June 27, 2008

June Update HealthCareMaryland.org

HealthCareMaryland.org is a non-partisan, not-for-profit membership organization engaged in research, public education, and advocacy to guarantee universal high-quality health care for all Maryland residents. We're working with our friends and allies--other organizations, elected officials, and concerned individuals--to bring high-quality universal health care to Maryland in 2008. We're planning town halls, summits, and conferences, as well as organizing legislative efforts. We welcome your help!

Study group on single payer health insurance system
SEVENTH SESSION: Tuesday, July 8, 2008 7:30 PM
St. John's United Methodist Church
St. Paul St. at 27th St., Baltimore

WHAT: One time study sessions on what a single payer health insurance system could look like in the United States. Each month the topic will be the same and we'll cover pretty much the same ground.

THE TOPIC: "Single payer" is a technical sounding term that simply means that only one agency will pay for medical services- this in contrast to the roughly 1500 insurance companies now operating in the US. Private insurance companies would be effectively eliminated from the medical market. The rough model for most single payer advocates in the US is the Canadian system. Another way of simplifying: An expanded and enhanced "Medicare for All."

County Must Help Improve Latino Health, Report Says
In Growing Group, More Than Half Are Uninsured
By Donna St. George | The Washington Post

Latinos have emerged as the fastest-growing population group in Montgomery County, and more needs to be done to boost their health and well-being, including improving access to medical care and expanding transportation and bilingual services, a new report says.

The report noted that the best estimates, from 2005, suggest that more than 50 percent of Latinos in the county are uninsured, and about half do not have a primary-care doctor. Among Latinos who had not seen a doctor in the past year, the primary reason was the high cost of care.

Healthcare Reform/State Advocacy
The National Mental Health Association reform efforts

For over five years, the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) and its affiliates have worked with coalitions of consumer, family and advocacy groups in 45 states and the District of Columbia to assist them in their policy efforts and train them to become more effective voices for change in the public and private mental health systems.

Consumer’s Checklist: How To Overturn Managed Care Treatment Denials
Thanks to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA)

As insurance companies continue to use managed care techniques such as utilization review--where your insurance company works with your provider to determine if a treatment plan is necessary for your well being--to control health and mental health expenses, consumers must become increasingly knowledgeable of the utilization review and appeals processes in order to effectively fight for the treatment they need and deserve. By following the steps listed below, consumers, family members, and advocates will increase the likelihood that necessary treatment is provided.


Excerpted from the report by The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured THE UNINSURED AND THEIR ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE--link opens as a PDF file using Abode Reader.

While the majority of people in the U.S. under the age of 65 receive health insurance coverage through their employers and almost all the elderly are covered through Medicare, 46.5 million nonelderly Americans lacked health insurance in 2006. Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) play an important role by covering millions of nonelderly low-income people, especially children. However, limits to these public programs and gaps in employer coverage leave millions of people uninsured and create substantial barriers to obtaining timely and appropriate health care.

The Uninsured: Access to Medical Care
Patient Center | Issues in EM

Main Points

* Emergency departments provide an essential community service and are vital to the nation's health care safety net, caring for everyone, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status.
* Inadequate coverage of the uninsured, cutbacks in Medicare, declining payments by health plans and a medical liability crisis are threatening the ability of emergency physicians to continue to provide high-quality care to everyone.
* ACEP advocates for expansion of health care coverage for the uninsured and underinsured and has taken a leadership role in building a national consensus for universal health coverage.
* The Institute of Medicine in 2006 recommended that Congress consider providing greater reimbursements to large, safety-net hospitals that bear the burden of taking care of uninsured patients.

Majority of U.S. Doctors Back National Insurance Plan
Survey finds 59% feel fragmented system is obstructing good patient care

By Robert Preidt | HealthDay

A majority of American doctors now support the concept of national health insurance, which represents a shift in thinking over the past five years, a new survey finds. Typically, national health insurance plans involve a single, federally administered social insurance fund that guarantees health coverage for everyone. In most cases, these plans eliminate or substantially reduce the role of private insurance companies.

Want to Help Stop the ICC? Learn more! June 28

When Bob Ehrlich and George Bush teamed up in 2003 to fast-track the
ICC, oil was selling at about $40 a barrel, and the nation's
consciousness of global warming was only dawning.

But now oil costs more than $130 a barrel, and gas costs more than $4 a
gallon. The Federal Highway Trust Fund is forecast to be bankrupt in
2009, and Maryland faces its own fiscal crisis. The Chesapeake Bay is
decades behind in its recovery, and most of Maryland still fails to meet
the federal clean air standards for smog and fine particle pollution.
And there's growing evidence that climate change is accelerating and
that Maryland and the Bay are especially vulnerable.

Isn't it time for Maryland to rethink its transportation priorities and
pull the plug on the ICC?


Please Forward This Invitation Far and Wide!
Join Us Saturday -- June 28
Come Hike the Beautiful Upper Paint Branch Watershed.
Come see for yourself how close the ICC would pass to Drew Elementary.
Hear expert presentations on critical issues and share your ideas.
Come be inspired! See what so many people are working so hard to protect!

This is easy terrain and can be managed by children, so bring the kids!
And bring your friends, neighbors and colleagues, too!

Time: 10:00am to Noon

Join us for an easy educational hike of the Paint Branch Stream Valley
Park beginning at Charles R. Drew Elementary School Please arrive by

Noon Lunch, slide show presentation, Q & A, and discussion at Drew

Join us for one or both!

Place: Charles R. Drew Elementary School
1200 Swingingdale Drive
Silver Spring

The forests that shelter the Upper Paint Branch and two of its
healthiest tributaries -- Gum Spring and Good Hope streams

Directions are below. So is a list of things to bring.

Hike and Presentation Sponsors Include
The Anacostia Watershed Society, Audubon Naturalist Society, Clean Water
Action, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Community Research, Eyes of Paint
Branch, Friends of the Earth, Maryland Native Plant Society, Neighbors
of Northwest Branch, Sierra Club

About Drew Elementary, Air Pollution and the ICC

The ICC would pass within about 90 yards from the playing fields of Drew
Elementary School, exposing children and staff, and the neighboring
community, to air pollutants that have been linked to a wide array of

About the Hike and the Upper Paint Branch Special Protection Area

The forested stream valley we'll hike borders on the playing fields of
Drew Elementary and shelters the Gum Springs and Good Hope tributaries
of the Paint Branch. This wonderful natural area is a true ecological
gems and ground zero for the ICC.

Good Hope and Gum Springs are two of the healthiest streams in the
Anacostia Watershed and the Washington region, thanks largely to the
survival of wetlands and large tracts of mature forest in the area that
we'll hike..... and thanks to the tireless efforts of Eyes of Paint
Branch and other groups to save those forests and wetlands.

These streams and the forest that shelter them are so vital to the
Anacostia's recovery that Montgomery County established the Upper Paint
Branch Special Protection Area -- and designation that State Highway
would like to ignore.

The forests we'll hike abound with oaks, hickories, tulip poplars,
sassafras, sycamores, mountain laurel, spice bush, native azaleas,
dogwoods and honey suckle, and many others native species.

Standing among hardwoods that soar more than 100 feet from the forest
floor, listening to the stream and to the sweet, flute-like song of the
wood thrush, you might like you're in nature's cathedral and gain a
deeper sense of how precious this area is.

The Paint Branch is the only stream in the region to shelter a
self-sustaining trout population. Trout thrive only in cool, clean,
healthy streams and are considered a sensitive indicator species.

About the Lunch Time Slide Show and Discussion

Experts will be on hand to present information and answer questions on
this $3+ billion highway's potential impacts on the environment, public
health, working families, and Maryland's ability to invest in wiser

We'll cover:

• Energy
• Global Warming
• Public Health
• Transportation Finances and Priorities
• Watersheds and the Bay

The slide show will be followed by question-and-answer and discussion.

Please RSVP ASAP and....

* Spread this invitation far and wide!
* Bring family, friends, neighbors and colleagues!
* Bring still cameras, video cameras.... and a sense of wonder.
* It's fine to show up without RSVPing, but we would like to know
roughly how many folks to expect.

For More Information or to RSVP

Write or call Suchitra Balachandran at: cp_woods@yahoo.com

Things to Bring

* Plenty of water or other liquids to drink.
* Lunch or substantial snack. Please avoid or minimize disposables.
* Binoculars.
* Cameras -- still and video (Help us a create a beautiful display of
the natural beauty threatened by the ICC!)
* Guides to local flora and fauna.
* Note pads or note books.

Directions to Drew Elementary

Driving North on New Hampshire Avenue....

* Roughly 1.1 miles north of Randolph Road, turn right onto Cape May
Road. Cape May will dead end into Good Hope Road.
* Turn right onto Good Hope Road.
* Just past Good Hope Union United Methodist Church, turn right onto
Twig Road.
* Turn right onto Cavendish Drive.
* Take the first right onto Swingingdale Drive.
* You'll then be looking at Drew Elementary and the forests that shelter
Paint Branch's Good Hope tributary.


Want to Help Stop the ICC?

Whatever you skill or interest, chances are, we have a job for you!

Write to: stoptheicc@igc.org

Be sure to type "Volunteer" in the subject line.

June 23, 2008

Foreclosing on the American Dream: The Story Behind the Housing Market Collapse and the Sub-Prime Mortgage Scandal

Please attend the event in Rockville TOMORROW NIGHT:
Foreclosing on the American Dream: The Story Behind the Housing Market
Collapse and the Sub-Prime Mortgage Scandal

7 PM to 9 PM Tuesday June 24
Rockville Library, 21 Maryland Avenue, Rockville
Short walk from Rockville Metro (Red Line)
Light refreshments served. / Free--Donations Accepted.

DEAN BAKER – Author and one of the few economists to predict the housing
bubble and collapse – taking the national perspective
SARAH BLOOM RASKIN: Maryland's Commissioner of Financial Regulation for
the state and regional perspective

Sponsor: Democracy for Montgomery County
Contact Mike Hersh 301-933-7169

Want to know how the sub-prime mortgage scandal got started?
And what is behind the demise of Bear Stearns and perhaps more banks to
And just how much further the housing market will likely crash?

June 22, 2008

Update for Montgomery County / District 8

Update for Montgomery County / District 8
We have 3 events and a big victory to celebrate!

Congratulations to Donna Edwards, her campaign staff, and volunteers for
a great victory. Donna won the special election Tuesday, was sworn in
Thursday and began casting progressive votes that afternoon.

Please attend Foreclosing on the American Dream: The Story Behind the
Housing Market Collapse and the Sub-Prime Mortgage Scandal this Tuesday
Evening in Rockville (details below).

Please attend PDA's Montgomery County chapter meeting:
July 1, 2008 7:30 PM at the Saigonese Restaurant
11232 Grandview Ave Silver Spring (Wheaton)

Short walk from the Wheaton Metro / Red Line. Parking in the lot across
the street

Save the date: Sunday July 27 for the 4th Annual DFMC Community Picnic
in the Wheaton Regional Park, Wheaton


Foreclosing on the American Dream

Join us for a conversation on this unprecedented housing and credit
crisis that is affecting households across the country.


DEAN BAKER: Author and one of the few economists to predict the housing
bubble and collapse – taking the national perspective

SARAH BLOOM RASKIN: Maryland's Commissioner of Financial Regulation for
the state and regional perspective
Date and Time: Tuesday, June 24th, 2008 7PM
Place: NEW Rockville Library (2nd Floor Meeting Room)
21 Maryland Ave. Rockville, Maryland

Free Parking Garage across from the Library
Short Walk from Red Line Metro / Rockville Station

Sponsored by Democracy for Montgomery County

Light Refreshments provided.

Bring a friend and find out how this mortgage crisis affects all of us.