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Summer 2018 Newsletter
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MoSP’s Free Public Programs 2015-2020


-“Surprise Medical Bills are Hazardous to your Health!” January 16, 2020 *Mark Krasnoff, MD, a general internist with SSM Medical Group will lead the discussion on the devastating financial and emotional trauma caused by surprise medical bills. 

How can Americans thrive under for-profit health care? There is one, single solution! Dr. Krasnoff, dedicated champion for Improved Medicare for All, returns to MoSP to give another compelling presentation. Americans suffer from health and financial insecurity due to costs not covered by insurance. 43% of emergency room visits and 42% of hospitalizations among privately insured Americans came with surprise "out of network" bills. These bills are financial disasters for us. Collection agencies reap the rewards.

*Mark S. Krasnoff, MD 
Dr. Krasnoff is a general internist with SSM Medical Group at St. Mary's Health Center where he serves as chairman of the peer review committee. He is past president of the medical staff of SSM Rehab. He currently serves on the board of directors for Physicians for a National Health Program - St. Louis.


-“Health Care in Canada and Cuba: What do they have that we don’t?” co-sponsored with The Gateway Green Alliance and The Universal African Peoples Organization Thursday, October 17, 2019. Esteemed panelists include Dan Berg, MD, Erin O’Reilly, RN, MSRN, IBCLC, Don Fitz, Ph.D., Rosemary Gaertner, RN, FNP and moderated by Brittani Nelson, BS. Come join the discussion in which we compare and contrast a single payer health system and a socialized health program with the non-universal, multi-payer non-system of the U.S.

What are major problems with health care in the US that make it inaccessible for the poor, the working poor, and middle class families who often have insurance plans? Why is health care so expensive? Why does the US have higher infant and maternal mortality rates compared with some impoverished countries? Could a Medicare for All system such as exists in Canada really improve care and reduce costs by 20-40%? Why does the Cuban health care system result in a longer live expectancy and lower infant mortality rate while spending less than 10% per capita of what the US does? Come with questions and ideas about how we resolve the fatal flaws in US health care.


-“Political Introverts: How Empathetic Voters can help Save American Politics” September 19, 2019, a lively discussion about empathetic voters and political change. *Arthur Lieber leads the discussion about structural changes in our system that (a) make the system more inviting for introverts, but (b) will allow legislation to move much more quickly when a clear majority exists. 


*Arthur Lieber
Since 1991, Arthur Lieber has been director of Civitas Associates, a non-profit educational organization in St. Louis, MO dedicated to promoting critical, creative, and enjoyable learning for students in informal settings.  Programs include model United Nations, urban studies, working with journalists, and open discussion of controversial topics.

In 1974, he was one of the co-founders of Crossroads School, the sole independent secondary school in the City of St. Louis. He was director of the school from 1974-1989.

In both 2010 and 2014, he was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Missouri’s Second Congressional District. He did not win, but thought that he was able to keep his integrity intact.

He is author of Political Introverts: How Empathetic Voters Can Help Save American Politics


-“A Brief History of Waste” April 18, 2019, discussion about principles, programs and the goals of reducing waste and why it is imperative for our health. Your health and the health of all of us depends on the health of Mother Earth. To have a standard of living adequate to maintain one’s health and sustain life, there must be clean air and water. *Ian Ashcraft will lead the discussion on the history of health aspects, regulation and waste disposal. His presentation will include landfills, recycling, current topics of concern and what we can do about it. 

*Ian Ashcraft is an Environmental Representative for the Saint Louis County Department of Health Waste Management Division. He believes in waste reduction through “pioneerdom”, entrepreneurship and niche solutions. He endeavors to engage others by integrating the 3 R’s into everyday life.


-“How Managed Care Has Failed” March 21, 2019. *Dr. Arthur Gale, M.D. will lead the discussion about the failure of managed care to control costs and improve access to care. He will discuss the unhappiness of physicians with the present system. Two recent polls show that just over 50% of doctors now favor a Medicare for all type system, a change from five or ten years ago. Share your views regarding finding a good doctor, accessing appropriate health care, and other barriers to getting the excellent care you need. 

*Dr. Arthur Gale has published articles on Medicare and on Managed Care. Dr. Gale is the author of two books, “The Hijacking of American Medicine by Managed Care: The Perspective of a Practicing Physician” and “The Hijacking of American Medicine by the Federal Trade Commission”.  

He taught medical students and residents for three decades at a teaching-community hospital where he served as president of the medical staff. He was Associate professor of Clinical Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He was elected president of the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society and has been active in organized medicine at the local, state, and national levels. He recently retired from the practice of internal medicine in Saint Louis, freeing his time for further advocacy, writing and speaking.


-“Advocating for a Stronger UN January 17, 2019 *Luz Rooney and *Mary Beth Reissen lead the discussion about the principles, the programs and the goals of the United Nations on behalf of the United Nations Association of Saint Louis, which advocates for the work of the United Nations.

In all democratic industrialized nations, except the U.S., and in many developing nations, health care is considered a human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Included in these are: “the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, and housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” 

*Luz Rooney is the Vice President of the United Nations Association of Saint Louis. *Mary Beth Reissen serves on its Board of Directors.


-“Accessing Health Care for Missouri’s Immigrants October 18, 2018, discussion about compassionate and ethical treatment of immigrants and refugees. *Maria Torres Wedding, MPH and Chelsea Berkhout, LCSW discuss current health care options for undocumented immigrants & asylum seekers, and issues of family detention and the asylum process. 

*Maria Torres Wedding, MPH, is Coordinator of Client Support Services for The Migrant and Immigrant Community Action (MICA) Project, working with clients from across the globe, including Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. María was born in Monterrey, Mexico and moved to the United States at an early age with her family. She is committed to help improve the health and well-being of immigrant communities. After finishing a Master of Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis, she developed extensive experience working with non-profits in the St. Louis area. At MICA, María coordinates external referrals for clients, connecting them to information, resources, and other community agencies. María is also Chair of the Membership Committee at the Immigrant Service Provider Network (ISPN) which works to increase access to services for the foreign born and their families.

*Chelsea Berkhout, LCSW has worked with immigrant communities and access to healthcare for the past seven years at St. Louis Effort for AIDS. In her position as Program Manager of the ACCESS Project Consortium, Chelsea leads a team of Health Insurance Enrollment Specialists who provide Missourians with free help enrolling in and understanding their health insurance options.


-“Building Worker Power and Fighting the Corporate Political Agenda September 20, 2018, discussion about the power of your vote to make real and lasting change. *Christopher Ottolino will discuss two important ballot initiatives Missouri has the opportunity to vote on this November.

The first - proposition B - is a statewide minimum wage increase. Coming on the heels of our reactionary state legislature overturning St. Louis' attempts to lift the paychecks of thousands of workers, this will raise the statewide minimum to $12/hr. by 2023, one of the highest in the nation.

The second - amendment 1, also known as the "Clean Act" - is a comprehensive lobbying and campaign finance reform amendment. This measure will go a long way toward leveling the playing field that allows corporate and moneyed interests from playing such an influential role in our politics.
  
*Christopher Ottolino is the outreach coordinator for the St. Louis chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America - the largest socialist organization in the United States and part of a growing movement to put people over profits.


-“Environmental Pollution, Human Health, and the Environment We Share” April 19, 2018, discussion about advocating for a healthy environment, and what we can do to bring about needed changes. Missourians cannot enjoy good health without clean air to breathe and clean drinking water. *Patricia Schuba, President of Labadie Environmental Organization (LEO) will discuss how environmental pollutants impact human health and cause disease. With the legal and technical help of Washington University Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic, LEO successfully ensured a much safer means of coal ash disposal at the state's largest coal-fired power plant just west of St. Louis in Labadie, MO. 

*Patricia Schuba is a clinical dietician and biologist, with health care experience in patient care and research. She has worked at Vanderbilt Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Barnes-Jewish here in St. Louis. Patricia’s research includes publications on GI and autoimmune diseases, Crohn's, colitis, T1 diabetes, metabolic stress, absorptive disorders. Most recently, she has studied the impacts of environmental pollution on human health and disease.

Patricia’s advocacy and volunteerism include working with Progressive Democrats of America, Four Rivers Progressive Coalition, Sierra Club - Candidate Endorsements, Legislative Committee, MO Rural Crisis Center, and the Missouri Democratic Party’s Healthcare Committee, Environmental Committee/Progressive Caucus, Member Platform Committee, and was Bernie Sanders Delegate to State Convention in 2016.  


-“The Paper Ballot Bill Update” March 15, 2018. *Cynthia Richards and Phillip Michaels will explain why it is essential now more than ever to protect your votes with by marking a paper ballot that can be hand counted to prevent disputes, hacking or other sabotage. Cynthia and Phillip will discuss the history paper ballot bill, and report on its progress this legislative session.

*Cynthia Richards and Phillip Michaels
Cynthia Richards and Phillip Michaels work with the voluntary, non-partisan citizens' activist group Missouri's Coalition for Transparent and Secure Elections. The focus of the group has been to pass a bill in the MO legislature that will outlaw electronic voting machines and make a hand marked paper ballot the official ballot of the state.


-“The Effects on Income Inequality on our Health” June 21, 2018,  discussion about the relationship between income and health, how we can advocate for great health care for everyone, and what we can do to bring about needed changes. 
*Pamella Gronemeyer, MD will discuss how the great and growing income gap between the rich and poor impacts health in the U.S. 

*Pamella Gronemeyer, MD is Vice-President of Missourians for Single-Payer and Vice President, Illinois Single Payer Coalition, and leads Southern Illinois People for Progress. Pam is a long standing member of Physicians for a National Health Program, and is the co-president (southern division) of PNHP-IL. She is a pathologist, and director and small business owner of SEMC Pathology in Highland, IL.


-“Trickle-Up Politics: Money and Politics at the Federal Level” February 15, 2018. *Arthur Lieber, Director of Civitas, leads the discussion on getting money out of politics on the Federal level.
 
*Arthur Lieber
Arthur Lieber has been teaching and working in non-profit educational organizations since 1969. He promotes critical, creative, and enjoyable learning for students in informal settings. In the 2010 and 2014 mid-term elections, he was the Democratic nominee for US Congress from Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District. Since 2010, he has been a major contributor to the Occasional Planet blog.  

Arthur Lieber has given programs for MoSP on these topics: “Flunking Out of the Electoral College” and “FDR’s Second Bill of Rights”.


-“End of Life Strategies” October 19, 2017. *Dr. John Morley, a gerontologist, leads the discussion on how we can strategize what paths we choose at the end of life. 

*John E. Morley, MD
Dr. Morley is the Dammert Professor of Gerontology, Division of Geriatric Medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. He serves as Medical Director for two nursing homes. Dr. Morley earned a medical degree at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Dr. Morley, a champion for seniors living a happy, healthy and fulfilling lives, returns to MoSP to give us a new program, after the unanimous vote of members for his return. Dr. Morley has spoken to our group previously on the topics: "Why can't America be more like France?" and "A Good Death"


-“Unionized Nurses: Saving Lives and Improving Quality of Care”, May 18, 2017. Saint Louis University Hospital RNs, *Jay Coomer, RN and Kellie Allen, RN, will discuss staffing at SLUH and the ways in which the nurses’ union has confronted under- staffing at SLUH and has impacted SLUH to improve patient care.
 
Under-staffing harms patients and the nurses who care for them. Learn about the National Nurses Organizing Committee-National Nurses United's four-year campaign at SLUH for better, safer patient care and improved nurse staffing. 

*Jay Coomer is Chair of the Union’s Professional Practice Committee and works in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit. Jay was on the bargaining team for the first union contract at SLUH. Kellie Allen is a member of the Union’s Staffing Committee and works in the Geriatrics and Internal Medicine Unit.  


-“Addiction Medicine in the 21st Century” April 20, 2017. *Fred Rottnek, MD, Professor, and Director of Community Medicine at Saint Louis University leads the discussion on substance abuse and addiction and new interventions to battle the epidemic for individuals and communities. Yet these interventions are not readily available to many of us--due to access and capacity in health systems and cost of treatment.

Fred Rottnek, MD, MAHCM, provides an overview of the current opioid epidemic, discuss evidence-based medication interventions that complement traditional methods of addiction treatment, and share practical advocacy strategies to promote the health of our family, friends, and communities.

*Fred Rottnek, MD, MAHCM
Dr. Rottnek is a Professor and the Director of Community Medicine at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Physician Assistant Program. On September 30, 2016, he completed a 15-year sentence in Correctional Health Care at the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center and Saint Louis County Family Courts. He teaches in the School of Medicine, the PA Program, and the Interprofessional Education Program, directs the Rodney M. Coe Distinction in Community Service Program, and mentors students in longitudinal community service. He is a board member of the Criminal Justice Ministry and works with the Concordance Academy of Leadership as the Medical Consultant to build the health services model for participants reentering society from prison. He is currently working with colleagues in the SLU community and with national organizations to promote training and practice in Addiction Medicine.


-“Independent Transportation Network; Freewheeling Seniors” March 16, 2017. *Margie Diekemper, Certified Public Health Nurse, will lead the discussion on helping seniors stay healthy and active through transportation.  

St. Louis County’s Age Friendly Initiative exposed the challenges faced by seniors in accessing affordable transportation to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Senior advocates approached the St. Charles County ITN (Independent Transportation Network) about expanding their 5 year old program into St. Louis County. A Steering Committee has an ambitious fundraising and community outreach program to get ITN Gateway running by summer of 2017 in the mid-county corridor. Margie, a representative of the Steering Committee will discuss this essential program for adults 60+ and visually impaired adults 21+. 

*Margie Diekemper, a public health nurse, has been an active senior advocate in retirement. In addition to her work as a volunteer CLAIM Medicare Counselor, she also chaired the University City Senior Commission from 2014-2017 and remains an appointed Commission member. She is one of the “charter” members of the ITN Gateway Steering Committee working to bring this not-for-profit transportation option to St. Louis County seniors and visually impaired adults.   


-“Flunk Out of the Electoral College: Elementary Democracy” February 16, 2017. *Arthur Lieber, Director of Civitas, will lead a discussion on the origins of the Electoral College, its pros and cons, and questions about its relevance in modern democracy. This program continues our dialogue on free and fair elections.

*Arthur Lieber is Director of Civitas, a St. Louis based non-profit organization that works to increase awareness about issues of public concern. Civitas' programs encourage adolescents and adults to engage in compassionate critical thinking, to reduce the rhetoric and to raise the level of dialogue; thereby engaging more people in a constructive path towards fulfilling the promise of democracy. We must be active and responsible citizens to improve the condition of humankind.  

Arthur Lieber has been teaching and working in non-profit educational organizations since 1969. He was the Democratic nominee for US Congress from Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District in the 2010 and 2014 mid-term elections. He is been a major contributor to the Occasional Planet blog.


-“The People have Suffered Enough” January 19, 2017. *Reverend Larry Rice, champion of the disenfranchised and the poor, will discuss simple, revolutionary solutions to alleviate suffering and help St. Louis’ homeless and their families overcome poverty. 

*Reverend Rice has founded shelters for the homeless in St. Louis, Jefferson City, Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, Marshfield, Branson and Joplin; in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and in East St. Louis and Decatur, Illinois.

As founder and director of new life Evangelistic Center at 1411 Locust St. in St. Louis, he helped start the following services: Medical Clinic, Assistance programs for food, rent, utility and funeral expenses, Adult Literacy Class, Winter Patrol, The Summer Distribution Programs of fans and air conditioners, The Winter Distribution of blankets, heaters and insulation kits, Apartment and job Referral, Transportation Assistance, Violence Prevention Classes, and Computer Training.

Rev. Rice co-founded The Dollar Help Program with Sister Pat Kelly at the Laclede Gas Company in St. Louis. This program has raised several million dollars to help the needy pay gas bills during the winter months by encouraging people to add $1 to their gas payments to help those who struggle to pay their bills.

He founded The Missouri Coalition for the Homeless, which advocates to fight the cycle of homelessness through legislation and public awareness. 


-"Free and Fair Elections" October 20, 2016. *Joe Adams and *Don Fitz lead the discussion on issues impacting free and fair elections in democratic societies. Issues include: proportional representation, selection of candidates by parties, instant run off voting, and disenfranchisement of black, elderly and poor voters. 

*Joe Adams currently serves as a state representative and is sponsor of our single payer bill, The Missouri Universal Health Assurance Act. Joe served as Mayor of University City from 1995 to 2010. Joe formerly was a professor of history at the St. Louis Community College at Meramec. He earned his master’s degree in History from University of Missouri-Kansas City. For over 30 years, he taught American and African American History.

*Don Fitz is the producer of Green Time TV, and is a member of the editorial board of Green Social Thought. Don received his Ph.D. in 1974 from the University of Texas at Austin.  He was a professor of psychology at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, Maryville University in St. Louis, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis Community College at Meramec and Forest Park, Fontbonne University and Washington University in St. Louis.  Dr. Fitz was a Research Psychologist for 25 years for the Missouri Department of Mental Health. 


-"Nurses Unite! – The Union at Saint Louis University Hospital after Three Years", discussion with *Jay Coomer, RN May 19, 2016.

*Jay Coomer, a nurse with 32 years of experience, will discuss the struggles of organizing for quality of care and work place safety, and bargaining the first union contract between Saint Louis University Hospital and National Nurses United. She will talk about how empowered nurses make a significant impact on the most important social justice issues of our time.  


-“How the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership will Increase the Cost of Prescription Drugs”February 18, 2016. Dave Meinell, President of Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans (MOARA), leads a discussion on the ways the TPP will increase our cost of prescription drugs. Learn how the TPP will protect pharmaceutical companies, while preventing Medicare and the VA from negotiating fair drug prices. Dave Meinell is retired from District No. 9, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. He educates the public on political issues that impact retirees and seniors. 

MOARA recently held a protest against TPP at our downtown Federal building, which was covered by local television stations. The AFL-CIO and MOARA are among 1,500 organizations that signed a letter to Congress opposing the TPP, which can be read on line at www.citizenstrade.org. The AFL-CIO asks you to learn about the TPP, then call Congress: 1-855-856-7545 to tell them to oppose the TPP and why.

On World Cancer Day, Feb. 4 two cancer patients were arrested protesting the expansion of medicine monopolies under the TPP trade deal. Hannah Lyon and Zahara Hecksher refused to leave the lobby of the office building that houses PhRMA, the prescription drug lobby in Washington D.C. As she was handcuffed, Hekscher said this about the TPP’s impact on medicine costs: "The monopoly is keeping prices high. Congress should reject the TPP on behalf of people with cancer in the United States and around the world. Even Doctors without Borders has said that this would be the worst trade bill ever for access to medicine…"(Workers Independent News –AFL-CIO)


-“Lessons Learned during the Year St. Louis County Put Correctional Health Care Services Out for Bid”, discussion with Fred Rottnek, MD, MAHCM, Associate Professor Director of Community Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine January 21, 2016.

Dr. Fred W. Rottnek, chief staff physician for the St. Louis County Corrections System and a volunteer physician at area homeless shelters, was MoSP’s 2007 platform speaker for our 5th annual Health Care Weekend, who spoke on “Patriotism and Health Care for All.” Dr. Rottnek said, “I wholeheartedly endorse single payer health care. In my definition of patriotism, single payer is patriotic because it achieves the greatest good for all Americans”

Dr. Rottnek was honored by the Ethical Society of St. Louis in 2006 with the Ethical Humanist of the Year Award for his “integrated practice of medicine with his love of teaching, commitment to social justice, spirituality, and theology. His patients are the homeless and those incarcerated in Saint Louis County".

Fred Rottnek testified at the first national Citizen/Congressional Hearing on Health Care held by MOSP in Richmond Heights, Missouri during the 3RD annual Health Care Weekend in 2005.


-"The Business Case for Single Payer Health Care: Eight ways that single payer strengthens American business" October 15, 2015. Compare the ACA to single payer for cost, quality and access. PNHP slide presentation followed by discussion, Q & A


-“Medicare Open Enrollment: Know Your Options!”discussion with *Margie Diekemper, RN September 17, 2015.

*Margie Diekemper, public health nurse with vast experience in St. Louis and abroad, is currently a CLAIM volunteer, who offers free and private advocacy for people with Medicare questions. Margie will discuss everything you thought you understood, but didn't, about the intricacies of Medicare, and what options can be availed. Margie says, "If knowledge is power, then understanding our Medicare program can be a powerful form of advocacy to preserve and protect it for future generations." 


-"Medicare after 50 years: the Good and the Bad"discussion with *Arthur Gale, MD May 21, 2015. Dr. Gale discusses the power of Medicare to lower prices, the pitfalls in Medicare Advantage plans (Part C) and how hospital mergers increase medical costs.

*Dr. Gale is in the private practice of internal medicine in St. Louis. Gale is the author of “The Hijacking of American Medicine by Managed Care: The Perspective of a Practicing Physician” and “The Hijacking of American Medicine by the Federal Trade Commission”.   
-“Living the End of Life to its Full Extent”, a talk by *Dr. John Morley April 16, 2015. As a geriatrician, *Dr. Morley is one of St. Louis’ leading advocates of healthy aging, and author of many books on aging. He directs the St. Louis University medical school’s division of gerontology. He is medical director at two St. Louis-area nursing homes. Dr. Morley writes a regular column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 


-"A 'Transformation of Intentions' in Hawaiian Health Policy: How the ACA Affected the Implementation of Health Policy in a Progressive State" discussion with Lindy S. Hern, Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii at Hilo,  March 26, 2015.