By Russell Mokhiber for Single Payer Action. Right before our eyes, we are seeing the transformation of single payer Bernie Sanders into public option Howard Dean. During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Sanders took off like a rocket, fueled by the promise of a single payer, Medicare for All single payer system. His single payer plan paralleled HR 676, the single payer bill in the House of Representatives that now has 72 co-sponsors. HR 676 is the gold standard of single payer bills. It would deliver one public payer, no deductibles, no co-pays, lower costs, everyone in, nobody out, no more medical bankruptcies, no more deaths from lack of health insurance and free choice of doctors and hospitals. That was the promise of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 campaign. But since then, Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Then become part of Senator Chuck Schumer’s Senate Democratic leadership.
By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept. When the Environmental Protection Agency informed people in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, last July that the local neoprene plant was emitting a chemical that gave them the highest risk of cancer from air pollution in the country, the information was received not just with horror and sadness but also with a certain sense of validation. For years, many of the people living on this little square of land between the train tracks and the Mississippi River levee have felt they suffered more than their share of illnesses. Troyla Keller has a rash and asthma that abate every time she leaves the neighborhood and worsen when she returns. Augustine Nicholson Dorris had breast cancer and seizures. And David Sanders has trouble breathing, a tumor on his thyroid, and neurological problems.
BY Lauren Macauley for Commondreams. Colorado – A group of Colorado teenagers scored a “huge” victory against the state’s fracking industry on Thursday when a three-judge panel ruled that the health of citizens and environment takes precedence over oil and gas interests. The decision, handed down by the Colorado Court of Appeals on Thursday, requires that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) consider a petition from six youth plaintiffs, which asks the board to suspend the issuance of fracking permits “until it can be done without adversely impacting human health and safety and without impairing Colorado’s atmospheric resource and climate system, water, soil, wildlife, and other biological resources.” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 16-year-old plaintiff and youth director of the Boulder-based Earth Guardians, declared after the ruling: “Our movement to fight for the rights of people and our environment is evolving.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The Republican Party is finding out you cannot solve the US healthcare crisis with an insurance-based market approach. Healthcare is a human necessity and can only be solved by recognizing health should be treated as a public good and not a commodity. The Republicans want to lower the cost of insurance but are finding that to do so they must not provide the essential services people need for good healthcare. The contradiction of profit and the essential human need for healthcare is becoming more evident. The Affordable Care Act had the same contradiction, just not as pronounced because the Obama approach was to require the insurance industry to include essential health services and then to give them more than $150 billion annually to lower the premiums for people while forcing people to buy health insurance. But, the ACA has resulted in rising premiums, increasing deductibles and rising out-of-pocket costs as well as narrow networks with skimpy coverage. The result is while people pay more to the insurance industry many are unable to afford essential healthcare.
By Alicyn Gitlin and Leona Morgan for Sierra Club. TUSAYAN, Ariz. – The controversial Canyon Mine, located just six miles from Grand Canyon’s South Rim, is filling with surplus water after a wet winter. In an effort to dispose of the water from the bottom of the mine shaft, mine owner Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. is trucking the contaminated water to the White Mesa Mill uranium processing facility near Blanding, Utah and spraying it, into the air and on the adjacent Kaibab National Forest, in an attempt to evaporate it. The Plan of Operations requires that all excess water be retained in holding ponds and be treated on-site. Simultaneously, Energy Fuels has allowed state environmental permits intended to help protect groundwater to expire.
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.
By Sabrina Shankman for Inside Climate News – Pediatrician Samantha Ahdoot may not use the words “climate change” when she’s talking to her patients and their parents in Alexandria, Va., but she’s talking about its impacts all the time. Whether it’s a 6-year-old boy who contracted Lyme disease in November—long after ticks should be gone for the year—or having to start kids on spring allergy medication in February instead of March, climate change is making its way into Ahdoot’s exam room. And she’s not alone. As a physician, Ahdoot practices at the intersection where public health and climate change meet. She is part of a group of physicians who announced on Wednesday the formation of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health…
By Sarah Jaffe for In These Times. It is hard, because all of us have lost people, I will say that. I have lost people that I love to this and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t. When we are talking about it, it is deeply personal for people because we are literally watching our communities die and that is really rough. To be in a moment where people are dying from using drugs and we are also shrinking whatever public safety net has been left, to me it is so ridiculous to live in a place where people don’t see that this is a public health crisis that has its roots in poverty. Also, I would say, in the white denial. People not wanting to believe that this could be such a big problem with white people. I would say that it is not just the Republican folks who have been pushing law enforcement over increasing access to care. Here in Portland, we have an all-Democratic City Council that chose to shut down one of the premier, in the country, clinics that had a needle exchange, that had an HIV positive program and did STD testing and counselling, that was serving folks on the street, really low income people, had incredible relationships to their providers.
By Jon Kelvey for the Carroll County Times. But even Hahn, who enthusiastically supported the health care law, said there were problems that needed to be addressed, such as what navigators called “the family glitch.” When considering whether a family was still eligible to purchase a tax subsidized plan when one parent was offered insurance through an employer, the test was whether the cost of the employer plan was affordable for just one parent, not the entire family. This sometimes leaves one parent out in the cold. “She has affordable health insurance,” Hahn said, “Dad is going to have to pay full price on the health exchange.” Flowers, rather than critiquing any one piece of the Affordable Care Act, attacked it as an insufficient compromise and that the best fix would be to expand Medicare coverage to all citizens — a single payer national insurance model such as in Canada.
Responding to two letters sent by members of Congress urging President Donald Trump to prioritize nominating candidates for vacant Commissioner seats at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in order to restore the necessary voting quorum, 136 organizations representing communities in all 50 states sent a strong letter of rebuke to the Congressional signers of the letters. The two letters, dated February 22, 2017, were signed by a group of 14 House Democrats on one and 92 additional members of Congress on the other. The letters urged Mr. Trump to put forth the nominations in order to restore the FERC Commissioner quorum necessary to take formal action on energy issues. In addition to urging swift action by the President, on one of the letters the Congressional members promised “to do our part”, suggesting that they would likewise take swift action to approve nominees put forth by the President.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. Today Politico provided more details of the Republican’s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act). Overall, the impacts on the health insurance industry are hard to predict, but we can say for certain that they will do what they can to protect their bottom line. The impacts on people are clearer to see – fewer people with low incomes will have access to Medicaid, people with low incomes who do not qualify for Medicaid will be unlikely to be able to afford health insurance premiums, especially if they are older and high quality health plans will continue their decline. It is also clear that the Republican plan will worsen the healthcare crisis in the United States. Here are some of the details.
By the Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition. Houghton, MI — Upper Peninsula Environmental Coalition (UPEC) members and supporters are expressing outrage and frustration following news that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a surface use permit authorizing Orvana Resources – a subsidiary of Highland Copper – to begin exploratory drilling in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. According to the DNR, drilling began Sunday, before the agency’s press release had even been published. The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is well known for its hiking trails, rugged terrain, old growth forests, miles of wild and scenic Lake Superior shoreline, wilderness campsites, rivers, lakes and waterfalls. “The sulfide mining industry is leading the State of Michigan around by a leash….”
The new campaign is called “Health Over Profit for Everyone (HOPE): Making health the bottom line.” It has the sole focus of shifting the political culture in the United States so that National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA) is the only politically-feasible solution in the next four years. We can do it! Just as we have worked together in broad coalitions to put reclassification of the internet on the table and to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we also have the power to win NIMA. A strong group of NIMA advocates have joined to form the steering committee. We’ve created an activism website at HealthOverProfit.org that contains information and tools you’ll need to educate, organize and mobilize. We’ll provide national conference calls and coordinate days of action.