Meeting of December 13, 2012

Picture 3Attendance (12): April Dowd, Murray Forth, Jim Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Bill Dowd, Rommel Tolentino, Len Leonidas, Terry Brewer, Dean Calamaras, Russ Edberg, Charlie Foote, Rob Mangold.

Guests: None.


Bowl Over Polio: Club Treasurer Murray Forth is arranging details for our annual fundraiser, set for two sessions between noon and 5 p.m. Sunday, January 27, 2013, at Spare Time Bowling Center, 570 Columbia Turnpike  in East Greenbush.

Bill Dowd will handle publicity and create posters to be distributed throughout the community. We will be broadening our effort this year to expand an already-successful event, stressing the event’s affordability and concentrating on local high schools (Columbia, Maple Hill, Rensselaer, Tech Valley, Doane Stuart, LaSalle Institute) as well as Hudson Valley Community College, RPI, the Sage Colleges and local businesses to post flyers. Bill also will be sending out press releases to local media.

Toy Drive: April Dowd reported that the drive she conceived and coordinated to collect toys for the children of hurricane-ravaged Staten Island was very successful, with an estimated 700 toys collected. She thanked all members for their assistance, and particularly cited Bill Dowd and Murray Forth for their tireless efforts. The project will be concluded when Murray and April deliver the toys to the Marine Corps League in Staten Island on Sunday for local distribution there.

• Holiday Party: Murray and Maggie Forth will be hosting the club’s annual Holiday Party, set for 6 p.m. Thursday, December 20, with Jim Mendrysa catering. Members are reminded to be sure to make reservations for themselves and guests. And, they also were reminded to bring along a themed gift basket to the party to be used in a silent auction as a general fundraiser.

Program: The History & Future of Medicare

Picture 1Our own Dr. Rommel Tolentino, whose history-oriented medical programs always are articulate and informative, this week dealt with Medicare, a confusing mass of regulations much in the news as Congress and the Obama administration seek to work out a fiscal plan to alleviate some of the nation’s current woes.

The idea of some form of medical coverage for all Americans has been around since before World War I. It was at first championed, but quickly abandoned, by the American Medical Association. It also was supported in one form or another by Presidents Hoover and Truman, as well as various medical organizations and labor unions seeking to take the financial burden of medical care off their members’ shoulders.

In 1965, under the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, the first comprehensive Medicare program became a reality. While it broadened assistance for most Americans, rising costs of health care, a shrinking pool of people who paid into — thereby financially supporting — the system, and other factors made it a difficult entitlement to sustain.

Flash forward to the Affordable Healthcare Act — i.e., Obamacare — and we have the current situation that has created a very controversial medical landscape.

Len explained the comparisons between Canada’s vaunted universal health care system and that of the U.S. As he noted, it has its own set of problems and, since it is structured to handle a population of just 23 million, it might not be as applicable as some people think for a nation of 320 million.

He noted that although healthcare systems in a number of countries such as Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK often are cited as good examples of universal healthcare, they might not be transferable to the U.S. because we have a very different population in terms of numbers, ethnicities and experiential backgrounds. He stressed that while he was not citing personal or professional preferences in this presentation we still have not arrived at a model that will be widely accepted by a large majority of Americans.

As always, a cogent and thought-provoking presentation.

NEXT MEETING: Our annual Holiday Party, 6 p.m Thursday, December 20, at the Forth residence in East Greenbush. If you have not yet done so, please immediately e-mail your reservations (including number of guests, if applicable) to the club account at and the get to work on your themed silent auction basket to bring to the event.

Go here for the Events Calendar.


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