Saturday, September 23, 2017


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Swamp Water Jurisprudence: Health care: Should we look North to Canada? - Winona Post > Opinion

Swamp Water Jurisprudence: Health care: Should we look North to Canada? - Winona Post > Opinion

The Single Payer Concern Trolls Are Now Swarming Across Your Media :: Politics :: Features :: Healthcare :: Paste

The Single Payer Concern Trolls Are Now Swarming Across Your Media :: Politics :: Features :: Healthcare :: Paste

Progressives should back Medicare for all - San Antonio Express-News

Progressives should back Medicare for all - San Antonio Express-News

Poll: Plurality supports single-payer health care - POLITICO

Poll: Plurality supports single-payer health care - POLITICO

Canadian Doctor to U.S.: Try Single-Payer Health Care Instead Of Trashing It | By Danielle Martin | Common Dreams

Canadian Doctor to U.S.: Try Single-Payer Health Care Instead Of Trashing It | By Danielle Martin | Common Dreams

Single-Payer Movement Shows: Life After Trump May Not Suck | By Matt Taibbi | Common Dreams

Single-Payer Movement Shows: Life After Trump May Not Suck | By Matt Taibbi | Common Dreams

How to Get a Health Care System for People, not Just for Corporate Profit

How to Get a Health Care System for People, not Just for Corporate Profit

Even Business Leaders Are Realizing Health Insurance Companies Serve No Purpose

Even Business Leaders Are Realizing Health Insurance Companies Serve No Purpose

The Political Genius of Bernie’s ‘Medicare for All’ Bill | The Nation

The Political Genius of Bernie’s ‘Medicare for All’ Bill | The Nation

Single-payer health care: What is it? | Fox News

Single-payer health care: What is it? | Fox News

Like Other ACA Repeal Bills, Cassidy-Graham Plan Would Add Millions to Uninsured, Destabilize Individual Market | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Like Other ACA Repeal Bills, Cassidy-Graham Plan Would Add Millions to Uninsured, Destabilize Individual Market | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Former Governor Talks at Harvard About Single Payer Demise | Vermont News | US News

Former Governor Talks at Harvard About Single Payer Demise | Vermont News | US News

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Four things to know about single-payer healthcare | Managed Healthcare Executive

Four things to know about single-payer healthcare | Managed Healthcare Executive

Some interesting comments....BUT....this is the time for dramatic change.  Taking profit hound insurance companies out of it is necessary.  The cost can be guaranteed to not be more than most folks & employers  currently pay.  Keep the Medicare payroll tax and up the income level for it and Soc. Sec. tax.  Calculate how much of our current taxes go to support employee medical care, government medical programs, government workers at all levels health care coverage, etc. and recent five year average of what a family has paid out of pocket for health care other than premiums and they can determine a fair baseline guaranteed cost.  With putting hospitals on a budget, making them public utilities and cutting the cost of all the bill processing at vendors and insurance companies we can do this at less cost -- not more.

Also, this article makes managed care sound good and rewarding positive results as a payment criteria.  All that is horse hockey and not based on research.  Our bad health results in the USA are due to how an average is affected by the terrible way we treat our poor citizens.  That drives down the overall results.  Universal access to care for all will gradually improve the results.  MCO/ACO, etc. models are distractions and used to help justify what insurance companies bring to the table.  I just want my doc and me at the table -- thank you.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

U.S. physicians say up to 30 percent of medical services are unnecessary | MinnPost

U.S. physicians say up to 30 percent of medical services are unnecessary | MinnPost

What would Sanders' 'Medicare-for-All' bill mean for you?

What would Sanders' 'Medicare-for-All' bill mean for you?

The Health 202: Single-payer pushes the health-care debate decidedly leftward - The Washington Post

The Health 202: Single-payer pushes the health-care debate decidedly leftward - The Washington Post

Editorial: How to turn healthcare's single-payer threat into a reality - Modern Healthcare Modern Healthcare business news, research, data and events

Editorial: How to turn healthcare's single-payer threat into a reality - Modern Healthcare Modern Healthcare business news, research, data and events

Single Payer Is on the National Agenda—And It’s Thanks to People’s Movements - In These Times

Single Payer Is on the National Agenda—And It’s Thanks to People’s Movements - In These Times

The Missing Pieces of Sanders' Medicare For All Bill - The Atlantic

The Missing Pieces of Sanders' Medicare For All Bill - The Atlantic

This is how Bernie Sanders wants to implement single-payer health care – ThinkProgress

This is how Bernie Sanders wants to implement single-payer health care – ThinkProgress

Why Bernie Sanders' Single-Payer Health Care Plan Failed In Vermont : NPR

Why Bernie Sanders' Single-Payer Health Care Plan Failed In Vermont : NPR

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Medicare for all? Let's copy what works with health care in other nations instead - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Medicare for all? Let's copy what works with health care in other nations instead - The San Diego Union-Tribune

What is Medicare for ALL







The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board 9/5/17

It’s now clear that creating a single-payer health care system is the top priority of the Democratic Party and millions of Americans.



In California, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, made the right call in June when he pulled the plug on a bill creating a state single-payer system. He did so because the measure, Senate Bill 562, didn’t explain how to cover its estimated $400 billion annual cost — triple the state’s general-fund budget. This reasonable decision led to national blowback. Now Rendon plans to hold hearings to discuss how to get to universal health care.



In Washington, the “Medicare for All” bill that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, plans to introduce this month is picking up support, including from Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California. It’s hard to imagine any Democrat winning the party’s presidential nomination in 2020 without backing single-payer.



But it’s time that Republicans started thinking big about health care as well — and stop equating any expanded government role with socialism. According to a study by the American Journal of Public Health, taxes already pay for 64 percent of U.S. health care. The study found that, “At $5,960 per capita, government spending on health care costs in the U.S. was the highest of any nation in 2013, including countries with universal health programs such as Canada, Sweden and the United Kingdom.”



It’s a stunning statistic. Here’s another: A 2015 Commonwealth Fund study found the U.S. spent per capita at least 47 percent more of its gross domestic product on health care than 12 other wealthy, First World nations — yet had among the worst health outcomes, with the exception of treating cancer. The U.S. had the lowest life expectancy.



Any CEO would look at this picture and say the U.S. must do better. Republicans must do the same. Instead of tinkering with — or gutting — the Affordable Care Act, the Trump White House and congressional GOP leaders should consider setting up a commission to examine how to emulate other nations which deliver better outcomes at a lower cost.



Some answers are obvious. In 2009, journalist T.R. Reid chronicled how 20 percent of U.S. health spending goes to “marketing, underwriting, administration and profit,” compared with 4 percent in France and 2 percent in Taiwan. This bloat is created both by the profit motive in insurers’ provision of essential care — which Reid says is unique in the developed world — and the vast complexity of U.S. health care, with dozens of government systems and hundreds of private systems. Simple is better.



“Given our remarkable medical assets ... the United States could be, and should be, the best [at health care] in the world,” Reid argues. “To get there, though, we have to be willing to learn some lessons about health-care administration from the other industrialized democracies.”



Amen. This is why Democrats who want universal health care should look for inspiration from the rest of the world, not embrace “Medicare for all.” The same holds for Republicans who don’t like how much U.S. health care costs and who think Obamacare is a clunky mess. Americans’ national pride shouldn’t include reverence for a flawed, costly and eminently improvable health care system.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017




DISCUSSION at recent Eau Claire event:
Documentary:  Fix It: Healthcare at the Tipping Point  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT9MpMrFUCI
The group watched and discussed this documentary, which was produced by BLTH, a campaign initiated by employers whose mission is to transform the healthcare system so that processes are transparent, evidence-based and priced as a function of measurable value.  The narrator, Richard Master, is the CEO of MCS Industries who was motivated to research why the US has the most expensive health care system in the world and why the cost of health insurance for his company increased every year.  His findings led him to  creating this film, which makes a compelling case for scrapping our complex and needlessly expensive multi-payer system for a single-payer system, similar to Canada’s.  The key points include:
-          Every physician in the US has to spend $84,000, on average, just to interact with private health insurance companies, which includes staff making multiple contacts with the insurance companies, trying to get payment for services or getting authorization for procedures.
-          Of every premium dollar, 3 cents goes to the insurance agent who helps companies select an insurance plan and negotiate rates with the insurer; 20 cents goes to the insurance company to help pay for its sales and marketing and other administrative functions, which includes the work of a huge staff that does nothing more than approve or deny care; another 10 cents goes to cover what it costs doctors and hospitals to handle the massive amount of paper work and phone time required for getting pre-approvals, denials, and other payment issues.  So 33 cents of every premium dollar paid has nothing to do with the actual delivery of health care.
-          The total spending health care surpasses $3 trillion a year and is growing.  It’s more than 17 percent of the GDP, compared with Canada, which spends less than 11 percent of their GDP and Taiwan, which switched to a single-payer system in 1995, spends 1.6 percent of its operating health care budget on administration.
-          There are companies who have decided against doing business in the US because of the cost of health insurance for their employees.  Conversely, there are American companies that have built plants in Canada who said the reduced cost of health care was an important part of the decision.
-          The Conservative political party in Canada supports single-payer because it is the least expensive, reduces waste and inefficiencies, and is most supportive of a free market, which helps businesses.
-          More than 60 percent of bankruptcies in the US are related to medical expenses, and many of those people had insurance coverage, but it wasn’t nearly adequate.  The costs can bankrupt a small business, which affects not only the owners, but the employees who are out of a job.  Many in the US are only one accident away from unemployment.
-          The US system discourages people from seeing doctors because insurance companies have become experts in figuring out how NOT to pay for care.  The US is the most rationed health care system in the world.  Americans are much more likely to defer care, causing unnecessary deaths.
-          Medicare has really been a success, partly because it doesn’t incur the marketing and administrative costs that commercial companies have.
-          Nurses in US hospitals and clinics are often pulled into administrative duties, taking them away from giving care to patients.
-          Providers are frustrated with the inconsistent answers from insurance staff regarding approved length of stays, drugs, tests, etc.
-          From a business perspective, commercial insurance doesn’t bring anything to the table – has no added value to the enterprise.  Also, health insurance is often a major part of labor negotiations, often a contentious issue with employee-employer relations.
-          Single-payer systems reduce confusion and increase simplification and quality of care with no out-of-pocket costs.  The revenue comes from a simple payroll fee.  Also, single-payer systems have more clout to control costs. (the VA, for example, uses a competitive process and it pays 41% less than the rest of the US)
-          There’s no accountability in the current commercial system.  The charges of many procedures are variable and no one knows how much they actually cost.
-          The film dispels many of the myths about a single-payer system.  The government does not take over the delivery of health care.  Hospitals are operated privately and doctors are in private practice.  Patients have complete freedom of choice of providers.  By contrast, many Americans are restricted by their insurance plans in choice of providers (see a provider “out of network” and pay the full cost out of pocket.)
People put on waiting lists do not die; there is a priority process.  Canada spends half as much, but life expectancy is higher – 82 compared with 79 in US.
-          It could be possible to saves $710 billion a year with a single-payer system.  The savings could cover the uninsured and out-of-pocket expenses.  Nationally, the money saved could be shifted to investing in infrastructure and improving economic activity.
Group discussion brought up a variety of responses.
-          Price Point Wisconsin  http://www.wipricepoint.org/ is a good source for finding the average costs of medical procedures and tests.  Check it out to see if a provider’s charges are in line with the average cost and, possibly, use the data to contest a bill.
-          Commercial insurance companies’ expenses also include the costs of lobbyists.  A move to single-payer will be opposed by big Pharma and the insurance lobby.  It’s likely that going to single-payer would expose all sorts of hidden profit centers and scams in the current system.  The opposition will also employ messaging strategies suggesting that single-payer will move the US to socialism.
-          Many people don’t truly understand where their health care comes from, e.g. being opposed to “government-run health care,” but liking their care through the VA.
-          Private insurance costs are higher because Medicare reimbursements to hospitals are lower and hospitals bill private insurance companies at higher rate to subsidize Medicare patient costs.
-          Future trends:  What will be the impact of another hospital in Eau Claire – higher or lower charges?  What shortages are on the horizon with the coming “Silver Tsunami,” as Sarah calls it?    There already is a shortage of home health care workers.  The aging population is increasing, while the influx of young people into Wisconsin is decreasing.
-          The documentary suggests that corporate America could be a catalyst for change.  The film underscores that insurance companies are just “pass throughs” for our money.
-          Reminder:  Hillary Clinton was the first to advocate for a universal health care insurance system in the US.
-          Suggestion: send Thank You letters to supportive Republicans.
-          There is a bipartisan effort underway now to reform the system.  Some states are moving to offering an option for people to buy into Medicare.  However, we need to remember that Medicare doesn’t cover everything and people still need supplemental policies.  Medicare is not a true single-payer system.  Canada’s system cover dental, too.
-          The question was raised, “Why isn’t the DNC and Democratic Congressional leadership pushing for single-payer?”  Part of the answer is “Rome is burning” and Democrats have to focus on priorities, which right now is to get Dems elected in key races.  The rank-and-file, however, would like to see leadership be more assertive and vocal. 
-          Democratic vs Republican messaging was discussed.  One observer said that Republicans focus on winning first and then go to working on party unity; Democrats do it backwards and focus on party unity first, which impairs the efforts to win elections.  Slogans are more effective than recitation of facts.  Suggestion:  sloganize GOP – the party of Greed, Oppression, and Power which leads to the Corruption of Democracy.  Look to Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) for some good messaging:  “We are the party of the many, not the few.”  Also, check out Bernie Sanders’ Facebook for key messaging points.  

Hooray For Sing—I Mean, Universal Health Care – Mother Jones

Hooray For Sing—I Mean, Universal Health Care – Mother Jones
Reaction to Matt Yglesias on VOX.

5 Ways Congress Might Shore Up Health Insurance Markets : Shots - Health News : NPR

5 Ways Congress Might Shore Up Health Insurance Markets : Shots - Health News : NPR

Wish this were not today's reality.  Need to put a single payer like HF676 on this list as the goal and enact only those measures that build toward that.  Stop having coverage linked to my job.  Stop having insurance companies involved between me and my doc.  Put hospitals on budgets and regionalize accessibility of their services rather than the competitive profit motive approach (public utility model).

How Democrats Can Win With Medicare For All | HuffPost

How Democrats Can Win With Medicare For All | HuffPost

Friday, August 25, 2017

Charlottesville: symptomatic of a broader pain - The Lancet

Charlottesville: symptomatic of a broader pain - The Lancet

" But as uncomfortable as it can feel, we must work to illuminate the causes of the causes of the feelings of disenfranchisement among disadvantaged white Americans. Universal access to high-quality health care can be one important means to strengthen these frayed social bonds."

Republicans’ coming 2018 attack: single-payer would “abolish the VA” - Vox

Republicans’ coming 2018 attack: single-payer would “abolish the VA” - Vox

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The False Promise Of 'Medicaid For All'

The False Promise Of 'Medicaid For All'
"If Medicaid is paying doctors and hospitals less than they need to cover their costs, then someone else has to pay more for those providers to stay in business. That someone is the typical private insurer.....Medicaid patients who are unable to find a doctor end up in the emergency room."
Vendor needs to be paid one rate from all sources (best if only one source).  All need equal access to equal quality of health care.  There will be so much savings by getting insurance out of our health care that the equalized rates will be fair and adequate thus not a part of our current inequitable system that  withholds adequate health care from so many.



Comment from Don McCanne:

"Of course, a Medicaid buy-in would have no resemblance to a Medicaid that covered everyone, just as a Medicare buy-in would not either. Both would leave in place the most expensive and least efficient health care financing infrastructure of all wealthy nations.
Medicaid, as a chronically underfunded program with a welfare stigma, would not be an appropriate model for a single payer system. Neither would Medicare as it is, but it is more suitable as a program that could be redesigned so that it serves all of us well. An IMPROVED Medicare for All would ensure truly universal access to essential healthcare services while being affordable for each of us. With appropriate redesign, financing could be sustained and queues reduced to appropriate levels, obviating the fears of single payer dysfunction that Sally Pipes keeps instilling in us."

MNsure's consumer-friendly move gives consumers an extra month to shop - StarTribune.com

MNsure's consumer-friendly move gives consumers an extra month to shop - StarTribune.com

Reward, don't punish, Minnesota health care innovation - StarTribune.com

Reward, don't punish, Minnesota health care innovation - StarTribune.com

Monday, August 14, 2017

Health care reform should point to single-payer - Loveland Reporter-Herald

Health care reform should point to single-payer - Loveland Reporter-Herald
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Health care reform should point to single-payer
POSTED:   08/13/2017 08:35:15 PM MDT

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law March 23, 2010. The GOP immediately began calling for its repeal, yet until recently, they gave no thought about a replacement.

Seven years! When they finally began proposing replacements, they all had one thing in common: depriving access to health care for millions. This after the president promised that "everyone" would be covered and for less.

Republicans control all levels of the federal government. They have no one to blame but themselves, because they're trying to reconcile one faction that wants to do something (especially GOP governors who fear cuts to Medicaid), with another that would have the market solve the problem — the market that before Obamacare allowed people to be refused insurance for pre-existing conditions or because a lifetime limit was reached.

The fact is, Obamacare works pretty well, especially in states that expanded Medicaid for those who can't afford insurance. Most of its failures have come in red states that refused to do so. Also, how many shortcomings might have been avoided had the GOP decided to participate in the process instead of just saying no since day one? But maybe there's an even better way.

After World War II, we helped Japan and much of Europe set up universal health care. Yet in 1949, when President Truman proposed it for the U.S., it was defeated by calling it socialized medicine. You will note that not one of those nations ever repealed it. Nor has anyone in those countries ever gone bankrupt or lost a house because of medical expenses. Or had to beg for proper medical care. Plus it's cheaper because no profits are added or huge salaries paid and far fewer people deal with billing. Maybe it's time for Americans to follow our own lead and reconsider universal health care.

Ken Bublitz
Loveland

Single Payer or Bust? - The New York Times

Single Payer or Bust? - The New York Times

Forget about single-payer healthcare. This California congressman has the real solution: Medicare for all - LA Times

Forget about single-payer healthcare. This California congressman has the real solution: Medicare for all - LA Times

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Employer-based health coverage likely to stay awhile | AM 1440 KYCR - Minneapolis, MN

Employer-based health coverage likely to stay awhile | AM 1440 KYCR - Minneapolis, MN

Health care access should NOT be linked to your job.  It is not good for small employers and it certainly is not good for the individual's ability to choose their job.

Universal healthcare bill attracted lots of lobbying | The Sacramento Bee

Universal healthcare bill attracted lots of lobbying | The Sacramento Bee

So much of our health care money (which includes our tax money) goes to pay for non-medical care things.  Lists like this need to be made public all over the country.  Example of cost seldom, if ever, mentioned that would be saved via Medicare for All are lobbying, campaign contributions and advertising.

Douglas Turner: Dems divided on universal health care - The Buffalo News

Douglas Turner: Dems divided on universal health care - The Buffalo News

A negative view on possibilities.  Points our need to plan for what to do with all those currently working to sell health insurance.

Canadian unions push for Pharmacare – a single-payer prescription drug plan – People's World

Canadian unions push for Pharmacare – a single-payer prescription drug plan – People's World

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Universal Health Care Can Work: But the Case Must Be Made for How to Pay and How Money Will Be Saved | Alternet

Universal Health Care Can Work: But the Case Must Be Made for How to Pay and How Money Will Be Saved | Alternet

Single Payer? Take a Look At How South Korea Did It. – Mother Jones

Single Payer? Take a Look At How South Korea Did It. – Mother Jones

Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care | The Nation

Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care | The Nation

Where Are the Single-Payer Wonks? | New Republic

Where Are the Single-Payer Wonks? | New Republic

Molina Healthcare to drop out of Wisconsin's Obamacare marketplace

Molina Healthcare to drop out of Wisconsin's Obamacare marketplace

This does show a big impact in WI for ACA members. But, my main reason for posting this is 2fold.

1. This company, like many, many more nationwide, find it financially workable to continue managing Medicaid and state government welfare medical plans even though they say ACA is no longer financially feasible. That tells us we really need to learn more about how our tax money is going to profit them and why.

2. The decisions by these and other for profit insurance corporations to drop out of ACA is based on making a profit. The ACA says they can't use more than 20% of their premium income/subsidies for administrative overhead. Medicare and such costs in other countries is like 2% or 3%. Their top lever execs get millions in compensation. Millions are and will lose health care because millionaires aren't making enough profit.