By Staff of Health Over Profit – Representative Jim Cooper represents Tennessee. He is a Blue Dog Democrat, which means he is a fiscal conservative. Blue Dogs “work with members of both parties to find areas of compromise and to advance public policies that benefit the entire nation.” Jim Cooper is a health policy expert. He teaches health care management at Vanderbilt University. And now, Jim Cooper is the 100th member of Congress this year to co-sponsor HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. He announced his endorsement publicly on Saturday, April 15, at a town hall in Nashville. He prefaced his endorsement by saying, “The American system is a confusing hodgepodge of a lot of things, but it is primarily called a ‘market-based’ system, although it’s so confusing, it’s so wasteful and it still leaves so many millions of people out that it’s hard to call it a system. We in America tend to lag the rest of the world, not in the quality of our research, but in the coverage available to our people and in the average healthcare quality that all Americans receive.” He went on to explain how single payer healthcare systems work. And he said he was waiting for Republican support for single payer before he signed on…
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – “I am not there,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein says of single-payer healthcare, a concept garnering big applause around the country. It’s not only Republicans that are feeling the heat in their hometowns during this congressional recess. Democrats who aren’t on board with increasingly popular progressive proposals are being held to account as well. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was a case-in-point on Monday, when she faced angry and vocal constituents at a midday town hall meeting in her hometown of San Francisco. It was her stance on single-payer healthcare—an idea that’s picking up momentum in the wake of last month’s TrumpCare debacle, especially in California—that drew the most vociferous response. When asked about her position on such a system, Feinstein responded: “If single-payer healthcare is going to mean the complete takeover by the government of all healthcare, I am not there.” According to the Los Angeles Times, one audience member called Feinstein a “sellout” as others joined in chants of “single-payer now!”
By Porfirio Quintano for Labor Notes – I had no money and spoke no English when I illegally crossed the border into California 23 years ago, but I worked hard and fought for the right to stay here. Had I made that harrowing journey this year, I’m sure I’d be deported right back into the crosshairs of the Honduran government’s death squads that had targeted me and many other community organizers. Instead I quickly won a grant of political asylum—and later received full American citizenship. I know I’m one of the lucky ones. At the San Francisco hospital where I work, nine out of 10 members of my union are foreign-born. We never ask anyone about their immigration status, but I know several green card holders who are getting ready to apply for citizenship now that their place in America seems less secure. People might think the Bay Area is one big protective cocoon for immigrants, but that’s not the case. The suburb where I live is not a sanctuary city.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. The national demand for Medicare for All continues to gain momentum. The Republican’s attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with even crappier private health insurance before the spring recess failed, and instead people organized to create what every other industrialized nation has – a publicly-financed universal healthcare system. Eighteen members of Congress signed on last week to HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act after citizen lobby days, phone calls from constituents and pressure at local town halls. The bill currently has 94 co-sponsors in the House, more than ever in its 14-year history. More are expected to sign on after the spring recess where they will continue to hear from constituents on this issue. And Senator Sanders is expected to introduce a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate in May.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. On April 7, people around the world took action to celebrate World Health Day by declaring that health care is not a commodity and should not be privatized. The theme of the day was “Our health is not for sale. In the more than 80 cities in the European Union that participated, the demands were to provide full public funding for their health systems and to end privatization. In the United States, the demand was to create a universal publicly-funded health system, as every other industrialized nation has done. In Washington, DC, health advocates gathered in front of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is close to Capitol Hill, with a large banner that said, “Our health is not for sale” to speak out about the failures of the United States’ market experiment in health care.
By John Conyers Jr. for Detroit Free Press – I’m as happy as anyone with the way the Republicans’ plan to wreck our healthcare system crashed and burned last week. And President Donald Trump is right: Republicans lost because Democrats beat them. We beat them because we were organized, we were unified and we were backed by unprecedented grassroots energy. Members of the U.S. Congress hosted dozens of rallies, advocacy organizations hosted hundreds more and constituents showed up in overwhelming numbers at town halls across this country to make their voices heard. And what exactly was their message? One of the most poignant moments came at a town hall hosted by U.S. Rep. Diane Black, Republican of Tennessee, where a constituent explained her opposition to the GOP bill using faith.
By Sheila Suess Kennedy for IBJ – The fight over the GOP’s health care bill was the latest iteration of a recurring debate between free market true believers and people who understand that market exchanges require a willing buyer and willing seller, both of whom possess all information relevant to the transaction. For rather obvious reasons, that doesn’t describe health care. Proponents of single-payer systems routinely point out that countries having such systems pay less for better health outcomes but seldom explain how our system disadvantages American business. The largest single drag on job creation and entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. is the cost of providing insurance.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – As the national healthcare debate rages in the wake of the GOP’s TrumpCare disaster, universal healthcare advocates have identified an opening to advance the long-held goal of enacting a single-payer (or similar) system—one that truly provides coverage for all. Signs this week suggest that opening is getting wider. One bright spot was Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) announcement over the weekend that he will soon introduce a Medicare-for-All bill in the U.S. Senate. Other promising signals included: 1. To much fanfare, a California lawmaker on Thursday unveiled details about Senate Bill 562, or the “Healthy California Act,” a single-payer proposal to create universal health coverage
By Staff of The Nader Page – You can thank House Speaker Ryan and President Trump for pushing their cruel health insurance boondoggle. This debacle has created a big opening to put Single Payer or full Medicare for all prominently front and center. Single Payer means everybody in, nobody out, with free choice of physician and hospital. The Single Payer system that has been in place in Canada for Decades comes in at half the cost per capita, compared to what the U.S. spends now. All Canadians are covered at a cost of about $4500 per capita while in the U.S. the cost is over $9000 per capita, with nearly 30 million people without coverage and many millions more underinsured.
By Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance – This has been a tumultuous week for healthcare reform. First there was the pleasantly quick defeat of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives Friday afternoon. Then, that evening, Senator Sanders spoke at a town hall in Vermont with Senator Pat Leahy and Representative Peter Welch where he announced that he would introduce a Medicare for All bill. Medicare for All and Bernie supporters lit up social media with their excitement over the announcement. This should have been great news, but it wasn’t exactly. Over the weekend, more information was revealed in a series of interviews with Sen. Sanders. Sunday, he said on CNN that single payer legislation wouldn’t have the votes…
By Staff of Single Payer Action – And the only Senate member of the Progressive Caucus — Bernie Sanders — is dragging his feet on introducing a companion single payer bill in the Senate. Recalcitrant Democrats say they are too busy defending Obamneycare to get behind single payer. Typical is Progressive Caucus member Don Beyer who said that while he has voiced support for single payer in the past, his immediate priority is “protecting the health care achievements of President Obama.” There is a history here, of course. Back in 2009, a young single payer activist, Nick Skala, ran into the same kind of stonewall from the Progressive Caucus, when he presented the case for single payer.
By Russell Mokhiber for Morgan County USA. Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) is looking at a Canadian style single payer system. It’s the second time in a month that Manchin has told constituents that he’s looking at a Medicare for all system to replace an unraveling Obamneycare. Manchin has been clear that he will vote against the emerging Trumpcare/Ryancare that will balloon the ranks of the uninsured from 30 million under Obamneycare to 50 million. A single payer system would leave zero people uninsured. Under single payer, every citizen gets a birth certificate and a Medicare card at birth.