League presents health care forum

With rocketing health care costs and fewer choices, health care remains one of the hottest political debates in America. The League of Women Voters in Carson City is addressing those issues with a free health care forum this evening at the Community Center.

A panel of experts involved in all facets, from legislation to home health care, will discuss a range of health-care topics including long-term care, the high number of uninsured, prescription drug coverage, managed care, and patients rights.

The documented trends in health care provide a wealth of grim statistics: The young and uninsured population has grown steadily over the last decade, from 32 million in 1987 to 44 million in 1998. Over one-fourth of these are children. Fully 91 percent of those insured through employment plans were covered by managed care in 1999, up from 27 percent in 1988. Yet health care costs continue to climb, and dissatisfaction with these plans has prompted calls for new laws to protect consumers.

But medicine is more than statistics, and this a grass-roots effort. The League, in partnership with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, wants to inform citizens and stimulate dialogue as well as provide opportunities for the public to have a greater voice in the health care debate.

The forum will be televised live on Carson City Cable Access TV, and will be taped for cable access TV showing in Reno on Thursday.

Panelists will include:

- Senator Mark Amodei: Representing Carson City, most of Lyon and all of Storey Counties, Amodei was assistant majority whip in the Nevada Senate for the State's last legislative session. As a member of the Health and Human Services subcommittee in the legislature, Amodei brings the legislative perspective to the discussion.

- Ellen Lingelbach: A registered nurse, Lingelbach speciaizes in advocacy for older adults, long term care, and community placement in assisted living. She is founder and owner of Sierra Care Associates, providing independent consulting and case management for older adults.

- Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell: As Assemblywoman for District 40, this long-time Carson City resident will be contributing her legislative insights.

- Dr. Stephen Phillips: A well-known Reno physician and geriatrician, Phillips is very knowlegeable in issues that effect older adults including health, social, and quality of life issues.

- John Yacenda, Ph.D. is director of the Nevada Check Up Program, a state program providing comprehensive health coverage to children and families that make too much to qualify for welfare but not enough to buy health coverage.

- Attorney Jon Sasser of Washoe Legal Services in Carson City is an advocate for minority groups and the uninsured. A resident of Carson City, he has received several community awards for this advocacy work.

- Carol Sala works for the Division for Aging Services of the State of Nevada. She is a licensed social worker with a focus on community services.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political membership organization, encourages informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

What: League of Women Voters of Nevada Health Care Forum

When: Today 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Carson City Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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