Meeting of September 15, 2011

PHOTOS BY BILL DOWD

Peter Brown explains the pros and cons in a detailed rundown of the Affordable Healthcare Act, commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”

Attendance (13): Jim Leyhane, Peter Brown, Debbie Brown, Murray Forth, Dick Drumm, Bill Kneissl, Bill Dowd, Charlie Foote, Carol Orvis, Deb Rodriguez, Ron Annis, Russ Edberg, Doris Calamaras.

Guests: None.

Announcements/Business:

• President Jim said he has been in contact with the Middleburgh, Schoharie County, club that is located in an area hard hit by Tropical Storm Irene. The club did not express strong interest in financial contributions for cleanup. As a result, we discussed the possibility of putting the $550 collected so far, and any additional contributions, as seed money for a district-wide initiative.

In addition, Jim shared Deb Rodriguez’s suggestion that the District look into lining up seed companies to pledge in-kind aid for future disasters. He said he has begun discussing this possibility with District officials. Deb also shared a copy of a state government list of agencies accepting various types of storm-related aid. An online copy under the title “Labor for Your Neighbors” is available here.

• Debbie Brown said she still is selling “Bulbs for Boxes,” a fundraiser for the ShelterBox project. The price is $25 for 50 bulbs, a collection of tulips, daffodils and narcissus.

• Jim reminded the attendees that the Gift of Life fundraiser event can be supported even without attending. Donations are accepted year-round. Doris and Dean Calamaras will be attending this year, representing the club.

Program:

Peter Brown: Affordable Healthcare Act

Peter began his explanation of the controversial  “Obamacare” program by displaying a chart (shown above) that showed the steady increase in U.S. healthcare spending. As of 2007, the last year for complete details, it had reached 16% of our gross domestic product (GDP).  It is projected to reach 18% of GDP this year, more than any other country spends.

He cited a variety of reasons for the steady climb. Among them: healthcare is used to make up for poor life choices, and the fact that because providers get paid for taking care of sick people, more and more services are being made available to more people.

Among the pluses of the plan are a prohibition on lifetime limits on reimbursement; the disallowing of exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and changes in cost controls.

However, 22 states have challenged the law in court.It is widely expected that the Supreme Court of the U.S. will hear a case in this term.  In addition, the House of Representatives has refused funding for some aspects of the plan, and political disagreements have resulted in the holdup on confirmation of an administrator for the Center for Medicare/Medicaid. Nominee Donald Berwick has been serving on an interim basis.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, September 22. Member Ron Annis of Top Form will present a program on sports-related concussions.

[Go here for the Events Calendar.]

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