ImageMay 7, 2014 Newsletter    Image

By John Hammer

Charlotte Shelburne Rotary


Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 7:15 a.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church Community Room


President Dave opened the meeting with the Pledge. Kris Engstrom gave the invocation.

Guests: Dr. Marvin Malik, Speaker


May 14 – Robin Turnau, President of Vermont Public Radio

May 17 – Volunteer work at Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge.

May 21 – Committee Meetings plus meeting scholarship winners.

May 28 – Vera Simon Noes of Shelburne Farms speaking on Agritourism

May 28 and 30 – The Red Sox are holding Rotary nights. Special pricing of $55 for seats in the Right Wing Box. See President Dave for information.

Early June – Volunteer work in clearing at the Shelburne Nature Path. Michael Clapp will be passing out lists. Volunteer work in Hinesburg (TBD). The building is being designed.

June 6 – Bowlathon

June 11 – Essex Rotary Golf Championship

June 26 – Changing of the Guard at a location to be determined.

District 7850 Calendar: Hot Link


Bowlathon – Ric asked for solicitation letter addresses. They will go out in 8 days. Sign ups for lanes began at this meeting. There are a number of banner spaces vacant. Anyone knowing of a prospect should see Tod Whitaker. Tom Glaser has already collected $8,000!

Charlotte Project – Michael Clapp distributed a list calling for 8-10 volunteers to work on repair of two bridges in the Charlotte Park and Wildlife Refuge on May 17th at 8:30 AM. Work will consist of hauling lumber in and out as well as replacement of some bridge decking and posts.

Shelburne Library Speaker’s Program – Pam Blair, author of Living Longer Better, will be speaking at the library next Tuesday at 7PM.

Spad’s Humor

A man was returning a day early from a business trip and stepped into a taxi at the airport well after midnight. He offered the driver $100 if he would help him out as a witness.  The traveler was suspicious that his wife was having an affair and intended to catch her in the act. The driver agreed and they quietly arrived at the house and made their way upstairs to the bedroom, where, upon throwing open the door and tearing back the covers, they found the wife in the arms of a naked man. The husband put a gun to the naked man’s head, but the wife shouted, “Don’t do it. This man has been very generous. I lied when I told you that I had inherited money. He paid for the Corvette that I bought you. He paid for our cabin cruiser. He paid for our house on the lake. He paid for our country club membership and he pays our annual membership dues.”  Shaking his head and lowering the gun, the traveler turned to the cabbie and asked him what he would do. The cabbie replied, “I’d cover him up with the blanket before he catches a cold.”

Sergeant at Arms – Richard Fox reminded us all that today was VE (Victory in Europe) Day for the British Commonwealth countries and tomorrow is for the rest of us.

Sam Feitelberg – Thanks to all who partook in the Shelburne Veterans’ Memorial raffle.

Robert Maynes – Paid a fine for a wonderful dinner at a restaurant in Montreal named Noir.  The restaurant was pitch black inside. You enter into a dimly lit space and make your choice as to what you want to eat and drink. You are then ushered into a totally dark room by a blind person (all the waiters are blind). You have to eat in the dark, which was a challenge that Robert and Bobbe met. The food was excellent. Some of the profits go to organizations for the blind.

President Dave – Sweet/Sad news that Elaine Dates was diagnosed with cancer, but the doctor thinks it was all cut out in surgery. Still in all, Elaine needs to undergo a course of chemotherapy and possible radiation. Her prognosis is very good.

Linda Gilbert – Paid a fine in appreciation for all the work Roz Graham did on the District Conference printed program.

Rosalynn Graham – Remarked on a memory from her past when she, as a reporter, wrote an article about the Association for the Blind. Before she wrote it, she spent a night and day blindfolded. She said it wasn’t easy.

Terrill Titus – Will spend next week babysitting her granddaughter. She also made note of the fact that she had spoken to the St. Albans Rotary Club for the Make a Wish Foundation. She was impressed by the difference in how they run their meetings and suggested that we all should visit other clubs.

Kris Engstrom – Is getting ready for the Mothers’ Day rush this weekend.

Carole Obuchowski – Glad that the SCOTUS found in favor of municipal prayers at meetings.

Mark Joczik – Had a great trip to Charleston, SC.

Fritz Horton – Apologies to Dr. Malik for not reading the doctor’s CV.

Trafton Crandall – Happy to be going to his oldest granddaughter’s Grandparents’ Day this Friday in NYC.

Michael Clapp – This week he and his wife hit pay dirt on the bird feeders’ nirvana list. Their birdfeeder has been visited for the past two days by a scarlet tanager. They are spectacular. He proposed that they name the bird Robert, Really, Really, Red Bird. Alison thought the name too long and complicated and suggested that it be called Robert Redbird. Alison won the day.

Dave Rice – Had a real coincidence last Wednesday when he took his wife, Anne, to the hospital for jaundice. They checked in and were assigned a room and whom would they share a room with but Elaine Dates. So they had a make-up meeting there and then. The next morning they reported to the operating room for surgery. The two surgeons did their normal pre-brief. After that was complete, a third doctor came in and asked Anne if she would like to go home. It turns out that the medicines that they had been giving her in the hospital drove down the bilirubin number to a normal level. So they went home.

John Beale – Was in Charleston, SC last week as well.

Robert Maynes – Paid another fine to celebrate Michael Clapp’s having given up smoking since last January 2nd.

Tom Glaser – For mothers everywhere.

Alan Hathaway’s Table won the draw and he picked the Eight of Diamonds for a rollover of the $55 pot.

Speaker – Dr. Marvin Malik of Vermont Physicians for National Health.


Gave two, one-dollar fines. One to celebrate his 13th anniversary of arriving in Vermont and the second for Rotary’s fantastic work in helping eradicate polio from the earth. He is concerned, however, with the newly W.H.O. Report concerned with affairs in Pakistan, Syria and Nigeria where there has been a great increase in cases over the past year. It will take redoubled efforts. He has very strong argument for vaccinations. While there are problems with vaccinations, the benefits far outweigh any risk from them. The polio vaccination is a “poster boy” for the success of vaccines.

Dr. Malik spoke on the need for health reform. In the U.S., because the country is so large and each state has its own rules, it makes it hard to see the big picture. Many of the problems with health care are unique to the U.S. He characterized it as a dysfunctional system.

He divided the reasons for dysfunctionality into major and minor categories.


  • 49% of bankruptcies are due to health care
  • Employees are unwilling to leave their coverage to start their own business because the insurance you would end up with would result in much less coverage.
  • Competition for employees is skewed towards that business with the best health care not the fact that the company is more desirable as a work place.
  • Some employees must stop working because they have chronic health problems without adequate coverage.

There are lots of side effects from these problems. 60% of bankruptcies start with people who have health insurance coverage. Many large companies, which self-insure, will terminate persons with chronic illness. This is a triple tragedy because the employee ends up losing his/her health, job and finances. Cancer=financial disaster in this case. This is unique to the U.S.

The number of uninsured has been running about 50 Million for ten years. Under the Affordable Care Act it is predicted to fall to about 30 Million. Why uninsured? Because they are unemployed, their employers are not required to offer insurance, they are not required to buy insurance or they are not members of a government program.

Access to Health Care can be limited by: affordability, geography (He gave example of NH where only a single health insurance company is authorized and that company governs which hospitals and doctors may be used) and the cultural acceptability to the population.

He predicts that retiree coverage may soon be a thing of the past. A lot of access to care problems arise from: people not visiting their doctors, not filling their prescriptions, skipping tests or not going to a specialist because they perceived that they couldn’t afford it. This doesn’t happen in other developed countries. Last year 44,798 deaths were attributed to lack of health insurance. All this despite the fact that 20% of the U.S. GDP is spent on health care as compared to 10-12% in other countries with lower infant mortality, lower maternal death rates (3-4 times greater than Australia and Sweden) and longer average life span.

The Major Triad of Dysfunction is:

  • Lack of Access – people cannot get the care because primarily they can’t afford it.
  • Lower Life Expectancy – U.S. has lower life expectancy than any of the other of the developed countries. Generally U.S. is 3-5 years behind the others.
  • High Costs for health care. Japan, has longer life expectancy and they pay only 35% of what is spent in U.S. (Way higher administrative costs mostly because of complicated insurance requirements.)

What is a Single Payer System and why does it cost less:

  • Universal  - Everyone is in
  • Comprehensive – covers all medical needs
  • Publically Financed – One public payer
  • Private Delivery – It is available in most countries (except UK, Sweden, and Spain) i.e., the doctors are not employees of the government.
  • Portable – it moves with the person no matter what the job, location, finances
  • Accountable to Participants – Dr. Malik suggested that the system ought to be broken down into regions to reduce complexity.

Why is it less costly?

  • Global budget - Able to control costs
  • Bulk purchasing of drugs and supply
  • Reduction in administrative cost
  • Global domain of information

Probably would be funded by taxes. All the developing countries pay with taxes of whatever source (payroll, income, VAST)

Passage of Vermont’s Health Care System is a problem because Vermont is a small state which has myriad other state requirements that insinuate themselves onto Vermont’s program. Billings need to be sent to all sorts of external funding sources. Too complex.