citydesk (12/31) 

Health reform & Winder

And healthcare for all

In December, President-elect Barack Obama called for small groups of Americans to meet in their local coffee shops and talk about health care reform.

In January, the Boise Weekly is calling on all readers to storm the downtown streets and demand an equitable, comprehensive and 21st century healthcare system, like, now.

Well, don't storm just yet. Actually, we are hosting a townhall meeting of our own on the subject to gauge the anger level of uninsured and underinsured Idahoans, brainstorm ideas for healthcare reform and come up with a plan that works for us.

Because everyone knows we are sick.

We're calling this summit the It Hurts, Obama: BW Healthcare Meetup.

So join Boise Weekly at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 4, at the Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St. Bring your doctor's office horror stories and your best ideas for taking care of America's sick.

And just like a pap smear in Canada, this appointment won't cost you a thing.

For more info check citydesk.boiseweekly.com.

Newbie pols 2

When Chuck Winder was at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, he interned at the Idaho Statehouse, on the House side, under then-Speaker Pete Cenarrusa.

Now Winder returns to the Legislature, only this time, it's at the old Ada County Courthouse, which is serving as a temporary statehouse. And now he's on the Senate side, after running unopposed in District 14.

Yes, the same District 14 represented by Star Republican Mike Moyle, who last year erected a roadblock in front of a transit funding bill that Winder backed. In the 2008 Legislative session, Winder, also a Republican, served as co-chairman of a short-lived coalition of businesses and local governments called Moving Idaho Forward.

The group wanted cities and counties to be able to establish taxes to fund public transit projects. Then Moyle floated the idea of adding local taxing authority to the state Constitution with a very high threshold for passage.

The Moving Idaho group opposed that route and the effort died. But Winder said the transit issue is back, and Moyle may have an altered course.

"I still want to see us work on transit planning," Winder told citydesk in a recent interview. And a bit more vaguely, "I think Mike's a realist and understands ... I think he's become much more supportive of what's going on here."

Winder has worked in commercial real estate his entire career, first developing shopping centers, then working at the former Morrison-Knudsen's real estate division and finally forming the Winder Company, which was bought by the national real estate firm Lee and Associates last summer. Winder led the Idaho Transportation Board for more than a decade, from 1995 to 2006, and now serves on a Boise committee that is helping to plan a downtown streetcar.

In the Legislature, Winder will serve on the Senate agriculture and education committees. And he got a coveted spot on transportation.

More newbies at citydesk.boiseweekly.com.

war on the sick

Iraq war tally will return in 2009.

HEALTH CARE COSTS: Employers and employees are paying more than twice as much in health insurance premiums since 1999. Average shared annual insurance costs to employers and their employees with families: $12,680

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation 2008 Employer Health Benefits Survey and change.gov

ILLNESS AND FORECLOSURE: Percentage of people who say medical bills were partially responsible for home foreclosures: 49 percent.

Source: Robertson, et. al., "Get Sick, Get Out: The Medical Causes of Home Foreclosures" and change.gov

IDAHO UNINSURED: 16 to 18 percent (2005)

—Source: Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations report

—Nathaniel Hoffman

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