February 6, 2017
Los Angeles Times publishes prominent article on HR 676, Improved Medicare for All
This column by David Lazarus appeared recently in the Los Angeles Times, raising the importance and possibilities of HR 676. Cosponsors on HR 676, Congressman Conyers national single payer legislation, have grown to 57.
Please call your representative (202) 224-3121 and ask him/her to sign on. If your representative is already on the bill, encourage her/him to speak up boldly and publicly for this solution.
February 3, 2017
Supporters of healthcare reform may feel disheartened as President Trump and Republican lawmakers prepare to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with … well, something. They can’t even agree among themselves on what the U.S. healthcare system should look like.
But there’s reason for hope, albeit a long shot.
OK, a very long shot.
In other words, it would build on the successful single-payer insurance program that already covers more than 55 million people and bring the United States in line with almost all other developed nations in providing taxpayer-funded health coverage for everyone.
Needless to say, the legislation — HR 676 — has no chance of passage by the Republican-controlled Congress.
However, the fact that such a bill exists serves as a reminder that there are some in positions of power who understand the pitfalls of the U.S.’s private-sector-dominated health insurance system, and who are willing to place national interest ahead of corporate profits.
Also, some backers of the legislation think there’s at least one prominent Republican who might come around to their way of thinking.
Taking 20 million people out of Obamacare is going to help our cause. We’ve got all the arguments on our side. — Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.)
“Donald Trump is a businessman, not a lifetime politician,” said Dr. Carol Paris, head of Physicians for a National Health Program, which represents 20,000 doctors who support creation of a U.S. single-payer insurance system. “HR 676 is a formula for good business. It makes good business sense.”
She’ll get no argument from me. A 2014 study by the Commonwealth Fund compared the U.S. healthcare system to those of 10 other developed countries, including Canada, Germany, France and Britain.
It found that the United States had by far the most expensive system in the world but trailed its peers in delivering bang for its healthcare bucks.
Administrative costs — paperwork, incompatible computer systems, interactions between doctors, hospitals and hundreds of insurers — eat up about 25% of U.S. healthcare spending.
Meanwhile, at an average of more than $10,000 per person, the United States pays more for healthcare annually than any other developed country without any significant improvement in outcome, such as longer life expectancy. The typical American can expect to live to 79, whereas citizens of other developed nations will live past 80, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“International experience shows that single-payer financing systems, like the one described in Rep. Conyers’ bill, are the fairest and most cost-effective way to assure that everyone gets high-quality care,” Paris said.
Conyers, however, isn’t holding his breath.
He told me he doesn’t think Trump — whom he described as “erratic” — will suddenly embrace the common-sense advantages of Medicare for all. Nor does he think House Republicans will be flexible in their thinking.
“This is not something that they’re going to buy into,” Conyers said, “even though countries with universal healthcare find that it costs less and is healthier for people. We’re just too polarized right now.”
Nevertheless, he said he’s optimistic about the future. Conyers expects the Republicans’ replacement of Obamacare to be so troublesome that the public will grow increasingly receptive to new ideas. This will allow a case to be made for Medicare expansion.
“Taking 20 million people out of Obamacare is going to help our cause,” he said. “We’ve got all the arguments on our side.”
His bill already has 51 co-sponsors, including California’s Judy Chu, Mark DeSaulnier, John Garamendi, Jared Huffman, Barbara Lee, Ted Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, Grace Napolitano, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Mark Takano. No Republicans have signed on.
Under HR 676, “all individuals residing in the United States (including any territory of the United States) are covered under the Medicare For All Program, entitling them to a universal, best quality standard of care.”
The bill would cover primary care, emergency care, prescription drugs, medical equipment, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, chiropractic services, basic vision care and other healthcare needs.
And try this on for size: “No deductibles, copayments, coinsurance or other cost-sharing shall be imposed with respect to covered benefits.” Instead, funding would be made primarily through payroll taxes, as is already the case with Medicare and Social Security.
A 2013 analysis of an earlier version of Conyers’ legislation by Gerald Friedman, a healthcare economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, found that progressive federal tax payments “would cost less for 95% of households” than the current system of deductibles, premiums and copayments.
He also concluded that because of huge administrative savings and greater negotiating strength with hospitals, doctors and drug companies, a Medicare-for-all system “would make it possible to provide universal coverage and comprehensive benefits to future generations.”
This isn’t “socialism” and it isn’t “government-run healthcare.” Doctors would still be free to practice medicine as they see fit.
It’s simply a more effective and efficient way of managing healthcare risk for the entire population.
Private health insurers would battle ferociously to prevent such a change, but they wouldn’t be put out of business. Rather than providing total coverage, they’d simply shift to offering supplemental plans, as they already do. A more competitive market for added coverage would only benefit Americans.
It’s widely believed that Republican replacements for the Affordable Care Act will include health savings accounts coupled with high-deductible plans from private insurers, as well as high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions that all but guarantee limited coverage and sky-high premiums.
Think about that. Now think about the broad coverage featured in Conyers’ bill being available for less than what you pay now.
Think about having the same coverage regardless of your job (or lack thereof). Think about the number of people without insurance dropping to zero.
Think about Americans finally enjoying the same healthcare benefits as the rest of the developed world.
What’s not to like?
David Lazarus is an award-winning business columnist for the Los Angeles Times, focusing on consumer affairs. He also appears daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5 and is a part-time radio host. His work appears in newspapers across the country and has resulted in a variety of laws protecting consumers.
All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551
HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a
greatly improved Medicare to everyone residing in the U. S. Patients will
choose their own physicians and hospitals.
HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including
prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and
preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery,
periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy,
rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care and correction,
hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical
equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care.
HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of
billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the
private health insurance industry.
HR 676 has been endorsed by 627 union organizations including 152 Central
Labor Councils/Area Labor Federations and 44 state AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT,
OH, DE, ND, WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, NC, MO, MN, ME, AR, MD-DC, TX,
IA, AZ, TN, OR, GA, OK, KS, CO, IN, AL, CA, AK, MI, MT, NE, NJ, NY, NV, MA,
RI, NH, ID).
January 23, 2017
With national news media focused on Congress and the incoming administration, relatively little attention is paid to local and state politics. But this is EXACTLY where our organizing can make the biggest difference. Face-to-face, one-on-one outreach in our communities is what is needed to build the power we need to pass the New York Health Act — and to create a more just, participatory, and humane society.
It’s up to us to make sure folks in our networks are aware that in New York State, we CAN guarantee healthcare to all. It’s up to us to make sure our friends and neighbors know who makes decisions on their behalf in Albany. With Republicans in Congress set on destroying the ACA, Medicare, and Medicaid, it’s a critical time to invite our communities to join us in taking action for healthcare as a human right. Because we have a solution! Opinion polls show that universal healthcare is overwhelmingly popular. Now, it’s just a matter of building a movement strong enough to make the New York State legislature recognize our right to healthcare by passing and implementing the New York Health Act.
Please help spread the word about the following opportunities to join the fight for healthcare for all:
- Statewide New York Health Senate Call-In Day – Friday January 27
We are calling on key State Senators to urge them to sponsor the New York Health Act this session. Please plan to call your Senator and also Senator Jeff Klein, head of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). The IDC announced their intention to work with the Senate Republicans in this legislative session. On Jan 27, we must tell Jeff Klein that New Yorkers need all IDC members to sponsor New York Health and stand up for healthcare access for all New Yorkers. Here is the event on Facebook – please share and invite your friends!
- Visit the Campaign for New York Health website to Volunteer
There are many ways to participate, from volunteering with our Businesses for New York Health effort to helping with phone calls…in the coming days, keep an eye out for information about upcoming “Healthcare Conversations” community canvassing. We are also looking for outreach tablers, letter writers, and more. If you have questions, please contact Ursula@nyhcampaign.org Check out the materials available to print from the Campaign for New York Health Organizing Resources page, especially if you plan on attending local community events in the coming days.
- Tell Your Story and Invite Friends and Family to Tell Theirs.
Over 2 millions New Yorkers are uninsured and underinsured. That number could go up to 4 million if the ACA is repealed. Too many of us can’t get the healthcare we need because copays, premiums, and deductibles are just too high. The only way to change things is for those of us who don’t have adequate healthcare to speak out. Tell your story on the New York Health website, by calling (315) 414-7720, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate to the Campaign for New York Health Organizing takes people power and financial resources. Kick-in what you can help make sure we can have organizing materials available to grassroots activists, especially in Senate districts across Upstate New York.
Thank you for being a part of this movement! Please be in touch with questions, ideas for outreach, to organize a speaker to your group about the New York Health Act, and if your group would like to endorse the Campaign to pass New York Health.
Upstate Campaign Coordinator, Campaign for New York Health
January 20, 2017
May 14, 2016
Please read and sign if you agree.
The Urban Institute, generally a reputable source of policy analysis, has published what is definitively the worst-ever study of single payer healthcare, and it is unfortunately making national news.
The study arrives at this election’s most absurd conclusion: that Bernie Sanders’s single-payer plan would increase total healthcare spending in the United States by almost 17% in its first year and over the next ten years.
Prior to this election cycle, over 40 single-payer studies have been conducted by government agencies (Congressional Budget Office, Government Accountability Office), prestigious actuarial firms and think tanks (LECG, Mathematica, the Lewin Group, Economic Policy Institute), and economists. Every single study has found that single-payer healthcare reduces healthcare costs while offering universal coverage.
There is nothing surprising about the findings of these previous analyses: every country with a single-payer healthcare system spends less than the United States on healthcare, often half or even a third as much per person. The reasons are well understood: universal healthcare reduces administrative waste, allows negotiation of lower prices for drugs and medical devices, and slows the growth of costs by budgeting healthcare spending.
The Urban Institute’s findings contradict all previous research and international experience with single-payer healthcare through sloppy research: they leave out the largest sources of savings under a single-payer system, such as lower administrative waste for hospitals and physicians; they estimate other savings, like the impact on cost growth and prescription drug costs, based on arbitrary guesses instead of existing evidence; and they project a massive rush on healthcare services that has not been observed in any country that has switched to single payer.
Please join us in asking the Urban Institute to retract their study on “The Sanders Single-Payer Health Care Plan.”
- Urban Institute
Healthcare-NOW! started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,239 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.
January 21, 2016
Please go to the following for more information:
Contact Scott Marsland, organizer