The Trib strikes a home run!

December 26, 2009

As the Chicago Tribune stated so well in its editorial of Thursday, Dec. 24, Ubi Est Mea?, the notion of health care reform is  only a pretense given all the “seedy backroom deals” cut to to win the votes of all 60 Democrat senators.

The Senate’s “historic” health care reform bill passed the house early on Christmas Eve morning.  There after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reed proclaimed that its version of health care reform will bring to all Americans “an earful of wonderment and happiness.”

Already the American Medical Association (It’s has been estimated that as few as 17% of doctors belong to the AMA.), is demanding that the bill needs fixing to stop medical payment boards from meddling with doctors’ decisions.

The elderly will be hit especially hard if the AMA fails to win the above concession in the reconciling of the House and Senate bill.  Rationing of medical care will start immediately upon enactment of the legislation.  The elderly will visit their doctors and suddenly be told “no” when asking for therapies or treatment.

Young people will also be penalized under the Democrat’s version of healthcare.  They will have to start writing $750 annual checks to Washington to pay for the fines written into the bill if they do not purchase health insurance.

And why should young people buy private health insurance when current legislation requires that health insurers take all who apply and not raise rates based on pre-existing conditions?  Most young people will prefer to pay the relatively small fine rather than what a health care policy would cost.  If and when young people should need coverage they can buy into it immediately, resulting in all Americans seeing an increase in their insurance premiums.

The Democrats are trying to sell health care reform as a right.  In truth, the constitutionality of requiring every American to buy health insurance is already an issue that is gaining traction and is bound to be explored as the debate over health care reform continues.

The President and his allies genuinely believes that the way to control health care cost, improve lives, and extend life spans is dependent upon the government’s control over health care.

How wrong they are!  One only has to look to England and Canada to see that access to a government program is not access to health care.   Both nations routinely ration care based on cost.  Long waiting lines for care also exist.  Most importantly, neither nation has managed to control health care costs as were promise.

Somehow Democrats feel that they can legislate what would morph in time into a government health care system where other countries have failed.  Soon enough the American people will be able to ration the terms of elected officials who are seeking to impose upon the American people that which a majority of them are opposed to — a government-run health care system under the guise of reform.

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FYI       Nancy J. Tnorner, Lake Bluff, IL

My submission was posted on Fran Eaton’s website at Illinois Review on Thursday December 24, 2009.  David E. Smith, of the Illinois Family Institute, posted the following reply to my letter the same day:

“Mark Kirk and his campaign were contacted multiple times regarding the Voter Guide Survey.  Kirk and /or his campaign decided not to respond.

Congressman Kirk’s voting history is an official record of his positions on important policies.  As with every incumbent, the bills they sponsored and/or voted for provide voters with valuable insight into how they’ve respond to actual policies.

Blame the candidates who refuse to respond to the survey and the multiple hone calls and emails attempting to solicit a response if they don’t want their voting record exposed.  In this case, Mark Kirk dismissed the opportunity to state his positions in the IFI Voter Guide.

Ironically, Mark Kirk is the only Republican candidtate for U.S. Senate who thought it best not to have his positions represented in the IFI Voter Guide.  That, in-and-of-itself speaks volumes.

David E. Smith
Illinois Family Institute”

Kirk goes on record in support of energy tax

The Illinois Family Institute recently issued a 2010 Voter Guide that was compiled after requesting responses to ten questions from U.S. Senate candidates, U.S. Congressional District candidates, and candidates running for state office.   This two-page guide can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.illinoisfamily.org/

Upon locating your Congressional District on the right hand side of the site, you will be rewarded with a listing of your District candidates along with those running for the governorship and state legislative offices.  Since I reside in the 10th District, I went to the 10th District listing in the lineup of Congressional Districts.

In  surveying the sheets, my attention was drawn to the way U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk responded to the ten questions posed to all Congressional District and Senate candidates.  Kirk’s responses were more in keeping with the way Democrat candidates responded to the 2010 Illinois Family Institute poll.

I was shocked at Mark Kirk’s response to question #1 which had to do with Tax Increase/Cap and Trade.  After having been rightly criticized for being one of only eight Republican congressmen to vote for Cap and Trade in the Senate, Mark Kirk noted on his IFI questionnaire that he is supported of taxing energy consumption to combat “global warming.”

How could this be?  Senate candidate Mark Kirk is continuing to tell Illinoisans that he would not vote for Cap and Trade if elected Senator.  Why?  Because as Senator he would represent the entire state which is dependent on coal to fuel its economic engine. Mark Kirk can aptly be called a weasel and cannot be allowed to get away with this blatant deception.

As to question #10, Kirk indicated his support to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. facilities, now he is center front in voicing his opposition to bringing Gitmo prisoners to Illinois.

Kirk also indicated his support for “Hate Crimes” legislation and for giving homosexuals and transsexual individuals protected class status in the workplace.  On the same questionnaire  Kirk opposed requiring abortionists to tell mothers about fetal development and the capacity of preborn children to feel pain.

Most telling was that Mark Kirk refused to answer IFI questions number 4, 8, and 9.  They were in numerical order:  REPEAL of Defense of Marriage Act, REPEAL of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and requiring the 2010 census to include the question – “Are you a citizen of the U.S. of America?”

Is Mark Kirk the right person to represent Illinois as its junior senator?  The answer must be “no” when there is a viable challenger in candidate Patrick Hughes of Hinsdale, IL.  As a Reagan Republican, you can depend on Patrick Hughes to remain firm on Republican principles.  In addition Hughes is pro-life, pro-military, believes in guns for protection, and advocates free market principles with smaller government and lower taxes.

Check out Patrick Hughes website at www.patrickhughesforsenate.com

Why is transparency such a powerful tool?  It cannot be refuted that spending in Illinois is out of control.  Citizens in the past were at a loss to understand how government spends their tax dollars so their elected officials could be held responsible.

The Illinois Policy Institute recently developed a comprehensive tool to allow citizens and the media to look at the details of state spending down to the agency, person, and penny.  IllinoisOpenGov.org is an easy-to-understand and user-friendly website.  It functions as an online X-ray machine into details of state spending such as Payroll Date, Checks to Businesses and People, and Retiree Pensions, all complied through the Freedom of Information Act.

The purpose of the Illinois Policy Institutes website is not to find a smoking gun.  It is to put a spotlight on wasteful spedning and to heed the calls for urgent and meaningful reforms.

Transparency, however, is not a panacea.  It will not end bad practices or unnecessary spending.  IllinoisOpenGov.org, however, is a powerful tool to force legislators to think about how dollars are being spent while Illinois citizens and the media monitor as vigilant watch dogs.

Is there any reason why the Illinois state government spent $8,875 on “bird testing,” $20,692.24 on “subscriptions” for the Governor’s office, $2,822 on hot sauce and $280 on soy crayons?  It is your tax money at work!

All should be outraged that your money is being spent in such frivolous ways.  Demand action through learning the truth at IllinoisOpengov.org.

Gorton Community Center, in presenting its Performing Arts Fall 2009 Series, mailed out a brochure that described the series in this way: “Phenomenal First Class Shows, Live Performing Arts at Great Prices, Free Parking, Local Dining and no Late Night Travel into Chicago.”

If this description sounds too good to be true, it is because you haven’t taken advantage of the Performing Arts opportunities that exist in your own backyard at Gorton Community Center. With affordable ticket prices offering excellent presentations, Gorton Center’s Performing Arts Series remains a bargain in this day and age.  Adult ticket prices are $20 in advance or $25 at the door and youth and student prices are $10 each.

About da Corneto Opera
Shortly after Gorton Center’s Third Performing Arts presentation in November — the da Corneto Opera presentations of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte (The School of Love) — I was approached by Executive Director Marty Preiss and Carolyn Brode, Performing Arts Manager, about writing an article informing residents about the fine opera and other performing arts here in Lake Forest.  Since my educational background is in music education, and I’m also an opera lover, I readily agreed to accept the challenge.

Chicago’s da Corneto Opera does have some history in Lake Forest.  Before Carolyn and Marty were on the Gorton Center staff, the North Suburban Symphony, featured the da Corneto Opera Company in a joint 2000 Spring Concert performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata.  In 2001 da Corneto returned with a presentation of Operatic Gems featuring members of its opera ensemble.

As a cellist in the North Suburban Symphony, formerly called the Lake Forest Symphony, but which was organized to remain a community orchestra after the Lake Forest Symphony went professional in 1987, I well remember playing in the orchestra to accompany the singers and of being amazed at the high quality of the operatic performers and the overall professional decorum of da Corneto Opera.

General Manager of da Corneto applaudes Gorton
Kelli Finn, General Manager of the da Corneto Opera, informed me that she would like Gorton Center to become an annual venue for one of its yearly staged presentations. This sentiment was likewise expressed to me by Gorton’s Mary Preiss and Carolyn Brode.  However, to make this happen support from the community is needed.

In Kelli Finn’s own words, “da Corneto Opera was very pleased to return to Gorton Center — a lovely venue with easy parking — for our Corsi.  Baggett Auditorium is the perfect space for an intimate staged production, the Gorton staff was a pleasure to work with, proving that you don’t have to head downtown to hear great music.”

Kelli also related how people who attend da Corneto productions for the first time are surprised by the high-quality of its performances and suggested that “small marketing budgets don’t necessarily mean low-production values!”

Positive feedback
Regarding feed back received after the two November da Corneto Cosi fan tutte performances, Carolyn Brode had only positive things to report.  She told of enthusiastic and favorable feedback and suggested that I call Sarah Gunderson of Lake Forest to hear how she and her family responded to Cosi fan tutte.

Sarah Gunderson was eager to share her family’s opera experience with me.  She only thought her eight-year-old daughter, Brier, might like the performance.  How surprised Sarah was to find that Brier loved the opera performance and didn’t wish to leave when she and her family had to make a planned early exit.

Sarah Gunderson went on to inform me: “The highlight of my fall was taking Brier to da Corneto Opera and seeing how she loved it.”  Sarah also expressed the hope that Brier’s exposure to opera might develop into a lifetime enjoyment.

Sarah’s thoughts about Gorton Center as a venue for opera were right on the mark as “a great educational opportunity to see opera at an affordable price and where children can be exposed to opera in a comfortable and casual setting.”

Opera often misunderstood
What makes opera a mystery to so many people and even somewhat frightening?  A little history can go a long way in breaking the barrier that exists in the way opera is perceived by many.  Even the word “opera” can conjure up negative vibes that produce immediate and strong reactions against this grand and important form of musical expression.

Exposure at an early age is important.  It should be the role of the music teacher to introduce young people to opera as an approachable and enjoyable musical experience through the playing of recordings that highlight operas appropriate to any given grade level.

Explaining opera
What is opera?  Briefly, the dramatic art form known as Opera originated in the late 16th century in Italy.    Early operas were nothing more than the reading of plays aloud with a few musical chords added as accompaniment.  The practice of reciting the text led to the singing of words called “recitative” in opera. Later on the opera form was expanded to include showy and complicated songs called “arias” which display the emotions of character and often their singing abilities.  Further evolution of opera included the adding of chorus parts, dance interludes and orchestra interludes.  By the late 19th century opera composers were writing for an expanded chorus and orchestra which called for complicated scenery and costumes.

Here is an even simpler definition of  “What is opera?” for children and all who view opera negatively because of past experiences or a lack of exposure:  Opera is a story expressed through the voice and musical instruments.  It is often accompanied by ornate costumes and sets. European immigrants brought opera to the U.S in the 18th and 19th centuries. The most famous opera theater in the United States is New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House which opened in 1883.  Chicago is fortunate to be the home of the Lyric Opera, one of the world’s outstanding opera companies.

Supertitles promote understanding
In the past many potential opera lovers were turned off by the inability to understand what was being sung by the performers.  Even today most operas are not sung in English,  but in the language of the composer who wrote the opera.

A sort of revolution has taken place in opera.  Now English supertitles  are the norm, so the opera goer can read the words at the moment they are being  sung by the artist.  No longer is it necessary to know the story line before the story unfolds on the stage.  All da Corneto productions include English supertitles so audience members have no doubt what is happening in the opera.

An invitation to explore and sign on
Needed is your support for continuing opera at Gorton Center.  General manager of da Corneto, Kelli Finn, is eager to return to Gorton Center for future staged productions and vocal presentations.  She was happy to see college students and younger children in the audience.  At such a reasonable price point, da Corneto Opera is the perfect opportunity to introduce opera to the next generation of potential opera goers as a family activity.

Carolyn Brode, Gorton’s Performing Arts Manager, would enjoy hearing from you.  If you would like to offer support or suggest an opera for da Corneto to consider, contact Carolyn at 847-234-6060.

Worth checking out are the upcoming program offerings at Gorton’s Center for the Performing Arts. There is still time to reserve a seat for “A Switchback Celtic Christmas” on Sunday, Dec. 20.  “Cabin Fever Jazz” will celebrate its 22nd season with five concerts scheduled for February and March.  For additional information visit www.gortoncenter.org or call 847-234-6060.

Make Gorton Center the place to be for performing arts in 2010!

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With seasonal Christmas music greeting me while walking from where I had parked my car to the site of Lake Forest’s Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 27, my steps quickened in anticipation of enjoying what has become a traditional event in Lake Forest to usher in the start of the Christmas Season.

Held in Lake Forest’s historic Market Square, the location only added to the ambiance of the festive occasion.  There are few central business districts in the country that so well define a community’s personality and charm as does Lake Forest’s Market Square. It was a pioneer shopping center that was planned with an eye for beauty and usefulness.

I was told by Joanna Rolek, Executive Director of the LF/LB Chamber of Commerce, that tradition is important in Lake Forest.  This year marks the 26th year the City of Lake Forest has held a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Entering Market Square around 3:30 p.m., I was delighted to see the traditional wreaths decorating every lamp post, store fronts decked out for Christmas, and the large tree in the middle of Market Square festooned with red ribbons, awaiting tree lighting time, when it and all the trees in and around Market Square would be lit up in a dazzling display of tiny white lights, made even more impressive in the yet to arrive nighttime darkness.

Other traditions awaited me as I entered Market Square to join others who had gathered to celebrate the festive occasion.  There was Max Zuleta of www.artbelowzero.net making his fifth appearance in Lake Forest.  To the delight of those gathered around him, he proceeded to sculpt a carousel horse with a chain saw from a block of ice.  I was told by Mr. Zuleta that he has been ice sculpting since 1987 and that he is recognized internationally as being one of the top ice sculptures in the world.  Next week’s travels will find him in Hong Kong.

Then there was the arrival of Santa Claus which delighted both children and adults.  Excited children were able to have their time with Santa.

Following a delightful smell took me to the site of what has become another tradition.  For fifteen years the proprietor of Amidei Mercatino, Ermanno Amidei, has been roasting chestnuts as his donation to the event.

Although the months of operation for Amidei Mercatino are from May through October, during which time this up-scale alley market sells local produce and high-quality imported goods, Amidei Merdatino has reopened to sell Christmas trees and wreaths.  Amidei Merdatino is located across from the Lake Forest Post Office .

The chill of the afternoon led me to a most welcome booth sponsored by Aramark Company, which is the food service supplier to Lake Forest College. Jose Gallegos, produce manager for Aramark, was one of several individual behind the stand dispensing free hot chocolate and cider and donut holes in what has become another pleasing and tasty Lake Forest Tree Lighting Ceremony tradition.

It was finally time to gather in front of the Lake Forest Train Station where risers had been set up to accommodate the Lake Forest High School Chorus led by Chorus Director, Tim Haskett, who has participated in 24 out of the 26 Lake Forest Tree Lighting Ceremonies —  festive in his Santa Claus hat and assisted by the Lake Forest High School Chorus — led those gathered in the singing of traditional Christmas carols and Christmas songs.  Tim Haskett also thanked those assembled for buying $30,000 worth of citrus fruit from members of the Lake Forest High School Chorus, who are raising money to travel to Greece over the spring break to sing in churches.

By now darkness had fallen and it was time for the tree lighting to take place.  After remarks by Lake Forest Mayor James J. Cowhey, Jr., during which time he spoke about Lake Forest High School celebrating its 75th anniversary, Mayor Cowhey introduced Jim and Nancy Thiehl.  Jim Thiehl, a teacher at Lake Forest High School for 29 years, pressed the switch for the much anticipated lighting up of all the trees in and around Market Square, thus bringing to Lake Forest what has become its traditional Christmas display of twinkling white lights to signify the ushering in of the Christmas season.

The night ended appropriately with the singing of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus by the Lake Forest High School Chorus led by Tim Haskett, at which time Lake Forest High School alumnus were invited to join the chorus.

A Docs4PatientCare Town Hall Meeting was held this past Tuesday at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel in Northbrook, IL.  The Town Hall Meeting was attended by 50 concerned citizens, including several doctors.

It was an event that deserves repeating throughout Chicagoland at various venues, as Congress presses ahead seemingly determined to pass a version of health care reform that most Americans do not want and which would impact patient care, quality, availability and cost.

As an alternative to the AMA, Docs4PatientCare was formed to give physicians a voice in matters that relate to healthcare. Docs4PatientCare is a grassroots organization that not only recruits doctors, but is also open to all who are interested in advocating for responsible healthcare reform.  Getting the word out, however, is a challenge. If you are concerned about the government’s eventual takeover of health care, sign up at www.docs4patientcare.org.

Lake Forest resident Dr. Mark Neerhof organized the Northbrook event.  Neerhof is the main contact in the Chicago area and is responsible for organizing the grassroots movement here in Illinois.  Other events are planned for January of 2010.  Event dates will be posted at docs4patientcare.org.

The forum featured a panel of four doctors and one individual who spoke from a patients viewpoint.  On the panel were Dr. Steve Sauerberg (Dr. Sauerberg ran for United States Senate against Dick Durbin in 2008.) Family Medicine, Focus:  Impact of legislation on quality of care; Dr. Joseph Szokol, Anesthesiologist and Attorney, Focus:  Tort Reform; Dr. Victoria Harris (via video), Emergency Medicine, Healthcare Economics, , Focus:  Socialized Medicine and healthcare in the UK and in Canada; Dr. Mark Neerhof, Maternal/Fetal Medicine, Focus:  Healthcare reform and your liberty; and Elizabeth Hitchcock, patient, Focus:  A Patient’s Perspective.  Dr. Steve Sauerberg joined the panel for the question and answer session.

Each panel participant spoke for ten minutes, after which a lively question and answer period followed.  All of the physicians spoke for themselves and not on behalf of the hospital systems for which they work.

Among many cogent messages expressed were the following:

  • There will never be healthcare reform without meaningful tort reform.
  • Any public option would become a government-controlled monopoly where government establishes all the  rules and undermines the free-market system.
  • Health care should be between patient and physician and not determined by politicians and bureaucrats.
  • Technical and advanced care is limited in Canada and the UK where waiting lists are used by government to control supply.  Access to a waiting list is not access to care!
  • Rationing of care is the only way costs can be cut under the proposed plans.
  • Waiting for care is accepted in Canada and England.  The American people expect more and strive for a free-market system to provide more.
  • An oil change at JiffyLube is fine, but not if the engine light goes on.  Chronic care patients also need options in choosing their physicians.  The American health system is the doctor and patient teaming together and trusting each other.
  • Forgotten by many is that America is a land of opportunity and not of entitlements.
  • If physicians are expected to do no harm, then we must demand of our government that it does no harm.
  • If something sounds too good to be true, it is.  Such as:  We must spend $1 trillion in order to save money.
  • There are no cost saving measures in either the House or the Senate bill.  Costs will go up.  There is nothing to prevent this.
  • Healthcare reform is not about healthcare but about government control.  Which will it be?  Are we content to lose our rights and liberties or will we stand up and fight?

Docs4Patient Care advocates speaking up and standing up for our rights.  Ways in which citizens can do so is through joining Docs4PatientCare.org.  Signing up will provide you with information and alerts.  Donations can also be made.  Why not arrange a rally or a town hall meeting, call your senators and congressmen, or visit the district offices of your senator and congressman?  Most important is that you speak up and tell others that both the House and the Senate bills are recipes for disaster.

Even if the Senate passes its version of healthcare legislation, reconciliation must take place between the House and the Senate bills.  Although healthcare was considered a “slide through” earlier in the year, it met with resistance after the American people rallied against government-run healthcare through Tea Parties and Town Hall meetings.

Healthcare reform is far from a done deal.  Each individual can make a difference.  Those who tell you otherwise are not to be believed.  Docs4PatientCare will remain active in advocating needed health care reform in a responsible and cautious manner without requiring the nationalization of the entire American healthcare system.

Here is a link to the youtube video of a Million Med March held in Millenium Park, Chicago.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggxZXHcF6NE

The above link features Dr. Mark Neerhof and is part one of eight parts.  Readers will be able to follow the prompts on the other side of the screen to see the other seven rally clips.

This week’s  Pioneer Press publication, the Lake Forester, published an ad that called attention to a group that is about a year old, Docs4PatientCare, a grassroots organization that not only recruits doctors, but is also open to all who are interested in advocating for responsible healthcare reform by visiting its website and signing up (docs4patientcare.org).

The ad announced a Health Care Town Hall Meeting sponsored by Docs4PatientCare on Tuesday, December 15th from 7-9 p., at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel, 933 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook, IL.

In checking out docs4patientcare.org, I was delighted to find that a Lake Forest doctor, Mark G. Neerhof, North Shore University Health System, Maternal/Fetal Medicine, is involved in organizing a formal chapter here in Chicagoland.  Dr. Neerhof is the main contact in the Chicago area for Docs4Patient Care.

An interview with Dr. Mark Neerhof informed me that Docs4PatientCare was founded as an alternative group to the American Medical Association (AMA) to give physicians a voice.  I was surprised to learn from Dr. Neerhof that only 17% of doctors belong to the AMA (many of them students and residents).  A public perception exists that physicians support Congressional healthcare reform proposals after the AMA came out with its endorsement of the House bill.  This endorsement, however, was made at the executive level.

During my conversation with Dr. Neerhof, he emphasized that health care reform is neither a Republican or a Democrat issue, but an American issue.  Dr. Neerhof’s own concern over changes being discussed in Congress which could compromise the quality of healthcare he and other doctors could offer their patients, led Neerhof to become acquainted with Docs4PatientCare.

Dr. Mark Neerof went on the say that we have the greatest health system in the world and that he doesn’t want to see it destroyed by Congress.  According to Neerof, the reforms Congress is proposing would be a financial disaster for this nation.

Dr. Neerhof and DFPC are not against healthcare reform, but they seek responsible reform such as:

  • Tort Reform.
  • Increase competition among insurance companies on restricting sale of insurance via interstate.
  • Give the same tax breakis to individuals as are given to employees so health insurance is not tied to your job.
  • Establish high risk pools so patients with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance.
  • Encourage the use of health savings accounts.

Getting the word out about Docs4Patient Care is a challenge.  The word is being spread via the website, through a partnership with Salem Communications (Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher (primary voice), Hugh Hewitt, Bill Bennett) and their talk show hosts working with DFPC to raise awareness, and by word of mouth.

Tuesday night’s health care forum is just one of several being planned by Dr. Mark Neerof at other locations throughout Chicagoland.  On Tuesday night Dr. Neerof and three other doctors will employ straight talk about government health care and its impact on patient care, quality, availability and cost.

It would be well worth your time and effort to attend this free event.  I’ll be there!

This week’s  Pioneer Press publication, the Lake Forester, published an ad that called attention to a group that is about a year old, Docs4PatientCare, a grassroots organization that not only recruits doctors, but is also open to all who are interested in advocating for responsible healthcare reform by visiting its website and signing up (docs4patientcare.org).

The ad announced a Health Care Town Hall Meeting sponsored by Docs4PatientCare on Tuesday, December 15th from 7-9 p., at the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel, 933 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook, IL.

In checking out docs4patientcare.org, I was delighted to find that a Lake Forest doctor, Mark G. Neerhof, North Shore University Health System, Maternal/Fetal Medicine, is involved in organizing a formal chapter here in Chicagoland.  Dr. Neerhof is the main contact in the Chicago area for Docs4Patient Care.

An interview with Dr. Mark Neerhof informed me that Docs4PatientCare was founded as an alternative group to the American Medical Association (AMA) to give physicians a voice.  I was surprised to learn from Dr. Neerhof that only 17% of doctors belong to the AMA (many of them students and residents).  A public perception exists that physicians support Congressional healthcare reform proposals after the AMA came out with its endorsement of the House bill.  This endorsement, however, was made at the executive level.

During my conversation with Dr. Neerhof, he emphasized that health care reform is neither a Republican or a Democrat issue, but an American issue.  Dr. Neerhof’s own concern over changes being discussed in Congress which could compromise the quality of healthcare he and other doctors could offer their patients, led Neerhof to become acquainted with Docs4PatientCare.

Dr. Mark Neerof went on the say that we have the greatest health system in the world and that he doesn’t want to see it destroyed by Congress.  According to Neerof, the reforms Congress is proposing would be a financial disaster for this nation.

Dr. Neerhof and DFPC are not against healthcare reform, but they seek responsible reform such as:

  • Tort Reform.
  • Increase competition among insurance companies on restricting sale of insurance via interstate.
  • Give the same tax breakis to individuals as are given to employees so health insurance is not tied to your job.
  • Establish high risk pools so patients with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance.
  • Encourage the use of health savings accounts.

Getting the word out about Docs4Patient Care is a challenge.  The word is being spread via the website, through a partnership with Salem Communications (Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher (primary voice), Hugh Hewitt, Bill Bennett) and their talk show hosts working with DFPC to raise awareness, and by word of mouth.

Tuesday night’s health care forum is just one of several being planned by Dr. Mark Neerof at other locations throughout Chicagoland.  On Tuesday night Dr. Neerof and three other doctors will employ straight talk about government health care and its impact on patient care, quality, availability and cost.

It would be well worth your time and effort to attend this free event.  I’ll be there!

State Senate Republican Leader, Christine Radogno, was the featured speaker at the 2009 Holiday Coffee sponsored by the Women’s Republican Club of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff at the Lake Forest home of William and Kim Madden.  The WRC of LF/LB is celebrating its 67th birthday this year and is one of the oldest Clubs in the nation.  Jan Gibson heads the group.

Seventy people attended the morning Holiday Coffee which included the following Primary Election candidates:
For Governor, Dan Proft and Kirk Dillard represented by Brook Hougeson; Lt. Governor, Brad Cole, Jason Plommer, and Don Tracy; U.S. Senate, Jim Arrington, Patrick Hughes, and Andy Martin; 10th Congressional District, Bill Cadigan, Rep. Beth Coulson, Bob Dold, and Paul Hamann; State Rep., Cindy Hebda, 59th District, and Lauren Turelli, 58th District; Honorable Bob Skidmore, Lake County Treasurer; Roycealee Wood, Lake County Superintendent of Schools and Mark Curran, Lake County Sheriff, were represented by Bob Skidmore; Willard Helander, Lake County Clerk; Honorable Wally Dunn, Circuit Court Judge; Honorable Susan Gravenhorst, Lake County Board; Honorable Justice Mary Schostok; Appellate Court; and Honorable Ann Jorgensen, Appellate Court.  Honorable Corinne Wood, Lt. Governor under Jim Edgar, was a VIP attendee.

The Women’s Republican Club’s Holiday Coffee was a time to meet and greet the candidates, along with the distribution of literature.  The Club is planning a Candidates Forum in Lake Forest on Saturday, January 9th, at which time Primary Election candidates will have a chance to speak.

Christine Radogno spoke of feelings of hope among Illinois Republicans; that this is a Republican year. Christine also cautioned that it is easy to get caught up with “win, win win,” but the main thing is “Why do we want to win?”  In Ms. Radogno’s words, “It is because Republicans have policies that are best for individuals and for this country.”

Fiscal policy heads the list.  Under Democrat leadership came an aggressive expansion of government which greatly damaged the economy.  The Democrat’s response to every problem is to get more money through added taxes.  People in Illinois are asking what the heck is going on?  This concern must be tapped by candidates.

Ms. Radogno expressed her own excitement about the caliber of Republican candidates on the ballot in the upcoming Primary Elections.  Good candidates are running.  In regard to the Governor and Lt. Governor candidates, Christine indicated — although no names were mentioned — that more than one of them could do a great job.  According to Ms. Radogno, “This will mean that Republicans don’t end up having to pick the lesser of two evils.”

Christine Rodogno then went on to speak about potential pickups for the Republican Party in the IL House and Senate, although she admitted that she is far more immersed in the Senate races.  Designated senate pickups were Steve Rauschenberger, District 22; Suzy Smidt, District 31; and Brian Doherty of the 10th District in Chicago.

In statewide races, Radogno praised Dan Rutherford as a terrific potential pickup for Republicans in his bid for IL Treasurer.  He is running unopposed.  Ms. Rodogno then went on to describe Judy Barr Topinka as a “terrific” candidate for Comptroller, never mentioning that Reagan conservative Jim Dodge is running as a viable Rep. candidate with Topinka for the Comptroller’s position.

Christine Rodogno’s omission of not naming Mark Kirk as a possible U.S. Senate pickup was perplexing to me.  It is well known that Ms. Rodogno is a strong supporter of Mark Kirk.  Could it be that because Mark Kirk was a no show at the event and conservative U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Hughes was standing well within Ms. Rodogno’s view, that Rodogno thought it best not to draw any attention to Patrick Hughes who is winning over former Kirk supporters?  There were Patrick Hughes supporters present, I being one of them.

Concerning ethics, Ms. Rodogno spoke of a law recently passed that limits the amount of money that can be raised as being flawed because it leaves party leaders off the freeze.

The final issue addressed by Christine Rodogno was the redistribution of districts that takes place every 10 years.  Reform is needed to change the process, taking it from the legislators and putting it in the hands of an independent commission, so Democrats are prevented from drawing districts that protect themselves.

You can help by going to www.ilfairmap.com and downloading a petition that calls for a redistricting process that is more transparent, fair, and accessible to the public.  500,000 Illinois signatures must be collected by April 1, 2010.

The Tribune commentary of Thursday, Dec. 3 — Climate of suspicion — was unbelievable in its conclusion that Climate Change is settled science and that only a few scientists have been discredited.

President Obama will be traveling to Copenhagen on December 9th for climate-change talks run by Yvo de Boeer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework of Climate Change.  At that time Obama will commit to reducing U. S. emissions by around 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83% by 2050.

Both China and India have indicated that they want industrialized countries to cut their carbon output 40% from 1990 levels by 2020.  Yet both countries are reluctant to agree to any cuts that would jeopardize their economic growth, believing, as does Yvo de Boeer, that the U.S. and other developing countries must come up with sizable emissions reduction targets and financial aid to assist developing countries in cutting emissions and in adapting to global warming.
How is it that Obama is able to commit the U.S. to future emission levels when only the House has been able to pass a global warming bill?  According to Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, “Ninety-five percent of the nails were in the coffin prior to this week.  Now they are all in.”

Senator Inhofe was referring to the likelihood of the Senate passing a similar bill after 3,000 emails and other documents hacked from a computer server used by the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit exposed junk science among climate-change believers.  White House czar, Dr. John P. Holdren, featured prominently in them.

With skepticism about global warming front and center, and with Heritage Foundation research pointing to job losses of 114,087 by 2035 here in Illinois, along with higher energy prices and falling household income and economic activity, why would the Chicago Tribune willingly follow the Obama administration in crippling this nation’s economy and productiveness?

It has all to do with money, careers, prestige and this government’s quest for power and control over and at the expense of the American people.