Archive for the Uncategorized Category

National Call In Day for Single Payer Healthcare this Friday, January 15th – Call Your Representatives!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 15, 2009 by theseep

This Friday, January 15, is national call-in day to promote a single-payer healthcare system.  Here is the official page with information on HR676 and how to contact your congressperson.  Also, you can call (202) 225-3121 and ask to be connected to the office of your Representative or your Senators (you can also look up their direct numbers using your zip code here)

Being in the healthcare community, I find it hard to believe that so many people don’t support this concept.  One of the big arguments is whether healthcare is a right or a dominican1privilege and when you work in the medical field, it is obvious that it should be a right, just like having a firefighter to put out your burning house, or a police officer to rescue you from an assailant, everyone should have basic medical care.  We often hear the term “socialized” attached to single-payer healthcare as a fear tactic because of the negative stigma still associated with the term socialism.  Single-payer, however, is not government run healthcare, it is private healthcare with government paying the bills instead of insurance companies.  Essentially nothing will change with how you interact with your physician or clinic, but rather than insurance companies artificially driving up costs and making profits on people’s health, denying legitimate claims, and costing an extra 15% or more in administrative costs, medicare and medicaid will cover everyone!  Costs overall will decrease, and the out of pocket expense to the individual will be lower than the current system.  If we can combine this with a massive expansion in public health education and services, along with major tort reform to revamp medical liability, we might just be able to improve our status from spending more money per capita than any other country, yet ranking number 37 in the world in quality of health care.  Shameful.

Please call in on Friday and make your voice heard!

John Stewart and John Olliver Say What We All Are Thinking About Terrorists of Any Type.

Posted in Uncategorized on December 3, 2008 by theseep

I can’t get this to embed properly, but click on the Mumbai Tragedy Link for the video.

This is a brilliant exchange between John Olliver and John Stewart on 12/1/09’s The Daily Show. Simply brilliant – an incredibly accurate discussion of terrorists of any kind.

Bush Administration Wants Americans To Have More E Coli Outbreaks

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2008 by theseep via earthfirst

Photo credit: via earthfirst

It seems that the Bush Administration is trying to get a few more jabs in before heading out of office, making our nation even more unsafe and removing regulations that keep our citizens healthy.

According to the National Resources Defense Council, on October 31st, the Bush Administration signed a rule that exempts factory farms from needing permits that limit water pollution runoff.  Modern factory farms, also known as concentrating animal feeding operations (CAFOs), besides being generally cruel to animals and foster antibiotic resistance through unregulated use, also generate huge amounts of untreated liquid and solid waste from livestock that are forced to live in confined areas.  This rule will keep authorities from having to regulate this waste, which will contaminate waterways and other farms, and will undoubtedly lead to further public health crises similar to the E Coli outbreak that we just had in September of this year.

The recent national outbreak of E Coli O157:H7 in spinach was quickly traced back to farms in Salinas Valley, CA, and is a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining a working and vigilant public health system.  It demonstrates how disease tracking and data collection is imperative as a foundation for this process, with rapid action taken by public health field workers to isolate and stop the spread of disease outbreak.  Local physicians and healthcare professionals reported cases of patients with diarrheal illness consistent with a possible E. coli O157:H7 outbreak to their local public health departments.  Through the national public health system network, these departments, in turn, reported the illnesses to the CDC (Grant et al, 2008).  The CDC was able to quickly recognize a pattern and made a public announcement of the outbreak on September 13, 2008.  A study was initiated the next day by the public health departments of Utah and New Mexico, which isolated and contained the source of the outbreak, and within 2 weeks had hard evidence implicating spinach grown in our state that had likely been contaminated by runoff from local cattle farms.  Not only did the public health system discover the cause of the illness, but it then was able to help draft policy changes encouraging improved sanitation that will hopefully decrease the risk of similar contamination in the future.

Unfortunately, whatever we learned from this and similar incidents will be undone with this exemption in waste regulation.  This is an excellent example of how corporate pressure influences the government to make irresponsible decisions.  The economic pressure from factory farms has overcome the health risks to citizens caused by unregulated waste runoff.  The state public health departments, the FDA, and the EPA must review this rule and take political action to prevent the increased public health risk that it poses.

National Resource Defense Council.

Vote: No Bailout For The Auto Industry. Unless. . .

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2008 by theseep

Ok, so first we’ve thrown hundreds of billions of dollars haphazardly at banks, much of which they’ve already hoarded, squandered, and rearranged, rather than taking a few weeks for our government to carefully draft an educated and well-thought out plan to mediate the value to loan ratio problem, devalue existing loans to help foreclosing homeowners restructure debt, and tightly regulate the use of said taxpayer dollars to avoid the current system of lining the pockets of the greedy lenders and traders who were gambling away everyone’s debt and 401k money.

Now we’re talking about bailing out three companies, who no matter how “Downhome American” and “Heartlandy” they are, have spent the last half century manipulating the American public through engineered obsolescence and ruthless marketing campaigns to sell the biggest and least efficient vehicles, partnered with oil companies to actively fight emissions standards and efficiency requirements, have purposefully withheld technology that would improve mileage and save fuel, have killed California’s zero-emission legislation through legal actions, failed to have any concern whatsoever for the growing climate change and peak oil crises, and have allowed their own greed and obliviousness, purposeful or not, to lead to their own downfall.

The ONLY way we should give any money to the U.S. Auto industry is if they are required to use these funds to completely revamp their lines to include only vehicles that are electric, are compatible with modern biofuels, or use some other type of renewable and low or no emissions fuel. They must also begin large initiatives to convert existing vehicles to run on one of these fuels. The beauty is, that this is in reality a fairly easy proposal: Most modern gasoline engines can be easily modified to run E85 or natural gas, every diesel can run on 100% biodiesel (it’s just not covered by warranty) and can easily be modified to run on vegetable oil. Pretty much any vehicle chassis can be easily converted to run on electricity, using standard golf cart batteries to go more than 40 miles to a charge at highway speeds, more than enough for the vast majority of daily drivers. With minimal training and barely adequate electrical skills, I’ve even been thinking about building one in my garage. The “Big Three” have much smarter people than I with much more mechanical knowledge,and they have much, much. . . MUCH bigger garages.

For that matter, I can think of quite a few things we can do as well with that 813 billion (in tax breaks and funds) Congress has already authorized to bail out Wall Street. How about we pay our craftsmen and builders to learn about energy efficient and eco-friendly building techniques? Why don’t we start a national solar loan program that gives anyone who wishes a low interest loan to get solar water heating and photovoltaic panels? Why don’t we reteach and train those losing their jobs how to grow food, how to farm energy, how to retrofit homes for efficiency, and other skills? Why don’t we help towns and cities rebuild their energy infrastructures to make clean power, ethanol, and biodiesel from waste streams and utilize resources efficiently?

We need to use this money wisely in a well-designed renewable energy “New Deal” for our country to build a sustainable infrastructure for a future of economic prosperity, food security, and clean energy.

reference: bbc news article

Posted in Uncategorized on November 9, 2008 by theseep

Finally, a Time for Change

We’ve done it! Elected a man whom we hope has the integrity, the intelligence, and the vision that he’s shown us in this election race. If you haven’t watched his acceptance speech yet, it is truly inspiring and makes me, for the first time in years, proud to be an American, with hope that we can once again live up to the ideals that we were founded upon – freedom and justice (and sustainability) for all.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2008 by theseep

I’m Voting Republican (Not Really)

This is a wonderfully sarcastic look at some of the Republican party’s stances on issues in the upcoming election from synthetic human studios.

Take a Stand! World Boycott on New Fossil Fuel Powered Cars!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 18, 2008 by theseep

I’m publishing this on a public blog so that if I mysteriously disappear after making this proposal, you’ll know to investigate the major auto manufacturers and oil companies, but here’s the reasoning behind the boycott:

Say you need another car: Your child is turning 16, your old clunker is on it’s last legs, you’re just plain tired of your old car and want a new one, whatever the reason. You could buy a new car, nice and shiny, with that sweet smell of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) wafting from the upholstery, the latest and greatest gadgetry, a fresh coat of wax from the dealer. You’ll be paying $20-30K or more for the vehicle, then immediately lose 30% of the value just by driving off of the lot, and then proceed to pay $100 to fill the tank up every week. Sound good? Not really.

You could buy that car, but why would you buy a new car right now that crudely burns a dying and outdated 20th century fuel? Why not wait and buy a 21st century car – one fueled by electricity or hydrogen, one that burns waste vegetable oil or cellulosic ethanol made from agricultural by-products and recycled paper? Everybody knows that gas isn’t going to get significantly cheaper anytime soon, it will actually likely rise slowly for the next few years, then once we are irrefutably in the midst of peak oil and the world starts significantly restricting carbon emissions and taxes energy use, fossil fuel prices will skyrocket, making it impossible to cheaply travel and waste power like we had in the past. The products we buy and the energy we use to heat and power our homes will all be more expensive because they will be more precious. They will carry the true cost of extracting the resources, the human skill and labor, the overall impact on the environment, and the cost of recycling it at the end of their lives. This extra expense is not unfair, and once we understand the true costs of using the world’s resources, moderate our consumption, and decrease our footprint, we will probably actually save money in the long run. Buy making responsible, educated, and forward-thinking purchases now, you will be readying yourself for the coming change in energy infrastructure. You’ll be leaving the status-quo behind, and making intelligent plans for providing you and your family affordable and available transportation and power options in the future as energy prices rise. You’re insulating yourself from volatile changes in prices in gasoline, natural gas, electricity, and even food.

What I’m saying is, if you need another car, let the manufacturers know that you don’t want to run your car on fossil fuels, it’s bad for the environment, expensive, causes global political unrest and contributes to terrorism, and the technology is available right now to move the same distance at the same speeds without burning any gas, causing any emissions, or contributing to climate change. Make them give you another option, change their practices, divorce themselves from the corporate oil giants. If you need another car right now: go buy a cool used car, fix up a classic roadster, put yourself on the waiting list for a an Aptera, a Tesla Roadster, a Chevy Volt, or a Prius Plug-in Hybrid – you’ll have a next-generation car within the next 1-3 years depending on your choice, not really all that long! Plus, you’ll have killer eco-street cred. Better yet, make your car stretch – use the money you saved to buy some great commuter bikes, an xtracycle, or an electric scooter or motorcycle. If you want a project, build your own electric car or motorcycle. There are so many options besides buying a new fossil-fuel powered car, it’s really just ridiculous to do it right now.

Our entire energy infrastructure is set to change over the next decade, why would you waste your hard-earned money buying in to a dying paradigm? The age of cheap oil is over. Regardless of drilling offshore or in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, irregarding the horribly polluting tar sands projects in Canada, and outside of political deals and wars meant to keep oil flowing to us, fossil fuel demand is increasing and supply is dwindling. Hard core oil exploration and exploitation will be more expensive, less productive, and more environmentally hazardous than ever before. At our current rate of increasing oil consumption, the government-subsidized “resource depletion projects” will at best only postpone the impending energy crisis for a short time if at all. If we’re lucky, they might at best keep fossil fuel prices relatively stable as we actively transition off of them in favor or renewable resources.

It’s time to invest in the future and stop fueling the climate crisis and start making smart choices for your family’s future and vow never to buy another new fossil-fuel powered vehicle. Buy electric, buy used, get a bike instead, become a public transportation expert, stop contributing to the problem and consume like you give a damn.

What To Do On Your Memorial Day Weekend If You Don’t Want To Pay For Gas: Resurrect the Victory Garden!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2008 by theseep

Rising fuel prices have you down?
Don’t want to pay the extra cash for a road trip this Memorial Day?
If you’re tired of supporting the huge profits made by oil companies and money going to terrorist regimes when you fill your gas tank, let’s make the choice NOT to travel. Let’s choose to do something productive for ourselves and our families with our time off this holiday.

I’m talking about planting a garden. I’m talking about grabbing your families and friends, have a BBQ with local grassfed steaks, organic veggies, and some Fat Tire ale, pitching in and ripping up your lawn. Yep, that carefully tended, picket-fence lined, weed-free, lush, verdant patch that you’ve carefully nurtured with petroleum derived fertilizers, toxic insecticides, and gallons upon gallons of precious water. Rip it up. Pull it all out and plant a garden to help feed your family and friends. If you have any doubts, pick up a copy of Michael Pollan’s, An Omnivore’s Dilemmaand give it a skim tomorrow morning over coffee. If you don’t have time for that, read his article entitled “Why Bother” in the NY Time’s Green Issue, he cites that 30% of our nation’s produce after WWII was grown in backyard “Victory Gardens”.

Once you’re convinced, start planning out how to best use your lawn space. There are countless ways to organize your new project. If you want to make it easy, build or buy some raised garden beds and fill them with planting mix and compost. Or, throw down some landscaping fabric then cover it with soil like in last month’s Mother Earth News.  Find plants that grow well in your area and spread them out to transform your lawn into an “edible forests” with fruit trees, vegetable plots, an herb garden, and whatever else you can dream up.  Make sure you dig up your sprinklers first, though – you can hook them up to drip irrigation systems to water your new project.   There’s ton’s of info on gardening out there, start googling and then start planting!  You get exercise, family time, you save water over irrigating your lawn, and once it’s established you’ll save money and fossil fuel while providing more nutritious, pesticide free, organic food option for your household.

Sustainable Sewer for Los Osos, CA?

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2008 by theseep

San Luis County Surfrider chapter and SLO Green Build are co-sponsoring 2 public presentations and workshops in an effort to present environmentally and economically friendly ways to solve the small coastal town’s sewer problems.

Currently everyone in the town, just south of Morro Bay, are on septic systems and no further growth is allowed since they have saturated the ability of the local ground to process the sewage. There are many members of the community that are fine with less growth, but also many who feel it would be good for the town, or those who stand to make a lot of money from development. So far, a waste treatment facility has been planned smack in the center of town, in a beautiful plot overlooking the ocean. The community has been outraged at the proposal, and a few million dollars in taxpayer dollars has been wasted in order to advance the agenda of a few. Los Osos, however, has the perfect opportunity to be a model community for sustainability. Instead of each citizen having to pay $30,000 or more to be hooked up to the new downtown sewage treatment plant in addition to the costs to the county for construction, each home could be retrofitted with composting toilets and greywater reclamation systems for less than that and in the process saving water and significant amounts of money in the long run, all while being better to the environment. Sounds like a simple decision, right? Not when there’s money to be had by local developers with their pocketbooks open for local officials. Well, it’s either that, or the planning board of Los Osos is seated with stubborn, backwards-thinking codgers with no vision or reasonable thought processes. Hopefully these presentations will educate and drum up enough public support for a well-planned, sustainable water and sewer plan for this unique and beautiful coastal town.
“Sustainability…the Final Frontier!”
Can Appropriate Water Technology Help
Los Osos and other cities in our County…?

Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Todd, of Todd Ecological Design Inc. ( an award-winning water and natural resources planning firm, will be visiting San Luis Obispo County on February 6th and 7th to address appropriate technology in San Luis county including the Los Osos sewer project. Todd Ecological specializes in the development of ecological technologies for food production, waste purification and conversion, environmental restoration and systems integration ofr architecture and eco-industrial parks throughout the world. The focus is to provide clients with cost-effective aesthetic solutions to wastewater, storm water, aquatic environment management, and bio-solids conversion.

Two Public Presentations &
Sustainability Socials
(Pizza, Beer, Wine, Sweets, Raffle, & Music!)

February 6th, Weds; 6 – 9 pm
SLO Botanical Garden ($20 suggested donation)
New education & convention facility. (
(El Chorro Regional Park, across Hwy 1 from Cuesta College)
(Between Morro Bay & SLO)

February 7th, Thurs; 6 – 10 pm:
LOS OSOS @ South Bay Community Center
($5 suggested donation)
(2180 Palisades Ave, behind Skate Park)

Available at both events: Music by THE CUESTA JAZZ ENSEMBLE

By Donation (All Funds raised will assist sustainability efforts within SLO County)

• Food by American Flatbread Pizza,
• Beer tasting by Cayucos Brewing Company,
• Wine tasting, and
• Slo Chai and SweetEarth Chocolates

Examples of appropriate technology to maintain a healthy water cycle:
1. Low Impact development strategies
2. Ultra low flow toilets or high efficiency 1.28 Gpf
3. Rainwater harvesting
4. Dual Flush Toilets .9 / 1.6 Gpf
5. Grey water reuse systems
6. Energy Star Appliances (Clothes washer and dishwasher)
7. Composting toilets

For more details about this event, please see the press release

For downloadable flyer please click HERE.Los Osos Blog: SewerWatch

The Center for Public Integrity releases “The War Card”, a Tally of the Bush Administration’s Deceptions Leading to the Iraq War

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2008 by theseep
An AP report released yesterday showcased a study performed by 2 non-profit groups, the Center for Public Integrity, and The Fund For Independence in Journalism that documents the incredible number of false statements made by the Bush administration that led the public to acquiesce and go to war in Iraq. The study cites at least 935 false statements by Bush, Cheney, Condi, and Rumsfeld, 532 or more inaccurate statements by Colin Powell, Paul Wolfowitz, and press secretaries Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan. Most of these statements asserted that there was unequivocal proof that Iraq did indeed have weapons of mass destruction and/or that there were proven ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

The Center for Public Integrity’s “Iraq: The War Card” is a comprehensive database of this intentional deception by our government and shows without doubt that the Iraq war was brought about by a carefully orchestrated media and propaganda campaign designed to utilize the tragedy and outrage generated by the 9/11 attacks as fuel for the flame.
The evidence has been available now for years and is growing in strength. So when can we start the criminal hearings for the Bush administration for fraud, deception, genocide in Iraq, and the almost 4000 wrongful deaths of our valiant U.S. soldiers that went to war to defend us from a lie.
via msnbc, Gavin W.

Beck From the Dead: A Review of Glenn Beck’s Deathbed Video

Posted in healthcare, politics, Uncategorized on January 21, 2008 by theseep

I watched the video of Glenn Beck, rambling clearly under the influence of some sort of narcotic pain medication, after his hemorrhoid surgery. In the video he indemnifies the entire medical system because he feels that he didn’t get the care he deserved, fingering himself and the CEO of GE as prominent local VIPs deserving of only the upper echelon of medical care.  He compares the unbearable hospital experiences with his slightly less horrific, back alley, miscreant-style Glenn Beck days.  Maybe when he was an unnamed, unimportant “schlub”, like he refers to all of us other lowly peons. “One of the darker experiences of my life”, he said twice, comparing his experience to the horror movie, “saw”. Looking at the video clinically, it appears that he possibly had a mild psychotic break while on the medications, hallucinating and becoming suicidal. Regardless of whatever actually happened, his reaction was certainly not normal.
The video continues, his histrionically derailed trains of thought wander around, lacking any type insight or trace of intelligent analysis, never saying what was so horrific about the hospital stay. Was it the wait time to be seen? Did he feel that he should have had his pain relieved more quickly? Did he have to sit for a few minutes in a dirty waiting room with other sneezing, oozing, bleeding, moaning patients? Was it a busy ER, where he was triaged appropriately and seen as soon as the busy staff could, while they were concurrently coding an elderly cancer patient, getting report on the next ambulance coming in, trying to arrange an emergency cardiac catheterization for a heart attack victim, paging three admitting docs at the same time, all while calling the floor supervisor to stop stalling on admitting the 1 ICU, 2 telemetry, and 2 more med-surg patients that we’ve been boarding overnight so we can put 4 more of the 15 other sick people in the waiting room in beds to be seen?

Maybe he simply has no perspective and should discuss some of the real problems with our health system. Like how insurance companies deny patients the care that they need so they don’t lose profit margins. Or how a growing number of American citizens commit healthcare fraud, lying and faking to feed their prescription narcotic addiction, or driving gas-guzzling Hummers and Expeditions while raking up thousands of dollars in U.S. taxpayer funded healthcare bills per year. Or how the processed, industrially made, pesticide-laden foods that we feed ourselves directly contributes to obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, and other illnesses, with many dyes, preservatives, or other ingredients causing medically significant side effects, including cancer, birth defects, miscarraiges, and others, even contributing to childhood ADD. Or how frivolous lawsuits cost millions of taxpayer dollars per year, drive good physicians out of business, causing healthcare shortages, and further drive the price of basic medical care through the roof.

I’m sure you had some discomfort, but suck it up, man! I really don’t understand how this issue became “Glenn Beck has a Harrowing Medical Experience: U.S. Healthcare in Shambles” story, as opposed to, “Glenn Beck has Transient Psychotic Break While in Hospital: Narcotic side effects and How Prescription Narcotic Abuse is On The Rise.”

Al Gore Wins Nobel Prize!

Posted in conservation, ethical consumerism, global warming, green energy, politics, sustainability, Uncategorized on October 12, 2007 by theseep

Dear Naysayers (Fox news, climate change non-believers, etc.):
Please, please, please, now that Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, rather than lambasting and insulting him because you don’t agree with his stance on climate change, ask yourself, “Why would Gore win a Nobel prize for his efforts?” Do you really think that the Nobel organization would grant a prize for an effort that was all propaganda and opinion? Do you think that more than 2000 of the world’s best climate and environmental experts on the UN’s Panel for Climate Change are clueless? If you still don’t believe in climate change, I implore you to turn off Fox news for a little while, stop listening to your tight group of conservative friends, and venture out, question those sources and hold them responsible. Most of the dissenters to climate change choose to cast insults, nitpick on small irregularities in findings, or quote data that misrepresents the issues due to scale. The classic argument along these lines is that this is a “natural cycle”, however if you look back a few hundred thousand years it becomes obvious that this is far from “natural.”
Basically, I’m asking you to skip the spins and the unveiled propaganda from the conservatives and get right to the point – do you really think that the rest of the world, including all of Europe, the UN, The Nobel Prize Committee, and an amazing number of other organizations, are making this up? Start thinking for yourselves and get on board with the rest of humanity regardless of your political or religious affiliation.

Clint Slaughter, M.D.
The S.E.E.P.

Will Ferrell Does G.W.: A Must See

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2007 by theseep

George Bush on Global Warming – Spoof by Will Ferrell

If you haven’t seen this Ferrell satire and you need a quick laugh, this one’s worth a gander.

iPhone announced at MacWorld 2007!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 10, 2007 by theseep

OK, so it’s not environmental and everyone else already posted this yesterday, but being an avid PDA user and a Newton user from days past, I feel a need to weigh in.
The iPhone looks to be indeed revolutionary as Mr. Jobs is touting. Widescreen video iPod. Phone. Interned communications device. 4-8 gb built in memory. Wi-Fi. Bluetooth. And what I’m most impressed by – the high-resoultion, “multi-touch” screen. Take all of that and wrap it in the typical apple-ly stylistic manner and you have an amazing device.
A few questions that I’m sure will reveal themselves as the iPhone comes out with the usual cultish behavior from apple fans (I’m only partially in the cult).
How will the purported “OS X” be implemented? Will it be easy to develop 3rd party applications? Will I have medical software? Can it really compete with Windows Mobile? Where in the he%$ is the handwriting recognition? Hello? Apple started the PDA thing with the Newton! The processor hasn’t been revealed, will it be fast enough to handle this “OS X” when taxed with more advanced apps? Most importantly, where can I get one without having to sign up with Cingular? T-Mo has better data plans and the coverage is the same (T-Mobile has unlimited data for $20-30/month, Cingular’s is $45/month).
No more drooling. Although the iPhone looks delicious as Apple’s offerings usually do, will it really stand up when put to the PDA test? Then again, does it need to – do people just want a sweet-looking wide/touchscreen video iPod Nano slash phone or do they want the power and customizability of Windows Mobile? I was a Newton guy for years until Jobs killed it, went straight to PocketPC (now Windows Mobile) skipping Palm OS altogether. If Apple mistankenly(not a spelling error) locks the iPhone down, not allowing 3rd party applications and limiting platform development, it will lose the business and power-user sectors and will be reliant on the die-hard apple fanboys and the pocketbooks of middle-class teens’ parents for their marketshare.

Vote YES on Prop 86

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2006 by theseep

I am writing to solicit support for Prop 86 which will increase the current tax on a pack of cigarettes from $ 0.87 to $2.60. The revenue will go towards a variety of actions: healthcare for children, reimbursement to hospitals for smoking-related illlness, anti-smoking campaigns, and other initiatives. As an ER physician, there is no doubt in my mind that this is a good idea.
Advertisments have been run stating that physicians and law enforcement officers are against this proposition. I can’t speak for law enforcement officers, but the physicians that are against it are either in the tobacco companies’ pockets, or they are not the ones taking care of smoking related illness on the front lines.
There is an increasing number of patients that are on public assistance programs for healthcare, including county funded programs, Medi-Cal (MedicAid), or those over 65 on Medi-Care. These are tax-payer funded programs for people who cannot afford private healthcare insurance for whatever reason. On a daily basis, in the ER we see patients on Medi-Cal and Medi-Care that smoke anywhere from 1/2-3 packs a day, costing $120/month or more, where at the same time, private health coverage starts at around $70/month! In addition, smoking is the NUMBER ONE risk factor for cardiac disease and heart attacks, and causes the vast majority of cases of emphysema and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). These healthcare problems alone cost our healthcare system millions of dollars per year, much of which could be saved if we can decrease smoking in the community.
Prop 86 not only makes smoking harder to afford, but it individually taxes those people who are buying cigarettes with the money going to pay for their healthcare problems derived from the habit. It makes perfect sense. Here is a link to information about both sides of the argument on EasyVoter so you can make an informed, educated choice.
Vote yes for Prop 86!
Clint Slaughter, M.D.