April 4-10, 2007

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Nūz: Santa Cruz County News Briefs

Healthy Choice

After an action-packed week that included an amazing talk by Cheri Huber (see Muz, March 28) and a preview of the upcoming Santa Cruz Film Festival (stay tuned), Nuz dropped by the Vets Hall on Friday for the forum on Sheila Kuehl's health care bill. (For full details of the bill itself, see Metro Santa Cruz's preview article, 'A CURE FOR THE COMMON HEALTH-CARE CRISIS?', in last week's News & Views.)

Before a standing-room-only crowd, five speakers, including Inner Light Ministries' Deborah Johnson and Santa Cruz County Treasurer Fred Keeley, discussed the merits of Kuehl's California Universal Health Care Act (Senate Bill-840).

Among them was Neal Coonerty, whom Health Care for All's Carol Robertson introduced as "newly ranking among doting grandparents."

After explaining that his son and city councilmember Ryan Coonerty couldn't be at the forum because he's home with the flu--"He's happy the city has good health care"--the Santa Cruz County Supervisor and Bookshop Santa Cruz patriarch spoke of his new grandchild and how SB840 is "as much for that generation as our own."

He also recounted how, when tragedy struck his family, a two-month hospital bill amounted to $750,000 in medical expenses. Had they not been covered by insurance, Coonerty said, they would have lost his business, his home and his livelihood.

Out-of-towner Nettie hoge, who serves as Lt. Gov. Garamendi's Health Care Specialist, also gave a moving and often funny declaration of support, culminating in the promise that SB840 would "cover everyone and save $8 billion."

She also described the flaws in the current system, in which insurance companies withhold proprietary information in the name of competition, a practice she argued places profit motive above the health of the public. "Isn't it wonderful," she concluded sarcastically, "that we have a market to deliver health care?"

Nūz just loves juicy tips about Santa Cruz County politics.

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