Twenty-eight members were in attendance.  There were two guests, visiting Rotarian Tom Trapp from Northbrook and, Akkara Srauy an Administrative Fellow at Rush Hospital who accompanied our speaker Peter Butler.


David Birkenstein announced that there would be a meeting of the membership committee on Thursday, August 30 at 11:00 a.m. in the conference room on the second floor of the Community House.  All members are invited to attend and contribute their ideas on how to increase our membership.


Heidi Sibert told the club members to mark March 12th on their calendars as the day our club will be packing food for the Kids Against Hunger program.  More announcements will be forthcoming, as she and her committee will be soliciting sponsors and workers for this annual event.


Our club celebrated the birthdays of David Birkenstein and Randy Reeves as well as the Rotary anniversaries of Sam Badger and Kristen Leahy who celebrated their 2nd year as members of our club.


John Stone brought back an old tradition of a quiz for Dig ‘n Grin.  He gave clubs to the team name for all of the NFL teams.  There were only a couple of teams that gave the members some pause.


The speaker for the day was Peter Butler who spent his youth in Winnetka.  He is the current President and CEO for the Rush University Medical Center.  He has been at Rush for over 10 years and he has spent over 30 years in hospital administration and is a nationally recognized health care administrator.  He has served on a presidential advisory committee dealing with the impact of the Affordable Care Act.


Peter showed several charts that traced health care costs.  He pointed out that these costs were 7% of the nation’s GDP in 1972 and they rose to 17% in 2012.  We were told that health care costs have plateaued and may have slightly declined in recent years.  Peter pointed out that in 1970 it took 4.5 workers to support each recipient of Medicare and that number will likely drop to 2.5 workers per Medicare recipient by 2050.  


The Affordable Care Act has reduced the pool of uninsured Americans by one-third as 17 million more persons have insurance today.  Approximately half of the newly insured are due to the newly establish health exchanges and half are due to Medicaid expansion.  Employer-based insurance programs cover about one-third of the insured.  In Illinois Medicaid covers one-fourth of the population.


Peter said that the system is working reasonably well as hospitals cannot charge as much as they did previously but that loss is made up by the fact that more hospital patients are covered by insurance so the hospital have fewer non-paying patients.  He also said that there is a system of penalties and bonuses based on the hospitals performance.  More readmissions result in penalties, reduction in payments.   Overall Peter feels that most hospitals are agreeable to the new system.  He also said that it is highly unlikely that any future congress will be able to repeal the ACA.