Santa Cruz

Obama seeks input on health care

Dominican Hospital will host a town-hall-style meeting on health care reform from 5-6:30 p.m. Monday in its Education Center, to gather community input for the Obama-Biden Transition Team.

The Obama-Biden plan for health care reform calls for:

n Insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions at fair and stable premiums.

n A new health tax credit for small businesses so they can afford to provide employee health insurance.

* Preventing insurers from overcharging doctors for malpractice insurance.

* Requiring large employers that do not offer coverage to contribute a percentage of payroll to employee health care.

* Creating affordable coverage options by establishing a national health insurance exchange with private insurance as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress.

* A tax credit for health insurance premiums to those who need it.

The plan assumes savings from cutting the costs of drugs as well as care for catastrophic illnesses.

Local health-care experts will guide small group discussions at the Dominican forum. Similar meetings are taking place across the nation. Ideas gleaned from participants will be forwarded to the president-elect’s transition team.

No registration is necessary. Spanish language translation will be provided. The Dominican Education Center is at the back of the hospital campus at 1555 Soquel Drive, Santa Cruz.



Coast Guard issues warning

The U.S. Coast Guard is urging boaters to avoid taking to the water over the next few days and warning people to avoid going near beaches or other low-lying coastal areas, especially jetties and rocky areas, until the winter storm system affecting the California subsides.

The National Weather Service issued a gale warning through this afternoon for a 300-mile-long stretch of coastal waters from north of Point Arena to south of Point Piedras Blancas, which is between Big Sur and Morro Bay. Wind speeds are forecasted to gust more than 40 mph, and northwest swells are expected up to nine feet through Wednesday afternoon.

Cold temperatures associated with this system and the cold Pacific waters make hypothermia a major concern, according to the Coast Guard.


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