Teach-In explores health care reform issues

By Wendy Arquilla

One professor said if the current national health care trend continues, we will spend 800 billion dollars to keep ourselves healthy.

However, there will be an exploration of the issues to try to change that.

The School of Nursing and the School of Allied Health Professions have helped coordinate the daylong “Teach-In on Health Care Reform” beginning Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 9:30 a.m. at the Carl Sandburg Auditorium.

Arthur Rubens, community health professor, said the teach-in is the first of what he hopes to be an annual event. He said NIU was one of 60 universities approached by the Michael Harrington Center for Democratic Values and Social Change at Queens College, City University of New York.

The center is concerned with a variety of social issues, health care being one of them.

Rubens said, “Everybody should be concerned about the health care issue.” He said that the teach-in will not only educate people on different views of the health care system, but offer a “town meeting-type” discussion in which concerned people can have their questions answered.

The format for the teach-in will start with four 45-minute sessions by different speakers, Rubens said. The first speaker is Sue Braithwaite, M.D., who will represent the Physicians for National Health Care Reform and will focus on the single-payer system of health care.

The second speaker will be John Lewis, representing the Center for Governmental Studies and School of Allied Health Professions. His talk will be based on state health care plans that are improving upon the national system.

The third session will be headed by Lynn UnRuh, who’s speaking for the Illinois Nursing Association and will focus on both Bill Clinton’s and George Bush’s respective plans for health care.

The last speaker will be Jeff Todd, executive director of the Illinois Public Health Association, who will speak on public health and education.

There will also be a panel discussion, moderated by Todd. The panel representatives will give a 5 to 10 minute presentation and then answer any questions. The panel representatives, Rubens said, are “representative of the community that the health care crisis affects.”

The five panelists are Joe Baumgart, a physician; Steve Jennetten, clinic administrator; Joe Vigneux, consumer; Ed Balli, business owner and Maureen Schekleton, nurse.

Olive Kimball, chairman of the School of Allied Health Professions, said “The teach-in is a service provided to the community to clarify the issue of health care.” She said that the coordinators are encouraging the students, faculty and community members to participate in the teach-in.

Kimball said that most students do not realize how hard health insurance is to obtain. She said, “We’ve even encouraged professors to bring their students to the teach-in during their Tuesday classes.”