Universal Health Care
Featuring a Distinguished Panel of Physicians, Lawyers, and Cigar Society Members

Tuesday, April 15, 5:30-8:30pm

The Lounge at Iwan Ries, 19 South Wabash

Cocktails at 5:30, presentation 6:00-6:30 followed by discussion and more cocktails.    
$40 includes drinks, two cigars, and sandwiches.   
Reservations are required.


'In 1947 our thirty-third president, an insightful man of egalitarian perspective, tried to introduce universal health care to America. The American Medical Association opposed this initiative and hired a Chicago PR firm to mount a campaign to thwart it. The PR firm coined the politically pejorative term “socialized medicine” capitalizing on the cold war sentiment of the age. Since 1947, the term’s political meaning has been broadened to apply to any publicly funded health care system.

'Socialized medicine and universal health care need not be one and the same thing. France provides universal health care through a publically funded system. Germany provides universal health care through a privately funded system. Uniquely, according to the Institute of Medicine, the United States is the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not provide universal health care.

'In the United States, health care is largely considered an economic commodity. Those who can afford it buy health care; those that can’t, don’t. There are of course exceptions and safety nets in the United States.

'Nineteen million Americans receive subsidized or socialized health care through the Veterans Administration, the Armed Services and the Office of Indian affairs. These are government-run hospitals, government pharmacies, and government paid doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. Health care to our military both active and retired is considered to be a good and timely service.

'Forty-nine million Americans are on Medicare, another form of socialized medicine. Though it has its shortfalls, Medicare is the most highly regarded of all insurance programs in America.

'The majority of the 260 million people who populate the United States and are not covered by Medicare and the VA must pay for their health care. The United States spends 17 cents out of every dollar of our gross domestic product on health care. Japan spends 8% of GDP on health care, England 9%, Germany 11% and Switzerland 12%. These latter countries provide universal health care.
Life expectancy at birth in the US is 77 years. In Japan it is 82 years, England 79, Germany 79 and Switzerland 81. Infant mortality in the US is 7 per 1000 live births. In Japan infant mortality is 2.8 per 1000, England 5.1, Germany 3.9 and Switzerland 4.2. A more striking statistic is that last year 25,000 Americans died of treatable diseases because they couldn’t afford health care. These Americans would not have died if they lived in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Germany, Japan or most other industrialized democracies in the world.

'Our forum will consider whether Universal Health Care is realizable in America and what the major obstacles are.'    —David O'Connor

Jorge del Castillo
is Associate Head, Department of Emergency Medicine, Northshore University Health System and clinical associate professor, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago. He has authored many articles and book chapters in the discipline of Emergency Medicine. He has an MBA from Northwestern University, an MD from the Chicago Medical School, and a BS from Rutgers University.

Abe Kocheril
is a recent presenter to the Cigar Society: “The Positive Implications of Music, Wine, and Cigars”. He is Director of Cardiac Elecrophysiology and professor of medicine at the University of Illinois, and was Director of Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at UIC. He has an MD from the New York University School of Medicine and an AB is chemistry and religious studies from New York University.

Steve Nellemann is Associate General Counsel at WellPoint, a health insurance company. He has been Senior Counsel at the American Medical Association, Counsel at Corporation X Development, and Corporate Counsel at BAA. He has an MBA from the University of Chicago, an MS in informatics from Northwestern University, a JD from DePaul University College of Law, and a BS in psychology and classics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

About the Cigar Society of Chicago

ONE OF THE OLDEST AND greatest traditions of the city clubs of Chicago is the discussion of intellectual, social, legal, artistic, historical, scientific, musical, theatrical, and philosophical issues in the company of educated, bright, and appropriately provocative individuals, all under the beneficent influence of substantial amounts of tobacco and spirits.  The Cigar Society of Chicago embraces this tradition and extends it with its Informal Smokers, University Series lectures, and Cigar Society Dinners, in which cigars, and from time to time pipes and cigarettes, appear as an important component of our version of the classical symposium.  To be included in the Cigar Society's mailing list, write to the Secretary at curtis.tuckey@logicophilosophicus.org.