Medicare For All

June 28, 2017

The Affordable Care Act has two major flaws: It does not cover everyone – it leaves 19 million Americans without health insurance – and, It is a giveaway program to the insurance companies. Neither flaw seems to bother Republicans. All their proposals seem to make them worse, while all their “improvements” go to the wealthy.

President Trump said on television, “I will replace Obamacare with a program that will cover everyone, it will be cheaper, and you will love it.” A single-payer policy by the Federal Government achieves these criteria and it is the only one that will.

  • Single-payer is Fair. Every American’s medical expenses are covered without having to guess about which insurance company and which policy is best, which providers are in the network, is my prescription in the formulary, etc. Besides, the Federal Government has the strength to negotiate fair prices with providers and pharmaceutical companies which the individual does not.
  • Single-payer is Cheaper. It eliminates the billions of dollars the insurance companies add to the medical costs. It cuts out completely the need for other current tax-paid programs like Medicaid, veterans hospitals, black lung disease payments, etc. It eliminates all the taxes we have to pay to buy insurance for public employees at every level of government. It takes the cost of health insurance out of the cost of everything we buy.

In sum, the cost of health care buys health care and not a myriad of unnecessary administrative costs.

  • Everyone loves Medicare for the elderly, and everyone will love Medicare for All!

William R. Austin

2720 Hamilton Drive

Endwell, NY 13760

607-754-0695

wra0613@gmail.com

27 June 2017

What’s in the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act Proposal?

June 26, 2017

Untangling the web of opioid addictions in the USA

June 26, 2017

The US President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis met for the first time on June 16, 10 days ahead of the June 26 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. The USA is in the midst of a so-called opioid epidemic and although public health experts warned that there was little new to learn from convening a commission, the multifaceted challenges facing the country are staggering. Of the 20·5 million Americans aged 12 years or older who had a substance use disorder according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2 million involved prescription pain relievers and 591 000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin, a fifth of whom were adolescents. The lethality of the opioid epidemic has further overwhelmed the public health response. In 2015 alone, there were about 52 404 deaths in the USA due to drug overdose (63·1% attributed to opioids)—a three-fold rise from 1999. Death counts from overdose, however, are likely underestimated because older adults who overdose rarely have toxicology performed and their death certificates most often list a cause based on underlying conditions.

In stark contrast with the situation in the USA, worldwide, around 80% of patients still have no access to adequate pain management for reasons including strict government policy against narcotics or high prices. Access to pain management is a fundamental human right and inadequate pain management has serious mental, physiological, and societal implications. The Lancet Commission: Global Access to Pain Control and Palliative Care, due for publication later this year, will report on these issues.

Contributing to the US epidemic is the context, and the way, in which Americans gain access to opioids. In the USA, oxycodone analgesics are generally used in all adult age ranges post surgery or for chronic pain. By contrast, morphine is typically prescribed for serious or end-of-life pain management. But many practitioners, for lack of addiction training, continue to overprescribe or misprescribe. For younger adults aged 18-45 years, initial addiction also occurs through medical prescriptions but they tend to turn to heroin to financially maintain their addiction. Since 2011, with the introduction of potent illicit synthetic fentanyl sold as heroin into the market, a rise in deaths in the younger adult group has been witnessed. It is also the inconsistency of approach by and towards the pharmaceutical industry that continues to confound public health treatment and prevention efforts. This month, the US Food and Drug Administration requested that Endo Pharmaceuticals remove its reformulated opioid pain medication Opana ER (oxymorphone hydrochloride) from the market on the basis of concerns about the potential for abuse by injection raised by postmarketing surveillance. Meanwhile, intense marketing and lobbying have allowed Vivitriol, a costly injectable sustained release form of the opioid-blocker naltrexone, to the market with limited data on long-term effectiveness.

How then to navigate the conflict between pain management—a human right—and strengthening the response to the opioid epidemic in the USA? According to Andrew Kolodny, addiction physician and opioid policy expert at Brandeis University, preventing new addictions through rational access and use—and effectively and compassionately treating those who are addicted—is still the way forward. Currently, 10–12 million Americans are on long-term opioids for chronic pain and many might not be able to come off them. Although methadone or buprenorphine are effective options to treat opiate addiction, few have access to insurance coverage or to a clinician able to prescribe them because of state limits on the number of prescriptions per provider. Reassuringly, experts on the President’s Commission agree with evidence-based management, with Mitchell Rosenthal of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence stating: “Treatment works. We just have to provide it.”

President Trump’s current budget proposal calls for an additional US$103 million for the Department of Justice to fight illicit drugs and has endorsed the previously committed $500 million to improve addiction treatment. But several experts in attendance at the President’s Commission fear that the American Healthcare Act is working its way through the US Senate and any repeal of Medicaid is a repeal of coverage that exists to treat addiction now and in the future. Furthermore, calls to intensify punitive policies towards heroin and other opioid users, such as imprisonment for drug use and possession, are also likely to be detrimental. Echoing the calls of The Lancet US Series 2017, to achieve health-care equality, evidence-based approaches are needed that treat health as a human right—and are the only way for addiction treatment and prevention efforts to succeed in the long term.

Millions of people have a lot to lose under the AHCA

June 25, 2017

http://www.epi.org/publication/millions-of-people-have-a-lot-to-lose-under-the-ahca/?utm_source=Economic+Policy+Institute&utm_campaign=50e819bfcb-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_23&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e7c5826c50-50e819bfcb-58513189&mc_cid=50e819bfcb&mc_eid=1fd1fe406b

 

If the Senate votes to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), millions of Americans
will be unquestionably worse off. In addition to the 23 million Americans who will lose
their health insurance coverage by 2026, the economic impacts of repealing and replacing
the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are large and wide-reaching.
As Medicaid is slashed, households’ premium costs skyrocket, and protections for people
with preexisting conditions are eliminated, 23 million Americans will lose their health
insurance by 2026. The majority would lose it to breathtakingly large cuts to the vital
Medicaid program (almost $900 billion over the next decade). Further, millions more
would lose the coverage they get through their employer if AHCA passes.

Overall, out-of-pocket costs after premiums would rise by $33 billion each year by 2026 if AHCA is passed. Costs would skyrocket, particularly for those who still needed coverage in the nongroup market—these costs alone would rise by $25 billion.

Nationally, all-else-equal, the AHCA could slow job growth by 1.1 million in 2020, with losses felt in every state. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) drastically cuts spending on Medicaid and subsidies to help people purchase health insurance, while cutting taxes that disproportionately fall on higher-income households. Because low- and moderate-income households tend to spend a much higher share of their disposable income, the overall effect of the AHCA would be less spending and lower aggregate demand across every state and congressional district.

 


See related work on Health

See more work by Josh Bivens

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES SERIES OF EXPERT PANELS ON THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE IN NEW YORK UNDER THE WASHINGTON HEALTH CARE PLANS

June 25, 2017

GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES SERIES OF EXPERT PANELS ON THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE IN NEW YORK UNDER THE WASHINGTON HEALTH CARE PLANS

 

For Immediate Release: 6/22/2017 GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO

 

State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES SERIES OF EXPERT PANELS ON THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE IN NEW YORK UNDER THE WASHINGTON HEALTH CARE PLANS
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a series of expert panels and community roundtables about how the Washington health care plans could affect health care in New York State. The panels, which will be held across the state in late June, will feature Cuomo administration officials and experts and will encourage New Yorkers to understand what is at stake and how to best protect their families from upcoming changes to our health care system. Read the Governor’s statement on the Senate health care bill here.

“With the Senate introducing their ultra-conservative and devastating health care bill today, we want to make sure people know the facts from experts and community members about how exactly this legislation will affect the future of health care in New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “These plans will strip coverage from millions of New Yorkers and devastate our health care system, and while Congress has demonstrated an appalling lack of transparency and accountability to Americans, we are stepping up to provide New Yorkers with the facts about their health and lives.”

According to the latest estimates, the House American Health Care Act, if enacted, would put 2.7 million New Yorkers at risk of losing their health insurance and would include $7 billion in cuts from New York’s health care system over the next four years.

A full schedule of events is below:

What: Nassau County Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Hofstra Medical School (North Campus) – West 34 Medical Lecture Theater, 500 Hofstra University, Hempstead
When: June 22, 2017, 6:00 PM
Who: Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo, administration officials and leading healthcare industry experts

What: Capital Region Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Hudson Hall, 327 Warren Street, Hudson
When: June 26, 2017, 6:00 PM

What: Mohawk Valley Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Soggs’ Room, St Luke’s Hospital Campus, 1650 Champlain Avenue, New Hartford
When: June 26, 2017, 6:30 PM

What: Hudson Valley Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Catskill Regional Medical Center, 68 Harris-Bushville Rd, Harris
When: June 26, 2017, 7:00 PM

What: Finger Lakes Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: University of Rochester Medical Center, School of Nursing, Evarts Lounge, 255 Crittenden Blvd, Rochester
When: June 27, 2017, 10:00 AM

What: North Country Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Clinton Community College, Stafford Theater, 136 Clinton Point Dr, Plattsburgh
When: June 27, 2017, 6:00 PM

What: New York City Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Hostos Community College, Savoy Manor Building, 120 E. 149th Street, 2nd FL, Bronx
When: June 27, 2017, 6:00 PM

What: Suffolk County Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Charles B. Wang Center Auditorium, Stony Brook University, 100 Nicolls Rd., Suite 302, Stony Brook
When: June 27, 2017, 6:00 PM

What: Western New York Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Gaylord Cary Meeting Room, Elm & Carlton Streets, Buffalo
When: June 27, 2017, 6:00 PM

What: Central New York Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: Chittenango Public Library, 101 Falls Boulevard, Chittenango
When: June 28, 2017, 7:00 PM

What: Southern Tier Expert Panel on how the Washington health care plans could impact New York State
Where: UHS Binghamton General Hospital, Russell Community Room, 10-42 Mitchell Avenue, Binghamton
When: June 28, 2017, 6:00 PM

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