A new program is placing Medicare recipients into private health insurance plans without their knowledge or consent in a final effort to fully privatize our national Medicare system. Known as "Direct Contract Entities (DCEs)," this program is putting more of our healthcare system into the hands of private equity to generate enormous profits at the expense of our health. Clearing the FOG speaks about this with Kay Tillow, a long time health care, civil rights and union activist. Tillow explains what these entities are, why they threaten the future of our entire healthcare system and how they block our ability to achieve a national, universal and publicly-financed healthcare system such as national improved Medicare for All. She describes the fight to stop DCEs and win single payer health care.
National Improved Medicare for All
We are a coalition of groups that are coming together to march for Medicare for All. Who is in that coalition depends on which city you are talking about. There is no one single group behind this. The list seems to grow every day. Some people are even politically homeless and simply focused on doing what they can to move #M4A forward. We are nonpartisan, but some local parties have joined in the fight! We are proud to say that this type of coming together hasn't happened in recent memory, if ever. Our movement was founded from a place of compassion and love. We came together out of frustration with the lack of action from the powers that be. Many of us have our own personal stories as to why we are in this fight. All of us know that healthcare is a right, not a privilege.
I just had my third heart attack. Let me tell you about my previous two. The first was 16 years ago in 2012. After wasting 15-20 minutes with an ER admitting clerk demanding my “insurance information” before I was allowed access to care, a triage nurse hustled me 'backstage'. I was diagnosed with a “minor” MI stopped by doses of nitroglycerin. The following day the artery that had closed up was stented. The day after that I was kicked loose to the street. The 'retail' cost for my two day stay in the hospital and the procedure was around $250,000. My insurance “negotiated” that down to $22,000, co-pay was $2,200 plus $300 per month for prescription drugs over the next year.
In this third installment of the Deception 2020 Series, we dig into our so-called healthcare system – what would more appropriately be called our sickcare system. Yeah, the US has the ability to offer top notch care and medical support – but out of some 330 million people, how many have access to it? Then, we’re joined by Dr. Margaret Flowers for some more insight into this grossly unequal system, where the candidates stand and who those candidates even get to be!
A progressive organization of 23,000 physicians from across the U.S. demanded Thursday that the American Hospital Association (AHA) divest completely from a dark-money lobbying group that has spent millions combating Medicare for All and instead devote those financial resources to the fight against Covid-19 and to better support for patients and healthcare workers. Dr. Adam Gaffney, president of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), said in a statement that "the Covid-19 pandemic has stretched hospitals' resources to the limit, and the AHA should not waste precious member hospitals' funds lobbying against universal health coverage" as a member of the Partnership for America's Health Care Future (PFAHCF).
Insurers and healthcare providers in the United States spent a staggering $812 billion on paperwork and other administrative burdens in 2017 alone, bureaucratic costs that could be dramatically reduced by switching to a single-payer system like Medicare for All. That's according to a study published Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, which found that administrative costs amounted to 34.2 percent of total U.S. national health expenditures in 2017—twice the amount Canada spent on healthcare administration that same year. The study's authors noted that U.S. healthcare providers impose "a hidden surcharge" on patients "to cover their costly administrative burden." U.S. insurers and providers spent $2,497 per person on healthcare administration in 2017 while Canada spent just $551 per capita, the study found.
The US House of Representatives this week showed it is standing with the political consensus in the Democratic Party. Now, a majority of the House Democrats has signed on to the HR 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019. A political consensus has developed in the Democratic Party among its voters, but its leadership continues to try to please those who profit from the current wasteful and expensive insurance-based system that does not meet the needs of people in the United States. Sen. Kamala Harris, who put forward an unacceptable so-called Medicare for all plan, has been trying to hide her donations from the industry. The Intercept exposed how her campaign is receiving funding from pharmaceutical executives while saying it is not taking such funds.
Between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, lobbying on Medicare for All increased dramatically, almost entirely due to a surge in lobbying activity by organizations that oppose it. This indicates that opponents of Medicare for All are newly scared about its rising prospects. The diverse and powerful array of trade groups, conservative activist organizations, GOP-linked establishment groups and health care industry interests launching an all-out advertising blitz against Medicare for All further reinforces this reality. The number of organizations hiring lobbyists to work on Medicare for All increased from nine in the first quarter of 2018 to 61 in the first quarter of 2019 – a nearly sevenfold increase. The number of individual federal lobbyists working on Medicare for All increased from 29 in the first quarter of 2018 to 270 in the first quarter of 2019 – a ninefold increase.
Nurses, doctors, and medical students on Saturday afternoon gathered outside the Hyatt Regency hotel in Chicago, where the largest professional association for physicians was holding their annual meeting, to demand that the group "do no harm" and stop standing in the way of real, meaningful healthcare reform. National Nurses United (NNU), Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) and Health Over Profit for Everyone (www.HealthOverProfit.org) were among the groups that gathered to call on the American Medical Association (AMA) to support a Medicare for All program, which would replace the for-profit health insurance industry with government-funded healthcare for everyone in the United States.
The Congressional Budget Office issued a report on May 1, 2019 titled "Key Design Components and Considerations for Establishing a Single-Payer Health Care System." This report reviews a range of considerations as regards the design and implementation of a single- payer system as applied to the United States. The CBO report, as with all such analyses, needs to address two fundamental issues with respect to the establishment of a single-payer system for the U.S. These are: 1) Is a single-payer system capable of providing good-quality care to all U.S. residents; and 2) Is a single-payer system capable of significantly reducing overall U.S. health care costs while still delivering universal good-quality care? The report does not provide explicit answers, yes or no, to these questions. But it does present a framework for understanding how the U.S. could, in fact, establish a successful single-payer system.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) recently rolled out House Democrats’ version of a Medicare for All proposal that would ensure all Americans have guaranteed healthcare. The bill (H.R. 1384) has an impressive 106 co-sponsors, and has been called “the most ambitious Medicare-for-All plan yet” by Vox, which also reported the benefits the House bill contained were even more significant than the companion bill Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) first introduced in his chamber. Grit Post calculated that donors in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries gave a combined $43,740,947 in career campaign donations to the 130 House Democrats who have not yet signed on as co-sponsors to Rep. Jayapal’s bill.