28 December 2007

Shame on Ohio Guv

The Akron West Side Leader has this letter to the editor:

To the editor:

It is bewildering to me that Gov. [Ted] Strickland will not allow Single Payer Healthcare proponents a seat at the table of the Ohio’s State Coverage Initiative (SCI) team. Colorado and California have both done model comparisons of health care options, using research collected by the Lewin Group, which submitted technical analysis of four health care plans, including Single Payer. The research determined that a single-payer health care system “could cover more people, for more services, for less money.”

The overwhelming need for health care reform is present in all 88 Ohio counties, none more so than in Gov. Strickland’s previous 6th District, where the unemployment average is higher than the national and state levels. The two counties with the highest unemployment rates in the state are in the 6th District. Unemployment and poverty have taken a huge toll on this area of the state, and Gov. Strickland has first-hand knowledge of this.

I heard the governor speak on WCPN this past year and he said he supported the single payer idea but it was not politically realistic that this plan would pass the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature. The Ohio House Committee on Healthcare Access and Affordability is chaired by James Raussen of the 28th District, an insurance analyst with Great American Insurance.

The Single Payer plan is currently before the Ohio Legislature in the form of House Bill 186 and Senate Bill 168, the Health Care For All Ohioans Act. These bills give the Legislature an opportunity to create a system of financing comprehensive lifetime access and comprehensive care for everyone in Ohio. Tens of thousands of people have signed initiative petitions for the Health Care for All Ohioans Act.

Please contact your Ohio legislators to request their support for these bills. Also call Janetta King, policy director for Gov. Strickland at (614) 466-3555 to request that these bills be evaluated by the State Coverage Initiative alongside those plans submitted by private insurance representatives.

Ohio citizens have a right to know all the possibilities being explored by the SCI team. To exclude Single Payer from this group is nothing short of criminal negligence on the part of the governor.

Mary Smith, Cuyahoga Falls

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