Will County Residents Favor Single-Payer Health Care
Some 75 people attended a public meeting on HB 311, the Illinois Universal Health Care Act, on November 5 at the Will County Office Building in Joliet. After listening to a synopsis of the bill; a summary of Will County population and unemployment statistics provided by Board member Jacqueline Traynere; and statements opposing and supporting single-payer health care, eleven people who live and/or work in Will County gave their own statements, most expressing support for a single-payer system. No audience member spoke against single-payer health care.
Dave Creighton observed that it is only common sense to want your boss to remain healthy so he can continue to employ you, and your customers to remain in good health so they can continue to buy from you.
Health care administrator Charal Kellner described the burden of paperwork faced by hospitals and physician offices in their dealings with multiple insurance companies and hundreds of insurance plans.
Mary Tisdale of the Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living described the problems faced by their clients in obtaining the means to live in the community; and Amanda Lessner spoke of the disastrous effect on her fiancé, disabled by a brain injury, of being forced into a Medicaid HMO.
Minister Charlotte Droogan described homeless veterans who are missing most of their teeth.
Financial planning consultant Bob Babcock eludicated in detail the cascade of disaster that follows on an unpaid medical bill being sent to a collection agency.
Clarice Hearne pointed out that while one can choose not to buy a car and therfore not to buy auto insurance, everyone has a body, and our bodies are vulnerable; and added that in our current system of health insurance is a gamble--you gamble if you don't have it, and you gamble if you do because you don't know whether it will pay for what you need.
Turning to issues in the construction of sound health policy, Frankfort resident Ed Cole educated the audience on the effect of large versus fragmented risk pools.
Beth Rice reviewed her experience of having to choose between buying health insurance for her family and paying their mortgage during a period when her husband was unemployed; and added that her support of HB 311 is based on two years of research on "what would be good for all citizens."
Hale Landes, who said he has excellent insurance through his union, wants everyone to have as good as what he has.
Gini Lester, a Will County resident who did not speak during the meeting, observed afterwards, “I was especially pleased that so many addressed that it is our responsibility to take care of each other.”
Board members Herb Brooks and Sharon May attended the meeting and listened to the testimony.
Videographers Vicki Gumbiner and Mike Barr are working on a video of the meeting, which we will post when it becomes available.
The Will-Grundy Center for Independent Living sponsored sign language interpretation by Sherry Kinzler.