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Dishing with Dee: Senior care must come first in health care reform talks

Now that summer is almost over, things are starting to perk up. This past week we attended a few interesting events.

On Tuesday evening, a huge grassroots rally was held in Bellerose at the John F. Price VFW Post protesting the proposed government-run health care program. While most agree the cost of maintaining our current system — viewed by many as the best in the world — the cost is becoming prohibitive. They believe saving money by rationing care and cutting back on senior services is not the way to do it. They believe it would be better to put tort reform in place.

This would put a cap on the awards granted to frivolous and costly lawsuits, but the trial lawyers would never agree to it. They also believe the fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in the Medicaid and Medicare systems should be thoroughly investigated and prevented. They believe by exercising some sort of control over both these critical problems it would probably alleviate most if not all the runaway expenses. In any event, it should be explored first before trying to restrict care to seniors, the group that needs care the most.

The featured guest speaker was Dr. Betsy McCaughey, the former state lieutenant governor, who over the past few years has been actively involved in trying to prevent infections that currently occur in numerous hospitals. These infections are responsible for killing many patients. It is ironic you are cured of whatever brought you to the hospital in the first place only to die of an infection that you picked up during your stay at the hospital.

McCaughey raised pertinent questions: President Barack Obama wants to cover an additional 40-some-odd-million uninsured Americans, but where will the money come from? Where will all the additional doctors come from? There is no point promising additional people care if there are no personnel to administer the care. Where will the additional facilities come from to handle all these extra people?

While Obama’s intentions may be good, the method of carrying them out does not seem to be an effective solution. It would seem it needs to go back to the drawing board for more detailed revisions that will not only be effective but acceptable.

The whole program requires more time, debate and input from many experts in the fields required to make it work. A program of this magnitude is not something you can put together in a few short months. Lots of luck to whoever has to handle the new health care reforms.

Dan Halloran was the moderator of the rally, while Jim Trent, Phil Orenstein and Phil Sica of the Queens Village Republican Club helped facilitate the event, which was not a Republican event but a community event. Everyone was personally concerned but conducted an orderly rally.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman was invited, but chose not to attend. This meeting followed on the heels of the demonstration Aug. 22 outside Ackerman’s office in Bayside, where his constituents threatened to hold him accountable if he does not vote no on what, in their view, is a dangerous health care bill. Since seniors represent the largest voting bloc, their wishes should be considered or at least discussed. They say if Ackerman ignores them on the health care plan, they will ignore him on Election Day. It is something to take into consideration.

On Saturday evening Debbie Markell held her annual birthday bash barbecue at her Whitestone home. It was a fun party with great barbecue food. The entertainment was provided by DJ Rus Hargrove. This year’s birthday party was also a combination fund-raiser. Democrat Debbie is running for the 19th City Council seat. Good luck, Debbie!

On Sunday Halloran, held a fund-raiser at the 14 Degrees Below lounge in Whitestone. Republican Dan is also running for the 19th Council seat. His event was also well-attended. The lounge is a rather new place. I had never been there before but will go again to check it out. The food was good and the entertainment was provided by the guests themselves using the lounge’s state of the art karaoke equipment. As I wished Debbie good luck, I also want to wish Dan good luck. The 19th Council seat has all the earmarks of an interesting race.

That’s it for this week.

I look forward to hearing from you with information on people, parties and politics or gossip.

I like receiving your voice mails at 718-767-6484, faxes at 718-746-0066 and e-mails at

Don’t forget to check out the Focus on Queens page.

Till next week, Dee.

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