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Better Health Care for All? That Gets Her Vote

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Terese (Terri) Profumo speaks Latin, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and a little Yiddish and lives with a credo: You need someone to care about, something to do and something to look forward to.

For her, that means her husband, Victor, the American Assn. of Retired Persons and the forum on health care reform she will play host to Nov. 9 at Los Angeles Valley College in Van Nuys.

Terri and Victor Profumo have been married for 48 years. “He calls me Terese when I don’t balance my checkbook,” she said recently from their home in Westchester. As traditional as that may sound, the strength of their relationship is found in their adaptability. They married during World War II and moved from one Army base to another.

Victor was in the highly specialized radar field. Terri was originally trained to teach Italian, but since most foreign language education was stopped during the war, she was hired by the government to censor mail between Italian-Americans and their friends and relatives in Italy.

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They came to Los Angeles in the ‘50s with Hughes Aircraft, and Terri became assistant to the dean of men at Loyola University.

Today, Victor is retired and volunteers for Terri. He’s one of the 12 people she oversees as the deputy regional coordinator for the Westside American Assn. of Retired Persons VOTE committee. VOTE is a voter education group designed to educate and involve voters on issues of concern to older Americans.

“I enjoy meeting people, and what I do for VOTE is set up meetings with legislators and people who will work with them,” Profumo says. “Although we are impartial, these forums give us an idea on where elected officials stand on the issues and inform them about our positions.”

The biggest issue is health care.

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“I heard about an older woman who spent one night in a hospital, had several tests done and was billed $10,000.

“And we’re not just fighting for older people here, there is a tremendous need for prenatal care--it’s a womb-to-tomb issue,” she says.

AARP says the United States has the resources to ensure access to acute and long-term care for all individuals, and to control health care costs without compromising quality of care.

As Profumo plans for the big health care reform forum, she is fully aware that the issue is largely a political one. She says she is not shy about reminding politicians how they voted on an issue.

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“The politicians realize they can call on us because we do deliver. But it has to be mutual, and we all need to be educated on the things that so deeply affect our lives,” she said.

When she is not organizing for VOTE, Profumo, 69, plays bridge, enjoys knitting and traveling.

For more information write to: AARP, 601 E St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20049. Or call (213) 670-6173.

Bulletin Board

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Prostate Screening--The John Wayne Cancer Institute at St. John’s Hospital and Medical Center will offer prostate cancer screenings for men 40 and older; St. John’s Hospital, 1328 22nd St., Santa Monica; 5:30 to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; information: (213) 315-6107 (free).

Travel Talk--The Westside chapter of the National Council of Senior Citizens will present “My Trip to Cuba” by Sheila Cassidy; Claude Pepper Senior Center, 1762 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles; 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday; information: (213) 935-6442 (free).

Yiddish Theater--The West Hollywood Senior Center will sponsor a class in reading and acting old Yiddish plays and stories; Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday; information: (213) 851-8202 (free).

Please submit items for Bulletin Board three weeks in advance to The Times, 1717 4th St., Suite 200, Santa Monica 90401.

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