupts normal business and will eventually evoke a response.  

Rob Portman

Washington, DC office:   202-225-3031

Cincinnati office:  513-684-3265

Cleveland office:   216-522-7095

Columbus office:  1-800-205-6446

Toledo office:  419-259-3895

Paul Ryan

Washington, DC office:   202-225-3031

Mitch McConnell

Washington, DC office:  202-224-2541

2016 Annual Conference a Big Success; Dr. Brad Cotton receives Smiddie Award

Attendance was up from the previous year and participation in the Workshops was enthusiastic. Goals were set for the coming year, and it was announced that effective June 1, 2016, SPAN Ohio will become a membership organization. The benefit of this is that a foreseeable stream of income will allow SPAN to budget more effectively toward achieving our goals.

Dr. Brad Cotton receives Smiddie AwardAnother feature of the Conference was Beth Amoriya's presentation of the Bob Smiddie Health Care Justice Award to Dr. Brad Cotton of Circleville, OH. Brad is an ER physician who constantly champions his patients, the poor. He is a prolific writer and draws deeply on his faith and experiences as a former EMT, nurse, and now ER physician.  Brad also developed and donated the Eyes Wide Open display to SPAN Ohio and has been a steady supporter while never looking for a pat on the back. Congratulations, Brad!


Donations to SPAN Ohio help cover operating and lobbying expenses and are NOT tax deductible. To donate, click the DONATE button below. On the page that appears, type in the amount of your donation. If you want your donation to be recurring, check the box where it says "Make this a monthly donation." If this is a one-time donation, leave that box blank.Then click either "Donate with PayPal" (if you have an account) or."Donate with a Debit or Credit Card." Complete the transaction on the page that follows.

Donations to HCFAO go to our education fund and ARE tax deductible. To donate, click the Donate button below. On the page that appears, type in the amount of your donation. If you want your donation to be recurring, check the box where it says "Make this a monthly donation." If this is a one-time donation, leave that box blank.Then click either "Donate with PayPal" (if you have an account) or."Donate with a Debit or Credit Card." Complete the transaction on the page that follows.


  • State Council MeetingSat. 4 Feb, 2023 (9:00 am - 10:00 am)We will be meeting via Zoom.  If you wish to attend, contact Matt Noordsij-Jones ( for the Zoom link.
  • Cleveland area SPAN MeetingMon. 27 Feb, 2023 (6:00 pm - 7:00 pm)Cleveland area SPAN meeting will be held online via Zoom (or conference call) on Monday, Feb 27, at 5:00 PM. Please contac...
  • State Council MeetingSat. 1 Apr, 2023 (9:00 am - 11:00 am)We will be meeting via Zoom.  If you wish to attend, contact Matt Noordsij-Jones ( for the Zoom link.
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