The Alan Grayson Page

The Anthony Weiner Page

Guest Contributors


  • BN-Politics' administrators respect, but do not necessarily endorse, views expressed by our contributors. Our goal is to get the ideas out there. After that, they're on their own.
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 05/2007

Blog Catalog

  • Liberalism Political Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory



« Social Security: The Reports of Its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated | Main | Brits Gone Wild? Resorts Complain of Rowdy Behavior of Brit Tourists »

August 24, 2008



That's good news. I just thought it would be a good idea to allow me the option to risk my soc. sec dollars so I could make more money annd have that money left for my kids when I die, instead of it going to the gov.

I don't rely on soc. sec. for retirement, but if it's there still I'll take it as a bonus. By not relying on soc. sec., I can retire at 58, instead of waiting till when the gove says I can retire -- say 62-70.

That's my view of social security. Just a thought to ponder.


That Sun-Times article pissed me off, and this is the comment I left there:

I worked at the UofC--I will be very upfront about that because I have nothing to hide. My position entitled me to no special privileges, and I don't speak on behalf of an institution unless I truly believe that what they are doing is right and moral. I was a writer for the Medical Center's magazine, Medicine on the Midway, and I did a story about the Southside Health Collaborative for the magazine and for the Biological Sciences Division's annual report. In the Sun-Time's op-ed response to this article (,CST-EDT-edit27.article), the writers even pulled a quote from the annual report, "'Michelle Obama, speaking of the clinics in a hospital report, said it herself: "The world is seeping in, and our salvation will be the success of our partners.'" So I know those writers were at least doing their research.

The Michelle Obama I knew at the hospital was very down-to-earth and candid about the things we talked about. I could call her any day of the week to set up an appointment to talk with her. In those conversations, she explained to me what her goal was for the UofC's ER. Patients wait there, sometimes for 24 hours or more, just to be seen because they have a sore throat. Those patients don't know where else to go. They don’t have primary care doctors because they can’t afford them, and because historically, they’re not used to getting regular physical check-ups. They see the UofC in advertisements as a cutting edge facility, and they trust it. They don't realize that they have other hospitals, good hospitals such as Mercy and Michael Reese, sometimes closer than the UofC. It's the same situation with clinics.

No patient is turned down or "shunned" from care when they arrive at the UofC ER. Insured or uninsured, the wait is the same. And it's long. I know how it works because for my articles--and I try to be an honest, moral, and unbiased journalist in what I report--I sat in the ER waiting room for hours at a time and talked with patients. I went with them behind curtains when they were finally admitted to wait once again for a physician--one step closer. I picked the patients I spoke to—almost a dozen of them—randomly, and then followed them through this process. So here's how it works:

When a patient arrives in the ER, they fill out a form at the desk about their illness or pain. They provide their address as well, and perhaps who their insurance carrier is (that I don't remember for certain, but I think that was part of it).

Next, one of the three or four people stationed in the ER called Patient Advocates looks at that paperwork. If they find someone they think could be a candidate for another hospital or clinic, they go sit down with that person and talk. The advocate asks where the patient lives, and consults a clipboard right in front of the patient that holds a map and list of about 20 other clinics and hospitals in the area. The advocate checks to see if any of those institutions are within the vicinity of the person’s address. If they are, the advocate offers to call the clinic or hospital to set up a future, follow-up appointment. Sometimes a clinic is only two blocks from a patient’s home or near where they pick their kids up from school, BUT THEY NEVER EVEN REALIZE THAT OPTION EXISTED.

The UofC doesn’t turn down these patients, and it’s the patient’s prerogative to return to the UofC or go on to the institution that the advocate told them about. If they choose the latter, the advocate keeps track. A week or so after the appointment, the advocate calls that patient to see how it went. Were there any problems? Did the doctor see you on time? Do you have any complaints or praise?

The people from Michelle Obama’s office—Community and External Affairs—visited these clinics and hospitals to see for themselves with whom they were working. If the clinic was in desperate need of new carpeting or a new paint job, Michelle’s office would see that they got funding for it. Michelle was very open in her discussions with me about the partner institutions. She said that the UofC didn’t always cooperate with them in the past, but that we are in such desperate times, that we needed to change. Michelle also said that healthcare in this country is in such dire straits, that the UofC need to do something. She alone couldn’t change the healthcare system immediately to universal coverage, but she could work to improve the system we’re in currently. And that was Michelle’s—and her team’s—goal.

In 2006, the UofC adult ER admitted more than 60,000 patients. Roughly a quarter of them—15,000 visits—were people who used the ER as their only form of medical attention. These are people who had no primary care physician or “medical home.” Michelle and her staff, and now Eric Whitaker and his staff, are simply trying to help them find one.

Read my previous articles about the SSHC and Urban Health Initiative here:

The comments to this entry are closed.