Saturday, September 5, 2009

Clergy discuss health reform

Clergy discuss health reform
By Mindy Rubenstein, Times Correspondent
In Print: Saturday, September 5, 2009

CLEARWATER — Eileen Jacobs of Clearwater drew applause and cheers as she pointed out Friday morning that one of the nation's largest health insurers took in a $5 billion profit this year and asked, "Why are we so afraid of government? … The government is us."

Her husband, O'Neal Jacobs, 87, is a World War II veteran who receives health benefits from the Veterans Affairs Department, including $4,400 worth of eye medicine each month. She pointed out that the VA system is one of the best.

When people say, " 'get government out of my health care', I am appalled," she said.

Eileen Jacobs, 80, was not alone in her pleas. The passions were overflowing Friday morning during a public forum that included about eight clergy from different faith traditions, who came together to discuss health care reform.

"We were a little nervous about opening it up to people, but something told us that we needed to," said the Rev. Abhi Janamanchi of the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater, which co-hosted the forum with Hammock's Unity Church of Clearwater. "The stories that followed were very powerful."

He said the goal was threefold: to urge people to respect the democratic process and respect each other's opinions; to engage in the process, including contacting their elected representatives; and to remind people that we have a moral obligation to speak up for those without health care.

"In this crisis, we have an unprecedented opportunity" to create a fair system, he said.

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You should also read this.

Know the facts before taking stance on health care
By Jan Glidewell, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, September 6, 2009

Things didn't really get better until 1972 when Congress decided to fund dialysis through Medicare (a, ahem, government program).

Today, some 345,000 Americans, including a dear friend of mine, are being kept alive by dialysis.

At the risk of hammering home a point too hard, it wasn't medical corporations or insurance companies that saved all of those lives, it was government realizing that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness works better for those who are actually alive.

And trying to make an issue of end-of-life counseling is obviously being ballyhooed by those who have never had to make that decision.

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Know the facts before taking stance on health care

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