It’s shaping up to be spring 2011 redux. Just under a year ago, Republicans — euphoric after a midterm election landslide, and overzealous in their interpretation of their mandate — passed a budget that called for phasing out Medicare over the coming years and replacing it with a subsidized private insurance system for newly eligible seniors.
The backlash was ugly. But Republicans seem to have forgotten how poisonous that vote really was, and remains…because they’re poised to do it again. This time they’re signaling they’ll move ahead, with a modified plan — one that, though less radical, would still fundamentally remake and roll back one of the country’s most popular and enduring safety net programs.
“We’re not backing off any of our ideas, any of our solutions,” GOP budget chairman Paul Ryan said last week in an interview with Fox.
Why on earth would Republicans put the whole party back on the line? Particularly after a year of serial brinkmanship and overreach that has dragged their popularity down to record lows?
The answers speak as much to the hubris of this GOP majority as it does to the fact that the party’s in thrall to a movement that demands unyielding commitment to a platform of reducing taxes on high-income earners and rolling back popular, though expensive, federal support programs.
That creates a dilemma: Vote against the platform and face a primary. Vote for it, and face constituent backlash.
House Republicans will now have to choose between reigniting that backlash, or admitting to constituents that they erred the first time around.
To make that choice easier, Ryan’s signaling he’ll swap out his old Medicare plan with a new one — one that he actually co-wrote with a Democratic Senator. That’s what Democrats think he’s going to do, and if they’re right, it will allow him and members of his party to claim they’ve moved significantly in the Democrats’ direction.
Here are all the details of the so-called Ryan-Wyden plan. There are two key differences between this plan and the original Ryan plan. The first is that Ryan-Wyden would preserve a Medicare-like public option as a competitor to private plans in its insurance exchange, and allow seniors to buy into it. The second is that it would leave the rate at which the program’s costs are allowed to grow exactly where it is in current law — forcing seniors to pay less out of pocket than would the original Ryan plan.
So substantively it is, indeed, a step or two left for the GOP. But here’s the key: it ultimately hands Medicare’s benefit guarantee over to a whimsical market, instead of keeping it in government hands, where it’s been for nearly 50 years. It would constitute a massive policy shift to the right. And that’s why Democrats abandoned Ron Wyden en masse the day the plan was unveiled.
House leadership and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee couldn’t be happier. They think the GOP’s walking right back into a political buzz saw, confident the public won’t be impressed by the technical modifications to the plan, or sympathetic to the fact that a single Senate Democrat endorsed it. It’s a lesson Dems learned the hard way during health care reform — all the hair splitting over specifics didn’t stop Republicans from characterizing every permutation of it as “Obamacare.” And the label stuck. Democrats are betting they can pull the same trick in reverse this year. Indeed, as you can tell from the poster below that’s already being distributed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, they liked “Ryan Plan 1” so much, they’re lining round the block for the sequel.
Link to original article from Talking Points Memo
Healthcare for All/Single Payer -
Millions of Americans are deep in medical debt. Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will throw a lifeline to very few. According to the Congressional Budget Office, even after health reform is fully implemented in 2014, 30 million to 36 million people will remain uninsured. And tens of millions who do have insurance will have coverage that is too limited to ensure financial protection against an expensive illness. Many families will remain just one serious illness away from bankruptcy.
In 2001, we began studying medical bankruptcy along with our colleagues Elizabeth...
David U. Himmelstein, M.D., and Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H. | PNHP 18 Jun 2013 Hits:115 HCA Articles
Immigrants don’t just pick our fruit, deliver our take-out food and design our computers — they pay for our medical care.
As Congress debates immigration reform, some would have us believe that immigrants are draining the Treasury. But it turns out that closing the borders would deplete Medicare’s trust fund.
We, along with colleagues at Harvard Medical School, studied who pays into the Medicare trust fund vs. who uses Medicare coverage. As we report in the current issue of the journal Health Affairs, over a seven-year period, immigrants paid in $115.2 billion...
Steffie Woolhander and David U. Himmelstein | Roll Call 18 Jun 2013 Hits:84 HCA Articles
After spending 25 years in the health care field, most of it related to making hospitals more efficient and effective, I have become skeptical of many of Washington’s reform efforts, especially by my party, the GOP.
One of the biggest problems with health care is escalating, uncontrolled expenditures, taking a larger and larger proportion of our GNP. However, what Rep. Paul Ryan and the GOP want to talk about is the federal budget and cost-shifting via Medicare and Medicaid.
Experts in health care economics differ on many things. But one thing they...
Jack Bernard | Charlotte Observer 11 Jun 2013 Hits:156 HCA Articles
Donna Smith, Executive Director of Health Care for All Colorado, can be heard during an interview session where questions were asked by the moderator during the first half. And, then by the audience in the second half. Her visit to Fort Collins was sponsored by Health Care for All Colorado Northern Colorado Chapter on April 3, 2013. These interviews were created by the Tim Caffrey Show for a local TV channel in Fort Collins.
During the first half of the evening she was asked several questions by Tim Caffrey, from Northern...
Ann Molinson | Healthcare For All Colorado 09 Jun 2013 Hits:147 HCA Articles
As Congress mulls changing America’s border and naturalization rules, a study finds that immigrant workers are helping buttress Medicare’s finances, because they contribute tens of billions a year more than immigrant retirees use in medical services.
“Immigrants, particularly noncitizens, heavily subsidize Medicare,” the researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs. “Policies that reduce immigration would almost certainly weaken Medicare’s financial health, while an increasing flow of immigrants might bolster its sustainability.”
The Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, which pays for Medicare’s Part A inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facilities, home health and hospice for the...
Jordan Rau | Kaiser Health News 31 May 2013 Hits:135 HCA Articles
North Carolina could save as much as $18.7 billion next year on health-care costs if it changed the way it finances health care.
The catch? That change would require a switch to a single-payer system in which one entity collects all health-care fees and pay related costs, says Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
“We have a system that was broken 10 years ago, and it’s getting worse,” he says. “You can’t fix it unless you change its fundamental basis.”
Friedman spoke Thursday night in Charlotte...
Jennifer Thomas | Charolette Business Journal 31 May 2013 Hits:333 HCA Articles
While women and men around the world applaud Angelina Jolie for her bravery in writing such a public opinion piece in the New York Times today about her preemptive double mastectomy, some of us know that our breasts and our lives just are not worth as much as hers. The topics for discussion on many news programs and across the web seem to be largely concentrating on the genetic testing that can now be done to watch for the mutations that may signal impending cancer and on the benefits and risks of...
Donna Smith | Donna Sicko's Blog 17 May 2013 Hits:870 HCA Articles
Even as state officials scramble to put in place major health reforms for 2014, a new proposal to guarantee medical care as a human right and create a single-payer system for all citizens is moving toward a Colorado vote.
Health Care for All Colorado and a current board member of the budding state health insurance exchange are pushing a citizen initiative to scrap the private insurance system.
The effort is separate from Sen. Irene Aguilar's bill proposing a statewide referendum on a "cooperative" that also would be a single-payer system, whose passage...
Michael Booth | Denver Post 01 Apr 2013 Hits:434 HCA Articles
Steven Brill’s exposé on hospital pricing in Time magazine predictably provoked from the American Hospital Association a statement seeking to correct the impression left by Mr. Brill that the United States hospital industry is hugely profitable.
In this regard, the association can cite not only its own regularly published data, but also data from the independent and authoritative Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or Medpac, established by Congress to advise it on paying the providers of health care for treating Medicare patients.
As shown by Chart 6-19 of Medpac’s report from June 2012,...
Uwe E Reinhardt | The New York Times 16 Mar 2013 Hits:710 HCA Articles
Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than three dozen times, ran on a pledge to eliminate the law on “day one,” and sought to underfund the measure at every opportunity. But since the Supreme Court upheld the ACA and President Obama won re-election the political dynamics of reform have changed: Republican governors are slowly embracing elements of the law and Congressional Republicans are no longer scheduling votes to repeal it.
In another sign of the growing political support for health reform — or the sense that opposing its...
Igor Volsky | Think Progress 10 Mar 2013 Hits:478 HCA Articles
Winston Churchill once remarked, “Americans will always do the right thing, once they’ve exhausted all alternatives.” His observation, at least the second half of it, is proving itself as we continue to struggle with our health care system, especially its out-of-control costs that are crippling the budgets of businesses and government alike.
There is a lot of money in our health care system, and no enforceable budget. That leads to carelessness when it comes to spending that money.
What are some of the reasons health care costs continue to rise? Here are...
Dr. Philip Caper | The Bangor Daily News 16 Feb 2013 Hits:350 HCA Articles
The Obama administration proposed broader latitude Friday for religious nonprofits that object to the mandated coverage of contraceptives, one that will allow large faith-based hospitals and universities to issue plans that do not directly provide birth control coverage.
Their employees would instead receive a stand-alone, private insurance policy that would provide contraceptive coverage at no cost.
The new proposal aims to find middle ground between faith-based nonprofits that have a religious opposition to contraceptives and women’s health advocates who vociferously supported the required coverage of...
Sarah Kliff and Michelle Boorstein | Washington Post 01 Feb 2013 Hits:526 HCA Articles
About a year ago, facing a budgetary shortfall, the Maine Legislature had a knock-down, drag-out fight over Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to save $220 million by throwing 65,000 Maine residents off MaineCare.
At that time, I predicted that the Legislature “can look forward to a repeat performance in a year or two unless they have the courage, wisdom and bipartisanship to attack the fundamental flaws in the ways we finance and deliver [all] health care services.” Well, they didn’t. And now they are.
The recently announced “unexpected”...
Philip Carper | Bangor Daily News 31 Dec 2012 Hits:527 HCA Articles
The 'best' health care depends on your perspective.
Is the American health care system "the best in the world"? If so, perhaps Oregon is spinning its wheels trying to fix a health care system some U.S. congressmen say isn't broken. Let's hear what these national leaders say and then check reality.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says, "We do start with the notion, however, that we have the best health care in the world." If McConnell had diabetes, he might pause. American diabetics suffer twice as...
Samuel Metz | The Oregonian 28 Dec 2012 Hits:673 HCA Articles
In January 2009, at the age of 63 1/2, my friend Carol Bentley was laid off her 10-year job without warning. In a one-two punch, her health insurance ended the next day.
She could not afford COBRA.
Desperate about her medical expenses, she was rescued when federal stimulus money temporarily subsidized COBRA for the unemployed. That covered her until she was eligible for Medicare in July 2010.
Even now, tears fill her eyes as she talks about the terror and humiliation of that time. And, without Medicare, she...
Jessica Schorr Saxe | Charlotte Observer 10 Dec 2012 Hits:523 HCA Articles
Although Election Day is behind us, Medicare remains on working people's minds. Medicare ranked third to the economy and federal deficit as an issue of extreme importance in deciding how people voted. For months now, pundits, candidates and policymakers have wrestled one another about Medicare's future. Taking place at town hall meetings and on editorial pages, these battles were mostly waged in fiscal terms. Medicare's sustainability, the fiscal slope and the cost of insuring the Baby Boomers are hot topics for debate. Attention will...
Joe Baker | AFL-CIO.org 26 Nov 2012 Hits:861 HCA Articles
National Nurses: Message from Working People
to Wall Street- America is Not for Sale
Nurses Call on President, Congress to Honor Electoral Mandate
with Pledge To Protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses said today that the national election delivered an unmistakable message Tuesday:
“From the Presidential race to Senate races to local ballot measures, American voters Tuesday delivered a strong message to Wall Street, billionaires and secretive corporate funded political committees – America is not for sale,” said NNU Executive Director Rose...
Nation Nurses United | Press Release 07 Nov 2012 Hits:781 HCA Articles
Researchers say privately run Medicare Advantage plans have undermined traditional Medicare’s fiscal health and taken a heavy toll on taxpayers, seniors and the U.S. economy
In the first study of its kind, a group of health policy experts has determined the amount of money that Medicare has overpaid private insurance companies under the Medicare Advantage program and its predecessors over the past 27 years and come up with a startling figure: $282.6 billion in excess payments, most of them over the past eight years.
Physicians for a National Health Program | Press Release 10 Oct 2012 Hits:730 HCA Articles
For many Americans, perhaps millions, the daily struggle to survive involves a significant amount of disconnection from our own realities. Worry and fear about staying afloat financially can and do cloud lives all around us – we mark our next steps by what we can afford not by what we desire or even what we need. And we bury the despair deep enough to keep on keeping on. We smile. We go on with daily life.
Especially in the area of our healthcare needs, millions of...
Donna Smith | Michael Moore.com 02 Oct 2012 Hits:651 HCA Articles
In his convention speech in Charlotte, President Obama vowed to block the Republican Medicare reform plan because “no American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.”
But back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans overseen by the states.
The administration has accepted applications from 18 states to participate in the...
Margot Sanger-Katz | National Journal 22 Sep 2012 Hits:721 HCA Articles
The ranks of America’s poor remained stuck at record levels, although dwindling unemployment benefits and modest job gains helped stave off what experts had predicted would be the fourth rise in a row in the poverty rate.
With joblessness persistently high, the gap between rich and poor increased in the last year, according to two major census measures. Also, the median, or midpoint, household income was $50,054, 1.5 percent lower than 2010 and a second straight decline.
A Census Bureau report released Wednesday provides a mixed...
AP/Huffington Post 22 Sep 2012 Hits:908 HCA Articles
Persistence of large numbers of uninsured and related deaths shows urgency of enacting an improved-Medicare-for-all system, physician says
The Census Bureau’s official estimate that 48.6 million Americans lacked health insurance in 2011 means approximately 48,000 people died needlessly last year because they couldn’t get access to timely and appropriate care, a health policy expert said today.
The estimated death toll is based on a peer-reviewed Harvard study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2009, widely cited during the health reform debate, which found that for every 1 million persons who...
Physicians for a National Health Program | Press Release 12 Sep 2012 Hits:475 HCA Articles
PNHP note: The following exchange among PNHP co-founders Dr. Steffie Woolhandler and Dr. David Himmelstein, attorney Oliver Hall, and former health-insurance-executive-turned-whistleblower Wendell Potter was prompted by an article by Potter titled “Healthcare advocates: Time to bury the hatchet” in the July 11 online edition of The Nation. A link to Potter’s original article appears at the end.
By Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein
Wendell Potter’s insightful critique of his former bosses in big health insurance was marred by his reprimand of his newfound friends in ...
Physicians for a National Health Program 08 Sep 2012 Hits:779 HCA Articles
Health insurance executives breathed a sigh of relief when the Supreme Court upheld their favorite part of the Affordable Care Act (the part that is one of the least popular among the rest of us)—the individual mandate. And then, I’m confident, moments after they exhaled, they were on a conference call with their army of lobbyists and PR people to approve a strategy, developed months ago, to gut the provisions that the rest of us do like. These are the parts of the law...
Wendell Potter | The Nation 08 Sep 2012 Hits:821 HCA Articles
With Mitt Romney on the attack on Medicare, President Obama personally engaged in the fight on Wednesday as the popular public health program catapulted to the top of the presidential campaign agenda.
On the last day of his three-day bus tour of Iowa, sensing an opening to paint a contrast with his opponents, Mr. Obama sharply attacked Mr. Romney and his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, for advocating budget cuts that he said would curtail Medicare benefits.
While “I have strengthened Medicare,” Mr. Obama declared before a...
Helene Cooper | The New York Times 17 Aug 2012 Hits:725 HCA Articles
It was a slow and torturous death, my American dream. And for millions of others, I am guessing it is the same. Nothing this current round of politicos is planning to do can restore it. Just like there is nothing to being a little bit pregnant, there is nothing anyone can do to breathe life back into what once seemed possible. Now I just hang on waiting to die. This piece is not about who will or will not be our president or vice...
Donna Smith | Michael Moore.com 15 Aug 2012 Hits:821 HCA Articles
Wheaton College, an evangelical liberal arts school in Illinois, asked a Washington, D.C. federal court on Wednesday for an emergency injunction against the Obama administration's contraception coverage mandate because the rule forces the school to cover emergency contraception, which it believes causes abortions, or pay immediate fines.
But Wheaton's health plan already covered emergency contraception when the mandate was announced, a spokesperson for its legal team told The Huffington Post, and tried to scramble to get rid of that coverage in order to qualify for the one-year reprieve President Barack Obama...
Laura Bassett | Huffington Post 06 Aug 2012 Hits:828 HCA Articles
While the human costs of our dysfunctional health system are staggering in terms of death, suffering, and financial trauma for patients and families, we pay a steep economic price over the long haul when we follow patients and discover the ongoing costs and the collateral damage to our economy. A patient whose care is compromised early on in their treatment often is much more costly to the system over time. Such is the case for me and millions of other insured, working Americans who...
Donna Smith | Common Dreams 04 Aug 2012 Hits:764 HCA Articles
Since our founding in 2004, PDA has supported expanded, improved Medicare for All. This Monday, July 30th, Medicare will turn 47. We're marking this anniversary by asking you to join us in supporting our Medicare for All Slate including Dr. David Gill, MD; Congressman John Conyers; and newly-endorsed Congressman Alan Grayson.
We've organized and rallied for Congressman Conyers' H.R. 676 and other legislation to make Healthcare for All a reality month after month at our Brown Bag Lunch Vigils, letter drops, and Capitol Hill lobby days. With our...
Tim Carpenter | PDA 31 Jul 2012 Hits:622 HCA Articles
Has your insurance company called you recently to ask you to sign up for a wellness or disease management program? Has that same company told you it’s a free service to policyholders and promised you that they do not share the information with the departments and people who administer your benefits and claims? You – like me and millions of other Americans – are being scammed.
Follow the money, my friends, and do not believe for one minute that the same company...
Donna Smith 30 Jul 2012 Hits:1137 HCA Articles
Dr. Bill HonigmanCalifornia
Contact us at:email@example.com
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.
Special guest Benjamin Day of Healthcare-NOW! speaking on national actions related to Medicare's anniversary, plus PDA state reports.
Robert Score, Recording Secretary of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Local 1 in New York, NY will be discussing universal access to healthcare from a labor union perspective, local and state actions with universal...
Monthly call with special guests Cindy Young, the Special Projects and CNA/Campaign Coordinator for Campaign for a Healthy CA, and Mary Gerisch, the President of the Vermont Workers2019 Center Coordinating Committee
Special Guest: Joel Segal, Senior legislative Assistant to Rep John Conyers (author of HR 676). Discussing the reintroduction of HR 676 into the 113th Congress and where advocates’ best hopes are of maximizing co-sponsorship.
Monthly call for the Healthcare for all issue team with special guest speaker, Donna Smith, Director Healthcare for All Colorado Foundation & Co-Chair PDA Healthcare Not Warfare Campaign
THEME: Health Care: Art for Societies2019 Sake
Special Guest: Michael Milligan Actor and Author of MERCY KILLERS
AGENDA: Moderator, Kurt Bateman, PDA HCHR IOT Co-coordinator
> Introductions and roll call Kurt Bateman and Dr Bill Honigman,...