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Saturday: SPAN Ohio annual conference on economic inequality in health care

As the limitations of the Affordable Care Act have become all too apparent, advocates of single payer health care in Ohio aren't wasting time and energy in saying "I told you so." Members of Single Payer Action Network Ohio have been rolling up their sleeves and helping uninsured Ohioans to overcome the challenges in getting signed up for Obamacare, while at the same time continuing to advocate for a single payer solution in Ohio.

SPAN Ohio's "mission is to expand truly affordable health care to all Ohioans by implementing a provision of the Affordable Care Act which allows states to innovate," said Alice Faryna, a retired physician and SPAN member. "The innovation we support is a Medicare-like program for all."

The 11th annual SPAN Ohio State Conference is held on Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center, 4900 Sinclair Road in Columbus.

The theme of this year's conference is Economic Inequality and Our Health Care System. It has been well documented that health follows wealth, but how does our health care system contribute to inequality? Professor Gerald Friedman, a well-known economist from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, will answer that question in his keynote address.

Three workshops wills provide SPAN supporters and activists with information that can be used in advocacy for a more just health care system:

  • Matthew Noordsij-Jones, MD and Katherine Lambes, MD will discuss the current plight of uninsured and under-insured people in Ohio, resources that are available for them, and the impact of the ACA.
  • Gerald Friedman will discuss the role of organized labor in health care reform, and how supporters can engage organized labor to be more involved in the campaign.
  • Will Petrik, State Director of Advocates for Ohio's Future, will discuss how to go "beyond the choir" with the message of universal health care — how we can start our conversations in a new way to build public understanding and support for health care policy solutions.

Registration information is available here. Space is limited. Cost for the conference is $40. Scholarships may be available.

"Health care is unfortunately one area where diversity can be lethal," Alice Faryna said. "For men turning 60, remaining life expectancy is 25 years for high-wage earners, and 19 years for low-wage earners. For all age groups over 15, there are more deaths among African Americans compared to white Americans, over half from heart disease and cancer.

"The health care cost for immigrants is $1000 less per capita than for the rest of us. I doubt if that is because they are healthier."

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