We Need Medicare-for-all NOW!

download (2)The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working and is an improvement from what we had before. The healthcare law (ACA), ensures that up to 105 million Americans cannot be subject to lifetime caps by their health insurance plans. Because of the law, up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage or charged more. Specifically in Iowa, the law has allowed over 800,000 Iowans to receive at least one preventive service at no out-of-pocket cost.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a definite improvement over the status quo. It extended health insurance to millions of people, a move which will save lives and improve the quality of life for many people. But it is not enough. – Richard Eskow

55ba7e6dc361883d318b45deI support Senate Bernie Sanders’ plan for Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system.

The Medicare-for-all or “Universal health care” plan consists of only one payer (a single-payer public agency) to pay for medical care. There is only one health plan for everyone that provides all medically-necessary care, and it would eliminate the unnecessary administrative activities.

The United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all as a right. – Senator Bernie Sanders

Medicare-for-all single-payer system provides only one payer of medical bills, not the array of over 1,000 different health insurance companies with confusing plans that include terms such as “formulary” and “out-of-network.”

  • “Single-payer health care,” simply means that only one public (insurance) agency – that is publicly accountable and people pay into a single fund – that pays for medical bills.

Bernie’s model, which he introduced in the U.S. Senate, the “American Health Security Act,” calls for the right to healthcare for all. The plan has endorsements from several national unions and the AFL-CIO, along with many national healthcare advocacy organizations. His bill for Medicare-for-all single-payer system, would update and strengthen our nation’s healthcare system with the following:

  • An equitable tax structure, providing that the wealthy pay their fair share into a national healthcare system.
  • Union/company benefit plans would be maintained if desired, however only to provide extras other than the medically necessary care that would be covered for everyone.
  • Funding dedicated to ensuring that transitional benefits would be available for insurance industry and administrative workers who may be displaced.
  • Complete funding for community health centers, giving 60 million Americans living in rural and underserved areas access to care (Healthcare Now)

*there have been other versions of the single-payer health care system introduced in Congress*

Medicare for All is an urgently – needed next step, leading to a more humane and efficient health care system. – Richard Eskow

Many Americans do not realize that there is a difference between “health insurance” and “health care.” Clarification, “health insurance” is not “health care.”

  • “Health care” is a phrase which has traditionally referred to medical treatment.
  • “Health insurance” is a financial arrangement that collects funds to pay for medical treatment.

In America, the majority of Americans are covered through private health insurance, which they get through for-profit corporations. Many if not all of these corporations charge significant percentages for profit and their “overhead.”

The problem is this: Even when they [Americans] have health insurance, Americans are paying more and more every year for their actual treatment. – Richard Eskow

Even with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs of health care – including copayments and deductibles – are soaring.

  • According to Milliman’s most recent report the employee’s total cost of care increased by roughly 43% between 2010 and 2015. (Employer costs increased by nearly one-third.)

As we all know, for-profit health insurance is expensive and inefficient.

We [United States] spend significantly more for health care than any other developed nation. – Richard Eskow

For example, look at United Healthcare, they reported profits of more than $10 billion in 2014. That is just one year. Now, if you took that money and put it back into the system, you could provide medical coverage to more than one million people, and that’s even at our nation’s excessive rates.

bernie_on_single_payerExecutives of those companies have been big winners. Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna (the nation’s third largest health insurer) had a total compensation of $30.7 million in 2013, which was 131% higher than in 2012. Health Plan Week, a trade publication, said the CEO’s of the 11 largest for-profit companies were rewarded with compensation packages last year [2013] totaling greater than $125 million. Those companies include Aetna, Centene, Cigna, Health Net, Humana, Molina, Triple-S Management Corporation, UnitedHealth Group, Universal American, Wellcare, and WellPoint (Center for Public Integrity).

Basically, we are getting much less for our money. We pay more on a single person basis for care than our peers in other nations.

The following is the health expenditure per capita in U.S. dollars for several major nations for the year 2014 (WordBank):

  • Australia $6,110
  • Belgium $5,093
  • Canada $5,718
  • Denmark $6,270
  • France $4,864
  • Germany $5,006
  • Japan $3,966
  • Netherlands $6,145
  • Sweden $5,680
  • United Kingdom $3,598
    • Average for those nations: $5,245
  • United States $9,146

Private health insurance costs more, and delivers less than government-sponsored care. – Richard Eskow

tumblr_nqmseszzS11uvablzo1_1280Personally, living with cystinosis, I stack up medical bills quickly. However, I am on Medicare and Medicaid, which pays for all of those costs. I am frightened when I think about my future and how in the world I would be able to afford employer health insurance. The employer health insurance would need to pay for all of my medications and medical expenses. One of my medications alone costs $55,000 for a 30 day supply. That is outrageous!

Look at the “free market” in health care. There are only 11 major health insurance companies, and many of the others are owned by those 11.

One might even consider those health insurance markets “highly concentrated” under the Justice Department, according to a 2009 study.

For-profit pharmacy corporations, hospital chains, and provider practice groups are driving up costs in a system that provides an incentive to overcharge and overtreat patients. – Richard Eskow

Look at this, the government can and has managed healthcare delivery efficiently. It is called Medicare.

Medicare is more cost-effective than private insurer, and could serve as the foundation for a single-payer system. – Senator Bernie Sanders

“Medicare operates at lower overhead than private health insurance. Medical costs have increased more slowly for Medicare than they have for private insurance.”

It is a moral imperative that the United States join the rest of the developed world in guaranteeing all Americans the human right of health care by adopting the Medicare-for-all single-payer health care plan.

It’s time for a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system!

Sign the petition! 

Other Sources: Five Reasons We Need Medicare For All
*Nothing in this post has been authorized by any candidate, candidate’s committee, or party*
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Proud Progressive Democrat

Logo275I am proud to be a progressive Democrat and I support the “Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).” PDA was founded in 2004 to seek to build a party and government controlled by citizens, not corporate elites-with policies that serve the public interest, not just private interests (www.pdamerica.org)

“As the second-longest-serving Democrat in the House of Representatives, I know what I am talking about when I say that no one has worked harder on the issues protecting Social Security, fighting for a full employment economy and national health care both inside and outside the Democratic Party, than PDA.” – Representative John Conyers

Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) and their allies have shuck up the political status-quo on issues ranging from the Iraq War, voter rights, protecting Social Security, a full employment economy, national healthcare and economic justice.

PDA stands in line with many if not all of the same positions I hold. For instance, stopping global warming, providing healthcare for all, fighting for human rights and economic justice.

PDA agrees that we must provide a living wage, extend unemployment benefits, expand earned income tax credits, food and childcare assistance, and housing vouchers, just to name a few.

business-case-for-single-payer-39-638Specifically, PDA supports, H.R. 676 – the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, which was originally sponsored by Rep. John Conyers and co-authored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich. The bill would provide a national healthcare plan that would supplant the deficiencies of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

  • The bill would replace private insurers and recoup administrative savings amounting to billions each year.
  • The plan would be publicly financed replying on progressive financing and would be privately and publicly delivered by health care workers and hospitals.

“The global evidence is very clear: single-payer financing systems are the most equitable and cost-effective way to assure that everyone, without exception, gets high-quality care,” said Dr. Robert Zarr, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, a nonprofit research and educational group of 19,000 doctors nationwide. (PNHP)

 

epa-trendsPDA supports, H.R. 3242 – the Save Our Climate Act. The bill would provide a fee levied on the carbon content of fossil fuels at the first point of sale.

  • The tax would begin at $10/ton on carbon dioxide content and increase by bellow 1990 levels.
  • The tax will create a shift in behavior so that oil usage in 2021 will be 19% lower than 2005 usage.

 

PDA supports, “The Inclusive Prosperity Act,” the Robin Hood Tax. The bill would impose a tax on the trading of stocks, bonds, derivatives and currency – essentially a sales tax on Wall Street trades.

  • The bill would impose a tax of 0.5% on the trade of stocks – 50 cents on the purchase or sale of $100.00 worth of stock – and a lesser rate on trading of bonds, derivatives and currency.
  • The bill will also help limit the reckless short-term speculation on the market that threatens our financial stability.

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PDA supports, H.R. 2212 – the Democracy Restoration Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers. The bill would establish a federal standard that restores voting rights in federal elections.

  • This bill would create a uniform standard across the country in federal elections.
  • It would strengthen democracy by creating a broader and more just base of voter participation.
  • It would aid law enforcement by encouraging participation in civic life, assisting reintegration, and rebuilding ties to the community.
  • The bill would facilitate election administration by streamlining registration issues and eliminating the opportunity for erroneous purges of eligible voters.
  • It would also eliminate the confusion about who is eligible to vote.

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Another priority that both I and PDA support is full federal LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) equality. For instance, adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and similar acts to provide equal workers’ rights and employment opportunities, housing, public accommodations, credit access, education, marriage and all federal programs.

Supporting the PDA, does not mean that I am endorsing any candidate that the PDA may endorse. It just means that I support the ideals of the PDA and many of the issues they are working on.

You can also add your support and join the PDA here: www.pdamerica.org 

 

Effects of Healthcare Reform (ACA) aka Obamacare

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Obama’s election to the presidency in 2008 was because he promised healthcare reform. The president spoke to the majority of Americans whom agree with him that we need healthcare reform. The world economy failed in 2008, most nations have been struggling to stay afloat. In America, we have watched as Healthcare costs have become unmanageable for many Americans. Many Americans no longer have regular checkups. Instead, they would see a doctor in emergency room visits. The nation lost preventive care. Nevertheless, Republicans in the nation believe that the Democrats plan for healthcare reform will not work. While, on the other hand Democrats believe that, the Republicans plan for Healthcare reform will not work. During 2010, our nation had Democratic control of the Executive and the Legislative branches of the government. Thus, our legislative body passed a Healthcare reform bill.

In reality, the healthcare reform law does many things, for instance,“insurers will have-to cover everyone, regardless of preexisting conditions.” This was a major winning point for the Democrats. Another is, “you can live away from the folks and even be married (as long as you’re under 26) and still be on their health-care plan.” The last big winner for the Democrats was that under the new law, “as long as you pay your premiums, it’s illegal for insurers to drop you if you become suddenly, expensively sick” (“Reform School”). With the new rules that healthcare insurances and providers must obey by, “Medicaid coverage will be expanded in 2014 to individuals with incomes at 33 percent of the federal poverty level” (Kim, Majka, Sussman 57).

The new law did get the approval of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is a nonpartisan agency that calculates the official cost of legislation for Congress, speaks in the polite language of actuarial tables, refuses to reliably please either party, and is the closest thing American politics has to an umpire.  One major reason it received approval is for the inclusion of about $500 billion I cuts and reforms to Medicare, and similar amount in new taxes (Klein). Even though the CBO has given its approval of the Healthcare law, Republicans still want to throw out the law.

Some of the reasons why the nation’s Republicans want to repeal the new Healthcare law include, “provisions will require each of us (with minor exceptions) to maintain a minimum level of health insurance, beginning in 2014.” The individual mandate is a huge reason for supporting repeal, for the Republican party whom believes that it should be the individual’s choice whether they want to or not. If individuals do not buy health insurance then “a penalty imposed by the tax code, payable with annual tax returns” (Becker). In addition, by 2014, employers with 50 or more employees will be required to provide coverage on the exchange and receives a subsidy (Pudlowski 40). Republicans believe that this mandate is going to be very harmful to small businesses.

Republicans in the House of Representatives that happen  to be physicians also have teamed up to repeal the new healthcare law because of the new cuts, “ in reimbursement rates to Medicare and Medicaid providers; fees or excise taxes on pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufactures and health insurers; reductions of hospital bad debt; and quality initiatives” (Pudlowski 37). Thus, they are displaying a conflict of interest and only reason they wish to repeal the law is so that their friends can continue to make a profit off of their patients.

tumblr_m6cqwlbVTa1qzhkvho1_500Most Democrats believe that these provisions in the healthcare law, for instance the individual mandate, employer mandate, and the cuts to Medicaid and Medicare are necessary for reform. The Democrats believe that the positive effects, the coverage regardless of preexisting conditions, children being able to stay on their parent’s healthcare plan, and expanding Medicaid coverage will out-weigh the negative effects. This 1,000-page law may not be perfect but it does many great things. In 2014, if the law has not been repealed there will be an additional 47 percent of Americans will be insured. More lives will be saved by preventive care, less emergency room visits, and less bad hospital debt.

Thus, I personally support President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act ‘Obamacare,’ because not only will it help reduce the cost of healthcare in the United States it will cover more people and save lives. Nonetheless, I am still a huge proponent for universal healthcare by the passage of H.R. 676, the expand and improve Medicare for all bill. H.R. 676 would institute a single payer healthcare system by expanding and greatly improving Medicare to everyone residing in the United States. H.R. 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery, periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including substance abuse), vision and correction, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care. H.R. 676 ends deductibles and co-pays. H.R. 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and the profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

For more information on H.R. 676 please visit: H.R. 676