Thursday, May 18, 2023

It’s time to guarantee healthcare to all Americans as a human right

It’s time to guarantee healthcare to all Americans as a human right Bernie Sanders It is time to end the international embarrassment of the US being the only major country that does not guarantee healthcare

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

This is Go Time

This is go time- Medicare for All will be reintroduced in both the House and Senate in 8 days, which means now is a crucial time to contact your members of Congress to make sure they sign on as an original cosponsor of the bill. To catch you up: In each new session of Congress, the Medicare for All Act must be reintroduced, and all members of Congress must sign on (or back on) as cosponsors of the bill. Can you take three minutes to call your members of Congress today to ask them to sign on as a Medicare for All cosponsor? You can find the number and a sample script below: → HOUSE: (202) 858-1717 ← → SENATE: (202) 519-0494 ← You will hear a short message; then we’ll connect you directly with your House rep and senators. Hi, my name is ______, and I'm calling from ________. I'm calling to urge [NAME] to cosponsor the Medicare for All Act when it is reintroduced in Congress on May 17. Health care is a human right that must be guaranteed for all – and Medicare for All is the only policy solution that will achieve guaranteed health care for all people. Will they commit to being an original cosponsor on the bill? Thank you. TELL US HOW IT WENT » These calls are tremendously important, William. Together we can make sure that Medicare for All gets as much, or even more, support than it did last time it was introduced in Congress. But it will take all of us making calls, writing letters, meeting with representatives, and more. Your reps need to hear from you, and all their constituents. We need you to call right now and to share this call to action with your friends and networks in your district. Please make a call today to help us secure as many cosponsors on the new Medicare for All bill as possible. Thank you for taking the time. Jasmine Ruddy Organizer Nurses’ Campaign to Win Medicare for All P.S. We put together a toolkit that has everything you need to help amplify our call for Congress to pass Medicare for All. Check it out here!

Friday, April 14, 2023

Researchers find flaws in WI Medicaid restrictions bill, and in the ideas behind it

They damn well better include a big increase in $ for staff to do all this crap. I agree that redetermination of eligibility, no more frequently than annually, might be a good idea -- BUT. They are including doing this twice a year and adding all kinds of paperwork/steps for the recipient AND for the public servants -- with no $ for the staff time. This just would add more barriers to folks getting medical care and WI already is one of the only states to NOT take advantage of expanded MA eligibility. "DHS must determine an individual's eligibility every six months under the bill. DHS is also prohibited from using prepopulated forms or otherwise supplying information, except for name and address, to a recipient under the BadgerCare Plus program that has been supplied to DHS. Additionally, any recipient under the BadgerCare Plus program that fails to timely report to DHS or its designee any change that may affect eligibility is ineligible for benefits for six months from the date DHS discovers the failure to report the change. Under current law, knowingly concealing or failing to disclose any event that an individual knows affects the initial or continued right to a Medical Assistance benefit is subject to a forfeiture of not less than $100 nor more than $15,000 for each concealment or failure."   Article # 1 Aricle #2

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

LTE on health care access - Mark Martin: More health coverage options needed

More health coverage options needed 3/29/23 "Minnesota Care is a state-supported income-limited health insurance program that is set up to act as a bridge between medical assistance and private health insurance. Isn’t it time that all Minnesotans have all options available to them in choosing health insurance? Most of our health insurance is covered by employers (think private insurance companies) or government-backed programs (think medical assistance, Medicare, and MinnesotaCare). I reside in Wabasha County and have maintained a private medical practice in Winona since 1999. Almost daily I see patients that struggle to pay for co-pays, deductibles, premiums, and just basic care. Patients that have employer-based insurance complain that it is becoming more expensive with increases almost yearly in premiums, deductibles, and co-pays – with a corresponding decrease in covered services. I see many patients whose spouse works a job just for health insurance, which is especially hard on farmers and other self-employed people. There are also people who only work at a certain level because if they make over a set income limit, they will lose their MinnesotaCare insurance and they will be financially unable to afford health care, even with subsidies."

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The quiet privatization of government health insurance programs

"The biggest public health insurance programs have become increasingly privatized over the last decade, even while politicians sparred over whether government-run health care should be expanded to cover more Americans. Why it matters: Although privately run Medicare and Medicaid plans are still highly regulated and funded by the government, the commercialization has complicated efforts to rein in medical spending and unleashed fierce partisan fights like the ongoing one over Medicare Advantage. Driving the news: The insurers that administer Medicare benefits and their allies are running an enormous lobbying blitz against proposed regulations by the Biden administration that they say will cut their government funding and, in turn, harm enrollees. Supporters of the cuts say that the proposal corrects overpayment, which plans obtain by manipulating the billing system. The potency of the lobbying is a sign of just how ingrained Medicare Advantage has become among seniors over the years — and how important it is to some insurers' business mix. The big picture: Medicare for All rose to prominence during Democrats' 2016 presidential primary, championed by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Four years later, it returned as a key litmus test for Democratic presidential hopefuls. More moderate candidates, including President Biden, instead embraced a public option, which would extend eligibility for government-run insurance to more Americans. But as Democrats aired out whether or not to abolish private insurance, existing public programs became increasingly commercialized. Meanwhile, attempts to expand Medicare eligibility or benefits as part of Democrats' domestic policy agenda during Biden's first two years in office fizzled largely over the cost. By the numbers: Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown from 22% of eligible Medicare beneficiaries in 2008 to 48% of beneficiaries in 2022, per KFF. This year's enrollment numbers, when they're released, will likely reveal that the majority of seniors are now enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Private plans are even more ubiquitous in state Medicaid programs. In 2020, 72% of Medicaid beneficiaries were enrolled in a Medicaid managed care plan, also per KFF. In fiscal year 2021, more than half of state and federal Medicaid spending went to managed care organizations. Although Medicaid managed care organizations can be private for-profit, private non-profit or government plans, as of 2020 half of the market was covered by plans owned by one of five companies: Centene, Molina, Elevance, UnitedHealth Group and CVS. Between the lines: Administering entitlement benefits is an increasingly lucerative line of work for insurers. Another KFF analysis found that in 2021, plans had gross margins of $1,730 per enrollee — more than double those of other markets. The second highest were in Medicaid managed care, which had gross margins of $768 per enrollee — higher than both the group and individual market. The analysis cautions that gross margins aren't equivalent to profitability but are indicative of trends. A clear one presented in the analysis is that the employer-sponsored and individual markets were significantly less profitable in 2021 than they were in 2018, while managed care plans did better."