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 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.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit – If you were watching the live stream of President Trump’s rally in Nashville, TN on Wednesday, you may have noticed that at one point shouting arose to his right causing him to wave his right hand dismissively, pause and turn his back to the audience. When he turned back around, Trump said, “One person and that will be the story tomorrow. Did you hear there was a protester?” Click here to see the live stream. The interruption begins about 1 hour and 24 minutes in. That ‘one protester’ was Dr. Carol Paris, the current president of Physicians for a National Health Program and a member of the steering committee of Health Over Profit for Everyone, and she was able to get his attention in a sea of people.
By Michael Corcoran for FAIR – In May 2009, at the infancy of the healthcare reform battle that led to the Affordable Care Act, a group of nurses and single-payer activists were arrested for disrupting a Senate Finance Committee meeting chaired by Sen. Max Baucus (D.–Mont.) (Democracy Now, 5/13/09). These activists had been ignored by politicians and corporate media for years (FAIR.org, 3/6/09), and hoped an arrest, or eight, would bring attention to their cause. Despite the efforts of the “Baucus 8,” the New York Times did not report on the event. Nor did much of the rest of the dominant media.
By Mensah M. Dean for Philly News – While political heavyweights in Washington slug it out over the merits of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) compared with its newly proposed replacement American Health Care Act (Trumpcare), a group of future doctors from across the country huddled Saturday in Philadelphia to advocate and strategize for an altogether different health insurance option. Most of the 200 medical students who gathered at Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine building for the sixth annual summit of Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP) said they think Obamacare is inadequate because it leaves an estimated 26 million Americans without health insurance
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.
By Michelle Chen for Truthout – Donna Smith has braved cancer, battled predatory insurance companies and fought relentlessly for health care reform for more than a decade. But she’s not sure she’ll survive the aftermath of Election Day. “Every single morning since November 8, I sit and wonder if this will be the day that I have enough guts finally to end my life,” she says. Smith, a 62-year-old cancer survivor and campaigner for universal health care, is one of millions stuck between the death throes of the Obama administration’s half-baked health care reform plan and the Trump regime’s agenda of ending health insurance for millions. But beyond fighting political havoc in the Republican-led Congress, Smith is mostly racing against time now: If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed, as Trump and the Republican Congress have promised — possibly in the next few weeks — Smith will be forced to lean on her extended family’s savings to pay for her care.
By Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein for Annals of Internal Medicine – President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Repealing it is relatively easy. Replacing it with “something great” is much trickier. The president has promised universal coverage and reduced deductibles and copayments, all within tight budgetary constraints. That is a tall order and unlikely to be filled by proposals that Republicans have offered thus far. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s blueprint (1) would rebrand the ACA’s premium subsidies as “tax credits” (technically, the subsidies are already tax credits) and offer them to anyone lacking job-based coverage—even the wealthy—reducing the funds available to subsidize premiums for lower-income persons in the United States. He would allow “mini-med” plans offering miniscule coverage and interstate sales of insurance, circumventing state-based consumer protections.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. Roll Call reports that the Republicans introduced legislation, the Obamacare Replacement Act, in both the House and the Senate. The plan, known as the Sanford-Paul Plan for its lead sponsors, has the support of the strongest Republican caucus, the Freedom Caucus. Leaving insurance plans up to the market to determine means that low cost plans will cover very little and the fact will remain that people in the US will only be able to receive health care if they can afford it. In order to make progress in the demand for National Improved Medicare for All, we need a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate. Senator Sanders, a long-time advocate for single payer health care, is the most obvious senator to be the lead sponsor but he has refused to make a commitment to introducing single payer legislation. We must push Senator Sanders to introduce a senate companion bill to HR 676 quickly.
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.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. Few people outside of single payer activist circles are aware that Senator Sanders introduced an amendment on the Senate floor in December 2009 that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a single payer health system. It was the first time in the history of the United States that single payer legislation was brought to the floor for a vote. Sadly, it was a Republican doctor who killed the amendment. This happened during the height of the health reform process in the Senate; the House had already passed its version of the legislation. It was the result of a year of pressure to include a single payer health system, National Improved Medicare for All (NIMA), in the health reform debate, grassroots pressure that included nonviolent direct action.
By Marcia Angell for US Today – Even before the election of Donald Trump, Obamacare was in trouble. Premiums on the government exchanges for individual policies are projected to increase an average of 11% next year, nearly four times the increase for employer-based family policies. And some large insurers are pulling out of that market altogether in parts of the country. Those who buy insurance on the exchanges often find that even with subsidies, they can’t afford to use the insurance because of mounting deductibles (about $6,000 for individual Bronze plans). It has become clear that health insurance is not the same as health care.