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Summer 2021 Newsletter

Coming events. Mark your calendar!


 

The date of Dr. Paul Song's
Zoom presentation, The False Promise of the Public Option, has been changed to Saturday, July 31st at 10:00 a.m.


Register here:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0kf-urpj8oH9f8IchcGf8U1xh3gfg-BlP0



 

Dr Paul Song was most recently on the faculty of Samuel Oschin Cancer Center at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and currently sees Medicaid and uninsured patients at Dignity California Hospital. Dr. Song is the current president of Physicians for a National Health Program - California.



Saturday, Oct 30:  SPAN State Conference at Quest Center in Columbus
 
SPAN Ohio will be celebrating 20 years of activism this year.   We will plan an all out gathering, hopefully in person, for this Fall.  We have reserved Quest Business and Conference Center in Columbus.  The Conference and Program committee is working on preparing a program for this event and we will be sending more information closer to the date.  Do plan to attend and celebrate with us!.
 
Regional & Committee Reports
SPAN Ohio State Treasurer’s Report
 
SPAN State Treasurer Barbara Walden reports that our 2021 Walk for Healthcare Justice fundraiser was not a disappointment. In prior years, only one Region participated, bringing in donations totaling $4145.00. This year, five of our seven Regions participated, bringing in a total of $7280.00!

“The great thing about this event is that there are no overhead expenses and only a small commitment of time. All it takes is a group of determined people willing to walk and to get people to sponsor them. Any amount, no matter how small, helps to achieve success,” she tells us.  “Imagine what we can do next year, if all seven Regions take part.
Lobby Committee report
 
Members of the Lobby Committee have met with 12 state representatives, some of whom were not aware of the single payer house bill that is to be introduced by Rep. Skindell.
 
Some representatives also had not heard of our organization and expressed support and gratitude for what SPAN Ohio is doing.
 
As of June 14th there were 13 co-sponsors of the 'Ohio Health Care Act'. Here are the co-sponsors:

Kristin Boggs, District 18 - Franklin Co.
Richard Brown, District 20 - Franklin Co.
Erica Crawley, District 26 - Franklin Co.
Jeffrey Crossman, District 15 - Cuyahoga Co.
Sedrick Denson, District 33 - Hamilton Co.
Tavia Galonski, District 35 - Summit Co.
Stephanie Howse, District 11 - Cuyahoga Co.
Dave Leland, District 22 - Franklin Co.
Adam Miller - District 17 - Franklin Co.
Joe Miller, District 56 - Lorain Co.
Mike Sheehy, District 46 - Lucas Co.
Kent Smith, District 8 - Cuyahoga Co.
Tom West, District 49 - Stark Co.
 
We are reaching out to the remaining 8 Democratic representatives whom we have not met with or heard any reply from regarding the bill.
 
At this time members of the Lobby Committee are requesting meetings with state senators in anticipation of the senate bill being introduced by Teresa Fedor.
 
Submitted by Dee Chavez, Lobby Committee Chair

 
We encourage you to read the Regional Reports below for opportunities to be active in your own neck of the woods.
Region 1 - NE Ohio (Cleveland area)
 
We continue our participation in the Lobby Committee work.  Gaining endorsements and co-sponsors for the “Healthcare for All” bill once Rep. Michael Skindell introduces a new bill has been our focus.  Kent Smith,  Jeffrey Crossman, and Juanita Brent are reps from our region who have committed. Bride Sweeney is sympathetic but not endorsing.  Our next focus will be on Democratic Senators in Columbus.
 
We also met with Phil Robinson via video conference for an hour.  His commitment is there; only he wanted to have a conversation with Rep Skindell first.  We’ll follow up to see if that happened.
 
We’ve been selling “Medicare for All” yard signs which were the inspiration of new member, Thera Parks.  We still have lots so we’re getting the word out.  We will have signs available at the July 10 event.  We ask for a $5 - $15 donation if the person can afford this.  The priority is getting the signs out by whatever means possible.
 
July 10 we will be cosponsoring an event at Edgewater Park which should be crowded given good weather. (see below)  SPAN Ohio will have a canopy and table with literature and signs for sale. We will also have pre-printed postcards for people to send to their respective representatives in both Columbus and Washington D.C.
 
One of our members will be contacting Kendall Mays regarding availability and costs of bumper stickers.
 
While we have been on the radio twice, AM 1490, we will again be on Thursday, July 8.  There will be three of us:  Dr. Dena Magoulias, Cathe Caraway-Howard and Ted Seuss. We’ll have 40 minutes of airtime and scheduled it just 2 days prior to our Edgewater Event to help promote that.   The programs airs at 5:00 PM.   You can listen to it on-line at newstalkcleveland.com/listen-live/
 
We’ve already had our first fundraiser in May, our traditional “Walk for Health Care Justice”.  It was in Lakewood, Ohio at Kaufman Park.  About 35 people showed up!
Because our leadership wants to throw a big gala October 30, and as we are celebrating our 20th anniversary in Ohio, we decided to have a second fundraiser.  We have a committee working on this and one idea they will be exploring will be to do it in August at a location  which would have a  room for a small cost and allow us to bring in our own food which would be a pot luck as we host this for members and non-members alike.
 
 

SATURDAY, JULY 10, 10:00 AM

Improved & Expanded Medicare for All/Single Payer Universal
Health Care Rally

Edgewater  Park
 
Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/969357820536356/

Hosted by:
  • West Shore FaCT (Faith Communities Together)
  • Northeast Ohio Black Healthcare Coalition
  • CCPC (Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus)
  • Our Revolution
  • SPAN Ohio (Single Payer Action Network)
  • FaCT Ohio 
Speakers include
  • Yvonka Hall, Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition;
  • Kristin Nigro Kranz, MD, a family physician in Medina and Cuyahoga counties;
  • Akron City Councilwoman Tara Mosley Samples; and
  • Dr. Patricia Blochowiak of the  Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus.   
  (check the Facebook page for any updates)
 
 
Next Region 1 Meeting:  Monday, July 19 at 5:00 pm via Zoom.  Email Clevelanddspan@spanohio.org to get the Zoom link.

Ted Seuss, Region 1 Coordinator and Bob Parker.
Region 2 - NW Ohio (Toledo area)

TOLEDO, Ohio — "Everybody in! Nobody out! Everybody in! Nobody out!"

Twenty-five participants walked the Toledo streets on Saturday May 22 in a fundraiser for Single-Payer Action Network. We shared sponsorship with the local Jobs with Justice (JWJ) and the Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP). State Senator Teresa Fedor (D-11th District) and Toledo City Councilperson Nick Komives (D) participated in the event. Senator Fedor stated “Covid loves a broken Health Care system”.

A letter from Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz was read in which he stated: “Now is the time as a nation — as we emerge from a global pandemic that showed the world the intense need for health care for all — to fix the system. Now is the time to end the health disparities that exist, especially in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods.”

Dr. Johnathan Ross addressed the crowd with this message: The congressional Budget office released a statement that “The reduction of total national health expenditures while covering everybody with complete choice of provider, meds, equipment, dental, hearing, vision range from $400 to $700 billion annually depending on higher or lower payments to providers and the elimination of copays. Most of the savings ($400 billion annually) are from cutting administrative waste.”

The event was covered by two TV stations. WTOL had this photo and write-up:
 
."We're looking at bigger broader picture of making sure that dental, vision, and regular checks are all part of Medicare. It shouldn't cause bankruptcy. It shouldn't cause stress about the cost of going to see a doctor," said Dennis Slotnick, Region 2 coordinator of the Single-Payer Action Network Ohio.

Link to complete the WTOL broadcast.

Below is the full letter from Mayor Kapszukiewicz

Announced publicly at the Health Justice Walk , Monroe Street Methodist Church, May 22, 2021, 2 pm.

“Let me apologize for not being present with you today. This is a critically important issue for our city and our nation. 30 million Americans do not have access to health care and millions more suffer serious financial problems because they can’t afford their health care plans.

As a nation, I know we can do better.

Let it be known to all: here in Toledo, Ohio, we support a Medicare for All, single payer system, that would cover every American with healthcare. That includes vision, dental, hearing, prescription drugs, mental health care, and more.

COVID-19 has made this issue all the more important. I know the pandemic has impacted us all, some greater than others. To those who have lost a loved one, nothing can be said to ease your pain. As President Lincoln wrote in 1864: “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost.”

Now is the time as a nation — as we emerge from a global pandemic that showed the world the intense need for health care for all — to fix the system. Now is the time to end the health disparities that exist, especially in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. 

I call on all Toledans, all Ohioans, to join me in support of expanding health care and reforming our system to reflect the undeniable fact that health care is a human right.”

Dennis Slotnick, Region 2 Coordinator
Region 4 - SW Ohio (Cincinnati area)
 
Region 4 (SW Ohio) held our first fundraiser walk in our region on May 22nd in downtown Cincinnati.There were 21 people walking, (including 1 in a stroller and 2 other little ones) and we raised $440.
We are proud to say that one of our regular attenders, Dr. Tim Putnam, DHA, who is a CEO of an Indiana hospital was chosen to be on The Biden-Harris Administration Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force! In April the task force recommended that Health Care Access and Coverage be considered a Human Right.
 
We look forward to hearing what else comes out of the task force as their work continues.
 
Region 4 member, Charles (Chot) VanAusdall, wrote an excellent Op-Ed with input from other SPAN members, entitled 'The Covid Case for Medicare for All'!  It will be published in the Cincinnati Enquirer this week.
 
Region 4 member, Dr. Jeanne Corwin recommended a recently published book entitled 'Medicare For All-A Citizen's Guide' by Abdul Al-Sayed and Mika Johnson.
 
Region 4 plans to table at the Clinton County Fair from July 10-17.
Also our next Region 4 meeting will be Wed. August 25th at 6:30, in person and on Zoom.
Email Dee49@fuse.net to take part in either of these events.
 
Submitted by Dee Chavez, Region 4 Coordinator
Region 5 - Central Ohio (Columbus area)
Walk for Healthcare Justice and Freedom

Ten of us gathered for the Walk for Healthcare Justice on May 22nd, a fundraiser for SPAN Ohio, in addition to “waving the flag” for Medicare for All. While I didn’t do the accounting, about $1700 was raised! Thanks to Alice Faryna, Rita Haider, and Arlene Sheak (who also provided a wheeled caddy for water and snacks), for their fund-raising efforts!
Membership
I encourage you to renew your annual membership if it has lapsed, or become a member. Please visit the SPAN Ohio website www.spanohio.org and click on INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP to join, or go directly to https://spanohio.org/index.php/join/initiate-renew-membership/individual-membership .
 
Bob Krasen, Region 5 Coordinator
Region 7 - W Central Ohio (Dayton Region)

The Miami Valley Region has had an eventful last few months. 

Walk for Healthcare Justice in Dayton - Our region's first Walk for Healthcare Justice raised over $400 for SPAN and raised awareness of our fight for healthcare.
Dayton Pride Festival and Parade - Our region took part in the Dayton Pride Parade and volunteers helped to table at the Pride Festival in Courthouse Square. We talked with countless people and had over 140 letters signed to our state legislators to urge them to support healthcare for all Ohioans!

The Juneteenth Parade was, unfortunately, rained out this year but we were able to hear from and talk with some of the elders of the African American community in Dayton and hope to continue to learn more about what we can do to help all people get the healthcare that is their right.

Yard signs and bumper stickers - They are still available in the region and if you would like either please contact NJ at mattnj78@gmail.

Region 7 Organizing Meeting - Coming in early July. Please keep your eyes out for an email soon.

Matt Noordsij-Jones, Region 7 Coordinator
Recommended Reading
Opinion by SPAN Ohio Contributors

Universal Single Payer Health Care is Part of the Solution!

The problem is that Ohio currently ranks 46th of 50 states plus D.C. according to the Health Policy Matters Institute of Ohio.  We are spending more than most other states on health care and not getting the value of our tax dollars.  This is wasteful and cruel. 

One critical part of creating a vastly better system in Ohio is support for a universal single payer system.  The economic study by Gerald Friedman, Ph.D., (see https://spanohio.org/index.php/span-resources/ohio-economic-impact-study) demonstrates that Ohio could implement such a system, and 95% of Ohioans would have more money in their pockets!  This is because less money would be required in a progressive tax to support universal single payer health care than is now paid in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurances.  It is a fair system because everyone that is not in poverty is paying something.  

Currently, Ohio receives 75 billion healthcare dollars from the federal government.  Implementing this system would create a 25 billion health care dollars savings.

The total cost of covering every Ohioan with comprehensive care, from birth to death (regardless of employment status) would be $140 billion dollars. With 75 billion dollars plus 25 billion dollars already available, 40 billion could be raised in progressive taxes -- less than current health care premiums, co-pays and deductibles -- and everyone would be covered! 

With every non wealthy household having more expendable income, and the savings to local and state government, Ohio people and government will be able to allocate funds for the important non-clinical determinants of health -food, housing, transportation, great schools, reduced economic stress, etc. that have prevented wellness, reduced racism, and opportunity in Ohio.

This summer legislation to make universal single payer health care a reality is being introduced by Representative Skindell and at least 13 co-sponsors.  After it is introduced, there will be a House Bill with a number announced on the above web site.  We all need to let our own Representatives know that this is part of the health care crisis solution!

Arlene Sheak, Columbus member

Proposed response to article in the Columbus Dispatch
Here is a letter to the editor I sent in response to the beginning of a series in the Columbus Dispatch about how drug companies and insurers are raising the costs on drugs exponentially. 
 
Thanks to the Columbus Dispatch and Darrel Rowland, "Unwelcome surprise" 6-13-2021, for digging into how drug companies are “boa constricting” their hold on drug pricing at every turn.

I challenge the Dispatch to dig into the real solution of this issue, new and improved Medicare for All (M4A), HR 1976. But I doubt that will happen. M4A would end the stream of advertising dollars to the Dispatch, while it stops price gouging by medical providers.

In today’s Dispatch (6-13-2021), there are 7 ads for hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes; 6 from drug and medical device makers; and 1 from a health insurer. Perhaps one-third of today’s Dispatch revenue comes from medically related businesses.

Huge amounts of what we pay for healthcare, flows into all media, print and electronic.

That’s why unless there is overwhelming demand by the American people who clamor for candidates who support M4A, it will never happen. (No members of Ohio’s Congressional House delegation are current cosponsors, nor are Ohio Senators Brown and Portman). M4A will never overcome the vast resources of the “big four.” i.e., insurers; drug and durable medical device makers; hospitals, clinics, residential care facilities; and the corporate media. “We the people” need to cause “some good trouble” to show we want it!

Bob Krasen, Region 5 Coordinator

 Medicare for All in the U.S. House

Medicare for All, HR 1976, was introduced in the Congressional House on March 17th by Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingle with 115 co-sponsors. It is improved once again, with greater attention given to mental illness, disabled Americans, health disparity, and health equity.

Sad to say that no one of the Ohio Congressional delegation is a cosponsor.

We have made effort to ask Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Columbus to become a cosponsor. So far, she has not, even though she is a proud original member of the Medicare for All Caucus, established in 2018, and a previous cosponsor. SPAN Ohio members, including 6 constituents have met with one of her staff, asking her to become a cosponsor, and / or reasons why she is now against it. Due to her husband’s death a few weeks ago, we have “backed off” for a time, but are still determined to gain her support. Stay tuned!

No need to be bashful.


As a member of SPAN Ohio for 15 years, I reassure you that you have no need to be afraid that Medicare for All will suddenly be found to have a huge hidden problem. It is a “rock-solid bill.” People in other countries with their own government run health care systems for all their residents, will be jealous when we get Medicare for All passed for everyone in the USA.

Canada’s system pays for doctor and hospital services… pretty good, eh! But people there still have to get insurance, pay out of pocket, or both: for medications not administered in a hospital or doctor’s office; dental, hearing and vision services; and long-term care. They have been trying without success for more than 50 years to get these benefits included. Canada spends about half what we spend per person on healthcare, and as measured by GDP.

Germany’s system, the oldest in the world, was started by Bismarck in 1888, because he wanted “healthy soldiers,” is run through private health insurance. The insurance companies are highly regulated by the government. They must accept everyone who applies, at the same premium, with standard levels of care, and insurers must be non-profit.

I have a high school classmate who continued to live in Germany after military service there. We compared my current Medicare costs with his under the German system. His costs for his insurance annually, is about twice what I pay under Medicare. We both have copays. Multiple payers increase administrative costs significantly since each insurance company has its own accounting services to submit claims. Since he is a retired officer in a bank, he probably is in a higher tax bracket which may account for his higher expenses. Still, as a country, Germany spends about 5/8 of what we spend for healthcare per person. and as measured by GDP.

Medicare for All has the approval of at least 55% of the US population.

Bob Krasen, Region 5 Coordinator

Articles
Dozens turn out for Lakewood SPAN Ohio Healthcare Justice Walk

By John Benson, special to cleveland.com
Community News
LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- Medicare-for-all advocates were front and center at the May 22 Single Payer Action Network of Ohio (SPAN Ohio) event in Lakewood.

Roughly 35 people walked from Kauffman Park east on Detroit Avenue, pushing for healthcare changes and solutions.
Participating in the local event was Midwest Regional Outreach and Communications Lead for Combat Covid Laura Rodriguez-Carbone, who is currently a Lakewood City Council-at-Large candidate.
“Saturday’s event here in Lakewood, as well as all across the state, highlighted how immensely important health care still is to everyday people,” Rodriguez-Carbone said.

“The past year has been rough for the entire community, but this is a good reminder that we’re still very much in the middle of a global pandemic and public health emergency. It has hit working people and people of color especially hard.

“The consensus from the attendees at this event was clear -- every man, woman and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need, regardless of their income, age, race or ethnicity.“There is still so much to do to ensure a good quality of life for working people -- prioritizing public health and access to care is a big part of how we do that.”

Taking place all over the state, SPAN-based walks act as fundraisers while spreading awareness of the issues.
“Walking in public areas carrying banners and signs, we did get a lot of horn honking,” said SPAN Ohio Regional Coordinator Ted Seuss, who calls Brecksville home. “We also did have a lot of individual conversations with people on that walk.

“They stopped individuals wanting to know what it is, what’s going on, who we are and what we do.” SPAN Ohio’s next event is the Improved & Expanded Medicare for All/Single Payer Universal Health Care Rally, taking place July 10 at Edgewater State Park in Cleveland.
“The message is that we’re the only developed nation in the world that does not provide health care to its citizens,” Seuss said. “We’re the only nation in the world that has a for-profit healthcare system. So we’re working in the state of Ohio -- along with about 20 other states -- on getting a single-payer healthcare system here in Ohio.

“We work on that two ways -- directly with people who represent us in Columbus and with the public raising awareness. In between the two, hopefully we’ll get some change here in Ohio against the money interests of the pharmaceutical companies.”

Concerns Mount Over Looming Surge in Bankruptcy as COVID Medical Debt Soars


By Steve Friess
Newsweek, June 14, 2021

Case numbers and daily death tolls continue to drop, the majority of U.S. adults are fully or partly vaccinated, mask mandates are vanishing and summer socializing looks like it’s back on the calendar. But even as America keeps marching steadily toward a post-pandemic future, another COVID-19 crisis looms—a debt and bankruptcy disaster fueled by mounting medical bills associated with treatment, especially among the most financially vulnerable parts of the population.

As many as 12.5 million Americans could already be saddled with COVID-related medical debt, based on a LendingTree survey conducted in March. The nationally representative poll found that 60 percent of the respondents polled had medical debt, with about 10 percent stemming from the virus; the amount typically owed ranged from $5,000 to $9,999. That suggests the collective debt for COVID treatment so far could be between $60 billion and $125 billion.

That number will inevitably grow sharply in coming months, experts say, as a trio of factors kick in: Expenses will mount for COVID “long-haulers” with ongoing health problems; more medical bills related to the virus will pass from the seriously past due stage into collections; and a panoply of government measures that were designed to help people stay afloat during the pandemic will end, from eviction and student-loan-payment moratoria to enhanced unemployment benefits, making it harder for more people to pay off the accumulating bills for treatment. That in turn is expected to lead to a spike in personal bankruptcies by the end of 2021 and into 2022.

“A lot of people are getting bills they can’t pay,” says David Himmelstein, a professor at City University of New York School of Public Health at Hunter College and author of several seminal studies on medical bankruptcy. “We’re heading towards a mounting debt crisis for many people who have been sick during this COVID period that will ripple through the economy unless something is done about it.”
.  .  .

Especially foreboding is the latest data on bankruptcy filings. In March 2021, the number of Americans filing for personal bankruptcy protection shot up 30 percent from February, to 44,103, the biggest number since March 2020 when the pandemic first took hold in the U.S.  . 
.  .
That’s just the start of what’s to come, experts say, given that even before the pandemic medical debt was the leading factor in personal bankruptcy filings, associated with two-thirds of them, according to an American Journal of Public Health analysis.

The full article can be found here.
 
Looking for Opportunities to give Medicare for All Presentations
 
As the threat of COVID diminished, we are looking for opportunities to speak to groups of people about Medicare for All. If you belong to a group; political, religious, educational, or even wildly social, see if you can gain a spot in a program for a speaker from SPAN Ohio. The presentation can be tailored to the needs of your group, and will always have as much time as they allow for comments and questions.

Contact us and we will work with you to help create a program. We have doctors, nurses, social workers, etc. who can be involved. We can also do a presentation on ZOOM.
 
Editors’ Note:  This applies to all areas of the state. Contact the Regional Coordinator (see https://spanohio.org/index.php/about-span/regional-coordinators ) or contact span@spanohio.org
 
YARD SIGNS AVAILABLE

8” x 24“

We are asking for a donation of $5 to $15 for individual signs. 
At this point we are not mailing out signs.   If you would like a Medicare for All Lawn Sign, please contact the person closest to you.

Cincinnati:  Dee Chavez   (513-413-1178)   Dee49@fuse.net

Cleveland:  Thera Parks,    (440) 787-6517   tvparks8@gmail.com

Columbus:   Bob Krasen   (614-261-0754)   brkrasen@gmail.com

Dayton:    Matt Noordsij-Jones  (937-321-8698)  mattnj78@gmail.com

Medina:  Kristin Kranz  (330-635-6435)   kikikranz@gmail.com

Niles:  Julie Stout  (330-957-1490)    julieannstout@gmail.

Toledo:  John Ross   drjohnross@ameritech.net

 
BUMPER STICKERS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE
If you are interested in obtaining one or more bumper stickers, contact Kendall Mays at kendall.mays1@gmail.com 
SPAN Ohio links

To send articles, events, letters, or comments to this newsletter, please email them to the Communications Committee (Lynne Rustad, Tim Bruce, Matt Noordsij-Jones, Linda Brown, Barb Walden, and Bob Parker [Chair])

This newsletter is posted under Resources on the SPAN Web Site.
 
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