Does The Gig Economy Mean It’s Time For Medicare-For-All?

This file photo taken in January shows Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) taking the podium before speaking during a press conference discussing Republican attempts to dismantle Medicare, Medicaid, and The Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / ZACH GIBSONZACH GIBSON/AFP/Getty Images

By Charlie Simmons for The Mercury News – Silicon Valley is the engine of the rapidly growing gig-economy. Consumers love the convenience of having goods and services delivered right to their door at the push of a button. Many workers are enjoying the benefits of making their own hours and minimal corporate oversight. But there’s one big problem: many of these workers are classified as 1099 contractors, rather than employees. The 1099 system gives workers the flexibility to fully choose how and when they work, but it also demands very little from companies, who do not have to cover transportation costs, offer paid vacation, or contribute into 401(k) accounts. That’s the perfect system for Silicon Valley’s tech start-ups. Most of them are in aggressive growth stages and are trying to expand to new cities, recruit new workers and bring on new customers. This way, they only pay workers for the actual time they spend on their service. While debate about the merits of the gig-economy continues, it’s clear that it’s here to stay. If we are shifting to a system of self-employment, we need to rethink how we deliver crucial worker protections and services that our nation’s labor groups have fought for and won, including overtime protections, weekends, redress from unjust dismissal, and — most importantly — expanded and improved health insurance.

Single Payer Movement Has Transformed The Healthcare Fight

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By Theo Anderson for In These Times. The grassroots fight for single payer, championed by Bernie Sanders, has thoroughly reframed the healthcare debate over the past year. That became clear during CNN’s Monday night healthcare debate between Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). The debate came as Republicans labor, Sisyphus-like, to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Graham said in his opening remarks that the debate was about “who we want to be as a nation.” Cassidy said that it was about who has power.

Protesters Rise Up To Block Health Care Repeal

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By Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Washington, DC – With the September 30 deadline for the budget reconciliation process looming, Senate Republicans attempted once again to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Senators Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Dr. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana submitted legislation last week that would end the Medicaid expansion, cut federal funds for Medicaid and allow states to decide that insurers could deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. States would also no longer have to require that insurers cover essential benefits, as defined in the ACA. The bill seemed dead by the end of last week when Senator John McCain announced that he would vote against it. But Senators Graham and Cassidy went into high gear over the weekend to add extra funding for states like Alaska, Maine and Arizona to encourage their support. Activists throughout the country also geared up to fight back.

Newsletter: Is Health Care A Commodity Or Right?

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. With just a week left before Congress’ budget reconciliation process ends, the Senate is once again peddling a poorly-thought out plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And once again, people are rising up in opposition to the plan, making it unpopular and unlikely to pass. At the same time, support for a National Improved Medicare for All single payer healthcare system is increasing and there are bills in both the House and Senate with record numbers of co-sponsors. Will the United States finally join the long list of countries that provide healthcare to everyone? Overall, it is a time to be optimistic.

Celebrate Medicare's Anniversary: Join Call For Single Payer

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By Health Over Profit. Medicare’s 52nd anniversary takes place on July 30, at the beginning of the August Congressional Recess. Actions are being planned across the country to celebrate and call for National Improved Medicare for All. Check out the list below for an action near you. Whether your member of Congress is a supporter or not, there is something that you can do. Show a movie, hold a rally, go to their office, celebrate with a party. And bring this message wherever your member of Congress goes throughout the summer recess! The time for Medicare for All is now.

Democratic 'Resistance Summer' Becomes Protest Against Democrats

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By Lauren Steiner for the Robust Opposition. The Democratic Party has called for a “Resistance Summer” to protest against Donald Trump. They are planning to hold events all over the country. This DNC video promotes “Resistance Summer” and features Rep. Keith Ellison pushing people to participate. Ellison is also featured in the Lauren Steiner “Robust Opposition” video below, where he is shown threatening to arrest an activist calling for single payer (at 7:29). At “Resistance Summer” event in southern California, the resistance turned from Donald Trump to the Democratic Party. People attending the event called for single payer, improved Medicare for all. This is a hot issue in California because healthcare activists are mobilized around a single payer bill that passed the senate but has been stalled by Assembly leader Anthony Rendon. The bill, SB 562, the Healthy California Act seeks to put in place single payer at the state level.

Sen. Sanders Has His Health Priorities Backwards

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By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. We thought that Senator Sanders was on track to introduce and advocate for a national improved Medicare for All bill, but Tuesday he stated publicly at a Planned Parenthood rally that his priorities are to first defeat the Republican health plan, then to improve the Affordable Care Act with a public option or allowing people to buy-in to Medicare, and then we can work for single payer.

Newsletter - Positive Actions You Can Take This Summer

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. This week, we look at some of the current struggles in the United States and ways that you can get involved this summer. From protecting health care, net neutrality and the environment to building positive alternatives that transform our current dysfunctional systems, there is something for everyone to do. Read on to learn what’s happening and how to take action. This is the time to rise up and protect our families, communities and planet.

Hunger Games And Hospitals: The Crisis Of Medical Crowdfunding

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By Brittany Shannahan for Health Care is a Human Right Maryland. As of the time of writing, a GoFundMe campaign to raise $300,000 for the medical expenses of Micah Fletcher has nearly reached its goal. Fletcher, 21, is the only survivor of the three men who intervened on a racist attack against two girls on a train in Portland, Oregon. The girls were Destinee Mangum, who is Black, and her friend, a Muslim wearing a hijab. A YouCaring page has also been set up to raise money to help them in their recovery: The girls, 16 and 17-years-old, are suffering immense trauma in the aftermath of this tragedy. Although they survived, their lives will never be the same as they were being the targets of hate… Most importantly, funds will go toward mental health services to ensure their mental and emotional welfare.

Newsletter: The State Of The Union And Movement

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. The United States is a failing empire: the domestic economy has fallen to a level equivalent to a developing nation for most of us while the stock markets, especially for weapons-makers, are at record levels. It has taken decades for the US to get here. Long-term mis-leadership created the environment where a “Make America Great Again” presidential candidate, whose fame came from being a reality-TV star and someone who put his name in giant gold letters on every business he ran, could con his way into office in large part because he is not a politician. Trump’s election woke a lot of people up and sparked new levels of activism. As we reach the one-hundredth day of this new administration, it’s a good time to reflect on the state of the union and of the movements for peace and justice.

Newsletter: Build On The Victory Of Stopping RyanCare

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The failure of the Republican Party to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is a major victory for the movement. It was a market-based plan that would have worsened insurance for most people in the United States and undermined our public insurances, Medicaid and Medicare. The movement held Republicans accountable and instilled fear in enough of them that they could not risk voting for such extremist legislation.Health care public health not private wealth The AHCA revealed divisions within the Republican Party. Supporters were mostly the ‘Ryan Republicans’. Opposition came from the Freedom Caucus, the Tea Party Republicans who wanted a more extreme bill, and a few ‘moderates’ who recognized the political cost they would have paid if the unpopular AHCA had passed. A poll found that only 17 percent of voters supported the AHCA.

Republicans Postpone Vote On ACA Replacement

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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.

Newsletter - Beyond Russia: The Work Ahead

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. As the day that the Electoral College casts its vote for President draws near, so does the frenzy of accusations that Russians hacked the election to benefit Donald Trump and are spreading ‘fake news’ full of Russian propaganda. It seems like everyone is jumping on the anti-Russia bandwagon, including past Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and most of the organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party. Many are calling for the Electors to switch their votes to Hillary Clinton. Russian spying image from the Intercept Russian spying image from the Intercept The absurdity of the 2016 Presidential election doesn’t seem to have an end. We urge readers not to get drawn into the manufactured distractions of the day. We have real work to do, no matter who is elected, to organize across multiple fronts of struggle.

Newsletter - Don't Be Fooled By Profiteers Option

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. ‘Progressive’ senators and organizations launched an effort to revive the ‘public option’ this week to salvage the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is critical, if we are to solve the ongoing healthcare crisis in the US, that we are not fooled by what is actually the Profiteer’s Option that will be another gift to the insurance industry. We must unite instead and fight, just as we fight to stop pipelines and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for the solution, national improved Medicare for All, a single payer system that nearly two-thirds of people in the US support. The public option not only adds more bureaucracy it results in patients who need healthcare going toward the public option, while the private insurers use their marketing propaganda to keep wealthier patients and healthier patients in their system. In that way the private insurance takes in more money in premiums and has to pay out less for healthcare. So, while this is sold to us as a step toward single payer, that is false propaganda. The public option is really the Profiteer’s Option.

Medical School: An invitation For Single Payer Activism

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By Josh Faucher for Students for a National Health Program. Each year, I’m impressed with the reality that many of our most enthusiastic and active members are students early in their medical school journeys, many of whom haven’t had much contact with patients yet. When I first began medical school, it was easy to get caught up in the praise and aggrandizement that was heaped upon us – the constant congratulations for joining a profession as well-respected and impactful as medicine. It is true that physicians can have a profound impact on the lives of our patients, curing terrible diseases and lessening the suffering caused by chronic ailments. In looking at the nature of the health care system as a whole, however, I have seen clear examples of how access is rationed based on a patient’s financial resources, and how seeking health care can leave patients vulnerable to harm that affects their livelihoods and economic security.