Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

After Graham-Cassidy / The Man from the Train

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Sep 27, 2017 8:00 PM

On the Thursday September 28th, 2017 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

Senate Republicans are scrapping a vote on the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill.  This was the third attempt to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

The bill's authors - Senators Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy, (R-La.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Ron Johnson, (R-Wis.) - explained the failure as resulting in "circumstances under our control and not under our control, the process and timing of this vote did not line up this time" and assured their constituents, "we will push on."

Republicans criticized Obamacare from its inception saying Americans shouldn't be required to have or purchase health insurance, that it cost too much, did little to control healthcare costs while premiums increased and choices of insurance were limited.

At the same time, millions of uninsured Americans -- many with pre-existing conditions -- now have health insurance and billions of dollars from the federal government have helped states expand Medicaid for those who couldn't afford insurance.

On Thursday's Smart Talk, we discuss the future of health insurance with Pennsylvania's Acting Secretary of Human Services Teresa Miller.  Secretary Miller testifed this week against the Graham-Cassidy bill.


Acting Secretary Teresa Miller - Pennsylvania Department of Human Services

Also, Bill James is considered the godfather of baseball sabermetrics - a method of using empirical data to gauge a baseball player's productivity. 

James used those analytic skills in a different arena when he investigated the crimes of a hundred-year-old serial killer, who terrorized small towns throughout the country.  The investigation uncovered dozens of murders that were thought to be unconnected and sometimes led to the conviction, execution and even lynching of innocent people falsely accused.

With his daughter, Rachel McCarthy James, Bill James compiled his findings and even name the man they think committed the murders in The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery.  Smart Talk speaks with the father/daughter team about the book Thursday.

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Bill James / Rachel McCarthy James


- I keep hearing you say the market is working in PA. It is not working for those of us who don't get subsidies because our income is slightly over the limits. We can no longer afford our premiums. I feel our premiums are supporting the system and we no longer have access.

We don't go to the doctor because all we could do last year was pay the premiums. Our copays went up to $100 for a Dr visit. We need help now.


We now pay $24,000 just for premiums for my husband and I. Then we both have $6,750 deductibles. A Dr.'s visit is now $100 and a specialist $135.

And now you say ONLY %8.8 more!

I would love to know what your guest is paying for her healthcare! I was for the act but now you are bankrupting us and we are not using our care!                       - Morgan

- Addressing the caller who said it should be tied to the employer.  That would be fine IF and WHEN ALL employers MUST provide health care to all employees. 

We Should have Basic Universal Health Care for ALL but we will not have that until we can get past the idea that WE might have to pay for health care for SOMEONE who doesn't deserve it.

A Christian Nation would do as Jesus demands of Us to care for the Weak and the less fortunate.   -Blaine

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