Category: Medicare for All
Single-payer health care – its time has come: Mark Dimondstein
| September 25, 2017 | 8:04 pm | Medicare for All, Single Payer 676 | 1 Comment
Mark Dimondstein, President of the  American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and member of the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO, is the latest to write an Op Ed supporting a single payer healthcare system.  Dimondstein is in a good position to compare the medical benefits his members receive with those of Canadian postal workers who already enjoy a medicare for all healthcare system.

Single-payer health care – its time has come: Mark Dimondstein

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congress is back from its summer recess and the problems with our nation’s health care system haven’t gone away. How to fix health care is once again being hotly debated. Recently, President Donald Trump warned Republican senators that they must do something or be confronted with the dangers of “single-payer” health care. But, single-payer shouldn’t be the boogeyman — its time has come.

As a postal worker and now president of the American Postal Workers Union, I’ve had many occasions to meet with Canadian postal workers. The lives and dreams of postal workers just across Lake Erie are similar to workers in Northeast Ohio and other parts of the United States. One huge difference stands out – Canadian health care. Canadians never worry about being denied access to medical care. Unlike in the United States, no one is forced to choose between food and medicine. A major illness won’t drive them to bankruptcy or out of their homes.

 

Ohio Gov. John Kasich joins bipartisan governors in opposing Graham-Cassidy health care bill

Their letter said the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has held hearings on ways “to make individual health insurance more stable and affordable,” and that committee’s efforts should be supported rather than the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment.

Canada’s single-payer health care system is similar to Medicare but in Canada every man, woman and child has cradle-to-grave coverage for their doctor, hospital and nursing care – with full choice of physicians. The government also negotiates affordable drug costs with pharmaceutical companies.

2009: The ins and outs of Canada’s health system

Imagine how much less stressful our lives would be without co-pays, deductibles, billing for services, lifetime limits or huge insurance premiums. According to University of Massachusetts Economics Professor Gerald Friedman, 95 percent of U.S. households would save money under a single-payer plan.

It is striking that the Canadian success is rarely discussed in the current health care debate. The leadership of both major political parties treat health care as a privilege rather than a human right. The profits of the medical industrial complex sadly take center stage over the people’s interests.

Most of the Democratic Party leadership is wedded to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While some measures of the ACA should be preserved, such as coverage for the 153 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, the law has failed. It is not affordable. It contains no public option, does nothing to lower pharmaceutical prices, is a boon to the insurance companies and still leaves tens of millions uninsured and millions more with inferior insurance plans.

The failed legislation promoted by the Republican leadership is far worse. The GOP plans would gut Medicaid (used by one in five Americans and two-thirds of nursing home patients). Their plans would drive 22 million people from health insurance rolls, according to the Congressional Budget Office; incentivize employers to eliminate health coverage; limit coverage for pre-existing conditions; and drastically raise medical costs for seniors – all while giving billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest.

Most workers our union represents have employer-based health insurance. Every year we are paying more and receiving fewer benefits. A postal employee typically pays $6,000 a year for their share of family plan premiums – plus co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance.  A “Canadian style” system would offer financial relief, even to those currently insured.

Donald Trump was right back in 2000 when he said: “We must have universal health care. Just imagine the improved quality of life for our society as a whole….The Canadian-style, single-payer system… helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans…. There are fewer medical lawsuits, less loss of labor to sickness, and lower costs to companies paying for the medical care of their employees.”

According to the most recent figures, the United States spends 17.8 percent of GDP on health care — more per capita than any other country. More than 25 percent of health care expenses are administrative – money diverted to needless insurance industry overhead and profits. (Twice that of Canada.)  U.S. citizens average $9,000 a year in health-related costs.

Yet, health outcomes are dismal. The United States ranks 34th in life expectancy. (Canada ranks 13.) A 2017 study by the Commonwealth Fund, found that the United States ranks last of the 11 most “developed” countries in health care quality, access, results and efficiency.

The ACA should be replaced with a better system. The recent debate between bad (“Obamacare”) and worse (“Trumpcare”) fails to meet the health care needs of the 99 percent. Let’s learn from our neighbor and demand single-payer universal health coverage – “Medicare for All!”

It is a proven, simple, cost-effective, and just way to heal what ails us.

Mark Dimondstein is president of the 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union and a vice president of the AFL-CIO.

http://tinyurl.com/yanzznro

Issued by:

Kay Tillow, Coordinator

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551

Email: nursenpo@aol.com
http://unionsforsinglepayer.org
https://www.facebook.com/unionsforsinglepayer

 

HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a
greatly improved Medicare to everyone residing in the U. S. Patients will
choose their own physicians and hospitals.

HR 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 for substance abuse), vision care and correction,
hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical
equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of
billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the
private health insurance industry.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 633 union organizations including 154 Central
Labor Councils/Area Labor Federations and 44 state AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT,
OH, DE, ND, WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, NC, MO, MN, ME, AR, MD-DC, TX,
IA, AZ, TN, OR, GA, OK, KS, CO, IN, AL, CA, AK, MI, MT, NE, NJ, NY, NV, MA,
RI, NH, ID).

The list of union endorsers.
The sample endorsement resolution.

09/25/2017

Introducing Medicare for All
| September 14, 2017 | 8:36 pm | Bernie Sanders, Health Care, Medicare for All | 1 Comment

Some big news on Sen. Sanders’ Medicare-for-all bill
I have some important news to share with you:
Today — along with 15 co-sponsors — I am officially introducing our Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care legislation that will guarantee health care as a right for every single man, woman and child in the United States of America.
The last time I introduced this bill, it lacked a single co-sponsor.
Today, we have 15.
I want you to know the names of each and every Senator who is standing with us today, then sign my online card thanking them for joining this fight.
Here is the list:
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Senator Ed Markey (D-MA)
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
But it gets better.
Over the past two months, more than 500,000 people across the country have joined them as citizen co-sponsors of our bill. And in the House of Representatives, for the first time ever, a majority of the Democratic members have signed onto John Conyers’s Medicare-for-all legislation.
There is no doubt about it, momentum is on our side.
It was not long ago that the idea of Medicare for all was dismissed and ridiculed by the corporate media and political establishment of this country. Today, a strong majority of Americans understand that it is the responsibility of the federal government to provide health care for all.
But we still have a long way to go.
Because the truth is, the insurance companies and drug companies in this country are extraordinarily powerful and they are not going down without a fight. They have obscene amounts of wealth and have used that money to protect a dysfunctional system that allows them to make billions in profits while leaving far too many Americans behind.
But in my view, the people of this country have had enough of the greed and recklessness of these industries.
We understand that it is a moral outrage that the United States is the only nation in the industrialized world that does not guarantee health care as a right to all of its people.
We believe it is a national emergency that 28 million of our sisters and brothers lack health care coverage and that many more are underinsured with high deductibles and copayments.
We are tired of going to the pharmacy to get medicine we need and the price triples for no other reason than because the drug companies now have the right to charge as much as they like. Unbelievably, one out of five adults under the age of 65 in this country who gets a prescription from a doctor cannot afford to get it filled.
The American people are sick and tired of a health care system that spends twice as much per capita as countries around the world but has worse outcomes. All while the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry reward their executives with outrageous compensation packages.
All of us get sick.
All of us need medicine.
All of us have accidents.
All of us need good quality health care.
In my view, the function of a rational health care system in this country should be to provide quality care for everyone in a cost effective way, not to make health industry CEOs richer or drive up stock prices on Wall Street.
Even with growing support in Congress, we are still taking on much of the political and financial establishment in this fight. But when we are united, when we stand together, we are more powerful than they could ever imagine.
Sisters and Brothers: In this pivotal moment in American history, let us lead our country forward to guarantee health care as a right and not a privilege. This is a struggle whose time has come. This is a struggle not just about health care but about the heart and soul of our country, about what we stand for as a people.
Please remember that when we stand together and do not let allow demagogues to divide us up by race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.
That is the political revolution.
In solidarity,
Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders Completely Dismantles GOP Argument Against Single Payer In 60 Seconds

Bernie Sanders Completely Dismantles GOP Argument Against Single Payer In 60 Seconds

“We have a Medicare system right now. It is a good system. … Let’s expand that program to every man, woman, and child. It’s not a scary proposition.”

Bernie Sanders Completely Dismantles GOP Argument Against Single Payer In 60 Seconds

Republicans have long sought to scare Americans into thinking that the U.S. health care system must put profits above people.

Their efforts to prevent the passage of the Affordable Care Act and their more recent attempts to undermine and repeal the law, which has given coverage to millions, provide ample evidence of this.

As Democrats now look to build upon Obamacare with a new proposal to create a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system, it’s likely the GOP effort to scare people into opposing it will again kick into high gear.

On Wednesday’s edition of All In with Chris Hayes, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – fresh off of proposing his own Medicare-for-all plan – dismantled the Republican arguments against the new proposal in the span of a minute.

Sanders said:

It is screwed up when thousands of people die each year because they can’t get to the doctor when they need to get to the doctor. It is screwed up when we are spending $10,000 per person on health care – almost 18 percent of the GDP – and the projection is if we don’t make real changes, we’re going to spend $49 trillion over the next ten years, 20 percent of our GDP, which will have very negative impacts on our economy. So you’ve got a screwed up system now. The point to be made – and I know that there will be a lot of disinformation getting out there – but the point to be made is that this is is not a government takeover of your health care system. We have a Medicare system right now. It is a good system. … Let’s expand that program to every man, woman, and child. It’s not a scary proposition. 

The Vermont senator is correct on two fronts.

Not only does the current health care system have too many flaws that put too many Americans at risk of going bankrupt or not getting the care they need, but the program that Sanders and other Democrats are now putting forward is not a radical or sinister idea.

It puts people ahead of profits, and in the long term would be far more cost effective than the system we currently have. It’s simply expanding an already-existing and popular program that millions of Americans already enjoy: Medicare.

The Affordable Care Act was a substantial and historic step in the right direction, but it’s time to fight Republican efforts and go the rest of the way in guaranteeing health care to every American.

Sanders unveils single-payer bill to cheers from supporters
Sanders Unveils ‘Medicare For All’ Bill

Sanders Unveils ‘Medicare For All’ Bill
Sen. Bernie Sanders is proposing legislation that would let Americans get health coverage simply by showing a new government-issued card. And they’d no longer owe out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles. (Sept. 13)
AP

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 ReportBernie Sanders’s ‘Medicare for all’ bill needs to passClinton ‘dumbfounded’ by Comey letter days before electionMORE (I-Vt.) unveiled his single-payer health-care plan on Wednesday to cheers and a brief “Medicare for all” chant from supporters.

Nine Senate Democrats joined Sanders for the unveiling, with two possible presidential candidates, Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBernie Sanders flexes power on single-payerSchumer noncommittal on Sanders’s ‘Medicare for all’ bill Where Dems stand on Sanders’s single-payer billMORE (N.J.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandSchumer noncommittal on Sanders’s ‘Medicare for all’ bill Where Dems stand on Sanders’s single-payer billThe Hill’s 12:30 ReportMORE (N.Y.), getting into the camera shot.

“The American people want to know what we’re going to do to fix a dysfunctional health-care system, which costs us twice as much” per person as any other country, Sanders said at the opening of the press conference, casting aside speculation by the media about what the bill might mean politically for Democrats.

At the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fired at the Democratic proposal, calling it a “horrible” idea that would put government further in charge of Americans’ health care.She also belittled Sanders, saying that if his ideas were as popular as he thought, he would have won last year’s Democratic primary and been elected president.

Sanders has seen support for his proposal grow. In 2013, a similar bill garnered no co-sponsors. Sanders already has 16 fellow senators on his bill this time, though centrists and party leaders have shied away from direct endorsements.

The bill would expand Medicare into a national health insurance program, extending comprehensive health insurance to every U.S. resident. Many services would have no co-payments under the Sanders approach.

The program would be rolled out over a four-year period, with the eligibility age dropping every year until every U.S. resident is covered.

Those aged 18 and under would automatically be eligible in the first year.

The program, which would essentially separate health insurance from employment, would cover a full range of benefits, including inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse treatment and maternity care.

Sanders also released options to finance his single-player plan, which caught heat during his presidential bid for its high cost.

This includes a 7.5 percent income-based premium to be paid by employers, a 4 percent income-based premium to be paid by households, changes to the estate tax and a new tax on the top 0.1 percent of Americans based on income.

Already, about 30 national liberal organizations and unions have endorsed the bill, including MoveOn.org, Food and Water Watch and National Nurses United.

The trade group for insurance companies immediately announced its opposition.

The plan was announced the same day Sens. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyGOP senators make last-ditch bid to repeal ObamaCareOvernight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach fundsMcConnell on last ditch ObamaCare repeal: Find the votesMORE (R-La.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP senators make last-ditch bid to repeal ObamaCareOvernight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach fundsGutiérrez defends attacks on Kelly, calls top Trump aide ‘mean’MORE (R-S.C.) and Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerGOP senators make last-ditch bid to repeal ObamaCareGOP braces for Bannon primary attacksOvernight Health Care: Dem leaders keep distance from Sanders single-payer bill | Last-ditch ObamaCare repeal effort struggles for votes | Dems press Trump on ObamaCare outreach fundsMORE (R-Nev.) unveiled their plan to repeal ObamaCare in a last-ditch effort to gut former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill’s 12:30 ReportObama to host global summit in ChicagoClinton ‘dumbfounded’ by Comey letter days before electionMORE’s signature legislation. Many view it as unlikely to pass, and the GOP only has until the end of the month to repeal ObamaCare and avoid a Democratic filibuster.

The Sanders plan has no real chance of becoming law with a Republican-controlled Congress and White House but is likely to be a touchstone in the years to come.

As Sanders and Democrats Unveil Medicare For All, Trump Makes Final Push To Kill Healthcare

As Sanders and Democrats Unveil Medicare For All, Trump Makes Final Push To Kill Healthcare

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 17 Democratic co-sponsors introduced Medicare For All, Donald Trump and Republicans are making one final push to take health care coverage away from millions of Americans.

As Sanders and Democrats Unveil Medicare For All, Trump Makes Final Push To Kill Healthcare

As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and 17 Democratic co-sponsors introduced Medicare For All, Donald Trump and Republicans are making one final push to take health care coverage away from millions of Americans.

In a statement introducing Medicare For All, Sanders said, “Today, we begin the long and difficult struggle to end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all its people. At a time when millions of Americans do not have access to affordable health care, the Republicans, funded by the Koch brothers, are trying to take away health care from up to 32 million more. We have a better idea: guarantee health care to all people as a right, not a privilege, through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer health care program.”

Meanwhile, Trump and Senate Republicans are trying to rush through a last ditch health care bill that would gut Obamacare and cost millions their health insurance by turning it into a block grant program to the states. Cassidy-Graham would cause millions of people to lose their insurance because it would slash funding for the ACA to the states by hundreds of billions of dollars.

Politico reported that Trump is pushing to take health care away from people by the end of September, “President Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans are refusing to give up on Obamacare repeal, even after this summer’s spectacular failure and with less than a month before a key deadline.”

The reconciliation instructions that allow Republicans to avoid a Democratic filibuster on health care expire at the end of September. If Republicans don’t get a bill passed by then, they will not have enough votes to break a Democratic filibuster.

The contrasting visions for health care in this country have never been more clear. Democrats believe that health care is a right and that the country must move toward universal coverage. Republicans see health care as something that should only be available based on the ability to pay.

The Democrats and Bernie Sanders have the right idea. Health care is a right, and Republicans who believe otherwise are going to get swept away by a building wave of progress.

Republicans Are Already Attacking Senators Who Support Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All Bill

Republicans Are Already Attacking Senators Who Support Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All Bill

Republicans are already launching attacks on the Democratic Senators who are supporting Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All bill.

Republicans Are Already Attacking Senators Who Support Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All Bill

Republicans are already launching attacks on the Democratic Senators who are supporting Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All bill.

According to Vox, 11 Democratic Senators are co-sponsoring the Medicare For All bill that Sen. Sanders will unveil on Wednesday.

Here is the list of Democratic supporters:

Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

Three of the 11 names on this list (Booker, Warren, and Harris) have something in common. They are all rumored to be interested in running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Sen. Baldwin is up for reelection in 2018, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a statement previewing how they are going to attack Democrats who support single payer:
Baldwin went out of her way to endorse this plan, which is bad for Wisconsin, 24 hours before it’s set to be released.

Despite representing a state President Trump won, Tammy Baldwin continues to side with radical liberals and support a single-payer health care system that would decimate Wisconsin families and businesses. Baldwin’s support for a socialist health care system would force folks in Wisconsin to pay exorbitant costs for an unworkable health care solution. The Urban Institute released a study last year showing that Sanders’ extreme health care plan would cost $32 trillion over a ten-year period.

The Republican argument is why it is going to be so difficult for Democrats to pass and enact a single payer health care bill in one swoop. Republicans will automatically label the plan socialism then point to the cost, and scare people about losing their current insurance.

There are numerous logical arguments in favor of a single payer system, but there is a reason why it took until Trump and the GOP tried to repeal the ACA for it to become popular. The scare tactics work. Just as it made no sense to repeal Obamacare and damage one sixth of the economy in one pass, it also makes little sense to implement a single payer plan in one bill.

The Affordable Care Act was the first step toward universal coverage. The next step that Democrats gain if they save the ACA will be an expanded Medicare buy in.

The fact that Republicans are already attacking a Senator who supports Medicare For All shows what a tough sell the plan is going to be to the rest of the country.