The Real Health Care Debate April 9, 2012Posted by rogerhollander in Health.
Tags: affordable care, big pharma, chris hedges, constitution, health, health care, heritage foundation, individual mandate, insurance industry, massachusetts health, medicare, medicare-for-all, mitt romney, obamacare, pharmaceutical industry, roger hollander, single payer, universal health
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Published on Monday, April 9, 2012 by Truthdig
The debate surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act illustrates the impoverishment of our political life. Here is a law that had its origin in the right-wing Heritage Foundation, was first put into practice in 2006 in Massachusetts by then-Gov. Mitt Romney and was solidified into federal law after corporate lobbyists wrote legislation with more than 2,000 pages. It is a law that forces American citizens to buy a deeply defective product from private insurance companies. It is a law that is the equivalent of the bank bailout bill—some $447 billion in subsidies for insurance interests alone—for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. It is a law that is unconstitutional. And it is a law by which President Barack Obama, and his corporate backers, extinguished the possibilities of both the public option and Medicare for all Americans. There is no substantial difference between Obamacare and Romneycare. There is no substantial difference between Obama and Romney. They are abject servants of the corporate state. And if you vote for one you vote for the other.
But you would never know this by listening to the Democratic Party and the advocacy groups that purport to support universal health care but seem more intent on re-electing Obama. It is the very sad legacy of the liberal class that it proves in election cycle after election cycle that it espouses moral and political positions it will not pay a price to defend. And since we have no fight in us, since we will not punish politicians like Obama who betray our core beliefs, the corporate juggernaut rolls forward with its inexorable pace to cement into place our global neofeudalism.
Protesting outside the Supreme Court recently as it heard arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act were both conservatives from Americans for Prosperity who denounced the president as a socialist and demonstrators from Democratic front groups such as the SEIU and the Families USA health care consumer group who chanted “Protect the law!” Lost between these two factions were a few stalwarts who hold quite different views, including public health care advocates Dr. Margaret Flowers, Dr. Carol Paris and attorneys Oliver Hall, Kevin Zeese and Russell Mokhiber. They displayed a banner that read: “Single Payer Now! Strike Down the Obama Mandate!” They, at least, have not relinquished the demand for single payer health care for all Americans. And I throw my lot in with these renegades, dismissed, no doubt, as cranks or dreamers or impractical by those who flee into the embrace of empty political theater and junk politics. These single payer advocates, joined by 50 doctors, filed a brief to the court that challenges, in the name of universal health care, the individual mandate.
“We have the solution, we have the resources and we have the money to provide lifelong, comprehensive, high-quality health care to every person,” Dr. Flowers said when we spoke a few days ago in Washington, D.C. Many Americans have not accepted the single payer approach “because people get confused by the politics,” she said. “People accept the Democratic argument that this [Obamacare] is all we can have or this is something we can build on.”
“If you are trying to meet the goal of universal health coverage and the only way to meet that goal is to force people to purchase private insurance, then you might consider that it is constitutional,” Flowers said. “Our argument is that the individual mandate does not meet the goal of universality. When you attempt to use the individual mandate and expansion of Medicaid for coverage, only about half of the uninsured gain coverage. This is what we have seen in Massachusetts. We do, however, have systems in the United States that could meet the goal of universality. That would be either a Veterans Administration type system, which is a socialized system run by the government, or a Medicare type system, a single payer, publicly financed health care system. If the U.S. Congress had considered an evidence-based approach to health reform instead of writing a bill that funnels more wealth to insurance companies that deny and restrict care, it would have been a no-brainer to adopt a single payer health system much like our own Medicare. We are already spending enough on health care in this country to provide high-quality, universal, comprehensive, lifelong health care. All the data point to a single payer system as the only way to accomplish this and control health care costs.”
Obamacare will, according to figures compiled by Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), leave at least 23 million people without insurance, a figure that translates into an estimated 23,000 unnecessary deaths a year among people who cannot afford care. Costs will continue to climb. There are no caps on premiums, including for people with “pre-existing conditions.” The elderly can be charged three times the rates provided to the young. Companies with predominantly female workforces can be charged higher gender-based rates. Most of us will soon be paying about 10 percent of our annual incomes to buy commercial health insurance, although this coverage will pay for only about 70 percent of our medical expenses. And those of us who become seriously ill, lose our incomes and cannot pay the skyrocketing premiums are likely to be denied coverage. The dizzying array of loopholes in the law—written in by insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists—means, in essence, that the healthy will receive insurance while the sick and chronically ill will be priced out of the market.
Medical bills already lead to 62 percent of personal bankruptcies, and nearly 80 percent of those declaring personal bankruptcy because of medical costs had insurance. The U.S. spends twice as much per capita on health care as other industrialized nations, $8,160. Private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume 31 percent of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single, nonprofit payer would save more than $400 billion per year, enough, the PNHP estimates, to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.
But as long as corporations determine policy, as long as they can use their money to determine who gets elected and what legislation gets passed, we remain hostages. It matters little in our corporate state that nearly two-thirds of the public wants single payer and that it is backed by 59 percent of doctors. Public debates on the Obama health care reform, controlled by corporate dollars, ruthlessly silence those who support single payer. The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus, a politician who gets more than 80 percent of his campaign contributions from outside his home state of Montana, locked out of the Affordable Care Act hearing a number of public health care advocates including Dr. Flowers and Dr. Paris; the two physicians and six other activists were arrested and taken away. Baucus had invited 41 people to testify. None backed single payer. Those who testified included contributors who had given a total of more than $3 million to committee members for their political campaigns.
“It is not necessary to force Americans to buy private health insurance to achieve universal coverage,” said Russell Mokhiber of Single Payer Action. “There is a proven alternative that Congress didn’t seriously consider, and that alternative is a single payer national health insurance system. Congress could have taken seriously evidence presented by these single payer medical doctors that a single payer system is the only way to both control costs and cover everyone.”
Chris Hedges writes a regular column for Truthdig.com. Hedges graduated from Harvard Divinity School and was for nearly two decades a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. He is the author of many books, including: War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning, What Every Person Should Know About War, and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His most recent book is Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.
One Montana County’s Medicare-for-All Coverage June 28, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Montana.
Tags: health, health care, health care reform, healthcare, healthcare reform, kay tillow, libby montana, max baucus, medicare, medicare-for-all, montana, montana health, roger hollander, ryan republicans, single payer
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As the Ryan Republicans try to destroy Medicare, here’s a prescription to clean up the whole mess.
Back when he presided over the Senate’s health care reform debate, Max Baucus, chairman of the all-powerful Senate Finance Committee, had said everything was on the table — except for single-payer universal health care. When doctors, nurses, and others rose in his hearing to insist that single payer be included in the debate, the Montana Democrat had them arrested. As more stood up, Baucus could be heard on his open microphone saying, “We need more police.”
Yet when Baucus needed a solution to a catastrophic health disaster in Libby, Montana and surrounding Lincoln County, he turned to the nation’s single-payer healthcare system, Medicare, to solve the problem.
You see, a vermiculite mine had spread deadly airborne asbestos that killed hundreds and sickened thousands in Libby and northwest Montana. W.R. Grace & Co., which owned the mine, denied its connection to the outbreaks of mesothelioma and asbestosis and dodged responsibility for this disaster. The federal government got stuck with most of the tab for the cleanup costs, and the EPA has issued a first-of-its-kind order declaring Lincoln County a public health disaster.
When all lawsuits and legal avenues failed, Baucus turned to Medicare.
The single-payer plan that Baucus kept off the table in 2009 is now very much on the table in Libby. It turns out that Baucus quietly inserted a section into the Affordable Care Act that covers the suffering people of Libby, Montana. Medicare covers the whole community, not just the former miners.
Residents of Libby don’t have to be 65 years old or more. They don’t have to wait until 2014 for the state exchanges. There’s no 10-year roll out for them — it’s immediate. They don’t have to purchase a plan — this isn’t a buy-in to Medicare. It’s free. They don’t have to be disabled for two years before they apply. They don’t have to go without care for three years until Medicaid expands. They don’t have to meet income tests. They don’t have to apply for a subsidy or pay a fine for failure to buy insurance. They don’t have to hope that the market will make a plan affordable or hide their pre-existing conditions. They don’t have to find a job that provides coverage.
Baucus simply inserted a clause into the health care reform law to make special arrangements for them in Medicare.
No one should begrudge the people of Lincoln County, where toxic mine waste was used as soil additives, home insulation, and even spread on the running tracks at local schools. Miners brought carcinogens home on their clothes.
“The people of Libby have been poisoned and have been dying for more than a decade,” Baucus explained in a New York Times interview. “New residents continue to get sick all the time. Public health tragedies like this could happen in any town in America. We need this type of mechanism to help people when they need it most.”
But health tragedies are happening in every American town. Over 51 million have no insurance. and over 45,000 uninsured people die needlessly each year. Employers are cutting coverage and dropping plans. States in economic crisis are slashing both Medicaid and their employees’ plans.
Nothing in Obama’s health care law will mitigate the skyrocketing costs. More than half of us, including tens of millions of insured Americans, now go without necessary care. As Baucus said of Medicare, “We need this mechanism to help people when they need it most.” We all need it now.
So as the Ryan Republicans try to destroy Medicare and far too many Democrats use the deficit excuse to suggest other ways to tear the social safety net apart, Libby offers a prescription to clean up the whole mess. Only single-payer universal health care — improved Medicare for all — can save and protect Medicare, rein in skyrocketing health care costs, and give us universal coverage.
Medicare was implemented within less than a year of its 1965 passage. When Congress passes a national single-payer bill, we can all be enrolled in the twinkling of an eye.
A longer version of this commentary first appeared on Firedoglake.
Single-Payer in Vermont, A State of Healthy Firsts May 26, 2011Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Vermont.
Tags: amy goodman, denis moynihan, health, health care, health reform, healthcare, medicare-for-all, peter shumlin, roger hollander, single payer, vermont
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Vermont is a land of proud firsts. This small, New England state was the first to join the 13 Colonies. Its constitution was the first to ban slavery. It was the first to establish the right to free education for all — public education.
Today, Vermont will boast another first: the first state in the nation to offer single-payer health care, which eliminates the costly insurance companies that many believe are the root cause of our spiraling health care costs. In a single-payer system, both private and public health care providers are allowed to operate, as they always have. But instead of the patient or the patient’s private health insurance company paying the bill, the state does.
It’s basically Medicare for all — just lower the age of eligibility to the day you’re born. The state, buying these health care services for the entire population, can negotiate favorable rates, and can eliminate the massive overhead that the for-profit insurers impose.
Vermont hired Harvard economist William Hsiao to come up with three alternatives to the current system. The single-payer system, Hsiao wrote, “will produce savings of 24.3 percent of total health expenditure between 2015 and 2024.”
An analysis by Don McCanne, M.D., of Physicians for a National Health Program, pointed out that “these plans would cover everyone without any increase in spending since the single-payer efficiencies would be enough to pay for those currently uninsured or under-insured. So this is the really good news — single payer works.”
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin explained to me his intention to sign the bill into law: “Here’s our challenge. Our premiums go up 10, 15, 20 percent a year. This is true in the rest of the country as well. They are killing small business. They’re killing middle-class Americans, who have been kicked in the teeth over the last several years. What our plan will do is create a single pool, get the insurance company profits, the pharmaceutical company profits, the other folks that are mining the system to make a lot of money on the backs of our illnesses, and ensure that we’re using those dollars to make Vermonters healthy.”
Speaking of healthy firsts, Vermont may become the first state to shutter a nuclear power plant. The Vermont Legislature is the first to empower itself with the right to determine its nuclear future, to put environmental policy in the hands of the people.
Another Vermont first was the legalization of same-sex civil unions. Then the state trumped itself and became the first legislature in the nation to legalize gay marriage. After being passed by the Vermont House and Senate, former Gov. Jim Douglas vetoed the bill. The next day, April 7, 2009, the House and the Senate overrode the governor’s veto, making the Vermont Freedom to Marry Act the law of the land.
Vermont has become an incubator for innovative public policy.
Canada’s single-payer health care system started as an experiment in one province, Saskatchewan. It was pushed through in the early 1960s by Saskatchewan’s premier, Tommy Douglas, considered by many to be the greatest Canadian. It was so successful, it was rapidly adopted by all of Canada. (Douglas is the grandfather of actor Kiefer Sutherland.)
Perhaps Vermont’s health care law will start a similar, national transformation. The anthropologist Margaret Mead famously said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Just replace “group” with “state,” and you’ve got Vermont.
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.
Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 900 stations in North America. She was awarded the 2008 Right Livelihood Award, dubbed the “Alternative Nobel” prize, and received the award in the Swedish Parliament in December.
Important Message Re: Health Reform Legislation: PROTEST HR 3962, Or Be Stuck With Corporate Medical Insurance Racket For The Rest Of Our Lives November 16, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Health.
Tags: congress, health, health care, health care reform, health insurance, health legislation, healthcare reform, insurance industry, medicare, medicare-for-all, public option, roger hollander, single payer
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“Folks, we are dedicating the next couple months of our lives to stopping the phony reform, and forcing Congress to get real about good public policy. The bill that passed the House last week, HR 3962, represents one of the most profound betrayals in American political history. Forget the fact that the Republicans oppose it as well, they would oppose anything coming out of a Congress where they did not have majority control. WE must oppose HR 3962 because it is a transparent sham, a total sellout to the medical insurance industry.”
Who Else Wants To Get SERIOUS About Real Health Care Reform??
We need the help of every one of our participants who has a website (if not please read on because there is an individual action page as well). We have created a simple and small sized (182×228 pixels) web page module, perfect for the side bar of your web page, where people can watch the latest of the “I’m A Democrat, And I’m A Republican” videos. To get this feature for your website just put the following code anywhere on your web page.
We have already shot six of these incredibly professional looking videos, making the point (with wit and humor) that NEITHER the Democrats, NOR the Republicans, are actually interested in real health care reform. The Democrats are forcing consideration of only plans that further empower the medical insurance corporations that are ripping us off now. The Republican are only interested in derelict non-regulation, achieving the same end result by default.
By getting more and more people to watch these videos, we will mobilize people to submit this fax action page, which sends a strongly worded but even tempered petition (which you can read on the page), stating in essence that we the people are demanding real reform and will not be fooled again. And you can add your own personal comments as well. WATCH the video also on this page.
Medicare For All FREE Fax Action Page: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1020.php
There will be a new video release in the “I’m A Democrat, I’m A Republican” series once a week, and the web page module will automatically update with the latest video. And we are asking you, our participants to submit the petition yourself ALSO once a week. We need to speak out and keep speaking out, until Congress finally gets the message, to stop fooling around and do what should have been done in the first place, pass economical and efficient Medicare for All.
Folks, we are dedicating the next couple months of our lives to stopping the phony reform, and forcing Congress to get real about good public policy. The bill that passed the House last week, HR 3962, represents one of the most profound betrayals in American political history. Forget the fact that the Republicans oppose it as well, they would oppose anything coming out of a Congress where they did not have majority control. WE must oppose HR 3962 because it is a transparent sham, a total sellout to the medical insurance industry.
You don’t have to believe us. Believe the corporate analysts themselves gloating about the additional windfall profits they are predicting from this fatally corrupt bill, that purports to FORCE all Americans to buy a plan from a lobbyist designed restrictive “market”, where at least 90% of the American people would be excluded from participating in the feeble non-competitive “public” option provided, even if we wanted to. They might as well now call it the “welfare” option, because all it really represents is welfare FOR the insurance companies.
The Republicans condemn the bill because they demagogue that it does too much. The truth is that it does so LITTLE, that by the time the Senate gets through with it we expect there will be nothing left that any progressive could cheer about. The ultimate Benedict Arnold, Joe Lieberman says HR 3962 is dead on arrival. So we might as well throw it in the medical waste bin where it belongs and start from scratch, then let him try to filibuster what the American people REALLY want.
And we are especially ashamed of the Congressional so-called “Progressive” Caucus which, except for Kucinich and Massa, have demonstrated once again how utterly worthless they are as representatives for the people of their districts.
From time to time we will get email from some of you arguing that there is no point in emailing hardcore Republicans, for those of you who live in such districts where that is your current representation. We disagree about that of course. Never should we let the worst members of Congress think that even people in their own districts are just going to roll over and take just keep taking it in silence.
But for crying out loud, at least the liberals ought to be listening to us. And for the presumptive liberals to wave through a bill that as a bottom line makes exploitive and overpriced corporate insurance MANDATORY, under threat of the police power of the IRS, is so outrageous it defies belief. Each and every one of these gutless wonders needs to hear our protests now.
Medicare For All FREE Fax Action Page: http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1020.php
And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Stupak amendment, forbidding a woman to even use her own money to pay for an abortion, because no plan in the new market will be allowed to provide such a service, even if the plan that woman was forced to buy was paid for with 100% of her own money, is so far out into reactionist wowee-wowee land, it is incredulous that any so-called progressive could have voted for final passage with such a provision in there, especially as they had already SWORN not to support a bill with such a weak joke of a public plan.
So now, and only in response to our outrage, some of them are backtracking, SAYING that draconian anti-choice provision needs to come out of the final bill. Have you ever heard such worthless lip service in your life (apart from their lip service of last week, last month, the year before that, etc.)? Where were the voices of these miserable cowards in Congress, trying to pass themselves off as our progressive representatives, when they voted for FINAL passage in the first place? Who can count on them to put up a fight even one time any time in the future, if they could and would not do so last week?
And the ultimate answer remains what it has always been. IF AND WHEN enough of us speak out at ONCE, and declare that we will no longer support their perpetual shinola, then and only then will we get real policy change. We live for the day when we can build such a base to make it so. That day can be today! So please submit the fax action page once a week, encourage everyone you know to do the same, put the video module on all of your websites so we can get hundreds of thousands of views, and like numbers of action page submissions. Then we will have a real movement for real policy change.
And here is the one click Facebook page for this same fax action.
Single Payer Amendments Action: http://apps.facebook.com/fb_voices/action.php?qnum=pnum1020
And the Twitter reply to send, to send this message to all your members of Congress that way, is
Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.
If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at http://www.peaceteam.net/in.htm
Or if you want to cease receiving our messages, just use the function at http://www.peaceteam.net/out.htm
PBS Lashes Back over Single Payer Dustup April 8, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Media.
Tags: frontline, health, health care reform, health insurance, healthcare, healthcare reform, journalism, karen ifnagni, massachusetts health care, Media, medicare-for-all, national health plan, pbs, private health insurance, public broadcasting, roger hollander, russell mokhiber, sick around America, single payer, t.r. reid
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(Roger’s note: although I disagree with some of the violent language used in this report, the issue is a comprehensive single-payer health plan for all Americans, or people will continue to die due to lack of adequate coverage; I therefore choose to overlook the unfortunate use of such language — perhaps a product of the writer’s passion and anger — and post an othewise important piece that speaks both to honest journalism and the need for a national health plan that serves the American people rather than the private insurance companies’ profit margins)
Published on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
Last week, I wrote an article – “Something is Rotten at PBS” – about a slanted PBS Frontline documentary – “Sick Around America.”
Frontline hired former Washington Post reporter T.R. Reid to put together the documentary.
Reid did the reporting.
He turned over his interviews to the Frontline producers.
And they came back with a documentary Reid couldn’t agree with.
Frontline tried to get Reid to narrate the film anyway – whether he agreed with it or not.
Reid and Frontline parted ways.
After “Something is Rotten at PBS” ran last week, I got a ton of e-mail.
So did Frontline.
“Something is Rotten at PBS” struck a nerve.
This week, Frontline lashed back.
Frontline issued a statement yesterday attacking “Something is Rotten at PBS” – saying that the article “falsely characterizes both the reporting in ‘Sick Around America’ and the disagreement between Frontline and T.R. Reid.”
Frontline defends “Sick Around America” as an objective piece of mainstream journalism.
Frontline says that “Sick Around America,” in fact, “made no assertions about the path health care reform should take, but simply reported on the current state of health insurance in the country, focusing primarily on how inadequacies in the current private health insurance system, both for-profit and non-profit companies, were negatively impacting many Americans.”
T.R. Reid, on the other hand, was an advocate with a point of view, Frontline said.
“The dispute with Mr. Reid centered on a decision to include a section on the recent attempts by Massachusetts to reform its health care system,” Frontline said. “Mr. Reid objected to the inclusion of Massachusetts, the only state to require its citizens to purchase health insurance, and to require insurance companies to sell them policies with an adequate standard of coverage.”
“Reid repeatedly told Frontline that including Massachusetts in the program at all, was to advocate for that kind of reform as opposed to Reid’s preference of a ‘Medicare for all,’ one payer system for the entire country.”
“Frontline’s position was that simply reporting on the state’s plan was not advocacy and, in fact, our reporting would focus not only on the benefits, but also on the problems with the Massachusetts plan. We think any objective viewing of that sequence in ‘Sick Around America’ will confirm Frontline’s view that it was a piece of reporting not advocacy.”
Frontline noted that “on March 17, just three weeks after he asked to be removed from the film, a Denver magazine reported that T.R. Reid said he was interested it being appointed to a vacant seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, citing that his concerns about health care reform in the U.S. were ‘enough to push him from the reporting side over to the policy-making side. And he thinks Colorado would be a perfect testing ground.’”
“Frontline’s editorial guidelines explicitly state that ‘when working on any politically controversial programs the producer [or correspondent] should engage in no personal political activities…and should not lobby for or against any specific piece of legislation.’”
“In the end, Frontline believes the dispute centered on a conflict between Frontline’s journalistic commitment to fair and nuanced reporting and its aversion to policy advocacy and Mr. Reid’s commitment to advocacy for specific health care policy reforms, for positions he apparently advocates in his forthcoming book.”
Reid is biased.
And Frontline is an objective, neutral observer.
I couldn’t reach Reid to respond to Frontline’s attack on him.
But last week, he told me he didn’t think single payer could pass in America.
Instead, he favored giving Americans an option to buy into a public plan that would compete with private, regulated non-profit health insurance companies.
Reid has a point of view.
So do I.
I believe the health insurance corporations – whether for-profit or non-profit – are engaged in what should be considered criminal activity – selling basic health insurance to the American people to gain profit, outrageous salaries, power and privilege.
And these private insurance companies are deserving of the death penalty.
Countries like Canada and the UK agree. It’s illegal in those countries for a private company to sell basic health insurance.
Other countries like Germany, Japan and Taiwan heavily regulate private health insurance companies – so much so, that they would be unrecognizable to health insurance execs in this country.
So, I have a point of view as to how to remedy the situation. (In fact, I, and a group of friends last month launched singlepayeraction.org – to secure single payer health care in the United States in our lifetimes. We believe one million Americans will get the job done. Sign on and donate at singlepayeraction.org.)
Our motto – no compromise with the health insurance industry.
Either we die first.
Or the health insurance corporations die first.
Fight to the finish.
(By the way, according to a Institute of Medicine report, 22,000 Americans dies every year because of a lack of health insurance. That’s 60 deaths a day. Again, either they die first. Or we die first.)
Reid has a point of view.
I have a point of view.
But the Frontline producers don’t have a point of view?
Is that why they included no advocate for single payer in their documentary?
Is that why they included no advocate for a point of view supported, according to recent polls, by the majority of Americans, the majority of doctors, the majority of health economists and the majority of small business people?
Is that why they included no mention of single payer in their documentary?
(Frontline says I made a factual error by assuming that Karen Ignagni, head of America’s Health Insurance Plans, represents only for-profit health insurance companies. I didn’t assume that at all. Of course, Ignagni’s group represents both non-profit and for-profit health insurance corporations. But the two types of insurance companies in America differ little in the level of their disregard for Americans. I was just pointing out that Frontline was giving Ignagni a free ride – misleading Frontline’s viewers into believing that forcing them to buy from American insurance corporations would create a similar system as in some countries in Europe – like Germany and Switzerland – where the insurance industry is heavily regulated, where profits are banished, where executive salaries are a fraction of what they are here.)
I salute T.R. Reid for telling Frontline and PBS to go stuff it.
As for his advocacy for a public plan to compete with the private insurance companies – I disagree with him.
A single payer doc in Ohio – Dr. Johnathon Ross – put it this way to me last year.
The health insurance industry is like a vicious dog, Dr. Ross said.
Those who would create a public plan to compete with the health insurance are just kicking the dog in the face.
The dog is going to counterattack and rip your face off.
Better to put the dog out of his misery.
Yes, singlepayeraction.org has a point of view.
Death to the health insurance corporations.
Health and life to Americans.
Obama to Single Payer Advocates: Drop Dead March 4, 2009Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Health.
Tags: congress, for-profit healt, health care, health care crisis, health care reform, health insurance, health insurance industry, health reform, health reform leadership, healthcare, healthcare reform, hr676, John Conyers, karen igangni, kathleen sebelius, medicare-for-all, nancy-ann deparle, National Health Program, president obama, private health insurance, roger hollander, single payer
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23 Corporate Crime Reporter 10, March 3, 2009
President Obama’s White House made crystal clear this week: a Canadian-style, Medicare-for-all, single payer health insurance system is off the table.
Obama doesn’t even want to discuss it.
Take the case of Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan).
Conyers is the leading advocate for single payer health insurance in Congress.
Last week, Conyers attended a Congressional Black Caucus meeting with President Obama at the White House.
During the meeting, Congressman Conyers, sponsor of the single payer bill in the House (HR 676), asked President Obama for an invite to the President’s Marchy 5 health care summit at the White House.
Conyers said he would bring along with him two doctors – Dr. Marcia Angell and Dr. Quentin Young – to represent the majority of physicians in the United States who favor single payer.
Obama would have none of it.
This week, by e-mail, Conyers heard back from the White House – no invite.
Well, believe it or not, the Obama White House is under the thumb of the health insurance industry.
Obama has become the industry’s chief enforcer of its key demand: single payer health insurance is off the table.
Earlier this week, Obama named his health reform leadership team – Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy-Ann DeParle.
Single payer advocates were not happy.
Since leaving Medicare, DeParle cashed in as a director at major for profit health care corporations, including Medco Health Solutions, Cerner, Boston Scientific, DaVita, and Triad Hospitals.
Now, what does the health insurance industry make of the Sebelius/DeParle team?
Here is Karen Ignagni, president of the lead health insurance lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans:
“Today the President is putting in place a team that is ready on day one to provide the leadership necessary to achieve health care reform. Governor Sebelius is the right person to move the President’s health care agenda forward. She is a proven leader with extensive knowledge of health care issues and a long history of working effectively across the political aisle. As a former CMS administrator, Nancy-Ann DeParle brings considerable experience and a strong track record working on all of the health care issues facing the nation.”
Karen sounds really upset, right?
Dr. David Himmelstein is a founder and spokesperson for Physicians for a National Health Program.
Himmelstein’s take – Obama is caving to the insurance industry.
“The President once acknowledged that single payer reform was the best option, but now he’s caving in to corporate healthcare interests and completely shutting out advocates of single payer reform,” Himmelstein said. “The majority of Americans favor single payer, and it’s the most popular reform option among doctors and health economists, but no single payer supporter has been invited to participate in the administration’s health care summit. Meanwhile, he’s appointed as his health reform czar Nancy-Ann DeParle, a woman who has made her living advising health care investors and sits on the board of many for-profit firms that have made billions from Medicare. Her appointment – and the invitation list to the healthcare summit – is a clear signal that the administration plans to propose a corporate-friendly health reform that has no chance of actually solving our health care crisis.”
Obama to single payer advocates: drop dead.
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