28 September 2007

Right To Know Day!

SadbutTrue has a post over at Unruly Mob aka Les Enragés, on the fact that today is International "Right to Know Day":
The aim of having a Right to Know Day is to raise awareness of the right to information. It is a day on which freedom of information activists from around the world can use further to promote this fundamental human right and to campaign for open, democratic societies in which there is full citizen empowerment and participation in government.”
It's also the beginning of Right To Know Week — something to think about. What to do to celebrate?

20 September 2007

Conason, Lux on Hillary

Joe Conason, who wrote a great book about the witch hunt against the Clintons, reveals the soft spot he has in his heart for Hillary with this article at Working Assets. Conason ends it with a good point:

Ever since Harry S. Truman first proposed universal health care in 1948, the insurance industry has refused to create a system that would cover everyone, erecting instead a nightmarish edifice of corporate bureaucracy, unaffordable waste and cruel exclusion.

Rather than rant against the constructive alternatives, let them--and their political mouthpieces--explain why we should continue to tolerate their failure.
Mike Lux, who used to work for Hillary, gives his analysis on what's different about this program at Open Left. Lux writes,
But there's one other reason the issue haunts me and drives me. Being part of that health care fight in 1993-94 was an experience that I can never forget. I don't like losing, especially when the stakes are this high, and unlike elections where you have another chance to win just two years down the road, a chance at getting something this big and complicated done comes along only once a generation. So we better get it right this time.

I think Hillary's new proposal is pretty damn good. I still think, have always thought, a Canadian-style single-payer system is the best way to go policy-wise, but that ain't happening absent a miracle, and Hilary's proposal is pretty sound policy-wise in terms of doing the things a health reform policy should do: it covers everybody, cuts costs and improves quality. And there's no one in the country who knows more about health policy than Clinton- she is pretty amazing in that regard.
Lux believes that this plan may work because it:

1. Emphasizes that if you like your health insurance you can keep it.
2. Keeps it simple to explain.
3. Buys off small businesses with no mandates to cover employees.

18 September 2007

About Hillary....

For a rousing denunciation of Clinton's healthcare "reform" plan, give John Nichols' a read. Nichols writes how it should be done.
...Clinton and the Democrats would have a far easier time selling “European-style socialized medicine” than what the senator from New York is peddling. And that does not even take into account the potential appeal of a uniquely American single-payer system that might intelligently combine the necessary efficiency of a publicly-funded and defined payment program for covering costs with the appealing prospect of allowing Americans to choose their own basic plans and doctors.
Steven Pearlstein of the "liberal" Washington Post, on the other hand, thinks Clinton's plan is the best of the bunch. Feasible, you know?

Newt Gingrich explains, via his interview on Hannity & Colmes, why incremental and "feasible" won't work.
COLMES: All right. Getting to Hillary Clinton's health care plan, this is not a government-run plan. In fact, you can keep the plan you have now.

GINGRICH: Alan, Alan...

COLMES: You can buy a new plan for profit. You can pick a plan from the menu of quality private insurance options. You can get the plan that Congress has. You can choose a public plan similar to Medicare.

So you've got a bunch of options here. It's not like it was, as you called "Hillary Care", back in 1994.

GINGRICH: Alan, it has a huge tax increase. It costs $110 billion a year more. It has government intruding all over the place. It cripples the insurance companies. It takes money away from executives. It has government interfering at all sorts of levels.

If you add up the total amount of red tape this is going to cause, I agree with you. This is not Hillary Care. So let's call this "Daughter of Hillary Care". OK? This is way beyond Hillary Care.
So. Clinton (and the rest of the Dems, except Dennis Kucinich) surrender — she goes along with keeping all the blood money for the insurance industry on the table.

Guess what? She loses again. Because it's too expensive.

Walter Shapiro at Salon seems to be talking about a different plan than Nichols, Pearlstein, or Gingrinch. He quotes from Clinton's ad about the plan: "it lets you keep your coverage if you like it [and] provides affordable choices if you don't." and suggests it will be harder to demonize this time.

(That malicious laughter is coming from Newt, who has already accepted the challenge.)

Shapiro writes,
Rather than being timid and incremental, her proposals are as ambitious as those offered by John Edwards, who was the first major Democrat to offer a plan for universal coverage. (Dennis Kucinich remains a voice in the wilderness with his call for a government-run single-payer plan.) Like Edwards, she would legally mandate that uninsured individuals obtain health coverage -- and would provide hefty subsidies for those who cannot afford it on their own. The Clinton and Edwards plans (along with a more narrowly drawn proposal advanced by Barack Obama) would be largely financed by rolling back the Bush era tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000....

Less than four months before the Iowa caucuses, there is scant evidence that Democrats will be mobilized to choose a candidate based on his or her healthcare position papers. All Democratic contenders agree on the goal of universal coverage for the 47 million without insurance -- and, Kucinich aside, their road maps for getting there only differ in the details.

"The candidates would do just as well to hold up blank reams of paper and say, 'This is my healthcare plan,'" joked pollster Andy Smith, the director of the Survey Center at the University of New Hampshire. "Healthcare has been consistently coming up as the second or third most important issue in the polls after the war. But are the voters following the debate over the nuances of policy? No."
The sorry part of this article is Shapiro describing Clinton's policy as "bold."

Bold it's not.

17 September 2007

CO libertarian doc makes the big time

Paul S. Hsieh, MD, the Denver libertarian physician who believes that the best reform possible in U.S. healthcare would be to eliminate Medicaid and truly let the disabled, the poor, and so forth either die in the streets or be the grateful recipients of private charity, has hit the libertarian version of the powerball jackpot.

He's been published in Capitalism Magazine, a soapbox for the juvenile and immoral Ayn Rand® Institute. Good thing they registered that name, huh? Bravo for unfettered and amoral capitalism; selfishness is good; self-interest is all that counts and does bring happiness. Really.

Here's the link, should you want to sample regurgitated talking points against the Canadian system.

A friend commented this morning that for most intelligent people, Ayn Rand® is a short-lived phase in their freshman or sophomore year of college -- right before they discover Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" and "everything belongs to me because i am poor."

I'm not saying that "objectivism" and "sophomoric" are synonyms. Most people mature beyond a sophomoric inclination to live entirely for their own self-interest. Mercifully, most people drawn to practice medicine get beyond that in grade school.

Ayn Rand® may have played a larger role in what's wrong with the United States than we typically give her® credit for. An article in the NYT over the weekend posited that "Atlas Shrugged"(® no doubt) has been one of the most influential business books ever written.

It turns out that John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, is an Ayn® devotee. Why is that not surprising?

California Dems cave

Don McCanne has a good column at the California Progress Report on the foolishness of turning in your best cards before you even sit down at the negotiating table. In A Nunez-Schwarzenegger Compromise or Single Payer for California?, he writes,
in a classic example of political irony, Democrats are abandoning their preferred option, single payer reform, in order to reach a compromise with the Republicans and the private insurance industry. They have crafted a model that they believe does not repeat the mistake of the Massachusetts reform program. California Democrats proudly proclaim that they will not require individuals who cannot afford private insurance to be covered by a program that is being inappropriately characterized as universal.
It's sad stuff, in part because it's exactly the same — as 1993. It's like Groundhog Day for healthcare reform.
Not one Republican voted for this compromise, and Blue Cross of California is spending a couple million dollars in an advertising campaign opposing reform. So much for compromise. The Democrats have violated the first rule of negotiation. Before they even seriously sit down with the governor, they have removed from the table the most important polices that would bring comprehensive, affordable, high quality care to everyone.
McCanne notes that underinsurance is the fastest growing problem in U.S. healthcare. It's key in a brilliantly crafted scheme that the health insurance industry has put together. See, you don't usually know you're underinsured until you need your insurance. That happens to less than 10 percent of the insured in any given year. And so most people can be convinced that it was their own foolishness or bad luck, not part of a carefully designed plan in which their health is nothing more than collateral damage in the quest to create wealth for others.

Health insurance up again

The New York Times' health industry reporter Milt Freudenheim reported on the rise of health insurance costs last week. It's up "just" 6.1 percent, a bit less than three times the rate of inflation. It has brought the average cost of insurance for a family to $12,106. This is key:
Because doctor and hospital costs continue to rise at an even faster rate, the modest slowdown in insurance inflation mainly reflects cutbacks in coverage by many health plans, which have found ways to make employees pay more for their care. Industry experts said that without those measures, premium costs would have risen by 9 percent or more.
Kaiser's report includes results from a survey of private and public employers.

The article is a good source of factoids, including:
  • Health costs have increased 78 percent since 2001, more than four times the pace of prices and wages.

  • The 2007 increase was the smallest annual rise since 1999, when health premiums jumped 5.3 percent.

  • Insurance company profit margins have been running at 6 percent to 7 percent.

Regarding health savings accounts, they found:
  • 3.8 million workers are enrolled in HSAs. That's 5 percent.

  • Almost one in five large employers currently offer some sort of health savings option.

  • Only about half of the employers that offer HSAs contribute to their workers' plans.
Then there was this: "Kaiser did not try to project 2008 costs for health premiums. But research houses are forecasting increases for next year that include 6.7 percent by Mercer Health and Benefits; 9.9 percent by PricewaterhouseCoopers; 10.5 percent by the Segal Company; and 11 percent by AON Consulting."

I'd say Kaiser was right not to try to project. If the drumbeat for change keeps up, insurance companies will not raise rates much. Hell, they might even freeze the rate increases, eat some losses. Cost of doing business.

15 September 2007

Rocky Mntn News reports: single-payer the one

This is a nice change: The Rocky Mountain News has published an article fairly positive about single-payer. In "Panel: Only 1 health plan would cut costs: Single-payer cited but 5th proposal still being studied," reporter David Montero writes that,
A proposal to put health care in the hands of the government is the only one of five being studied that would save money, a group working on reforming health care in Colorado told lawmakers Wednesday.

That plan, known as the single- payer system, would cut about $1.4 billion of costs from the current $30.1 billion being spent in Colorado on health care.

And of the original four plans - one submitted by insurance underwriters, one by the public employees union, another by health care providers and the single-payer - only the last was shown to cover all of Colorado's legal residents.
Montero doesn't have it quite right — the plan wouldn't put healthcare in the hands of the government, it would put healthcare financing into a non-profit single pool administered by a governing board — but he did get it right that the single-payer plan is the only one that would save money. He also reported that State Sen. Ken Gordon "said single-payer was the best plan that offered the state savings as well as broader coverage for everyone."

Healthcare in Norway for conservatives

Merete Cunningham, a Health Care for All Colorado supporter, wrote earlier this week for the Fort Collins, Colorado, Coloradan about single-payer healthcare in Norway. Despite the drums of fear from the right, it doesn't sound too scary.

She wrote, "My parents (my mother was a Conservative member of the Norwegian Parliament) lived and died under this system. As they grew old, I could not ask for more humane and decent treatment, at no cost to them, and without the need to sell off their assets. They were able to leave their estate to their heirs while living in a state-run facility. This is what I would like to see here, because I know that it is possible if the profit motive is removed.

"When a for-profit company in the United States is in charge of your health care insurance, company and health care goals must clash. A company's dedication to maximize profits is in direct opposition to its claim to provide health care for its members.... They are doing a great job for their shareholders. However, they are doing a horrible job of providing our health care. Nobody should profit from illness and death."

The first comment was an anti, ranting on about something about Lasik eye surgery. Thank God for Lasik eye surgery. If it weren't for Lasik the right would have nothing to point to as an example of why the free market will save medicine in the U.S.


11 September 2007

Colorado's fifth proposal for reform

The Denver Post's report on the latest 208 Commission news was as good as can be expected. Katy Human is a thoughtful reporter who does her homework.

According to Human, only seven commissioners voted against the commission coming up with their own proposal, including Mark Simon and Linda Gorman. The usual suspects, in other words.
The "208" commission suggested requiring individuals to purchase health insurance and banning insurance companies from rejecting sick applicants.

The group's latest proposal, which resembles the plan Massachusetts started last spring, would levy a tax penalty on anyone who didn't have insurance.
My favorite quote: "The solution is not giving more money to the insurance companies" said Mark Simon, an advocate for the disabled and former business owner on the panel.

There was a "what planet does she live on?" quote from Gorman: "What you are talking about doing is taking a functioning market and ruining it," said commission member Linda Gorman, senior fellow at the Independence Institute.

Let's see, you've got about 15 percent of Americans uninsured, an equal number underinsured, a quarter of Americans on Medicaid, Medicare, the VA, etc., millions of Americans forced into bankruptcy because of medical bills, annual cost increases that double to triple the cost of inflation and you call that a functioning market? Actually, of course it is a functioning market. It's just not a functional market. Another way of looking at this is the fact that government — aka your tax dollars — already pay for 60 percent of U.S. healthcare costs. You pay another big chunk straight out of your pocket. Health insurance pays for very little care compared to how much they take in. This "functioning market" adds nothing of value to the system, but rather only skims the cream off the top.

The Rocky Mountain News' article got the number of commissioners wrong (picky, picky, picky, but there never were 23 — there were 24 before Governor Ritter appointed three more, making 27) but the reporter also got a good quote from Simon: "I have an increasing level of discomfort . . . but I've got to say the solution is not to give more money to the insurance companies," Simon said. "That's outrageous."

HCAC members at the commission meeting report that early in the meeting Lewin went over some detailing on the SEIU proposal specific to their efforts to reduce costs and spread service for long-term care. The strategy results in damaging effects to vulnerable and disabled populations. It was in fact so onerous that it led to a heated exchange between commissioners and may have damaged the SEIU proposal.

However, the Commission is going full throttle towards subsidized mandates. The fight for U.S. reform, in fact, comes down to mandated private insurance vs. publicly-funded single-payer. People need to understand that their tax dollars will be going to private insurance companies through this scheme: mandates will be publicly funded and subsidized, in some cases up to 400% of FPL.

Barry Keene, HCAC's vice president, made a forceful public comment on this issue, telling the commissioners that they were becoming vulnerable to group think about enforced insurance mandates that the public was not going to accept. He noted that when he talks to people about this they're incredulous about mandates, with a uniform reaction of: "They wanna to do what?!? No way I'm going for that!"

But, Barry notes, Massachusetts voters went for mandates.

Mandates have become the default answer for mainstream health care policy thinkers, a way of assuring themselves that everybody is covered. Single-payer supporters must work hard to push Legislators away from this notion. Legislators need to be concerned about the public reaction to subsidizing insurance companies.

"Subsidizing insurance companies." When Barry put it that way to the Commission, reports are that some of them shifted uncomfortably in their seats. Mark Simon also used those words.

Christopher this morning asked me what value health insurance companies add to our healthcare system. What good are they?

Progressives think differently

Not better, understand, just differently.

How could scientists possibly come up with that?

They sat people in front of computer screens that flashed Ms and Ws at test subjects — about four times as many Ms as Ws. Those being tested were supposed to tap a key when they saw Ms — but not when they saw a W.

(Obviously the test was somewhat biased against conservatives from the get go. Why did the testers choose 'W' to be the letter they shouldn't react to? What did the testers have against W? We all know the answer.)

The psychologists also put those Frankenstein wires to the testee's noggins — an electroencephalograph — to figure out which parts of the brain a testee was using in determining whether to choose to react and tap their key or not. Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives. These were, by the way, college kids who self described themselves as liberal or conservative. The testers didn't just put the call out and end up with a bunch of slower, older conservatives who made more mistakes.

It looks as though conservatives can't help it. They get stuck on one idea and throw out all factual evidence to the contrary. So: SUVs = good. Therefore no such thing as global warming... or: America = good. Therefore no such thing as torture, a bad invasion, etc.... or: Free market = good. Therefore no such thing as a sector it might not work in — like healthcare, just for instance.
Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

Sulloway said the results could explain why President Bush demonstrated a single-minded commitment to the Iraq war and why some people perceived Sen. John F. Kerry, the liberal Massachusetts Democrat who opposed Bush in the 2004 presidential race, as a "flip-flopper" for changing his mind about the conflict.

Based on the results, he said, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

"There is ample data from the history of science showing that social and political liberals indeed do tend to support major revolutions in science," said Sulloway, who has written about the history of science and has studied behavioral differences between conservatives and liberals.

08 September 2007

The problem for American docs

We don't talk very often about the role that physicians play in our sick healthcare system. Most of them are unhappy with their loss of control and the fact that they can't just concentrate on healing patients — but instead need to be businessmen and now employees of the HMOs and PPOs, getting permission for every procedure.

Statistics show that a majority of medical students begin idealistically, planning to be primary care physicians. By the time they graduate, however, faced with medical school debt of more than a quarter million dollars, most decide they need to go into a specialty, where they will earn more money.

This article, about an opinionated older physician, quotes him saying that "the amount of money involved in the system brings out one of the more negative human attributes -- greed.

"'Unless and until these extraordinary costs unique to the United States are squashed into manageability, there is too much greed and too little control of greed being exercised,' said Bennett, a Harvard Medical School graduate, who operates a practice that bases its fees on the ability of his patients to pay. 'It does not matter what politician suggests what plan --- Republican or Democratic, that plan will fail.'"

He goes on to list four specific physician-related issues:

• the educational debt carried by new doctors;
• the practice of hospitals "owning" the physicians who are affiliated with them;
• extraordinarily high prescription drug costs; and
• the advent of health management organizations, which have assumed a middleman position between patients, health care providers, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals.


06 September 2007

Colorado single-payer calendar

Sen. Johnson gets it now — but do the rest?

By Donna Smith

DENVER – It was a moving scene. Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota returned to the U.S. Senate today, nine months after suffering a brain hemorrhage that nearly took his life.

I vividly remember that day. I was working at a contract position here in Denver when someone came out of our break room and said some Senator from South Dakota had a stroke or something. My stomach flipped. We had just moved from South Dakota weeks before, and Tim Johnson was one of my U.S. Senators.

When I arrived home that day to my daughter’s home where we were living in a small storage room, a hand-written note was waiting in her mailbox for me. It was to me from Sen. Tim Johnson. The irony of receiving that note on that day was spooky for me. The note is on his U.S. Senate note paper, and he thanked me for my efforts to be a fair reporter in western South Dakota where most media leans heavily and easily to the far right. I still have that note and will treasure it always. It wasn’t easy to report on any Democrat in western South Dakota, and it was kind of him to acknowledge that fact.

But now it is months later. I have been in Michael Moore’s SiCKO and to Cuba for health care, and Sen. Johnson and his family have been through hell and back with his brain injury. Both of our families have much yet to endure.

I listened to his statement today and marveled at his courage. How many of us would step to that microphone and do what he did and what he had obviously fought to do with every fiber of his body. Every American should take great comfort that among all the terrible falsehoods and shams we watch unfold from Washington, these few moments were very human and very American – in the best senses of both.

In part, Sen. Johnson said, “But I return to work today to this great body with a renewed spirit and a sharper focus. I better appreciate today what individuals and families go through when they face crippling hardship – whether that hardship be the consequence of catastrophic health issues, economic hardship, or lack of an opportunity to reach one’s full potential in life.

“I believe I have been given a second chance at life. I vow to take that second chance and work harder than ever to be the best I can be for my state and for my nation; to be a voice for those individuals and families who too often are ignored or forgotten; and to fight to live up to the ideals that have made this nation great. That is my focus and that is my commitment to my constituents back home in South Dakota, to the people of this great nation, and to my colleagues here in Washington.” When he finished his statement, his colleagues stood and honored him with applause, as well they should.

Then our Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, spoke. In his moving tribute to his friend and fellow Democrat, Sen. Reid shared a truth that might have been lost by some but that seared at my heart and soul like a hot knife.

In praising Sen. Johnson’s doctors and acknowledging the serendipity that allowed his medical crisis to occur when and where it did, Sen. Reid inadvertently highlighted some of the very issues the rest of us out in America face today.

Reid said that if the hemorrhage had occurred one day later, Johnson might have been on an airplane bound for South Dakota. OK, that would be bad. It would have taken precious time for a plane to land and for care to reach my Senator. He might have died or had a very bad outcome indeed.

But then Reid added that if the crisis had occurred two days later, Johnson might have been on an Indian reservation. Oooh, now that’s not good. Everybody knows that having a medical emergency on one of the nation’s Indian reservations would necessarily mean pretty lousy chances for high quality trauma care or even minimal stabilization of a medical emergency.

So, my good Senators, Sen. Johnson was blessed to have his emergency in Washington, near an awesome medical facility with doctors who were top-notch and able to work with the best of the best to save his life and to save his brain so we could applaud him today.

Most Americans are not so lucky. We don’t have the insurance benefits and access to quality care that saved Sen. Johnson’s life and brain. And the kicker still is that we – the American taxpayer and voters – give our Congressional members better benefits at better prices and therefore a better chance for life than we even demand for ourselves.

I would like to hold Sen. Johnson to the words he spoke today and challenge him to work now on bringing the health care crisis in this nation forward once again in the Senate. He has a unique perspective and a unique opportunity -- Perhaps a God-given opportunity to argue that he values the health and lives of his constituents and of everyday Americans just as much as he does his own. In my heart, I know he does. Now I just need to find out if he has the courage to stand up and say it in spite of the re-election race decision looming in the not-too-distant future.

In 2004, another U.S. Senator from South Dakota offered a resolution in the Senate saying that every American should have access to health care benefits like those given to every member of Congress at a fair price. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle offered that resolution but was later defeated by the young Republican, John Thune, who introduced Sen. Johnson today as he returned to the Senate. Thune does not believe every American deserves the same health benefits he does.

I would like to challenge Sen. Johnson to go back to that resolution and read it again. Give it your own touches and please reintroduce it again. Let the courage and compassion you now know even more intimately exists in America guide you to bring this discussion back into the Senate before another year and another election cycle – and the deaths of 18,000 more Americans – passes. This nation needs health care reform now, please help us Sen. Johnson.

04 September 2007

A union for patients

DENVER – Larry Smith has had enough. Smith plans to take his medical records and his medical payments from Medicare and insurance for his on-going care to a doctor that supports universal health care. No more feeding the beast of for-profit medical groups determined to push more patients – and therefore more revenue – through the door every hour rather than offer the level of care being paid for by millions of Americans.

“No more apologizing for getting sick after a lifetime of working and paying for health insurance only to watch everything be lost in an instant to high premiums, deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket costs -- and then still have doctor groups deny my care because I cannot pay them more. My father always said you can’t get blood out of a turnip, but in this system, my father has been proven wrong,” Smith said.

As a patient of numerous specialty groups and specialists over the past 20 years, Larry has seen the system which benefited wildly from his business as a patient morph into one in which he must now beg for adequate care. The 63-year-old Denver man is taking the first steps aimed at organizing his fellow patients to demand the quality of care for which they are paying and to demand meaningful health care reform.

Smith is walking away from the largest cardiology practice in his area – and the same practice that treated his father all the way through a heart transplant, death and income in the hundreds of thousands of dollars from Smith family insurance and savings – and Larry is transferring his care to a Denver cardiologist that supports universal health care.

“Ask your doctor if they support universal health care,” Larry said. “Look around that waiting room at the signage. If the first thing you see is the reminder that payment is expected BEFORE your doctor’s visit, consider checking out this group a bit more before you turn over your life or the life of someone you love to them. What assurances have they given to you about your satisfaction or your well-being based on pre-payment for service?”

Additionally, Smith urges physicians and providers who are serious about supporting universal health care to prominently post that support where patients can note that philosophy. “Does your physician value every human life? Or does your doctor value only those with the right coverage or checking account balance or credit rating? The answer fundamentally changes your focus and your doctor’s focus. You have a right to know these things before the doctor lays a hand on you or someone you love.”
Smith adds that if the doctor’s primary goal is to help him feel better and get well, that is to be rewarded with his business as a patient.

“I have no objection to my doctor earning money – even very good money – for good performance. But right now, the system rewards my doctor for keeping me sick and in need of more tests and more referrals and more follow-up appointments and more spending. The focus is not on my health but on his wealth.”
Smith will also ask the national organization Physicians for a National Health Program to encourage its physician-members to post their membership status for all patients and patient families to see.

At the end of September in Washington, D.C., Larry will formally launch his patients’ union organizing efforts following a vigil on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at sundown on Friday, Sept. 28. The vigil is in memory of Tracy Pierce, a young Kansas City area husband and father who died after his insurance company denied him treatment, and the vigil also honors those still fighting for care now.

Several of the people who appear in Michael Moore’s film, SiCKO, are attending the vigil, including Tracy’s widow Julie Pierce, Adrian Campbell, Dr. Linda Peeno, Dawnelle Keys – along with Larry and Donna Smith. They have recently organized a patient advocacy group, American Patients for Universal Health Care, apuhc.com.

There will be a vigil honoring Paul that same night in Denver, on the West Steps of the Capitol at 7 p.m.