Posted by Keith Reed
President Marie presided at the meeting which showcased one of Marie’s creative ideas of members wearing Halloween costumes for “big prize money”! There were 10 costumes eligible for the judging by fellow members (those wearing only Halloween hats, shirts, etc. were not considered per rules announced by Marie at our last meeting). The winner was Sir Robert Mardirossian  The Dillusional, who was in full body armor and was knighted by Queen Marie as a loyal servant of our Rotary Club for many past and future years.  Second place went to Carl Yudell dressed as The Creature from the Skokie Lagoons.   Queen Marie was in a very striking black costume as Maleficent Mistress of Evil.  Per her prior proclamation, Queen Marie gave out very valuable prizes to the two winners and contributed to Rotary $250 out of her own (not her kingdom’s) private reserves!
These regal proceedings were witnessed by 25 members , along with our Speaker and his two guests.  Our regular serving staff was quite amused in observing “Rotarians at play” and staffer Jill even had a costume on that looked like she just came in from the Northfield bridge construction project on Winnetka Avenue!  Thanks to Marie for the idea and the follow through donation—everyone had lots of laughs!
ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Barb Tubekis was celebrating another anniversary as a Rotary member.  She reported that the “make a difference day” last Saturday was a big success and 15 non-profit organizations benefited a great deal from it.  She gave special thanks to several Rotarians who helped the project, but especially Peter Skalski who stayed  into the evening hours helping unload trucks that showed up late.  Barb also announced the Service Day project for Nov. 7th (in lieu of our regular meeting) which is at Lake View Center in Gilson Park (Wilmette beach).  There will be a catered Mexican style lunch and then book sorting will take place to benefit inner City children.  Barb needs 12 volunteers to help with the project.  Marie again announced that she is able to get tickets to the Nov. 9th Purdue/Northwestern football game and is hoping that several Rotarians  will join her for the game.
HAPPY BUCKS:  Bob Sanfilippo donated for all the work Barb and her Rotarian helpers did on the “make a difference day” project. Wes donated for Marie’s idea and efforts to make Halloween a special and fun luncheon for all Rotarians. Barb donated to celebrate the Washington Nationals winning their first World Series.
DIG N GRIN: Todd Stephens gave us several Halloween-related riddles that were timely and amusing.
SPEAKER DR. NEIL PERLMAN;  Dr. Perlman has had a number of medical-related positions including working for Kaiser Permanente, Highland Park Hospital, Rush University Professor and a service company that helped hospitals get paid appropriately by the federal and state governments.  He is also associated with the Illinois Single Payer Coalition (ISPC).  He had a very good power point showing relevant information on this issue.
    Basically, Dr. Perlman reported that our country spends far more than other developed countries for the healthcare of its residents, but yet the results are not that great.  Points he made on this issue were that there is no mechanism to control costs; procedures like MRIs and our drug prices are out of control; the Drug Enforcement Agency rules and regulations help pharma companies become monopolies and the “we spend so much money on research” argument they make is not valid; and top managements’ salaries of most of the drug, insurance and health related organizations are excessive. In short, our current healthcare system is a “mess”.
    He said that the 3 basic insurance programs are Medicaid, Medicare and  employer based insurance.  The cost and degree of coverage are also in that same order.  The problem with Medicare and private insurance is that the cost to employees and patients continue to rise through higher deductibles, co-pays, cost of supplemental insurance and increased contributions to employer plans.  Today, the typical employee cost for family coverage with an employer based plan is over $5000 a year with the employer paying an additional $20,000.  The ballooning of deductibles has resulted in people deferring treatment, which is dangerous to public health.  For example, maternal mortality in the US ranks 26th in the world.
    Dr. Perlman strongly believes that a single payer system is the answer.  Questions are whether the single payer system will be the same as the Medicare system now available to seniors; if so, who will pay the premiums seniors now pay out of their social security; will there still be a need for supplemental insurance to pay the 20% not covered by Medicare and who will pay that cost; will there still be Medicare contributions taken out of employed people’s paychecks, etc.  Dr. Perlman said that a single payer system would save this country 243 billion dollars the first year, but he didn’t explain where those savings would come from or that the single payer system would be the same as the current Medicare program or a lesser program for everyone.  According to our current day media and most politicians the cost of giving everyone coverage under the current Medicare program would far exceed its current cost.
    Dr. Perlman was very informative in addressing this pressing issue and, pursuant to several requests at the meeting, his power point is available by request by sending me an email at this address: