National health care to be discussed

National health care to be discussed
Herald Staff Report
April 21, 2004

A free public teach-in on a single-payer national health-care system will be presented from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, in 130 Noble Hall at Fort Lewis College.

"Recent polls have revealed that most Americans favor a system of national nonprofit insurance to finance care by doctors in private practice for every man, woman and child in the country," said Ray Parker, a local supporter of a single-payer health system, in a news release.

The teach-in is part of a nationwide observance of "Cover the Uninsured Week, May 10-16, designed to draw attention to the nearly 44 million Americans who have no health insurance. Former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford are honorary co-chairmen.

Dr. Donald Bader, head of Mercy Medical Center's emergency staff, will be the featured speaker. He will present a slide show explaining how the system would work and why it has been adopted in various forms by other industrialized nations.

A panel of experts will then join Bader onstage with volunteer moderator Marsha Porter-Norton. Audience members will be invited to ask questions and offer comments.

The experts from various health organizations include:

• Betty Lyerle, professor emeritus of sociology and human services at Fort Lewis College.

• Lynn Westberg, director of San Juan Basin Health.

• Jim Tatten, director of state advocacy for Catholic Health Initiatives, which operates 17 hospitals nationwide, including Mercy.

• Bern Heath, president/chief executive officer of Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center, which serves Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties.

The teach-in will be co-sponsored by the local Citizens for Single Payer Health Care and the League of Women Voters of La Plata County.

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