Duo of doctors, Arie Friedman and Mark Nierhof, recommended to fill seats of two retiring Democrat legislators in Districts 29 and 58

October 14, 2011


Even though primary elections here in Illinois are not until March of next year, the months will whiz by as Thanksgiving and the Christmas season will receive our undivided attention.

For those like me, who consider political happenings of great importance because of how their outcomes will affect not only Illinois, but also this nation, I felt it necessary to respond — even though some may consider it premature — to the two articles that appeared in the Local News Section of the Lake Forester on October 6: “Karen May won’t seek re-relection” by Pat Krochmal and “Two Republicans to battle for May’s seat.”

Since last week’s announcement in my local Pioneer Press publication, Lauren Turelli has also thrown her hat into the ring for Karen May’s House seat. Lorren Turelli was defeated in her attempt to unseat May in 2010.

Of equal political importance was the recent “Lake Forester” article that told of Senator Susan Garrett’s (D-29th) retirement at the end of her present term in office.

In all honesty, I must admit that I am well acquainted with each Republican seeking to fill the positions now up for grabs in the IL General Assembly left by the retirements of Senator Garrett (D-29th) and Representative Karen May (D-58th). Having written letters in support of all of them prior to their failed campaign bids in 2010, it was not a simple task to zero in on my two choices. All are excellent and well qualified to fill the Springfield positions of Garrett and May, which could prove to be a real dilemma for voters come Primary Election time.

What helped seal my replacement selections at this early date for candidates Dr. Arie Friedman to replace Senator Susan Garrett and Dr. Mark Neerhof to succeed Representative Susan May was a radio interview I heard this past Sunday morning at WIND-560 AM on Champion News Talk Radio, a weekly Sunday 8 a.m. program that featured insurance provider, Steve Tucker.

As an expert on ObamaCare, Tucker expanded on a situation that is already adversely affecting small business owners since “ObamaCare” (nickname for the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a U.S. federal statute that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010).

Many small businesses are located here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, my home town. In a previous published letter in the “Lake Forester” on Thursday, August 11, “Lake Forest and Lake Bluff are not immune from nation’s economic turmoil,” I related how local businesses are hurting and pinching pennies to stay in business and that some have closed their doors.

Steve Tucker told of a grave injustice that small businesses are presently facing since Obamacare was signed into law if they have not qualified for waivers presently being doled out by the Obama administration. Because of the central planning aspect of ObamaCare, with its countless mandates telling insurance companies what they must provide, those with Blue Cross/Blue Shield as their provider, have seen insurance costs skyrocket by as much as 46% since Obamacare passed.

3.7 million waivers have already been granted by the Obama administration to big Democrat donors and to businesses to avoid increases in insurance premiums, whose support is considered essential to maintain Democrat power. Unions and lawyers rate as immensely powerful groups in the Democrat Party and are being awarded the waivers accordingly.

Here in Illinois it is the SCIU (Service Employees International Union) and the IEA (Illinois Education Association) who are influential in deciding policy through the intensity of their lobbying efforts in Springfield. For example, lawyers oppose tort reform which would lower the cost of health insurance. The IEA opposes charter school, which through competition could create better performing public schools.

What are small business owners in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff and all over Illinois to do when confronted with the rising cost of insurance for their employees? They can either not honor their obligation to employees, lay off workers to meet the extra expense, or go out of business. All are bad options. And what about Illinoisans without the clout to be granted a waiver by the Obama administration to avoid paying higher insurance rates?

One option open to residents of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff — and voters in IL District 29 and 58 — is to help send a team of doctors to Springfield. Dr. Arie Friedman, recognized as an outstanding Pediatrician in private practice, to fill the seat of retiring Senator Susan Garrett (D-29th), and Dr. Mark Neerhof, an attending physician at NorthShore University HealthSystem and clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Pritzker School of Medicine, to takeover for retiring Representative Karen May (D-58th).

Drs. Friedman and Neerhof were involved in what ObamaCare would mean for this nation’s health care system even before ObamaCare became law in March of last year, with its targeted year of 2013 for full implication. Both doctors frequently traveled together to Washington, D.C. where they walked the Halls of Congress alerting legislators to the resulting consequences should Obamacare become law

Dr. Mark Neerhof is the main contact and the founder of the Chicago Chapter of Docs4PatientCare, an alternative group to the AMA to give doctors a voice on issues related to “responsible” health care and reforms. Dr. Arie Friedman recently became chairman of Doctors Patients Alliance of Illinois which he founded.

As physicians, Drs. Friedman and Neerhof would provide much needed experience and knowledge regarding this state’s fastest growing expenditure — health care. Currently there is not a single physician in the Illinois General Assembly even though legislators routinely make far-reaching health care decisions.

You might wish to check out for yourself the report which details the state budget Illinois’ Gov. Pat Quinn signed on June 30, 2011 where health care is a pressing issue.

Because Illinois’ financial situation is worse than any other state in the country, according to a study by the National Conference of State Legislatures, If nothing is done before the end of FY2012, Illinois will have to push off $1.2 billion in Medicaid payments until FY2012 to those companies (including hospital and nursing homes) that provide services. This would increase the payment cycle to another 162 days. Unbelievable is that there is no means testing for Medicaid residents in Illinois of which there are currently 2.5 million enrolled in Illinois.

A further drain on Illinois’ health care system, as related by Steve Tucker, was initiated under the Blagojevich administration and which continues to this day: The All Kids Program expanded first to Family Care and now to Mom’s and Family. 75% of those enrolled are illegal immigrant families.

Sending Drs. Friedman and Neerhof to Springfield will not only benefit the communities of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff, but all of Illinois. Regarding health care issues, they would reign supreme in their knowledge in the Illinois Senate and House. Both also realize how higher taxes imposed in January on this year on both individuals and businesses must be repealed, that public school cannot be tied to union rules and a bureaucracy more interested in tenure and pensions than in students, and that job creation was only made worse by the increase in taxes.

We need principled, dedicated, moral, and those who understand the issues and will not waver from their beliefs when confronted by Springfield lobbyists. This is not to say that the other candidates in the mix for Karen May’s position do not have these qualities, but Drs. Friedman and Neerhof, in my opinion, stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Hopefully others will get behind and support those candidates in their districts who could and will make a difference in Springfield.

Electing enough of them to the General Assembly in 2012 seems to be the only way the economic disaster that is Illinois can be prevented to keep the state from falling off a cliff of financial Armageddon.


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