Health Care & Me

One person's quest for information about the American Health Care System

  • The words of Rep Jackie Speier ring so true. Her personal account of her procedure is so powerful and so timely during this Republican driven war on women. How dare anyone judge what happens between women (everybody really) and their physicians. Please watch Rep. Speier’s eloquent counter to the assault on Planned Parenthood and women.

    Thank You Rep. Jackie Speier!!

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  • For those of you who are unfamiliar with Senator Bernie Sanders, please watch this interview.

    Thanks to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, this conversation with Senator Sanders shows what this Independent Senator is made of. Standing up for the middle and working class, explaining the myths and solutions of Social Security and defending Medicare!

    Listening to Senator Sanders makes me want him as my Senator; to the people of Vermont – you are lucky to have this great man represent and defend you!

    Thanks for reading and watching!

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  • This is an urgent update!! Please help Lyon Martin Health Clinic. The support for Lyon Martin has been overwhelming; almost every part of the city has contributed to keep this clinic open. They are so close to their goal of $500,000. Please donate what you can!

    The people at Lyon Martin are so dedicated in helping their community; I see it in their faces every time I walk into their office. I am so grateful to have this wonderful clinic within my reach. I would be lost in the world of the uninsured. Thank You Lyon Martin.

    Thanks for reading!!

    Donations:$377,410 || Grants: $95,025 || Pledges: $25,000
    All monies directly support daily clinic operations


    SAN FRANCISCO – March 30th, 2011 Lyon-Martin Health Services announced today that nonprofit veteran Marj Plumb has been elected new Board Chair. “Words cannot express how thrilled we are to see Marj join Lyon-Martin’s board and take its’ helm,” said Lauren Winter, who readily resigned as board chair at last weekÂ’s meeting. ““She has tremendous energy and a fresh sense of optimism. Those are the exact qualities needed to lead the clinic through this critical juncture.”

    Plumb, who was Lyon-Martin’s Executive Director between 1989 and 1993, has been a non-profit consultant and trainer for the past thirteen years specializing in organizational development, leadership development, public policy, and community-based participatory research. Before starting her consulting practice she served for over twenty-five years in senior management positions with a variety of non-profit organizations working on health, economic development, environmental justice, violence prevention, and social justice/civil rights. Plumb received a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of San Francisco and a doctorate in public health from the University of California, Berkeley.

    “I have been inspired and energized by the amazing power of the community in working to save Lyon-Martin,” Plumb said. “I simply couldnÂ’t sit by; I had to participate in this meaningful way. I am committed to working with the community, public health leaders, and staff to help bring Lyon-Martin out of this financial crisis and restore it to stability.”

    Plumb will lead a board recruitment effort to bring the Board into alignment with federal regulations, including enhancing the makeup of the Board to include community members, especially those with expertise in fundraising, communications, and financial management. Increasing the membership will allow current members to rotate off the Board.

    “I am honored to help usher in a new era for Lyon-Martin – with major improvements in transparency, accountability, and financial stability,” added Plumb. “At the same time, I recognize the sitting board’s considerable efforts after learning the true extent of its financial woes. I am interested in building upon their efforts, not criticizing their choices, and I ask the community to join me wholeheartedly in that respect.”

    Lyon-Martin’s primary goal is achieving financial stability. “I believe strongly that today’s infusion of fresh leadership is the catalyst for re-energizing our fundraising efforts. It will enable us to reach our goal,” said Interim Executive Director Eric Fimbres. “Lyon-Martin must be able to manage its debt while at the same time continuing to provide services. The fundraising goal of $200,000 in new funds by the end of April will help stabilize Lyon-Martin through 2011 by allowing us to manage a projected cash deficit through the end of 2011, and implement new strategies towards achieving stability before the second quarter of 2012. Over $53,000 has been raised toward the clinic’s April 30th milestone.”

    In addition to raising this new immediate capital, Lyon-Martin must consider substantial changes to the clinic’s business model. “I am hopeful the community, public health and city leadership, foundations and corporations will enthusiastically support Lyon-Martin as we consider how best to safeguard the clinic’s growth and future while keeping true to what Lyon-Martin does best: respectful, compassionate and competent healthcare,” Plumb said. The clinic’s leadership team will be working closely with a community-led task force as it considers the available options.

    “Community clinics all over the City are struggling,” added Lyon-Martin Medical Director, Dawn Harbatkin, M.D. “Planned Parenthood, Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics, and New Leaf all found themselves in very difficult financial positions. Haight-Ashbury remains open through a merger with Walden House, but Planned Parenthood Golden Gate and New Leaf have closed. I remain hopeful that Lyon-Martin Health Services will not be the third clinic on that list.”

    The wildly successful fundraising of the past two months continues with events organized almost entirely by community members. Those who have fundraising ideas are encouraged to host events or fund drives, recruit friends, family and coworkers to the cause, check with employers for matching gift funds and to contact Save Lyon-Martin community group ( for help in implementing their ideas.

    Upcoming Events:

    • Ongoing online auction accessed through the clinic’s website, This auction has raised over $3,000 and new items are being added each week.
    • Mid-April: Dinning events at select Bay Area fine dining restaurants and neighborhood cafes.
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  • Thank you firedoglake; a great progressive site, that posted Support California AB 52 (Regulate health care costs). If passed AB 52 would regulate health care rate increases.

    At the moment; “In California, the Insurance Commissioner and the Department of Managed Health Care are required to be notified of rate increases or policy changes, but they cannot stop them.”

    Basically the Insurance Commissioner is useless in trying to protect Californians from Health Care Corporations and their predatory tactics.

    If AB 52 passes it “would give the Insurance Commissioner and the Department of  Managed Health Care the power to oversee and regulate the costs of health insurance, the rates, the co-payments and the deductibles and the changes in the policies.”

    It is painfully obvious how beneficial this piece of legislation is; it could possibly affect every Californian in very positive ways. Which is the main reason that health care corporations do not want AB 52 passed. Below is a list of support and opposition for AB 52.  What list are you on?

    Thanks for reading!


    Senator Dianne Feinstein, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, Asian Business Association,Bay Area Black United Fund, Inc. Bel Air Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council, Black Economic Council Brain Injury Association of California Brightline Defense Project California Alliance of Retired Americans California Black Chamber of Commerce California Chiropractic Association California Commission on Aging California Communities United Institute California Labor Federation California Mortgage Association California National Organization for Women California Nurses Association California Pan-Ethnic Health Network California Physical Therapy Association CalPIRG California School Employees Association California Teachers Association Community Union, Inc. Congress of California Seniors Consumer Watchdog Consumers Union Council of Asian American Business
    Associations Domar Group, Inc.
    Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce
    Greenlining Institute HCI/Project Amiga Health Access California Inland Empire Latino Coalition Korean Center, Inc.
    Korean Churches for Community Development
    Laborers’ Locals 777 & 792 La Maestra Community Health Centers Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los
    Angeles Los Angeles Councilmember Ed Reyes Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl National Physicians Alliance California
    Older Women’s League of California TELACU Millennium Ward Economic Development Corporation

    America’s Health Insurance Plans Anthem Blue Cross Association of California Life & Health
    Insurance Companies Blue Shield of California
    California Association of Health Plans California Association of Physicians Groups CalChamber California Hospital Association California Medical Association Civil Justice Association of California Kaiser Permanente Healthnet United Health Group

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  • When I read Vermont’s Single Payer Salvation I became hopeful again concerning health care reform and Single Payer advocacy. I’ve blogged about Single Payer a few times, Single Payer for California! and Single Payer Here We Come. In each of my blogs I’ve commented on what Single Payer is and how it would benefit the state of California; only to be disappointed by the deep pockets of the insurance lobbyists campaigning to weaken current legislation in California.

    However Vermont’s new Democratic Governor Peter Shumin supports Single Payer. Shumin campaigned for Single Payer, calling Vermont’s current health care system “broken”.

    If enacted, which appears likely, it will be the first system of its kind in the United States, and Vermont would become the first state to abolish most forms of private health insurance.

    To be rid of the current private health care insurance corporations running and ruining so many people’s lives, I feel is something that most Americans want.

    The annual savings that would be created by the system, however, do appear to be popular among lawmakers and public officials. An estimate of the single-payer system could save the state at least $580 million yearly, or $1.2 billion by 2019, and create 4,000 jobs because the burden of rising healthcare costs would be lifted from businesses.

    It’s very easy to see the Win – Win situation by creating a Single Payer system for the state of Vermont. Saving money, creating jobs and saving lives. My fingers are crossed for you and my eyes are on you Vermont.

    I would also like to point out, while other Republican governors are taking workers rights away and taxing the middle class, Governor Shumin seems to have the people of Vermont best interest in mind. I applaud him!! Hopefully more state leaders will learn from his example and the rest of the 50 states will have a Single Payer Health Care System!

    Thanks for reading.

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  • A couple of things going on here;

    First would be an update on a previous post “Take That Blue Shield”.

    I blogged about the uproar and very vocal opposition to the rate hikes (up to 59%) that Blue Shield was trying to impose on their customers. That was back in February; a few days ago Blue Shield announced that they are canceling their proposed rate hike. Yay!! Great news.

    Now here it gets a bit hard for me to stomach. In the article Blue Shield Rate Hike Canceled in California,  chief executive Bruce Bodaken states;

    “The San Francisco-based nonprofit said it lost $27 million on individual policies last year and expects more such losses this year.Members will be spared $35 million to $40 million in added premiums because of the cancelled increase, the insurer said.”By agreeing not to raise rates this year, we are helping to make coverage more affordable for our members during tough economic times. It’s a financial risk for us, but a risk that’s worth taking.”

    Ahhh isn’t that sweet of this chief executive to risk a loss of 27 million dollars?

    So what if Blue Shield is going to lose money, their parent company Wellpoint will profit billions by the end of this year. Which is something that this chief executive knows and is still trying to turn this into a pity party for one of the wealthiest corporations.

    Too bad for you Blue Shield, you get no sympathy from me. And it just goes to show you; if you stand up to the bully – the bully backs down!

    Thanks for reading!

  • Please help Lyon Martin Health Clinic. They are a necessity to the community!

    I started going to Lyon Martin in the mid-nineties and I was so happy to return to them after I signed up with Healthy SF. The doctors, nurses and staff are top notch and so sweet and patient.

    If San Francisco looses this clinic it will be heartbreaking! Please donate what you can and get the word out to help Lyon Martin reach their goal of $500,000 by March 31, 2011. There are fund raising events going on throughout the city, scroll down to “the events page” to see what event is near you.

    Thanks for reading!


    Lyon-Martin Financial Recovery Plan: $200,000 Must Be Raised by Month-End and $300,000 More by Year-End

    SAN FRANCISCO- March 15th, 2011 — Lyon-Martin Health Services announced today that its transition team has completed its own assessment of the clinic’s financial condition, confirming that new capital in the amount of $500,000 will be needed for the organization to survive and stabilize. Lyon-Martin Health Services provides primary and mental health care for women and transgender people. Although the clinic had previously reported that 100% of these funds must be raised by March 31, 2011 to avoid initiation of a closure plan, the transition team has initiated budget cuts to allow for an extended fundraising timetable.

    “The clinic still must raise another $200,000 by month-end to avoid initiating a closure plan,” said new Interim Executive Director, Eric Fimbres. If that immediate goal is achieved, Fimbres’ budget cuts will allow Lyon-Martin to raise the remaining $300,000 incrementally over the remainder of 2011. “This new structure gives us an opportunity to fundraise in a more targeted and effective manner.” Lyon-Martin hopes to receive assistance from governmental agencies and private foundations to help reach this year-end target.

    In addition to raising new capital during 2011, the clinic must make significant changes to its business model if Lyon-Martin is to achieve long-term sustainability. “We are looking at every alternative,” said Fimbres. “At this point, nothing is off the table.” The clinic’s transition team will be working closely with a community-led task force as it considers the available options.

    Lyon-Martin needs to raise an additional $200,000 by March 31 in hopes of keeping the clinic open long enough to begin taking these steps toward sustainability.

    “I continue to be amazed at the community response to Lyon-Martin’s crisis,” said Lyon-Martin Board Chair, Lauren Winter. “The clinic would not be open today if it wasn’t for the incredible work that the community, and Lyon-Martin staff, have done to raise both funds and awareness.”

    “There is much more work to be done if we are to turn the clinic around,” added Lyon-Martin’s Medical Director, Dawn Harbatkin, M.D., “but I remain hopeful that with the continuing dedication and passion we are seeing from the community and staff, the clinic’s goals will be achieved.”

    Those interested in answering Lyon-Martin’s appeal for emergency funding can take one of the following steps:

    • Donate online at
    • Send a donation via check to: 1748 Market Street, Suite 201, San Francisco, CA 94102.
    • Make a donation over the phone by calling 415-901-7131
    • Attend one of the fundraising events listed on the event page.

    Lyon-Martin Health Services is a 501(c)(3) organization. All contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

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  • I would like to honor the 100 anniversary of International Women’s Day. The following is “Refuser” from Eve Ensler.  The piece is Insightful, Powerful, Timeless – just like all women

    International Womens Day Vector Graphic

    On this, the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, I want to take a minute to honor grassroots women’s activists across the planet — women, like those working tirelessly in Haiti, who have inspired their communities, united their communities, and led their communities, holding them together and pushing them forward.

    Today, I want to particularly honor the women on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who have organized and worked for peace and freedom over the many years of conflict that has been fought in their country and on their bodies. On February 4, the women of Congo, in partnership with V-Day and the Fondation Panzi (République Démocratique du Congo), opened the City of Joy, a revolutionary leadership community for survivors of sexual violence that will be the headquarters of a grassroots women’s movement in Eastern, DRC.

    A group of women, called “Friends of V-Day,” built the City of Joy — they were possibly the first female construction crew in Congolese history. These women mixed the cement, carried loads on their shoulders, made the bricks. They built the City of Joy with their own hands, understanding, with each careful step, that making a world and living in the world are not separate. Each day that the women built, they took time to dance and sing. It was part of the day’s work, and now that spirit is literally built into the walls of the City of Joy. These women were aware that it takes a very specific constellation of ingredients to create a community, the way water, sun and earth all come together to build a new world. In the final days before the opening, the women planted grass, blade by blade, on the grounds of the City of Joy. That is how movements are born — individual green blades, planted one by one, nurtured by water and light, protected until they have grown into grass.

    Today, I dedicate my piece, REFUSER, to all the builders, all the grass planters, all the individual, green, sparkling blades of grass. I dedicate it to all the girls and women joining forces across the earth, to create change and revolution.

    From the Lebanese mountains
    To the Kenyan village of El Doret
    We are practicing self-defense
    Versed in Karate, Tai Chi, Judo, and Kung Foo
    We are no longer surrendering to our fate.

    Now, we are the ones who walk our girl friends home from school.
    And we don’t do it with macho. We do it with cool.

    Our mothers are the Pink Sari Gang
    Fighting off the drunken men
    With rose pointed fingers and sticks in
    Uttar Pradesh.
    The Peshmerga women
    in the Kurdish mountains
    with barrettes in their hair
    and AK47’s instead of pocket books.

    We are not waiting anymore to be taken and retaken.

    We are the Liberian women sitting
    in the Africa sun blockading the exits
    til the men figure it out.

    We are the Nigerian women
    babies strapped to out backs
    occupying the oil terminals of Chevron.
    We are the women of Kerala
    who refused to let Coca Cola
    privatize our water.
    We are Cindy Sheehan showing up in Crawford without a plan.
    We are all those who forfeited husbands boyfriends and dates
    Cause we were married to our mission.
    We know love comes from all directions and in many forms.
    We are Malalai who spoke back to the Afghan Loya Jurga
    And told them they were “raping warlords” and
    She kept speaking even when they kept
    trying to blow up her house.
    And we are Zoya whose radical mother was shot dead when Zoya was only a child so she was fed on revolution which was stronger than milk

    And we are the ones who kept and loved our babies
    even though they have the faces of our rapists.

    We are the girls who stopped cutting ourselves to release the pain
    And we are the girls who refused to have our clitoris cut
    And give up our pleasure.

    We are:
    Rachel Corrie who wouldn’t couldn’t move away from the Israeli tank.
    Aung San Suu Kyi who still smiles after years of not being able to leave her room.
    Anne Frank who survives now cause she wrote down her story.
    We are Neda Soltani gunned down by a sniper in the streets of
    Tehran as she voiced a new freedom and way
    And we are Asmaa Mahfouz from the April 6th movement in Egypt
    Who twittered an uprising.

    We are the women riding the high seas to offer
    Needy women abortions on ships.
    We are women documenting the atrocities
    in stadiums with video cameras underneath our Burqas.
    We are seventeen and living for a year in a tree
    And laying down in the forests to protect wild oaks.
    We are out at sea interrupting the whale murders.
    We are freegans, vegans, trannies
    But mainly we are refusers.
    We don’t accept your world
    Your rules your wars
    We don’t accept your cruelty and unkindness.
    We don’t believe some need to suffer for others to survive
    Or that there isn’t enough to go around
    Or that corporations are the only and best economic arrangement
    And we don’t hate boys, okay?
    That’s another bullshit story.

    We are refusers
    But we crave kissing.
    We don’t want to do anything before we’re ready
    but it could be sooner than you think
    and we get to decide
    and we are not afraid of what is pulsing through us.
    It makes us alive.

    Don’t deny us, criticize us or infantilize us.
    We don’t accept checkpoints, blockades or air raids
    We are obsessed with learning.
    On the barren Tsunamied beaches of Sri Lanka
    In the desolate and smelly remains
    Of the lower ninth
    We want school.
    We want school.
    We want school.

    We know if you plan too long
    Nothing happens and things get worse and that
    Most everything is found in the action
    and instinctively we get that the scariest thing
    isn’t dying, but not trying at all.

    And when we finally have our voice
    and come together
    when we let ourselves gather the knowledge
    when we stop turning on each other
    but direct our energy towards what matters
    when we stop worrying about
    our skinny ass stomachs or too frizzy hair
    or fat thighs
    when we stop caring about pleasing
    and making everyone so incredibly happy-
    We got the Power.

    Janis Joplin was nominated the ugliest man on her campus
    And they sent Angela Davis to jail
    If Simone Weil had manly virtues
    And Joan of Arc was hysterical
    If Bella Abzug was eminently obnoxious
    And Ellen Sirleaf Johnson is considered scary
    If Arundhati Roy is totally intimidating
    and Rigoberta Menchu is pathologically intense
    And Julia Butterfly Hill is an extremist freak
    Call us hysterical then
    Eminently obnoxious
    Tattoo me
    Give us our broomsticks
    And potions on the stove
    We are the girls
    who are aren’t afraid to cook.

    1 Comment
  • 5 Ways You Can Help, Right Now
    Planned Parenthood
    Of course I’m going to blog about the vicious attacks that Planned Parenthood and woman are endearing;
    On February 18, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to bar Planned Parenthood health centers from all federal funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care.

    It is the most dangerous legislative assault in our history, and it cannot go unanswered. We — Planned Parenthood and the three million women, men, and teens who are at risk of losing access to basic care — need you to stand united with us now.

    Not only is one of the most dangerous legislation in years but it is insulting.  It undermines the intelligence of every woman in search of health care; as if we woman aren’t qualified of making our own decisions about our own bodies, we have to rely on the extreme right nut jobs that concocted this attack on Planned Parenthood to determine what services will be provided and available to women.

    How is this acceptable to any American woman? Even if you are a staunch pro-life advocate and do not believe in what Planned Parenthood provides for women, how can you stand by and let men determine what kind of health care is administered to your fellow classmates, sisters, cousins, aunts and mothers?

    If you are as outraged as I am the following five steps have been provided by Planned Parenthood so that you may show your support of Planned Parenthood and defend every American woman in their quest for health care.

    Thanks for reading.

    Here are five ways you can help, right now:

    Number 1
    If you haven’t already, sign our open letter to the members of Congress who voted to bar Planned Parenthood from federal funding — and to the senators who still have a chance to stop it. Half a million people have already signed. Add your name.
    Take a stand for Planned Parenthood and the women, men, and teens who rely on us in your community. Click here to find out about local events near you.
    Number 2
    Number 3
    Make a gift to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The work that lies ahead of us as the bill moves to the Senate for consideration is nothing short of astonishing. We need your help to rise to this incredible challenge.
    Find out how your representative voted on the bill to bar Planned Parenthood from federal funding — and then let him or her know how you feel.
    Number 4
    Number 5
    Share your story. Extreme anti-choice groups and their allies in Congress are spreading lies and misinformation about who we are and what we do. Help set the record straight by sharing your story about how Planned Parenthood has been there for you, your family, or your friends.
    I can’t tell you what an enormous difference your unwavering dedication makes right now for Planned Parenthood and the women, men, and teens who rely on us.

    Supporters like you truly are the heart and soul of this organization. Thank you for standing with us.


    Cecile Richards, President
    Planned Parenthood Federation of America

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  • The following is from Americans United for Change. This 60 second spot briefly outlines the hypocrisy of Congressman Charlie Bass and his stance towards health care for the country and health care for himself. His voting record on health care is shameful and unfortunately he is not alone. Many elected officials have voted to cut health care for seniors, raise premiums and allow health care corporations to deny patients care while they never face any of the above tactics of the health care corporations.

    This is such a slap in the face to every American that worries about health care.

    When will the hypocrisy end? When every American starts to pay attention and vote these callous politicians out of office.

    Equal protection. It’s the American way.

    But when it comes to HEALTH CARE protections, Congressman Charlie Bass thinks he deserves better than you.

    Congressman Bass gets affordable health care, with protections against insurance companies cutting him and his family off. No lifetime limits. No annual caps. No preexisting conditions.

    But last month Bass voted to deny you and your family these same protections. That’s not equal. That’s not fair.

    Even worse, Congressman Bass voted to:

    – raise health insurance premiums

    – take away prescription drug benefits for seniors

    – and deny insurance for sick kids

    That will make it tougher for you to get affordable health care.

    But don’t worry, Congressman Bass is all set – since his vote didn’t apply to the health plan he gets as a member of Congress.

    Call Congressman Charlie Bass and tell him: health care protections that are good enough for Congress should be good enough for ALL of us.

    Paid for by Daily Kos and American United for Change. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. and

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