Monday, June 20, 2011

Patt Morrison for Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

1-3 p.m.






1:06 – 1:30




1:30 - 1:39


Brother Could You Spare A Dime….Or 6-Months’ Worth of Savings?

With employment now at 9.1% and economic recovery in the wake of the “Great Recession” seeming to slow, more bad financial news comes as little surprise to many of us. But a new survey by financial information aggregator has revealed some sobering statistics: only 24% of Americans have saved up 6 months’ worth of emergency funds, and of the vast majority who do not have this half-year cushion, another 24% are entirely without them. In a country with an uncooperative Congress and volatile markets, what is it like to live without such resources? It has become commonplace for people to dip into savings funds and retirement accounts to stabilize their living situations, but what happens when one’s reserves run out?



Greg McBride, senior financial analyst with, an aggregator of financial information; they did the national survey on emergency savings reserves.



  • An overwhelming majority of Americans are at heightened financial risk due to lack of adequate emergency funds. This is especially jarring since 6.2 million Americans have currently been out of work for six months or more.
  • Those most likely to have six months’ expenses in an emergency fund are higher-income households and people in their 50s and 60s, but even among these groups, at least half do not have six months’ expenses in an emergency fund.
  • People under age 30 and the lowest-income households are the most likely to report having no emergency savings at all.




2:06 – 2:30

Medicaid gets bad marks for treating kids

Medicaid is the massive government run health insurance program created to serve low income people and families. President Obama wants to funnel more people into the program as part of his health care initiative.  But a new comprehensive study raises some serious questions about whether the program is effectively serving the people it is meant to treat.  The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has found that children on Medicaid are much more likely to wait for medical care than their counterparts with independent insurance. The numbers depict a stark reality--66 percent of kids on Medicaid-CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) were denied appointments, compared with 11 percent with private insurance. The study found that children in need of medical assistance had to wait an average of 22 days longer than those with private insurance. Low reimbursement rates for doctors—Medicaid pays $99.86 for an office visit compared with $160 from most private insurers contributes to the problem as do cuts to the program.  So if the Medicaid system is failing to meet the needs of the people who rely on it, what other viable health options are available for low-income people? Are there plans to improve the system before Obama expands the program, and if not, will they system improve the health of Americans or make matters worse?



Dr. Karen V. Rhodes, director of emergency care policy research in the department of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the study


Dr. Rishi Manchanda, Director of Social Medicine, St. John’s Well Child & Family Center

  • Manchanda wrote "Medicaid: A Lifeline Under Attack" for the Huffington Post.




2:30 – 2:58:30

Would you liquefy your body? In search of the green(er) funeral

It isn’t yet legal in the state of California but legislation has been introduced to make Alkaline Hydrolysis, a process of liquefying tissue, a certified way for making a greener exit from this life. The process accelerates the natural decomposition process, doing decades of work in a few hours by using a strong alkali (pH 14) to dissolve tissue (the small intestine uses enzymes operating at a pH level 7-8 to digest food). It’s also reported to be only a quarter of the cost of cremation, which accounts for about 30% of burials in the U.S., 52% in California. Proponents say it’s a green alternative to traditional burial with lower operating costs than cremation because it does not cause the emissions that incineration does. Beyond the “ick” factor, opponents worry about disposing of the liquid, which can result in high pH levels in water and Catholics across the nation have raised ethical concerns. Is alkaline hydrolysis the answer for greener, cheaper funerals and should it be legalized?



Mark Matthews, Director of the Cremation Association of North America, an owner of a funeral operation in Southern California and a member of the California Funeral Directors Association



Joe Wilson, CEO of Bio-Response Solutions, Inc., which manufactures the Alkaline Hydrolysis equipment



  • Alkaline Hydrolysis is also know as Aquamation, Resomation, and Bio-Cremation
  • Patt – direct listeners to look at the Alkaline Hydrolysis machines – there are pictures on the Patt Morrison page at kpcc-dot-org
  • Alkaline Hydrolysis was allowed for years in New Hampshire but banned in 2008 amid opposition from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, which argued it “is undignified and disrespectful as the most basic level.
  • It’s legal in Ohio
  • Alkaline hydrolysis is at most 10% of the carbon footprint of cremation and somewhere around 5% that of burial (it takes more energy and resources to make a casket and a concrete burial vault than to burn a body). 
  • Over 10 states will approve the process in the coming year
  • According to Bio-Response Solutions, which manufactures the Alkaline Hydrolysis machines, the process “It generates a sterile, EPA neutral solution of amino acids, peptides, sugars, and soap that is suitable for release to a sanitary sewer, dehydration for landfill, or for use as fertilizer or for composting”
  • Assembly member Jeff Miller proposed AB 4 which is being held on the suspense file in assembly appropriations committee (so kind of dead)



Jonathan Serviss
Senior Producer, Patt Morrison
Southern California Public Radio
NPR Affiliate for Los Angeles
89.3 KPCC-FM | 89.1 KUOR-FM | 90.3 KPCV-FM
626.583.5171, office
415.497.2131, mobile /


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