Tag: Single Payer

Dec 01

Anti-capitalist Meetup: “Separate but Equal” Shuts Down Women’s Health Care by TPau

This week has a certain nostalgia for me. I am working the last four shifts in my home, Humboldt County. Nestled between pristine redwoods and dramatic cliffs overlooking the west coast of California, I want to stay here, but cannot. I am feeling the full force of the United States health care crisis. In the four years I have worked here eight of ten obstetricians in the southern half of the county have left, and now I find I am one of them.

Two obstetricians, far apart geographically and serving two different hospitals, are all that is left to serve an area once supporting 10 obstetricians. Both doctors are men over 60, who have a tough future ahead of them. Without outside help there is no way they can see all the patients that will need them. They have to remain within 30 minutes of the hospital and can be told to come to work any time of the day or night. They can never have a moment off, a full night’s sleep, a drink of alcohol to ring in the New Year. Watching a full length movie, or having a nice dinner with the spouse without interruption is a thing of the past. Neither of the remaining doctors can get sick or injured. This is really asking them to be super human and there is no cavalry on their horizon. In fact, if Catholic Health Systems is successful at closing one of the two hospitals, only one physician will remain.

As a young person, I wanted to take my medical skills to a disadvantaged third world nation. Looks like I got my wish-right here in the US. How did we get here?

Apr 04

A Republican Sues for Single Payer Health Care

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

It would seem that there really are rational Republicans in elective office. Thank you to Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell who recognized that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act neither protects the patient or makes health care affordable. The only thing that will do that is single payer and that isn’t in the bill. Single payer health care spreads the cost of health care across the spectrum, covering everyone, and insures access to care from birth to death. So, AG Caldwell is suing the Obama Administration because he trusts the government more than the greedy, profit driven insurance companies.

ThinkProgress spoke with Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Caldwell opposes Obamacare and the individual mandate, but for a different reason than most of his fellow litigants: it props up the private health insurance industry. “Insurance companies are the absolute worst people to handle this kind of business,” he declared. “I trust the government more than insurance companies.” Caldwell went on to endorse the idea of a single-payer health care system, saying it’d “be a whole lot better” than Obamacare:

   KEYES: You don’t think the subsidies for low-income people are going to be helpful?

   CALDWELL: No, no. The worst thing you can do is give it to an insurance company. I want to make my point. All insurance companies are controlled in their particular state. If you have a hurricane come up the east coast, the first one that’s going to leave you when they gotta pay too many claims is an insurance company. Insurance companies are the absolute worst people to handle this kind of business. I trust the government more than insurance companies. If the government wants to put forth a policy where they will pay for everything and you won’t have to go through an insurance policy, that’d be a whole lot better.

I don’t know about the rest of Mr. Caldwell’s politics but I wish there was a Democrat in the White House that agreed with him on this.

Sep 15

Insurance Blues, or why I am in abject Pain Now 20110915

Most of you that read my pieces know that I was arrested for a heinous crime in 2006, the accusation being false.  I was cleared in court via DNA, but that was not good enough.

I have not worked at all since then, and have been tapping out my hard earned, and long saved retirement funds.  To add insult to injury, I have had to pay income tax and a 10% penalty on drawing those funds.  At the rate that I am burning them, I will be a pauper before retirement age.

But that is not the topic exactly.  My immediate problem is that I think that I have a dental abscess, with my entire face hurting on the left side tonight.

May 17

Single Payer Reality: Vermont Approves Universal Health Care Program

Crossposted from Antemedius

While the silence from most of US mainstream media remains deafening, the print and online news publication for physicians published by the American Medical Association – American Medical News – reported yesterday May 16 that Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has scheduled a bill-signing ceremony for May 26 during which he will sign a bill approved by the Vermont Democratic-controlled legislature, with the state Senate voting 21-9 to pass it on May 3, and the House adopting it on May 5 with a 94-49 vote “that paves the way for the state to launch a health system approaching a single-payer model later in the decade and to create a state health insurance exchange”.

The measure creates a powerful five-member Green Mountain Care Board, members of which will determine the benefits and craft a funding plan for Green Mountain Care, a state universal health plan. The board would have wide authority over state health spending and health system reform. The bill requires the governor to nominate Green Mountain board members by Oct. 1 and the Vermont Senate to confirm them.

All Vermonters would be eligible for the plan, which would cover hospital services and prescription drugs.

Shumlin had pledged to enact a single-payer health system during his January 6 inaugural address, saying “Let Vermont be the first state in the nation to treat health care as a right and not a privilege.

Jan 06

Healthcare: A Blast From the Past

December 7, 1964  from a newspaper in the national archives

Says Medicare Bill Will Be Passed

Newark – Speaking at a meeting of the New Jersey Association of Health Underwriters at the Military Park Hotel here Friday, Joseph J. Sear, president and chairman of the board of the Progressive Life Insurance Company of Red Bank, said the outcome of the recent election makes it virtually certain that the 89th Congress, meeting in January, will pass a Medicare bill, and that it will be signed by the President.

“We, in the accident and health insurance business,” he said, “should have no fears that the passage of such a bill will hurt our business unless it becomes the opening wedge for a socialized medicine program such as in Great Britain, which includes everyone from cradle to the grave. The bill before Congress is generally restricted to providing medical aid for persons 65 years of age and older under the Social Security Program, and we are still insuring primarily persons below the age of 65.

“Since I last spoke to you 13 years ago, (note: 1951) the people cared for by hospital expense policies increased from $85 million to $145 million and the people cared for by medical expense policies increased from $28 million to $102 million, and the trend is still upward.”

Forty Six Years Later

March 23, 2010. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), aka Dole/Nixon/RomneyObamaCare, signed into law by “Democratic” President.   2009 Bill passed by Senate still lacks universal coverage and the option of purchasing government insurance, but contains universally loathed tax mandate and excise tax pushed by “Democratic” Senator from Massachusetts and WH “Economist” consultant from MIT.  Bill not designed to add more Medicaid coverage until 2014.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…

September 17, 2010. Number of uninsured Americans now rises to 50.7 million, or 1 out of 6, or 16%.   Workers now paying 47% more for family health insurance coverage than in 2005, while employers pay 20% more.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/n…

January 3, 2011 New Republican Majority leader Eric Cantor introduces bill to rules committee called “Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Law Act”   “Effective as of the enactment of Public Law 111- 148, such act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such act had not been enacted.”

pdf download text here: http://rules-republicans.house…

January 4, 2011  from Kaiser Health News-

House Republicans have scheduled a Jan. 12 vote to repeal the health care law. While the measure is expected to pass the House, Democrats in the Senate have pledged to stop the bill.

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.or…

January 5, 2011 Shuffle the Deck Chairs on the Titanic


The Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, created just after the law passed, is about to be folded into the federal Medicare agency, signaling a major organizational shift just months after the office was created, administration officials said.

In addition, Michael Hash, who has been serving as a top White House health adviser, has taken the reins of the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services. Hash succeeds Jeanne Lambrew,  who has been director of the office since May 2009 and has played a central role on the health law. Lambrew, a former aide to President Bill Clinton, will stay on at HHS as an adviser to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The insurance oversight office was headed by Jay Angoff, who battled with insurance companies both as a Missouri official and a class-action litigator. He’ll become a senior adviser to Sebelius.

The office will become part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and will be managed by Marilyn Tavenner, deputy administrator of CMS.

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.or…

January 5, 2011.   Blue Shield of CA seeks rate increases of up to 59% for customers by March 1st. They blame costs of hospitals

http://www.latimes.com/health/…

Hospitals treat the un insured when their health descends into the most expensive crisis mode,  and pass the markup, make it up prices along to the insured, while charging the uninsured the highest rates, so they can still have their debts “sold.”

And nothing has changed the basic dynamic of leaving a portion of the population uncovered to act as a price lever on the rest.

Nothing.

A million and a half people filed for bankruptcy last year.  The leading cause is uncontrolled medical debt.

Blue Shield spent $16 million on federal lobbyists in 2010.  The top recipient was “Democrat” There Will Be No Public Option Blanche, the former Sen. Lincoln of Arkansas.  Eric Cantor got $22,500.

http://www.opensecrets.org/org…

They have a PAC, too, for their executives to use.

http://www.campaignmoney.com/p…

There’s more – each of those executives will be making other, individual donations.

But in CA, the real action is at the state level.  How they loved Schwarzenegger, the ex governator.  And the Republicans. And the Democrats.  Last year’s money bomb:

http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Ca…

http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Ca…

most complete list of donations in 2009 – 2010 election cycle:

http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov/Ca…

Poor Jerry Brown only got $2,500 out of all of that ?  

 

Sep 30

Unintended Consequences of Health Care Legislation

Something not particularly well known about Social Security Disability is that after two years, a disabled person, regardless of age, is eligible for Medicare.  An eligible person isn’t just given the option, he or she is automatically moved to the program unless he or she specifically declines it.  Until that point, a disabled person usually has to make do with Medicaid and all of its maddening restrictions and budget shortfalls.  One would think that the ability to transition to a better program for health insurance would be reason for celebration.  In some ways, it is, but in unexpected ways, it has not proven to be been appreciably better.

Aug 03

All For Single Payer video

These folks, Health Care for All Texas, did a great job on this video! Please feel free to share.

A parody of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” that takes a fun look at a critical subject: health care. For a more serious look at the facts and myths, go to our website, www.healthcareforalltexas.org or to Physicians for a National Health Program at www.PNHP.org.

And its even better because….

Apr 28

Vermont legislature passes bill that could pave the way for statewide public option or single payer

Crossposted at DKos and other blogs

Once again, the states are leading the way on health care reform.  This past week, the Vermont House and Senate passed two versions of a bill that would essentially get a consultant to design three systems for health care in Vermont: something similar to Canadian single payer, something similar to a private system with a public option, and something similar to the recently passed federal health insurance bill.

Apr 14

We know the health insurance bill was insufficient. So what’s a DFH to do?

The health “care” – really insurance – bill that passed is far from a perfect bill, in large part because it leaves a system intact that is the source of a ton of the problems that were used to create support for it, and it is not actually universal health care.

To get any kind of actually universal coverage we’re going to need to turn to the states.  Clearly those thousands of lobbyists are too powerful in DC to really challenge the powers that be in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.  So the good news is that there are state-level campaigns for single payer, and they’re gaining a lot of momentum in states like California and Pennsylvania.

Mar 31

Time to stop pretending

New Health Care Law a Republican Plan That Should Make Insurance Companies Proud

By: Jon Walker Tuesday March 30, 2010 2:22 pm

This new law at its heart is a pro-private health insurance, pro-big business Republican bill. It is not liberal or progressive, and it would be hard to justify even calling the law “centrist” because it lacks very popular elements like a public option and drug re-importation-reforms wanted by the broad “center” of the country.

It is nearly identical to previous Republican bills and laws. It is strikingly similar to a plan from the Heritage Foundation. It almost exactly follows the same proposal put forward over a year ago by the health insurance industry itself. After it passed, the drug companies spent big on ads thanking Democrats for passing this massive giveaway to their industry.

The law is a completely wasteful and poorly designed piece of corporate welfare. It is nothing for progressives to be proud of. If you want to argue that we should have supported it because the rampant corruption in our Congress and the fact that a huge number of senators are wholly owned by the health care industry means that this wasteful, pro-corporate bill was the only way to get some help to some people in need, I can at least accept the honesty of that argument. But let’s all stop pretending this was some great victory over the health care industry and for progressive policy.

Mar 29

Greens: Now it’s time to work for real health reform – Medicare For All

Now it’s time to work for real health care reform — Medicare For All, say Greens

• The Democratic “insurance company enrichment” bill burdens millions of Americans and imposes mandates that enrich insurance companies

WASHINGTON, DC — Green candidates and party leaders said today that the passage of the Democratic health care bill, with its increased financial burdens on millions of Americans, should not slow the movement for Medicare For All (single-payer national health care).

The Democratic bill “falls short on many levels, and hurts many people more than it helps,” as Jane Hamsher writes in “Fact Sheet: The Truth About the Health Care Bill” (http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/03/19/fact-sheet-the-truth-about-the-health-care-bill).

Physicians for a National Health Program said in a statement on Monday, “Instead of eliminating the root of the problem — the profit-driven, private health insurance industry — this costly new legislation will enrich and further entrench these firms. The bill would require millions of Americans to buy private insurers’ defective products, and turn over to them vast amounts of public money.” (http://www.pnhp.org/news/2010/march/pro-single-payer-doctors-health-bill-leaves-23-million-uninsured)

• Dennis Spisak, Green candidate for Governor of Ohio (http://www.votespisak.org/governor): “Now that this bill has passed, those of us who support real universal health care must keep up the demand for Medicare For All. Every American deserves the same high-quality guaranteed health coverage that Congress members enjoy. We will challenge those who insist that further health care reform is no longer on the table. The Democratic bill was mainly written to give the appearance of reform. It forces people to buy insurance or face a tax penalty. It works like a regressive tax, in which in the uninsured — in the midst of a recession — must pay for insurance they can’t use due to the likely high co-pays and deductibles. Especially vicious is the amendment prohibiting states from enacting their own single-payer programs.”

• Jill Stein, physician and Green candidate for Governor of Massachusetts (http://www.jillstein.org): “”The position of most Democrats and Republicans on health care is that Americans have no right to medical treatment, but private insurance companies have every right to enrich themselves on our need for health care and to send hundreds of thousands of Americans financial ruin over medical costs. According to Physicians for a National Health Program’s critique of the bill, about 23 milion Americans will remain uninsured after nine years, resulting in ‘an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths annually and an incalculable toll of suffering’. In the media coverage of health care reform, the angle was whether President Obama could prevail against the GOP and uncooperative Democrats. It was all about personalities and a horse-race competition. Whether the Democratic legislation — or obstruction of reform by Republicans — actually helps people became a
side issue.”

• Rich Whitney, Green candidate for Governor of Illinois (http://www.whitneyforgov.org)
: “The real story of health care reform over the past year is how the insurance and other health lobbies sent millions of dollars in campaign checks to both Democrats and Republicans to make sure their interests came first. We’ll get real health care reform when Americans get angry enough to stop voting for Democratic and Republican candidates who are addicted to corporate contributions, and elect Greens, who call health care a basic human right.” (Visit the web site of the Center for Responsive Politics to learn how much these corporations donate to each Congress member: http://www.opensecrets.org)

• Nancy Allen, farmer and long-time Green organizer from Maine: “Some of the Tea Partiers showed their true colors this past weekend, when crowds hurled racist and homophobic epithets at Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Barney Frank, and other Congress members. How much did Republican politicians, insurance companies, and other industries encourage such behavior? How did these corporations successfully convince so many Americans that their own medical care is less important than corporate profits and power?”

• Rodger Jennings, Green candidate for US Congress in Illinois, District 12 (http://www.rodgerjennings.org): “The winners are the largest for-profit health insurance companies. Both Democrats and Republicans made the bottom lines of the insurance cartel the top priority, rather than every American’s need for quality medical care. Private insurance adds cost to health care but provides no value — physicians, nurses, and other professionals do the actual medical work. The administrative overhead, including CEO bonuses and salaries, of private insurance raises health care costs by up to 31%. The administrative overhead for Medicare is under 3%. By eliminating the corporate insurance middle-man, we’d reduce health care spending from over 15% to about 9% and cut the price of coverage and care dramatically, and every American would enjoy guaranteed, quality health care.”

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org

• Green Party Speakers Bureau: Greens available to speak on health care reform: http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-health-care.php

• Green candidate database and campaign information: http://www.gp.org/elections.shtml

Single-Payer Now! Green Party page on health care reform
http://www.gp.org/campaigns/health/single-payer

Physicians for a National Health Program http://www.pnhp.org
PNHP’s Frequently Asked Questions page http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-faq

Healthcare-Now http://www.healthcare-now.org

Single Payer Action http://www.singlepayeraction.org

“The Sober Reality of Health Care Reform”
By Jane Hamsher, FireDogLake, March 22, 2010
http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/03/22/fdl-statement-on-the-passage-of-the-health-care-bill

“Deaths Rising for Lack of Insurance, Study Finds”
By Michelle Andrews, The New York Times (blog), February 26, 2010
http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/26/deaths-rising-due-to-lack-of-insurance-study-finds/#preview

“NY Times Reporter Confirms Obama Made Deal to Kill Public Option”
By Miles Mogulescu, Huffington Post, March 15, 2010
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/ny-times-reporter-confirm_b_500999.html

Reposted from Green Party Watch

Mar 25

PNHP: 23 Million People To Remain Uninsured

SMOLENSKAIA: The bill has been proclaimed historic, and the media, following administration’s lead, called the House vote a victory. But supporters of the health reform are divided on the merits of the legislation.

NORMAN SOLOMON, JOURNALIST AND MEDIA CRITIC: To call this a victory for health care as a human right, I think, is a mistake. This is not a victory. It is as much a victory for corporate America and for price gouging and for exploitation as it is anything else.



Real News Network – March 25, 2010

Progressives debate health care “victory”

PNHP: 23 million people will remain uninsured nine years out under the new health care bill.

Full transcript below…

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