Submitted by Roldo on Thu, 12/18/2008 - 10:47.

Ed Hauser’s death was a tragedy that didn’t have to happen. It was a death that should not have happened. In many other countries, it would not have happened. The circumstances of his death may be the reason many more will die today and tomorrow. Ed died because America doesn’t have the decency to protect its own citizens with the health care that’s basic in all other industrial societies. The American aversion to universal health care is killing people by neglect. It must be corrected. Ed didn’t have health insurance. “I do believe that was part of his concern,” said his girl friend, Cathy Stahurski, who took him to the hospital, too late. He died on the way. He had been “making excuses” not to seek medical care, she said. She felt he didn’t want to seek help because he didn’t have insurance coverage. He did have a policy for catastrophic care, she said. The coroner’s office, according to the Plain Dealer, ruled his death as a “heart attack.” Hauser didn’t have a job. An electrical engineer, he was laid off 10 years ago by LTV Steel. He had been working temporary jobs recently but was out of work. He certainly was working but you don’t get paid by being a great citizen. As Mike Roberts wrote recently of Hauser in Cleveland Magazine, “The town could use a few more good men like Ed Hauser. “Hauser is a pain – a persistent, nagging, unyielding pain. On the medical scale of one to 10, he would rate a 10. What makes him so painful is that he challenges the way the town and its dysfunctional government work.” Hauser saved (for the time being anyway) Whiskey Island – named so because it housed an early distillery – from being gobbled up by the Cuyahoga-Cleveland County Port Authority. The island – which really isn’t an island – sits on Lake Erie immediately west of the Cuyahoga River. His unyielding work to keep the island from development earned him the title of “Mayor of Whiskey Island,” and the tag of honor, “Citizen Hauser.” Hauser attended Port Authority meetings, demanded documents and even videotaped its meetings. He was the burr that wouldn’t go away. It cost him his health. So the richest nation in the world couldn’t or wouldn’t save Ed Hauser. Here we sit in Cleveland, Ohio, the home of the famed Cleveland Clinic but Ed Hauser waited too long to get medical help. He died waiting. I don’t blame specifically the Cleveland Clinic but it definitely is an institution, as they say when a crime is committed, “of interest.” Our corporatized society likes to keep costs low. Ed was one of the casualties of that policy. Even when the auto companies are drowning in debt, they aren’t in the vanguard of demanding university health care, which would relieve them of huge costs. Why? Ideology. As Sen. George Voinovich pointedly said of President-elect Barack Obama, he’s a “socialist.” That’s an ideological position, one that fits corporate think. The kind of thinking that denies many Americans even minimum health care. How many Ed Hausers are there? We know there are tens of millions of them without proper health insurance, thus without proper health care. The U. S. Census Bureau reported in 2007 that 47 million Americans were without health insurance, a figure rising each of the previous seven years. With the recession a year old that figure likely has rising considerably. As the economy continues to deteriorate there will be tens of more millions soon. Ed has received many deserved plaudits for his selfless work as a citizen activist. This is fine and proper. There are other Ed Hausers out there who do similar work, maybe not as doggedly or as persistently as Ed has. Cleveland also is the home of some of the large and well-funded foundations. I think there ought to be at least some interest in funding activists who monitor government agencies. However, the great foundations don’t seem to gravitate to this kind of citizen action. That costs people like Ed Hauser. It costs us, too, because there really is no citizen regulation of the very bad behavior of our business, political and civic life in Cleveland.

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The Joke Was On Ed

On Ed's list of things to do before he slept was to submit a proposal to the Civic Innovation Lab for the Office of Citizen. Wouldn't that have been an ironic waste of time... I guess he didn't realize Civic Innovation Lab is indirectly controlled by the one man who hurt Ed the most deeply - John Carney. A related Carney is on the board of the Cleveland Foundation, which funds CIL... and our Economic Reality

Disrupt IT

how a community will be judged

Gloria has been saying for a long time, and moreso now given the events with Ed Hauser and then with herself 3 days later, that a community will be judged based on how well it takes care of the least of its citizens, its citizens temporarily in need, and then all of its citizens overall. Her experience with the cardiac ICU team and now with the rehab teams over at Metro gives her unique insights into how a community should care, and act, and MetroHealth is doing things quite right.

MetroHealth sets the example for all to follow; our relatives who are first-responders say that if you have to have a heart attack, have it at Metro.

It is one of our regional assets; our Loudonville relative sends people there with heart problems. The life flights, the burn unit, and the level 1 trauma center all make it, and our community, stand apart. It seems, to my limited exposure to it and to opinions about it, to most efficiently and economically deliver the best care to the broadest group of patients under the most inclusive terms.


moving through the grief


Thank you for posting this. I am moving jaggedly and jerkily through my own personal process - grieving the loss of Ed. I had my denial and moved on to anger. Maybe the work on the benefit was bargaining of a sort, but I am back to anger or flip flopping between anger and depression. And though most of it is for Ed - the guy, the sweet, soft-spoken gentle tiger, I am also mourning for the city and the nation. It is increasingly difficult to sit idly by and watch these tragedies occur. 

What is that saying? "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Well, in this equation, we seem to continually want to pay for the pound rather than investing in the ounce. What is wrong with this society? We don't want to invest in the health of our citizenry nor do we want to address the health of our public infrastucture or civic space. WTF!?!

Mourning Ed will be a long process for individuals who knew him personally, for his family and for those who are reading this and learning that Ed's untimely death is a reflection of a much larger much more insidious infection of thought and action on the part of our own (our 'we own it") community. 

My eyes are dry from crying for us, for us all...

replacement cost

Susan, we have to remember, too, what it will take to replace Ed, or how many people it will take to fill the void. I'd guess three or four.

I sincerely hope that nobody takes this as an opportunity to form a 501(c)(3) to purportedly do the same work that Ed did, hijacking all the good he has done, taking money from the same foundations that found him irksome, providing three or four jobs with obscenely generous pension and medical benefits and salaries, compromising our community still further.



  I saw Gloria today and she looks ready to get back in the ring for us.  Metrohealth is a crazy place with good hardworking, people holding it together.  The administrators?  Well, it can be said for almost any NEO institution...good at the ground level...not so good at the top. 

I understand everyone's pain

I understand everyone's pain and the frustration with our healthcare.

I also can't get healthcare and have a chronic disease. I was diagnosed four years ago with Type I diabetes, lost my job and my health coverage, and now I can't get back on.

I've seen the formularies from the underwriters... Type I diabetes is no coverage under any circumstances. I'm just not profitable enough for the insurance companies.

And this open enrollment thing that has people snowed? Right. Who can afford to pay $1500.00 / month for single coverage? That's might be coverage, but it is not accessible because it is not affordable, unless you are in a nursing home on life support, but then, they have a small disclaimer for those folks.

So we are back to... it doesn't exist.

It's gotten so bad, the free clinic of cleveland is not taking any new patients.


And what about Ed Hauser? He gave so much to the community? How was his life not worth saving? I see so many people on pensions, disability, Medicaid who have CHOSEN to live a life of filth and brought on their own health issues... and they are covered... and give nothing back to society?

I'm right behind Ed... giving to the community with no way to take care of my progressing health issues...

How is this fair? And why are we such a developed country with this problem?

Especially with McDonald's, Burger King, and StarBucks on every corner... Aren't they feeding the frenzy?

Everyone loses with our current health care system ...

Both lack of health care and the COST of health care for those who do have insurance are wasting millions in resources. I do have health insurance from my employer. I pay a percentage of the cost though. For my self and two children (all three of us are healthy and hardly ever go to a doctor) the cost is over $4000 per year. If that money was mine to spend I would invest some in my business, spend some on education and some supporting local arts.

Rowena Ventura This is truly

Rowena Ventura

This is truly a tradgety that could have been avoided. I believe that if the citizens of this country stood together for real healthcare reform the country would have to listen. If anyone is interested in getting involved I would like to invite you to the next We Are the Unisured meeting at Neighborhood Family Practice 3569 Ridge Rd. next door to Daves it will be January 13th. and January 27th. at 6:00 and we serve a light dinner. You can also visit us at our web-site at .

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Hello Rowena,  Glad you

Hello Rowena, 

Glad you decided to join us on NEO.  Maybe I'll drop by for your meeting on the 13th at the Neighborhood Family Practice on Ridge.  That is where my mom goes for her medical care.  I'll even see if I can rally up some friends to bring along.

So keep in touch via NEO and again welcome to NEO







Still dying from lack of health insurance in Cleveland.

This has been cross posted here as a seperate post.

I have been involved in helping someone who ended up on a vent in ICU last November with congestive heart failure. Since the person has some mental health and behavior issues, I became his advocate. Too sick to support himself (and if he was healthy, there are not jobs for people with issues and little skills). I navigated the MetroHealth Medical System with him, and he was able to provide the documentation for their rating system. This required jumping through hoops for a state ID, not an easy task since BMV refused his social security card, which he had laminated way back when everyone thought that it was a good idea to laminate everything. Off to the social security office we went, then back to BMV, who refused his proof of address because the letter mailed to his address had "windows" for the address, and so the address was not written on the envelope. Finally, the thought of going to another BMV location occurred, and there was no longer a problem. So we had the magical photo ID that got us into the business office at Metro Health, and he was rated at the lowest level. But wait: they demanded co-pays for all visits and medications. The copays for the meds were so much that I transferred the prescriptions to a store that does the $4 generics. Since he had no money, I became his insurance plan for copays and medicines.
Then came food-stamps and Medicaid. Until today, when he arrived for an appointment at MetroHealth to be fitted with an event monitor. It seems that a strange, dangerous rhythm had been detected, and the cardiologist wanted an event monitor study, as it seems that he needs a defillabrator implanted to keep him alive. The monitor would be worn over the weekend, and he was to see the cardiloigst on Monday.
He was turned away today, as his Medicaid was canceled. Never mind that he is still destitute. Never mind that his heart situation is precarious. The insurance is gone, and the public hospital said no insurance, no services.
On the phone I go. Columbus referred me to a supervisor in Cleveland who told me that the state Medicaid folks had determined that this guy was not sick enough for Medicaid. They just had not gotten around to telling him. Okay!
She heard me out, but all she could do was give me a phone number for a hearing. I called that number. I spoke at length to a person that took the information, and said that a hearing would take place in "about 30 days". She said that she noted that his health was deteriorating, and that might help. She also suggested that I call on one of the county commissioners to help. I explained that one was in federal prison, and the other two are out of a job.
I placed calls to patient access at MetroHealth, and left a detailed message with his case manager. She had previously told me that her job was to handle problems, so lets call back.
I prevailed upon a friend to pound the pavement at MetroHealth. Meantime, I called the business office to prevail upon their kindness so that at least he could see the doctor on Monday. No go. We were scheduled in the business office on 11/8/12.  Hmm.
Then a doctor called me. She said that she was told to gather information. I gave her lots of information. She knew what needing an event monitor meant. She knew what a referral to a cardiac electrophyiologist meant. She said he could not wait and she would see what could be done.
10 minutes later I received a call from the business office. He could be rated Monday morning prior to his appointment, therefore he could keep his appointment. The person who will rate him is located in the same offices of the cardiology people who turned him away today for lack of Medicaid.
I hope he makes it through the weekend all right. I know what it took to turn the wheels today to get this done. I am glad that I had a day off work when this fell into my lap. I worry about how other people are doing. I think that I am going to try to join the committee that is trying to work with MetroHealth on this kind of thing. I have some ideas that I'd like to share with them.