Lobby Your State Legislators

Click to locate your state representative and your state senator.  Ask  your state representative to support HB 174 and your state senator to support SB 177

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