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Sep 8, 2009 7:50 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton residents rally for health care reform

Sep 8, 2009 7:50 PM

As the sun set over Newtown Lane in East Hampton Village on Wednesday, a group of about 30 people gathered to rally support for health care reform and a public option.

Group leaders said the rally was one of approximately 350 such events that were attended nationwide by more than 60,000 members of the MoveOn.org Political Action group and other democratic and grassroots organizations.

Betty Mazur and Michael O’Neill, members of MoveOn from East Hampton and Sag Harbor, organized the event, calling it a “vigil for people suffering under the health care system,” and “a memorial to Senator Edward Kennedy, who viewed fighting for universal health care as the ‘cause of his life.’”

Participants stood in front of the movie theater, showing off posters to drivers passing by on Main Street. “Honor Teddy and pass a strong health care bill. We owe him that,” read one. “Health care for all now!” read another.

Ms. Mazur, speaking to the crowd through a bullhorn, said that the need for reform must “not be erased by the mindless noise and intensity of the 
right. Too many Americans have allowed the current rabid right to control the mic.”

She praised the strong showing of Democrats at U.S. Representative Tim Bishop’s “town hall” meeting on health care last week in Farmingville, where they took their place next to conservatives who have been disrupting similar meetings to protest reform. “We need our presence known,” she said.

There were no opponents of health care reform at the vigil, and the drivers of some cars passing by honked in support.

Part of the night’s purpose was also for people to share stories of the hardships they or others they know have faced under the current health care system. Claire Ciliotta said she was a therapist who saw every day how difficult insurance companies made it for people to afford mental health care.

“There is no respect given to the human being that is suffering,” she said. “For them, it’s all about getting out of paying.”

Mr. O’Neill recalled that when he had bypass surgery, even though he had been paying for health insurance for 15 years, his company told him they wouldn’t pay for the surgery because it was a pre-existing condition. “I said I’m sure it was,” Mr. O’Neill said. “I was born.” After a long and difficult fight, the company eventually paid, he said.

Walter Jarsky, a resident of East Hampton and Toronto, praised Canada’s universal health care system. He said every time he saw a doctor or specialist he simply showed his plastic health care card and that was the extent of his paperwork. He said that yes, taxes were a little higher, but no one paid more than $400 per year for health care and every documented citizen of Canada had health insurance.

Cile Downs held a poster that read, “I’m on Medicare and you should be so lucky.” “What people like us really want is Medicare for all,” Ms. Downs said. “It’s so efficient, well-organized. The government is doing it right!”

Mr. O’Neill, commenting on the night’s turnout, said, “we turned the tide on the tea-baggers with these 350 vigils all across the country.”

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Thank you all for standing up for everyone's right to health care. We cannot let the tantrums of the right drown out the voice of reason.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Sep 4, 09 2:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Who doesn't want health care reform? I think its fair to say most educated americans want to see rates reduced and more people insured. The question is how best to get there? The proposed 1,100 page bill from the house. If you want to solve the problem for 15% of the population and screw the remaining 85% its for you. There has to be a better way.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 4, 09 2:56 PM
VOTE for the public option in Suffolk County!
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 4, 09 5:52 PM
I think health care reform is due and lets hope politicians can be patient with this and get it right. Its gonna need debate and discussion....lots. Maybe this will begin with the current adminastration but it will be tweaked and trimmed for ever.
josephene11968 Let me guess.....your white
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Sep 4, 09 8:06 PM
Dear Josephine: I don't know what my skin color has to do with anything or why that is relevant to the health care discussion. Health care is necessary for all people of all races, religions (or non-religions) and political persuasions. We all bleed and need to be stitched up or fixed up every now and then and, when that occurs, we should not be sent into bankruptcy. Don't you agree?
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 4, 09 9:04 PM
Whoops--I meant Ebby, not Josephine.
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 4, 09 9:38 PM
If you believe it is our moral imperative to cover every single person and want socialized medicine REGARDLESS of the cost than the public option is for you. I believe in personal responsibility and fiscal prudence. Lets enact reform to stop escalating costs, help make coverage more affordable to individuals, and provide subsidies to low income individuals.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 5, 09 8:06 AM
lulubelle I do agree with you. My little comment regarding skin color was in reaction to Josephine11968's statement which I guess was pulled off the air before you had a chance to read it. I am not racist
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Sep 5, 09 9:17 AM
Gotcha Ebby--No, I did not see Josephine's comment to which you responded.
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 5, 09 10:21 AM
Ok lulubelle I dont know where your going but your gonna go there without me. Now your giving me the creeps. You make some good points but I seem to bother you. Im going to the beach
By Ebby (75), Sag Harbor on Sep 5, 09 10:44 AM
Sorry to give you the creeps--I was apologizing for my misunderstanding you, but I guess that was lost. Enjoy the beach.
By lulubelle1956 (24), Westhampton Beach on Sep 5, 09 11:44 AM
moveon.org.... enough said.
By Simon (16), Southampton on Sep 5, 09 5:03 PM
"Moveon.org" indeed! George Soros and Moveon.org are even to the Left of peoplefirst and Michael O’Neill. Opposing them on any issue is almost an American's obligation.

The was a desperate correction needed to the policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney, but Soros et al are a grotesque over-reaction.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 5, 09 10:14 PM
Wake up!!! Anything promote by “MoveOn.Org” is not beneficial for the US; unless you want to have a Socialist Government to tell about your choices and your way of life! Have no doubts, I am one who has lived in a Socialist Dictatorship... and I do not want to ever again!!!!!!
By Pocholo (13), Westhampton on Sep 6, 09 6:17 AM
those old ladies are unamaerican, nazis, standing in the way of democracy, astro-turf, evil mongers, trying to squash honest debate....mmmm....am I missing anything?
By thetruthhurts (21), southampton on Sep 6, 09 7:00 AM
These people are all Obummer supporters who cannot get over what a terrible president he is. Anybody who knows how medicare works knows that only the programs which medicare delegates to private insurance companies are efficient. The problem with government run programs is that they are controlled by idiots like the MoveOn group who support it.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Sep 6, 09 9:05 AM
Thank you for this rally!

I want the CHOICE to opt out of this barbaric and dysfunctional private system without sacrificing my life and livelihood. I want the CHOICE of public health care.

A public health care option is an American proposal - it's not socialism any more than public fire departments and public police departments. This is the morally and fiscally responsible thing to do for this country.

Don't let let baseless fear and paranoia stand in the way of smart ...more
By UIRUDESU (7), Lake Grove on Sep 6, 09 2:49 PM
uirudesu.....wow are u kidding???
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 6, 09 3:57 PM
Uirudesu, You are oh so right, but you won't change the minds of the wackos posting here. Posters like KJC and thetruthhurts can't wait to jump up and down and scream socialism when they couldn't define it if it bit them in the ____
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Sep 6, 09 4:58 PM
wackos? Are you blind to GVT fraud, waste and mismanagement? I can buy the theory you feel we need it because it is morally the right thing to do REGARDLESS of cost but fiscally responsible....please. 1.6 trillion defecit and 10 trillion in debt..enough said.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 6, 09 5:32 PM
peoplefirst, I said nothing about socialism, My point is, that if government controls healthcare, this administration will have people like Van Jones running it. Lets face it, like East Hampton Town, fiscal responsibility is not what government agencies are good at.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Sep 6, 09 9:44 PM
You're absolutely right. But in this case, health care reform now could save us from long-term fiscal meltdown. Out-of-pocket health care costs (which, if you're sick, are devastating whether you're insured or not) are a major cause of personal bankruptcy and destabilizing to the system as a whole.
By UIRUDESU (7), Lake Grove on Sep 6, 09 10:01 PM
UIRUDESO Wrote: A public health care option is an American proposal - it's not socialism any more than public fire departments and public police departments. This is the morally and fiscally responsible thing to do for this country.

Last I checked fire and police departments weren't private run entities in business to earn a profit. But let's say they were and that they didn't receive public funds... Do you really believe they would be able to complete with a government subsidized program ...more
By Simon (16), Southampton on Sep 7, 09 6:01 PM
1. I also heard the stat about having to file personal bankruptcy even if you have health Insurance. This is very misleading. If are sick and can't work then you cant pay the bills unless you have disability Ins. Most people do not have this. Maybe we can get the GVT to pay for that too.
2. To say we need the public option to keep insurance companies "honest" implies that the companies are in collusion or you do not believe in free market capitalism. We need to get to the root of the problem ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 7, 09 8:50 PM
I believe we need Health Care Reform. BUT the Government is only going to screw things up. Let's look at the track record.... War in Iraq? War on Drugs? They have already proven they can't run a health care system, aren't Medicare and Medicade already bankrupt? This is just another scheme for the Government to control your life. If you bleeding heart liberals want to give lazy, freeloaders health care that's fine. You can give up YOUR paycheck to give these people health care. Just keep your hand ...more
By BGinEH (15), East Hampton on Sep 8, 09 9:18 AM
Insurance Co's, lobbyists,right-wing political extremist and their shareholders are fighting hard to keep the status Quo. They want to continue making money hand over fist. Even folks who can afford the insurance are being taken for fools. Forget about being covered for a long term illness; your not;sorry. Maybe you people should try it, and give the Doctors a break. They wouldn't have perform unnecessary surgery on you to cover their malpractice insurance premiums, HA! HA!. President Obama must ...more
By Johnny Nova (83), Northampton on Sep 8, 09 8:07 PM
so now the GVT is proposing to tax people who do not have coverage. Ougt to do wonders for the present uninsured who can't afford it. If health care wasnt such a serious issue it would be funny
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 8, 09 10:40 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yeah Obama. I commend him for keeping the interest of the "people" in mind no matter how many votes he did or didn't get from the "Hamptons".
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 11, 09 4:10 PM
Sorry, Suffolk County.
By let'stryagain (21), WestHampton Beach on Sep 11, 09 4:28 PM
Two points mentioned above:

1) You would be absolutely right to assume that private insurers couldn't compete with a tax-subsidized government option. That's why the public option wouldn't use taxpayer money in all of the current proposals. It would run on premiums, just like the companies.

2) The insurance "market" isn't a market at all. A functioning market assumes that both parties - the buyer and the merchant - have leverage, giving the merchant an incentive to act to the benefit ...more
By UIRUDESU (7), Lake Grove on Sep 14, 09 12:48 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 14, 09 1:24 PM
No tax payers dollars to fund heath care reform and nothing added to the deficit. Run purely on premiums. Yeah right. Only in fantasy land
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 14, 09 2:02 PM
Of course there's going to be deficit. What most people don't realize is that the government doesn't work like a credit card. Deficit spending, while it can be destabilizing in the long run, can be good economic policy - especially when its necessary. My argument is predicated on the fact that incurring massive federal debt is worth this reform, as long as we have a plan to pay it back in the long run.

And when one side presents facts "yeah, right" is not a counterargument. It's called ...more
By UIRUDESU (7), Lake Grove on Sep 14, 09 2:22 PM
UIREDESU Who are you Warren Buffett?? The Messiah has said he will NOT sign a bill that will increase the defecit, So then how do we pay for it. There is very little in the massive Gvt takeover plan (sorry reform plan) to reduce the cost of care which is integral in reducing cost of coverage.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 14, 09 3:20 PM
I think I'm going to have to say the no-deficit thing is a lie on Obama's part. I think he's going to have to back off on that promise.

As for the cost of care - you're right on the money about that. Arguable the main thing that these much-demonized "socialized medicine" countries do right that we do wrong is giving doctors the right financial incentives. In America, they're rewarded for wasting money - and statistically we're ...more
By UIRUDESU (7), Lake Grove on Sep 15, 09 1:57 PM
Health care is a right, not an option for only those who can afford it. Our nation has long ago made that same decision about fire protection. It is selfish to the extreme, amoral and anti-democratic to perpetuate this right wing barbarity that health is only guaranteed for individual wealth. The USA should join the rest of the civilized world in providing government mandated health services. The USA is the only industrialized nation that has a system as wasteful and as expensive as ours, now rund ...more
By mo (89), Sag Harbor on Sep 16, 09 11:46 AM
No Mo Mo. How can we take you seriously when you are comparing health care to fire protection. Fire protection in most townships is voluntary. You also stated Medicare is much more efficient with less adminstrative costs than the private industry. That is a great one. You should be on the comedy channel. All of these proposed reform plans to very little to get to the core of the problem which is cost of care.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 16, 09 1:53 PM
you're totally out of your league here, if you can only answer with stupidities. Volunteer is not a for-profit enterprise no matter how you cut it. In most communities in the U.S. they have fire department like NY's, municipley run, not volunteer as you state.
Of course cost of care is a vital part of reforming our system that is as broken as our immigration system and a lot more lethal. 22,000 people die needlessly in U.S. for lack of coverage. Not have universal coverage is more ...more
By mo (89), Sag Harbor on Sep 17, 09 12:17 AM
For those of you who believe we don't need healthcare reform, read the following.

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered an insurance company to pay $10 million for wrongly revoking the insurance policy of a 17-year-old college student after he tested positive for HIV. The court called the 2002 decision by the insurance company "reprehensible."

That's the most an insurance company has ever been ordered to pay in a case involving the practice known as rescission, in which ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 17, 09 11:50 AM
Mo, many have tried using rational, factual data to dissuade anti-reformists from their path of ignorance, but it just does not work. Now that Baucus has delivered such a lousy bill that still has no republican support, now is the time to push progressives to go as far as they possibly can. Five years from now Razaa and others, all though they'll never admit it, will be thanking god that reform took place.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 17, 09 11:53 AM
I believe you can find "rational and factual data" pending which side you favor. For me it comes down to two basic things.
1. I believe the current reform bills presented do very little to address the core of the problem for the 85% of us that have it. That is to stop the escalating cost of coverage. I believe the best way to reduce the cost of coverage is to reduce the cost of care. No matter who runs it if they do not address this issue the cost of coverage will continue to rise be it though ...more
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 17, 09 10:49 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with ...more
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Sep 18, 09 9:12 AM
"The harvard study funded by a federal research grant as published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health. It was realeased by Physicians for a national health program which favors government backed or single payer sysytems". If you are going to start quoting yahoo articles you should probably have mentioned that point Dag.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 18, 09 9:44 AM
Does that make it less legitimate? Who do you think is going to fund it, Glenn Beck?
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Sep 18, 09 4:55 PM
lol. The point is I'll bet you Glen Becks study would be different. That is why it is less legitamate. If you have an agenda the study is bogus.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 18, 09 9:31 PM
lol. The point is I'll bet you Glen Becks study would be different. That is why it is less legitamate. If you have an agenda the study is bogus.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Sep 18, 09 9:32 PM