House Approves $700B ‘Cash Cow for Weapons Companies’—But Single Payer ‘Too Expensive’

by Jake Johnson – “What if we tell House Republicans and Democrats that North Korea wanted to close schools, take our healthcare away and pump CO2 into our air—we could suddenly, magically find $700 billion dollars for all of it.” In a bipartisan show of support for endless war and out-of-control military spending, the House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the nearly $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2018 that aims to boost war outlays by $80 billion—an amount that critics noted would easily cover the costs of free public college tuition and other initiatives that are frequently dismissed as too expensive. The final vote tally was 357-70, with 127 Democrats throwing their support behind the bill. Sixty-seven Democrats—including Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and John Conyers of Michigan—voted against the legislation. In addition to providing cash for 90 F-35 jets—20 more than President Donald Trump requested—the measure also approves...

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Now is the Time to Transition From Obamacare to Single-payer Medicare For All

by Egberto Willies – Right-wing Republicans continue to talk about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act while establishment Democrats remain invested in Obamacare, seemingly at all costs. Neither of these parties seems to understand the failed state of health care for millions of Americans, including some with employer-provided coverage. Americans are starting to realize that there is, in fact, a better way. This week Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled his single-payer Medicare for all plan. Kamala Harris of California was the first U.S. senator to sign on. The flood gates then seemed to open as Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren signed on, quickly followed by 14 other Democrats. It seems these lawmakers are starting to read the desires of the grassroots instead of their wealthy benefactors. After all, 53 percent of Americans now support single-payer Medicare for all—and the trajectory is more support, not less. Americans are starting to realize that the insurance companies, pharmaceutical titans, and the rest of the medical-industrial complex are...

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We Spend How Much on Health Care?

by Joan McCarter – Here’s your not-so-regular reminder that the American health care system is a complete mess, and the nation’s Republican leadership is so incomprehensibly incapable of dealing with that fact that words describing how bad they are at this don’t really exist. It’s not just that the U.S. spends more than every other high-income country on health care per person—it’s how much more it spends. As would be expected, wealthy countries like the U.S., tend to spend more per person on health care and related expenses than lower income countries. However, even as a high income country, the U.S. spends more per person on health than comparable countries. Health spending per person in the U.S. was $9,451 in 2015 –  22% higher than Luxembourg, the next highest per capita spender. See the illuminating graphic below: That right there demands action. The fact that we are spending nearly $10,000 a year per person and still have upward of 30...

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Universal Health Care Would Save $17 Trillion

by David Akadjian – $32 trillion. You may have seen this number in corporate media coverage and Republican propaganda. It’s the estimated cost of universal health care over a 10-year period. It’s a big number—a big, scary number. So hacks like the editorial board at The Washington Post use it to scare people with titles like “Single-payer health care would have an astonishingly high price tag.” Not just high—astonishingly high. Of course what the editorial board of The Washington Post leaves out (though you think they’d know better) is any comparison to what we’re currently spending. Compared to what we’re currently spending, universal health care or single-payer health care would save us $17 trillion over 10 years. In order to demonstrate this, we just need a couple of numbers. The first number is how much we currently spend on health care per year. National Healthcare Expenditure (NHE) This is a number called the National Healthcare Expenditure (NHE). NHE measures everything we...

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Offering ‘Moral Model’ for Nation, California’s Medicare for All Plan Clears State Senate

by Jon Queally – ‘California Senators have sent an unmistakable message today to every Californian and people across the nation.’ A bill that would create the first state-level single payer healthcare system in the United States passed the California Senate on Thursday, generating applause as a major step forward in creating a necessary proving ground for a national ‘Medicare for All’ program. With a vote of 23-14, the Healthy California Act (SB 562) passed in the Democratic-controlled chamber largely along party lines. Though the bill is now headed to the California Assembly for consideration and debate, supporters of the proposal celebrated its passage in the Senate as a landmark development. “What we did today was really approve the concept of a single-payer system in California,” Democratic State Sen. Ricardo Lara, a co-author of the bill, told the San Jose Mercury News following the vote. “This is a banner day for California,...

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Global Study Shows Americans Dying from Preventable Causes at Shocking Rates

by Nika Knight – ‘Having a strong economy does not guarantee good healthcare’ Americans are dying at a shockingly high rate from preventable causes, found a first-of-its-kind global health study published last Thursday. The new research demonstrates that despite the fact that the U.S. has the largest economy in the world, healthcare for many of its residents is woefully inadequate. The U.S. was tied with Estonia and Montenegro, far below other wealthy nations such as Norway, Canada, and Australia, in the study’s ranking of 195 countries. “America’s ranking is an embarrassment, especially considering the U.S. spends more than $9,000 per person on healthcare annually, more than any other country,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, senior author of the study and director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. “Anyone with a stake in the current healthcare debate, including elected officials at the federal, state, and...

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Single Payer Success in NY as Medicare-for-All Bill Passes State Assembly

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘The New York State Assembly is leading the way with the only kind of healthcare bill that will put people before profits.’ As the momentum behind Medicare-for-All continues to grow nationwide, New York’s State Assembly on Tuesday was expected to pass a single-payer healthcare bill that puts the state light years ahead of the regressive GOP in Washington, D.C. The New York Health Act would afford all state residents access to comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care, primary and preventative care, prescription drugs, behavioral health services, laboratory testing, and rehabilitative care, as well as dental, vision, and hearing coverage. There would be no premiums, deductibles, or co-pays; the plan would be funded through progressively raised taxes, including a surcharge that would be split 80/20 between employers and employees. As Salon‘s Amanda Marcotte wrote earlier this month, the legislation’s lead sponsor, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, says “‘almost all New Yorkers...

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Did the Marquis de Sade Write This Health Care Bill?

by RoseAnn DeMoro – Nope, Republicans did. Even the great Stephen King might find this story implausible. Republican leaders in the House and White House wanted to implement a massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans (the health care bill passed Thursday) as a prelude to adopting a second massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations (the tax bill that’s next on their agenda). They needed the first tax cut so they could pass both bills through a process called “reconciliation” which allows them to enact both massive gifts to the 1 percent by a simple majority in the Senate without the 60-vote threshold in the Senate for other legislation. The first tax cut for the very rich is called the American Health Care Act, the not so hidden fine print in a bill that is also a horror story for tens of millions of Americans who would...

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Republicans Finally Unmask Their Healthcare Agenda – And it Isn’t Patient-Centered

by Donna Smith – If you have been inclined to trust in any way that the Republicans in Congress or the Trump-Pence-Ryan regime intend to make things better for you and your family in terms of healthcare policy, think again and stop wondering.  The plan is simple.  They will protect and enhance the insurance companies and other profit centers in healthcare.  No matter how many ads they purchase or how much message tweaking they do, patients are not at the center of the Republican plans. From an article in The Hill this morning, “The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed a regulation aimed at ‘stabilizing’ the ObamaCare marketplace by making changes favorable to insurers…” Just a bit lower in the article, we see the glaring, shocking reality of what the Republicans think of those in need of healthcare.  “The regulation requires people enrolling through extra sign-up periods outside of the normal time...

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With Tom Price Confirmed, Clock is Ticking for Critical Safety-Net Programs

by Deirdre Fulton – Price’s confirmation decried as ‘a body blow to the health and welfare of all Americans’. Putting the nation’s safety net programs at risk, the U.S. Senate confirmed Tom Price as Health and Human Services Secretary early Friday morning. Price, who had represented Georgia in the House of Representatives since 2005, is known as an ardent opponent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare. During his confirmation hearing in January, Price refused to say whether he would honor President Donald Trump’s campaign trail promises not to cut Medicare and Medicaid spending. He has also led efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and faced questions about his stock trading during a contentious confirmation process. Friday’s post-2:00am vote was 52-47 along party lines (roll call here), with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) not voting because her husband was having heart surgery. Physicians for a National Health Program (PHNP) called Price’s confirmation...

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Trump Has to Rescue Obamacare or Admit He’s a Liar

by Bernie Sanders – The president-elect might have forgotten his campaign promises. But we won’t. It didn’t take long. During the first week of 2017, the new Republican Congress has begun efforts to dismantle America’s health-care system. Their long-standing goal, consistent with their right-wing ideology, is to take away health insurance from tens of millions of Americans, privatize Medicare, make massive cuts to Medicaid and defund Planned Parenthood. At the same time, in the midst of grotesque and growing income and wealth inequality, they’re preparing to allow pharmaceutical companies to increase drug prices and to hand out obscene tax breaks for the top one-tenth of 1 percent. Let me be absolutely clear: The impact of repealing large pieces of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans are planning to put on Donald Trump’s desk on his first day in the White House, would be devastating. If Republicans get their way, 30 million Americans, 82 percent of whom are from working families, will lose their health insurance. With Medicare privatized, seniors will see...

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Repealing Obamacare? Here’s a Better Idea – Medicare for All

by RoseAnn DeMoro – Eliminating private insurance and the high premiums, co-pays and deductibles will save families thousands of dollars, free up millions for businesses, increase wages for workers, and save hundreds of billions for taxpayers. Now that the dogged opponents of the Affordable Care Act have caught the Obamacare bus, transforming U.S. healthcare is back on the political agenda. Repeal of the ACA will not curb the persistent, systemic inequities of our profit-focused healthcare system. Tens of millions, even those with health insurance, still struggle with unpayable medical bills due to rising deductibles and co-pays and skyrocketing prescription drug costs and hospital charges. Insurance networks sharply restrict patient choice. Millions remain without any health coverage, or simply avoid getting the care they need because they can’t afford it – at great risk to their health. Disparities based on race, gender, age, or where you live remain rampant. Even advocates of...

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What’s Behind the Healthcare Rate Hikes and 7 Other Things Donald won’t Tell You About the ACA

by David Akadjian – Map tweeted by Donald Trump  The Affordable Care Act recently made news for rate increases. Trump and the GOP are trying to use these increases as political weapons. One of the things he doesn’t tell you is that some of these increases could be attributed to the failure of the GOP to expand Medicaid. He also doesn’t tell you that he has no plans to fight rate increases. Without further ado, here’s more on this, and some of the other things he’s not telling you about the Affordable Care Act. 1. Experts warned the states that if they didn’t expand Medicaid coverage, customers could see higher premiums.  Why? Because hospitals tend to shift the costs of emergency room care to private insurers. In Nebraska in 2014, for example, hospitals provided uncompensated care to 54,000 people who would have qualified for coverage under Medicaid expansion. Adrian Sanchez, a spokesman for...

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Census Data ‘Starkly Illustrates’ the Time for Single Payer Is Now

by Nadia Prupis – “Our patients and our economy can’t wait any longer for an effective remedy to our healthcare woes. The stakes are too high” The latest U.S. Census Bureau data clearly illustrates that the need for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health program has never been more urgent, the advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) said Tuesday. The census found that 29 million people went uninsured last year, including 3.7 million children, and that deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs have continued to rise well after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into law in 2010. The data “starkly illustrates how our inefficient, private-insurance-based system of financing care is fundamentally incapable of providing universal coverage,” said pediatrician and PNHP president Dr. Robert Zarr. “The fact that 29 million people remain uninsured—a figure that won’t change much over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office—is totally unacceptable to...

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Why a Single-Payer Healthcare System is Inevitable

by Robert Reich – The best argument for a single-payer health plan is the recent decision by giant health insurer Aetna to bail out next year from 11 of the 15 states where it sells Obamacare plans.Aetna’s decision follows similar moves by UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, and by Humana, another one of the giants. All claim they’re not making enough money because too many people with serious health problems are using the Obamacare exchanges, and not enough healthy people are signing up. The problem isn’t Obamacare per se. It lies in the structure of private markets for health insurance – which creates powerful incentives to avoid sick people and attract healthy ones. Obamacare is just making this structural problem more obvious. In a nutshell, the more sick people and the fewer healthy people a private for-profit insurer attracts, the less competitive that insurer becomes relative to other insurers...

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Aetna Shows Why We Need a Single Payer

by Robert Reich – The best argument for a single-payer health plan is the recent decision by giant health insurer Aetna to bail out next year from 11 of the 15 states where it sells Obamacare plans. Aetna’s decision follows similar moves by UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, and Humana, one of the other giants. All claim they’re not making enough money because too many people with serious health problems are using the Obamacare exchanges, and not enough healthy people are signing up. The problem isn’t Obamacare per se. It’s in the structure of private markets for health insurance – which creates powerful incentives to avoid sick people and attract healthy ones. Obamacare is just making the structural problem more obvious. In a nutshell, the more sick people and the fewer healthy people a private for-profit insurer attracts, the less competitive that insurer becomes relative to other insurers that don’t attract...

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Despite GOP Opposition, Mounting Evidence That Medicaid Improves Health

by Deirdre Fulton – New research comes as Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin attempts to dismantle the state’s Medicaid expansion program as part of crusade against Obamacare Bolstering the call for universal coverage and undercutting a key Republican talking point, a new study finds that Medicaid expansion in Arkansas and Kentucky resulted in better healthcare and improved health outcomes among low-income Americans. The research from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that two years after Medicaid coverage was expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in their states, low-income adults in Kentucky and Arkansas received more primary and preventive care, made fewer emergency room visits, had less trouble paying bills, and reported higher quality care and improved health compared with their counterparts in Texas, one of 19 states that did not expand Medicaid. The findings came out Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. According to a press statement,...

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New Study Offers More Evidence Dems Need to Fight for Medicare-for-All

by Andrea Germanos – ‘Our findings dramatize the urgent need for national health insurance—a single-payer reform with first-dollar coverage—that would assure that all Americans can get the care they need’ Buoying single-payer advocates’ call for system that covers everyone and underscoring the nation’s inequality, a new study finds that the wealthiest Americans are the ones receiving the most healthcare. Published Thursday in health policy journal Health Affairs, the findings show a reversal of a decades-long trend of more equality in healthcare that followed the 1965 passage of Medicare and Medicaid. The researchers used data from 22 national surveys conducted between 1963 and 2012, and divided the population into income quintiles. The wealthiest group contained those with an income of $101,094 for a family of three, and the poorest quintile had family incomes below $22,689. Though medical spending overall slowed between 2004 and 2012, the different income groups showed vastly different spending....

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Can This Man Unseat Corporate-Cozy DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

by Deirdre Fulton – Tim Canova, running a primary challenge in South Florida, scored two big labor endorsements this month With Democratic National Committee chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz under fire for attempting to “sabotage” payday lending reform and supporting the party establishment, her primary challenger Tim Canova is gaining steam in his attempt to unseat the six-term congresswoman. “We are proud to endorse Tim Canova today because he shares nurses’ values of caring, compassion, and community,” said National Nurses United (NNU) co-president Deborah Burger, RN, at a press conference Thursday announcing the union’s endorsement of the activist and attorney, who is himself backing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Noting his support for a Medicare-for-All healthcare system, his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership, and his commitment to fighting big money in politics, Burger said that “on issue after issue, Tim Canova lines up with the concerns of nurses and...

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The Corporate Case for Single Payer

by Russell Mokhiber – Mingling among the doctors, nurses and activists at the single payer conferences in Chicago this weekend was one Richard Master. Master is the owner and CEO of MCS Industries Inc., the nation’s leading supplier of wall and poster frames — a $200 million a year company based in Easton, Pennsylvania. Master has just produced a movie — Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point. He was in Chicago to show it to the single payer advocates gathered there attending two conferences — the Physicians for a National Health Program annual meeting and the Single Payer Strategy Conference put on by nurses and other labor unions. In a way, Master was a fish out of water — a businessman among activists. But he had reached the same conclusion. “My company now pays $1.5 million a year to provide access to healthcare for our workers and their dependents,” Master...

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Donald Trump: I Paid Hillary Clinton To Attend My Wedding

By JOHN PRAGER, Addicting Info – Fox News debate moderator, orange-skinned Brett Baier, reminded Donald Trump that he once described himself as a “liberal” on health care. “You were for a single payer system, a Canadian-style system. Why were you for that then, and not now,” Baier asked. “After a brief aside about how disastrous the Iraq war was,” Trump pointed out that single payer systems are quite successful in other places. “It works in Canada, it works incredibly well in Scotland. It could’ve worked in a different age (which is the age you’re talking about) here.,” the billionaire said. “What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state.” Trump said that he would take care of those who can’t take care of themselves “through a different system” — which enraged Rand Paul, who jumped into another catfight with Trump. “News flash!” Paul said....

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Happy Birthday Medicare

by Robert Reich – Medicare turns fifty this week. It was signed into law July 30, 1965 – the crowning achievement of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. It’s more popular than ever. Yet Medicare continues to be blamed for America’s present and future budget problems. That’s baloney. A few days ago Jeb Bush even suggested phasing it out. Seniors already receiving benefits should continue to receive them, he said, but “we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they’re not going to have anything.” Bush praised Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to give seniors vouchers instead. What Bush didn’t say was that Ryan’s vouchers wouldn’t keep up with increases in medical costs – leaving seniors with less coverage. The fact is, Medicare isn’t the problem. It’s the solution. Its costs are being pushed upward by...

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Private Health Care as an Act of Terrorism

by Paul Buchheit – The FBI defines terrorism as “Acts dangerous to human life…intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Much of the behavior of our current health care system meets that definition. The facts show intention on the part of corporations to intimidate the population by using market strategies to charge whatever they like for their medical products and services, and an effort to coerce the public into accepting the current system as the only option. The Average American Family Pays $4,000 for Medical Fraud and Subsidies  Medical billing fraud is estimated at 10 percent of all health care, or about $270 billion, while patent monopolies raise the price of prescription drugs by another $270 billion a year. Combined, this represents an astonishing annual cost of over $4,000 to an average American household. As The Atlantic puts it, “The people most likely to bilk the system are doctors and medical providers, not ‘welfare queens.'” Intimidation by Outrageous Markups  In a recent analysis of 50 hospitals (49 for-profit) with the...

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The Choice Ahead: A Private Health-Insurance Monopoly or a Single Payer

by Robert Reich –   The Supreme Court’s recent blessing of Obamacare has precipitated a rush among the nation’s biggest health insurers to consolidate into two or three behemoths. The result will be good for their shareholders and executives, but bad for the rest of us – who will pay through the nose for the health insurance we need. We have another choice, but before I get to it let me give you some background. Last week, Aetna announced it would spend $35 billion to buy rival Humana in a deal that will create the second-largest health insurer in the nation, with 33 million members. The combination will claim a large share of the insurance market in many states – 88 percent in Kansas and 58 percent in Iowa, for example. A week before Aetna’s announcement, Anthem disclosed its $47 billion offer for giant insurer Cigna. If the deal goes through, the combined firm will...

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Green Party Candidate Jill Stein Announces 2016 Presidential Run

By Ned Resnikoff, Al Jazeera – Jill Stein, the latest entrant into the 2016 presidential race, pledged to eradicate poverty, bring about full employment and wean the United States off fossil fuels by 2030 in a Tuesday announcement speech at Washington, D.C.’s National Press Club. Stein, who revealed Monday that she would seek the Green Party’s nomination for the White House, said her campaign “is building a people-powered force that will not sell or bow out, and will change American politics forever.” This will be Stein’s second presidential campaign, following a 2012 bid on the Green Party ticket in which she received 0.36 percent of the popular vote. She has also run unsuccessfully for governor of Massachusetts twice and held local office in her hometown of Lexington, Mass. Stein is a physician by training. The Green Party, which presents itself as a left-wing alternative to both the Democrats and Republicans, reached...

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Brutality is Our Society’s Trademark—From the Justice System to Healthcare

by Donna Smith – Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen so many examples of brutality played out in our cities — and mostly our most impoverished areas — that it isn’t difficult to see why so many people are in the streets.  Many say white people cannot truly understand the deep racial issues that target African American people and their communities, and that is no doubt true.  But that sort of thinking also keeps groups of people apart who might otherwise band together to exert powerful forces on the corruption that manifests itself in so many places in our society. Since I advocate for transformation of our health care system, I see brutality — economic and physical — exerted on patients all the time.  Yet patients often do not speak up or gather enough support to wage even a small protest.  We’ve so ingrained the notion of personal financial responsibility...

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Five Years In – How’s the Affordable Care Act Doing? A Diagnosis

by Carl Finamore – Hard to believe it’s been five years since Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on March 23, 2010. The bloviating, vein-popping right-wing still goes ballistic at mere mention of the word Obamacare. Still, putting aside their senseless distortions and diatribes, not too many of us have cause for celebration except perhaps the top brass from the 1300 or so private health insurers who are raking in enormous profits – health care stocks soared by almost 40 percent in 2013, the highest of any sector in the S&P 500. Nonetheless, as a reminder, the controversial law does contain some important positives for regular folks. For example, it guarantees coverage for everyone without tacking on higher premiums because of pre-existing medical conditions and it requires annual free preventive-care health checks for those on Medicare. But, five years in, as critics continue to emphasize, ACA still primarily serves as...

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Antidote to Growing Inequality = Universal Healthcare: World Health Organization Head

‘We have to evict private insurers and other profiteers from our healthcare system,’ says U.S. doctor and single-payer advocate by Andrea Germanos – Providing universal health coverage is a key way to address increasing global inequality, the head of the World Health Organization said Tuesday. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan made the comment—which echoes previous comments she’s made—during a keynote address on the first of a two-day conference on universal health coverage taking place in Singapore. “Universal health coverage is one of the most powerful social equalizers among all policy options. It is the ultimate expression of fairness,” Agence France-Presse quotes her as saying. Achieving such coverage demands “deliberate policy decisions,” she said, adding, “At a time when policies in so many sectors are actually increasing social inequalities, I would be delighted to see health lead the world towards greater fairness in ways that matter to each and every person on the...

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Bernie Sanders: Keeping US From Becoming Oligarchy ‘A Struggle We Must Win’

In speech at Brookings Institution, senator says growing wealth gap, high poverty rates, health care crisis signs of country slipping into control of small billionaire class by Nadia Prupis – U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gave a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. on Monday to talk about his proposed recovery program and to address the economic challenges facing the U.S., both at present and in the future, particularly as the wealth gap grows and financial institutions escape accountability. “e are moving rapidly away from our democratic heritage into an oligarchic form of society,” Sanders said. “Today, the most serious problem we face is the grotesque and growing level of wealth and income inequality. This a profound moral issue, this is an economic issue and this is a political issue.” “We need to take a hard look at our trade policies which have resulted in the outsourcing of millions...

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Single-Payer: It’s What the People Want

New poll shows majority of Americans support such a system by Andrea Germanos – A majority of Americans support a single-payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare system, a new poll shows. The results showed that just over 50 percent of the 1,500 likely voters surveyed indicated support for a single-payer system. Almost 80 percent of Democrats supported such a plan, while 25 of Republicans did. The findings were first shared with The Hill by the Progressive Change Institute, an arm of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. The new poll comes on the heels of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin’s abandoning what was seen as a trailblazing plan to create a single-payer healthcare system in his state. The move was derided by Dr. Andrew D. Coates, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, who said, “Vermonters throughout the state understand that an equitable health care system must be truly universal and must remove all financial...

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What Happened in Vermont: Implications of the Pullback from Single Payer

by Steffie Woolhandler, David Himmelstein – Gov. Peter Shumlin’s Dec. 17, 2014, announcement that he would not press forward with Vermont’s Green Mountain Care (GMC) reform arose from political calculus rather than fiscal necessity. GMC had veered away from a true single payer design over the past three years, forfeiting some potential cost savings. Yet even the diluted plan on the table before Shumlin’s announcement would probably have lowered total health spending in Vermont, while covering all of the state’s uninsured. Background Decades of exemplary grassroots organizing (and strong labor union support) in Vermont put single payer on the agenda. During Shumlin’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign, he promised to implement a single payer reform, which was a factor in the Progressive Party’s decision not to field a candidate. But the details of Shumlin’s plan weren’t fleshed out during the campaign. After his victory, Shumlin and the legislature commissioned economist William Hsiao to...

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