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Medicare for all

Building Grassroots Power For National Universal Health Care

Profiteers are taking over health care in the United States and running it into the ground - firing health professionals and closing hospitals. Dr. Ana Malinow, a lead organizer of the group, National Single Payer, fears we are witnessing the demise of a model national insurance, Medicare, as the 58th anniversary of its passage was celebrated on July 31. Dr. Malinow joins Clearing the FOG to discuss the state of health care in the US. She provides a strong critique of state legislative efforts and the two Medicare for All bills in the House and Senate, HR 3421 and S 1655. Dr. Malinow  outlines what people are doing across the country to build grassroots power to win a national health insurance, Medicare for All, or a national health system.

Chris Hedges: Nurses Fight Godzilla

New Brunswick, New Jersey - Judy Danella, president of United Steel Workers Local 4-200 — the union that represents Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital’s more than 1,700 nurses — stands in a church basement before a room full of her union members. Her voice quavers slightly as she delivers grim news. The hospital management, whose top administrators earn salaries in the millions of dollars, has refused to concede to any of the nurse’s core demands. Friday at 7:00 a.m. they will be locked out of the hospital and on strike. But it is not only the strike that concerns Danella, who is wearing a blue T-shirt that reads: “Safe Staffing Saves Lives.”

Why Has Progress In The National Single-Payer Movement Stalled?

With the public support for a national single payer system remaining strong and the need greater than ever, why is the movement stalled? What are the key sources of our power? Who are our allies? What can we do and how do we focus our energies to build the power necessary to end profiteering and make health care free at the point of service? More than a decade after the misnamed Affordable Care Act, (ACA) we still have tens of millions without any coverage while millions more are saddled with high deductible, narrow network “junk health insurance” plans. The pandemic exposed the USA’s bankrupt for-profit privatized “healthcare system.”

The Journey To Medicare’s 58th Anniversary

The most successful U. S. health insurance program, Medicare, was enacted ln July,1965, to provide health insurance for people ages 65 and older and the disabled regardless of income or medical history. In the 58 years since, Medicare has become living proof that public, universal health insurance is superior to private insurance in every way. Medicare is more efficient than private health insurance and is administered at a cost of 3 percent to 4 percent, as opposed to private, for-profit health insurance, which has for-profit/administrative costs above 15 percent. Medicare’s costs have risen more slowly than those of the private health insurance industry.

Activists Rally For East Palestine Residents To Get Free Health Care

Joy Marie Mann was not expecting a large crowd Friday night, but she was heartened that some of her close friends and fellow activists traveled from across the country to meet ahead of a health care rally in Ohio. "They're just very passionate people who are just very caring and support nationally improved 'Medicare for All' and believe in human rights," said Marie Mann, a health care activist from Harrisburg. In between interviews, speeches and a short candlelight vigil, Mann and the other activists at Schenley Park spoke to each other about their plans to attend a "Medicare for All" rally in Lisbon, Ohio.

Why Exposing Evils Of Medical Debt Doesn’t Fix The Problem

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont proposed on February 2 to purchase and forgive roughly $2 billion in medical debt owed by state residents. Along with similar proposals in other jurisdictions, the plan offers desperately needed relief from stress and fear to thousands of people who are struggling to pay their current outstanding medical bills. Unfortunately, these programs will do nothing to prevent millions more Americans from falling into the country’s healthcare financial meat grinder. Meanwhile, three major credit reporting agencies have decided to expunge paid-off medical debts and outstanding debt less than $500 from credit reports, and provide people a year’s grace period before adding new medical debt to credit reports.

Open Letter To Congressional Sponsors Of Medicare For All

As legislation for national single payer health care, an Improved Medicare for All, has not yet been introduced into the current Congress, now is the time to work to make that bill what it must be to solve the nation’s health care crisis. We thank you for your past sponsorship of national single payer. We urge you to work to assure that the upcoming legislation is based on sound policy so that, when implemented, it will bring excellent care to all as it frees our health care from the corporate control and profits that have made it so cruel and expensive. Then we urge you to sponsor, speak boldly, and stand up for a national single payer, not-for-profit, publicly-funded health care system, because nothing less can bring efficient, humane, compassionate care to everyone in our county.

AARP And The AFL CIO Are Pushing Medicare Disadvantage

Medicare Disadvantage insurance plans induce seniors by offering advantages that traditional Medicare doesn’t offer – like vision and dental coverage. That’s the upside. The downside is that when you actually get seriously ill, the disadvantage is that when you get sick, you might not get the coverage you were promised. Now, about half of all seniors in the United States are in Medicare Disadvantage. The unions should be fighting against the move to privatize Medicare. Instead of fighting, they are joining with the insurance companies to corporatize Medicare. The big daddy of unions, the AFL-CIO, is itself now partnering with the giant insurance company Anthem to push Medicare Disadvantage plans on its retired union members. The first ad for the campaign read: “Introducing AFL-CIO Medicare Advantage group plans, provided by Anthem. Comprehensive coverage available exclusively to retired union members.”

The Stealth Plan For Medicare For All

Some advocates of a publicly funded universal health care system have predicted that its creation is inevitable because of the "death spiral" of insurance costs. This term refers to the fact that as costs of insurance rise, fewer people can afford it, leading to a new round of rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs. If this cycle were allowed to continue indefinitely, it would be only a matter of time before the medical insurance industry priced its product out of existence. In a rational world, this simple fact would lead Congress to do what every other industrialized nation has done; create a publicly funded system of universal health care either through a government-run system such as Medicare for All, or through a tightly regulated system of non-profit insurers that offer a defined benefit package specified by the government, as in Germany.

Fighting For Healthcare Means Fighting For Socialism

On July 30 activists marched and rallied in Washington, DC, calling for a more humane healthcare system. Physician and Left Voice member Mike Pappas spoke at the rally about how capitalism and health aren’t compatible. Below is the text from his speech. Hi, everyone. My name is Mike, and I’m a healthcare worker in New York City. I work at the nation’s first overdose-prevention center and at a psychedelic-medicine clinic. Before this, I worked in both a federally qualified health center and a hospital in New York. I’m also a member of Left Voice, a revolutionary socialist group with a publication that is part of an international network of news sites. To start out — and this should be no surprise to anyone — but just in case, I’m going to be really blunt and make things real clear: our healthcare system is a piece of shit that doesn’t remotely foster health or well-being.

The Sickness Of Our Healthcare System Is Rooted In American Exceptionalism

July 30 will be the 57th anniversary of the passage of Medicare, widely celebrated as Medicare's birthday. People are taking action across the country this week in support of a National Improved Medicare for All single payer healthcare system culminating in a national march and rally in Washington, DC on Saturday (find info at Clearing the FOG speaks with Dr. Ana Malinow, a leader of the group National Single Payer, about the growing privatization and corporatization of the US healthcare system and how people are organizing to fight back and win a system in which everyone in the US will have the care they need without fear of financial ruin. She also discusses how American Exceptionalism is an obstacle to changing the system.

We Need A National Organization To Energize The Fight For Single Payer

There is a need for a national group of grassroots activists advocating, mobilizing, and organizing exclusively for national single payer. In the early days of 2021, when it became clear no member of Congress would champion the cause of Medicare for All, a group of long-time health care activists, unionists, grassroots organizers, and progressives met to discuss the need for a national organization to unite activists across the country and rally the movement for national single payer health care free from corporate profits. The activists were frustrated. After all, the Democrats held power in the House, in the Senate, and in the Executive Branch, and yet, there was no enthusiasm for improved and expanded Medicare for All.

July 30 – March For Medicare For All

Washington, DC - The grassroots, volunteer led activist group March for Medicare for All returns to Washington D.C. on Medicare's birthday for their National Day of Action. March for Medicare for All demands national improve Medicare for All and rejects the privatization of healthcare in America. Last summer, March for Medicare for All launched in 56 different locations all the same day. This year, the primary focus will be on the nation's capital. On Saturday, July 30 at 10:30 am, marchers will meet at the southeastern corner of The Ellipse off of Constitution Ave., NW, between 15th St, NW and 17th St, NW. For those interested in attending the rally, people will start congregating at noon in Union Square off of 3rd St, SW between Madison Dr., NW and Jefferson Dr., SW. Speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Hey, Bernie, Make It A Real Single Payer Bill…No Profits

Senator Bernie Sanders has announced that he is going to introduce his Medicare for All bill in the Senate—and hold a hearing.  This is most welcome news. As Bernie campaigned for the presidency, he elevated national single payer health care, an improved Medicare for All, into the public spotlight and onto the nation’s agenda. His advocacy for Medicare for All informed millions and lifted spirits building hope that a universal single payer plan is possible in the US. He has not done that well at writing legislation.  His most recent bill, the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (S. 1129), falls short of essential single payer principles and lets stand billions in profits that will undermine care and steal public funds.

Medicare For All Is Not Enough

We have long advocated for single-payer national health insurance. By eliminating private insurers and simplifying how providers are paid, single-payer would free up hundreds of billions of dollars now squandered annually on insurance-related bureaucracy. The savings would make it feasible to cover the uninsured and to eliminate the cost barriers that keep even insured patients from getting the care they need. And it would free patients and doctors from the narrow provider networks and other bureaucratic constraints imposed by insurance middlemen. We still urgently need this reform. However, the accelerating corporate transformation of US health care delivery complicates this vision. In the past, most doctors were self-employed, free-standing hospitals were the norm, and for-profit ownership of facilities was the exception. 
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