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February Membership Meeting - John Patrick Carney and Health Care Reform

Upper Arlington Progressive Action Membership Meeting

Thursday, February 23, 2012, 7pm,

UA Public Library

13 people attended.


  • Roots Camp will be held this Saturday 8:30-5pm, OSCEA, by Progress Ohio.
  • The Move to Amend petitions will be delivered on Friday.
  • At 10am Friday, the Romney campaign office will be opening, 1355 Dublin Rd. If you have questions for the Romney campaign, this might be an opportunity to ask.
  • Support the UA Library Levy
  • Maureen Reedy for the 24th House District
  • Scott Wharton or Pat Lang for the 15th Congressional District
  • Next month, the 12th Annual Pub Crawl to benefit Pets without Parents will be held on March 17th.
  • Remember to vote on Primary Day, March 6.
  • Put out your Obama signs on Primary Day, “Turn the Town Blue”


Featured Presentation: State Rep. John Patrick Carney

I was elected with a 57% vote in a district hadn’t been held by a Democrat in 50 years.

Passed healthy schools initiative. Bipartisan legislation. Did all I could to get Ted Strickland elected. We knocked on 50,000 doors. We need to have people in the government who will fight for the middle class. Coming in to the minority, the majority proposed cutting 100s of millions of dollars from education, then SB5, then we’re going to local communities, we’re going to take all their money, we’re going to brag we didn’t have to raise taxes, because we took the money from the localities.

So Kasich is saying we need to give more money to the big companies, and they will look out for the middle class. Is that their job? No, for them, it’s about let’s make money for our shareholders. We are selling low and the benefits are going to friends and cronies of the ruling party.

It really matters a lot. If we don’t get more Democrats in the house, it will be much worse in 2013 than in 2011. They will erode the middle class and low income benefits because “those folks don’t deserve it.”

I’ve been a health care attorney for ten years. How many of you go and shop for a doctor, and shop for a health insurance company? It’s not a free market system at all. We want to create the public health care marketplace so that we do get a free market. If you have health insurance, you’re paying 20% for uninsured people. Not just poor people, it’s people who just decide not to get insurance, they go to the emergency room, and the hospital cost shifts the expenses to the people who are insured. They say it’s Obamacare, and it’s government takeover of health care when it’s just preventing freeloading.

We have to get into talking to our neighbors and our relatives and help them better understand the health plan.


Q: Mary Taylor is going around the state giving speeches about “Obamacare” and refusing to initiate the state insurance exchange. What are you doing about it?

A: She’s the director of the department of insurance. Given the fact that we just passed a budget to fund the department of insurance, I’d like to know what she’s doing with the money.

HB 412 proposed. We said to insurers, to medical professional organizations, to all the interested parties, “In two weeks we want you to put in your amendments.” We want to have this ongoing dialogue. We want to create the inertia behind the enabling legislation. The governor is going to stonewall, but come three weeks before the deadline, when the Federal grant money is on the line, they are going to be listening to the medical community, the insurance companies, the hospitals, who all have buy-in on our model bill and the companion bill in the State Senate, and we hope they pick up or use most of our bill.

Mary Taylor has agreed to speak at a public forum. Contact Rep. Carney’s office for details.


Q: Why set it up in Ohio, and not just let the government do it?

A: We know Ohio better, We’d like to keep the smaller insurance companies in business. We think there really is a benefit to setting it up ourselves. In January, the legislative liaison from her office told me not to worry, because a state exchange is the best. Then a year went by.


Q: If I’m Anthem, and if I have to design interfaces for 48 systems, that’s going to cost more than if I have to set up one system.

A: I’m guessing there were conversations about this when designing the legislation about this. Anthem said a little while ago the way they were going to grow was to buy more systems. I think you want to keep a lot of carriers in the marketplace. A lot of insurers only exist in one state.

With a large company, they can afford to give the customer (the doctor) the runaround, they’re gaming the system, they’re delaying the provision of insurance until after the service is provided. I have been tasked with setting up an exchange here in Ohio, so I did not have a hand in setting up the legislation.


Q: There’s another reason to support the mandate. The uninsured are getting everybody sick, and sending their kids to school, which must cause a lot of problems with employers.

A: When you look at national health surveys at other places where there is universal care, they have better health outcomes and better infant mortality.


Q: Results of Issue 3 initiative?

A: It depends on what suits are brought.


Q: Redistricting results?

A: Until you get the districts to be like mine, which is a 45% democratic performance index, then it’s not going to be fair. There are a fair number of folks who are preoccupied with holding their seats rather than supporting their districts.


Q: Malpractice cost driving doctors to quit?

A: The most important factor doctors have is paying off the cost of their education. When you start out with $250,000 in debt, and amortize it over 30 years, it’s the main cost that doctors face. We’re seeing the malpractice cost being 3%, lower than their rent, their staff, their insurance clerk. Now in some specialties, Ob/Gyn, yes, the cost of malpractice it high, because if anything is wrong with the baby, they sue the doctor, even if most of the time there was nothing wrong with what the doctor did. But no, malpractice insurance rates are not causing people to quit medicine.


Q: Are any doctors leaving the practice because they’re concerned about reimbursement going down?

A: We’re losing family practitioners and pediatricians, but more because they can’t afford their debt load for paying for medical school based on their reimbursement. We’ll have to make provisions to recruit and retain these primary care physicians.

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