By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – “I am not there,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein says of single-payer healthcare, a concept garnering big applause around the country. It’s not only Republicans that are feeling the heat in their hometowns during this congressional recess. Democrats who aren’t on board with increasingly popular progressive proposals are being held to account as well. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was a case-in-point on Monday, when she faced angry and vocal constituents at a midday town hall meeting in her hometown of San Francisco. It was her stance on single-payer healthcare—an idea that’s picking up momentum in the wake of last month’s TrumpCare debacle, especially in California—that drew the most vociferous response. When asked about her position on such a system, Feinstein responded: “If single-payer healthcare is going to mean the complete takeover by the government of all healthcare, I am not there.” According to the Los Angeles Times, one audience member called Feinstein a “sellout” as others joined in chants of “single-payer now!”
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. The national demand for Medicare for All continues to gain momentum. The Republican’s attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with even crappier private health insurance before the spring recess failed, and instead people organized to create what every other industrialized nation has – a publicly-financed universal healthcare system. Eighteen members of Congress signed on last week to HR 676: The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act after citizen lobby days, phone calls from constituents and pressure at local town halls. The bill currently has 94 co-sponsors in the House, more than ever in its 14-year history. More are expected to sign on after the spring recess where they will continue to hear from constituents on this issue. And Senator Sanders is expected to introduce a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate in May.
By Margaret Flowers for Health Over Profit. On April 7, people around the world took action to celebrate World Health Day by declaring that health care is not a commodity and should not be privatized. The theme of the day was “Our health is not for sale. In the more than 80 cities in the European Union that participated, the demands were to provide full public funding for their health systems and to end privatization. In the United States, the demand was to create a universal publicly-funded health system, as every other industrialized nation has done. In Washington, DC, health advocates gathered in front of the Department of Health and Human Services, which is close to Capitol Hill, with a large banner that said, “Our health is not for sale” to speak out about the failures of the United States’ market experiment in health care.
By Health Over Profit for Everyone. This is an exciting time because support for HR 676: “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act” is growing. Five new co-sponsors signed on last week. And, thanks to pressure from grassroots activists, Senator Sanders announced that he will introduce a companion bill to HR 676 in the Senate. We expect it in mid-May. From April 3 to 7, actions such as teach-ins, marches and speak outs are taking place across the country. Friday, April 7, is the international day of action against the privatization of health: “Our Health is NOT for Sale!”.
By Sheila Suess Kennedy for IBJ – The fight over the GOP’s health care bill was the latest iteration of a recurring debate between free market true believers and people who understand that market exchanges require a willing buyer and willing seller, both of whom possess all information relevant to the transaction. For rather obvious reasons, that doesn’t describe health care. Proponents of single-payer systems routinely point out that countries having such systems pay less for better health outcomes but seldom explain how our system disadvantages American business. The largest single drag on job creation and entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. is the cost of providing insurance.
By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – As the national healthcare debate rages in the wake of the GOP’s TrumpCare disaster, universal healthcare advocates have identified an opening to advance the long-held goal of enacting a single-payer (or similar) system—one that truly provides coverage for all. Signs this week suggest that opening is getting wider. One bright spot was Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) announcement over the weekend that he will soon introduce a Medicare-for-All bill in the U.S. Senate. Other promising signals included: 1. To much fanfare, a California lawmaker on Thursday unveiled details about Senate Bill 562, or the “Healthy California Act,” a single-payer proposal to create universal health coverage
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 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.