March 2018 – Minutes

CLJP Minutes March 13, 2018
Monticello Room, Westminster Canterbury

Present: Taylor Beard, Hal Horan, Dave Warren, Peter Weatherly, Bob McAdams, Chip Sanders, Burnie Davis, Warren Grupe, Jean Hammond, Carroll Houle, Ed Murray, Diane Murray, John Peale, Louise Sinclair (Honorary Member)

Diane Murray opened with prayer and  Sanders presided.

The Minutes of February 13 prepared by Horan, were approved.

Treasurer’s Report: Since the December balance of 2,496.85, Beard reported an expense of 1000.00 paid to the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities in support of our joint sponsorship of the upcoming event of March 22,  resulting in a balance for March 13 of 2,396.85.  Beard also announced that letters would be going out for those members whose renewal dates happened in February.

Taylor also reported on  Chris Matthews and Phil Best who are now involved in other important activities for church and community, Bill and Betty Kerner who are experiencing health issues, and Tim Michel who, moved by our involvement in the Festival of the Book, considered his contribution a donation rather than membership dues.

McAdams reminded us of our joint sponsoring the program, Economic Inequality: What’s in Your Wallet,  with Virginia Festival of the Book and Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, comprising a joint panel discussion by the authors of three new books centering on Economic Inequality, scheduled for Thursday,  March 22, 12:00-1:30 pm at the City Council Chambers, 605 E Main Street:

Mehrsa Baradaran, The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap; Keith Payne, The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Live, Think and Die; and Richard V. Reeves, The Dream Hoarders: How the American Upper Middle Class is Leaving Everyone Else in the Dust,, Why That is a Problem, and What to Do About It.  Andrew Kahrl, associate professor of history and African American studies at the University of Virginia, will moderate.

McAdams also announced caucuses and a convention to nominate the Democratic candidate to run against U.S. Representative Tom Garrett in November.  The Convention will be held on May 5th at the Fireman’s Sports Arena in Farmville.

Virginia’s 5th Congressional District Democrats are fielding four candidates, considered to be well qualified: Leslie Cockburn://www.lesliecockburnforcongress.com/ Ben Cullop https://cullopforcongress.com/ Roger Dean Huffstettler https://www.rdforva.com/ Andrew Sneathern http://sneathernforcongress.com/

McAdams distributed a handout called Caucus +Convention=Candidate and said that the caucus for Albemarle County will be held at 5:30 pm on Thursday, April 16 at Monticello High, and for Charlottesville, 1:15 pm on Saturday, April 21, at Burley gym.

For further explanation, check out this link: http://albemarledems.org/caucus/

A colorful pdf accompany the minutes.

Program: the “Health Impact of Income Inequality” and its complex nature as demonstrated in Charlottesville.

Presented by Dr. Warren E. Grupe, MD. After a long and distinguished career as a Pediatrician, specializing in Nephrology and a former Medical Director of the International Center for the Health Sciences,  Grupe has lately been involved with the Academy of Pediatrics on the CHIP program.

Grupe began by stating the obvious,  one’s health is related to one’s economic status, the higher the income, the better the health.

The higher the income inequality, the poorer the general health of the population, the slower the economic growth and wellbeing of the nation as a whole.

In Virginia, the richer the county, the healthier the lives.  On average folks live 4 to 6 years less in Buckingham County than in Albemarle, and fully 10 years less in the southwestern counties.

Some factors are not so obvious: Grupe stated that fully 1/3rd of the population do not believe that income inequality is a factor worthy of consideration.  “Many Americans view inequality as the natural outcome when talent and ability are unevenly distributed throughout society — the rich are rich, the thinking goes, because they work harder, smarter and more productively than everyone else. High inequality is largely a function of merit, in this view, and not something to be overly concerned with. It’s a feature of the capitalist system, not a bug.”( Christopher Ingraham Washington Post, February 6, 2018)

As Tevya sings in Fiddler on the Roof, “When you’re rich, they think you really know!”

While income inequality is important, in health matters it is not a factor that would necessarily makes a difference in one’s health if the equality improved.  Manitoba, Australia, and New Zealand have similar gaps in income, yet the actuaries of those countries are all pretty high, the reason being, an effective public health care system.

Nor is the lack of the ability to pay the most important reason for folks not to see a doctor.  Its up there along with religious reasons and fear of discovering a dread disease.  But the number one reason is that the physician “wouldn’t listen to me, anyway.”

Grupe supports free neighborhood clinics that could be managed quite well by nurses.  The point being that the more patients get into a routine of check ups and advise on maintaining a more healthy life style, the less the need for episodic interventions in costly emergency rooms.

This would make for more personal and intimate relations between the health care professional and the patient.  One important element in such a relationship be in the professional discovering an ongoing problem that the patient sees as “normal” that actually needs to be addressed, as in the example Grupe gave of a woman who complained that the flow of her period never ends.

That Virginia and the Charlottesville area do not enjoy a more robust public health establishment is the result of inadequate public funding and political opposition.  Grupe referred to a program that served the homeless by securing free to low cost prescriptions.  This all too short lived effort was handled  well in the Haven, where the late George Telford, David McFarlane, and Dave Warren logged in their volunteer hours.

The meeting adjourned at  2:08 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Hal Horan, Recording Secretary