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 president, as after voting in every election since the 1970s, I am pretty sure what I need and want isn’t coming from any of them. When I launched into my adult life as a rather average American woman, I held dear all the illusions that I could work my way out of any financial or societal calamity if only I had the spirit and drive to do so. I was so wrong. I was born into a working class family where my parents struggled and worked hard to make sure I was positioned with an education and life experiences to live a better life than they had and perhaps struggle a little less. It was all for naught. No matter whether a Republican like Nixon, Ford, Reagan or Bush -- either one -- or Democrats like Carter, Clinton, or Obama, the real chances were always next to none that I would actually “make it” and also live a life of purpose I so desperately wanted. I once read a text in college about how difficult it really is for most people in America to break out of their native-born class standings. I didn’t really care much about that as my mom and dad did a wonderful job of providing all that I needed and then some. I would have been really happy if my hard work had been enough to secure that standard of living. But my work was all for naught too. My dreams weren’t outrageous and of great wealth. No, my dreams were of a comfortable home, food on the table, children, a meaningful job, and perhaps the “freedom from want” signaled by not being terrified that I wouldn’t make it to my next paycheck. I wanted to pay the bills without fretting. I wanted an occasional vacation from work. And I looked forward to a little time in retirement with enough health left to spend with my husband, kids and grandkids before leaving this earth. Now I am so tired in my late 50s of the struggle and the futility of trying to be heard, that I am angry beyond belief. Nothing in my dream was tied to massive wealth or domination over other people. But that killer instinct certainly is present in many people I know. That’s the instinct I apparently lack – the need to be rich and control others even if it means allowing those many others to suffer and die for my personal achievement. My real situation is like millions of other people in America. I’ve worked hard – very hard. Vacations were almost non-existent as I either needed to use that time for sick leave when I needed to for children, my husband, or myself or I “banked” the time knowing the next financial storm would come. Retirement security? Come on. When the horrible and crushing moments of healthcare crisis came and funds were needed to pay deductible, co-insurances, and co-pays or other bills, any retirement funds were cashed out. I have had to start from scratch so many times on retirement savings that I know now that Social Security will likely be my only retirement resource – unless that is stripped away too. Home ownership? Yeah, way back in the 70s, 80s, and early 1990s. Then it was all gone. Still working hard and even harder than ever, it was all lost. I rent now. I will rent ever more. How will I pay these rents in retirement? I won’t. “Death is one of two things. Either it is annihilation, and the dead have no consciousness of anything; or, as we are told, it is really a change: a migration of the soul from this place to another,” Socrates in “Plato’s Apology,” as I once read. I always read it to be that either we have sweet and eternal repose or there is something very different awaiting us after death. While my faith allows me to trust in the latter, my life on this earth has made me sometimes long for either. The American system – both our healthcare system and our broader economic policies – have been stacked against many of us from the start. And what makes me angriest now is that I instilled in my own children the same notion my parents instilled in me that hard work and ingenuity will get you where you want to go. I lied to them, and I didn’t mean to. Hard work might keep you afloat at times, but in these United States, it’s just not enough. Work 50 years? Believe you’ll retire in dignity? It’s an illusion. It’s a lie. Those in the classes above us want it kept that way, and they will kill to do so. Whether it’s a slow and grueling death like mine through healthcare crisis, debt, and bankruptcy due to a healthcare system singularly beholden to profit or the swift and sure deaths in wars waged for profit or the brutality of what we do to our poor, the class in control doesn’t care how they stay on top. They do not care about you and they do not care about me. Our ruling class doesn’t care that many people are disengaged from the process. The ruling class counts on that. They do not want you and me engaged, demanding a Medicare for all for life system or demanding a Robin Hood Tax. They know – they’ve studied us. They know we are born, we grow up believing we can make a difference, we spend a lifetime working for them and making them rich, fighting to stay afloat, and we wait to die nearly penniless having been lorded over by those without a conscience who could have changed our conditions and chose not to in favor or their own aggrandizement. So, I am dead woman working. Like millions of my fellow Americans. I look at my bank account every day, wonder how long it will hold out, and pray to die with at least enough to have cremation funds available. Some American dream, eh? It’s not even a nightmare. It’s just a lousy reality.
Donna Smith, American SiCKO, is a national single-payer healthcare advocate and community organizer with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee
Link to the original article on MichaelMoore.com
Healthcare for All/Single Payer -
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:675 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:347 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:609 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:420 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:292 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:468 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:460 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:599 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:453 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:728 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:699 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:675 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:603 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:666 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:843 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:428 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:722 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:759 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:670 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:757 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:769 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:716 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:570 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:1077 HCA Articles
The Congressional Budget Office is out with its analysis of how the Supreme Court decision will impact the Affordable Care Act’s budget. The big ticket takeaway is this: The non-partisan scorekeeper estimates that 3 million people fewer people will gain coverage due to states opting out of the Medicaid expansion, resulting in $84 billion less in federal spending.
Let’s break down those numbers a bit. The Congressional Budget Office does not list out which states could pass up the Medicaid expansion. But it does predict...
Sarah Kliff | Washington Post 24 Jul 2012 Hits:657 HCA Articles
Many Americans are about to get money back. We sort through how much they can keep.
American health insurance companies are about to shower over $1 billion in rebates on policyholders -- refunding premiums paid in 2011 that fail to meet the so-called 80/20 rule imposed by the health care reform law. If you're among the lucky recipients, will the rebate be a double-edged sword? Will it be considered taxable income?
We'll get to that. But first a quick review of what's going on.
Under that 80/20 rule,...
Kevin McCormally - Kiplinger | Yahoo News 21 Jul 2012 Hits:975 HCA Articles
Today in West Covina, the California Nurses Association summer 2012 Medicare for all bus tour will come to a close. After visiting 18 other California cities since June 19, the nurses will wrap up this run with a bang and with clarity. Three of the subjects of Michael Moore’s 2007 documentary film SiCKO will be on hand to help lead others in sharing their stories of struggle and frustration with the broken healthcare system.
9/11 first responder Reggie Cervantes and Dawnelle Keys, the mother whose toddler died because she was denied...
Donna Smith | National Nurses United 12 Jul 2012 Hits:811 HCA Articles
After spending the past month on the California Nurses Association Medicare for all bus tour in California, I am more confident than ever about the prospects of winning guaranteed healthcare for all under an improved Medicare model. Cradle to grave. For life. In California. Everywhere.
Our wonderful videographer, Erin Fitzgerald, has been traveling with us and capturing the stories Californians have shared along the way. In advance of our two stops in Santa Monica Wednesday, July 11, at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church at 1260 18th Street (3-6 p.m. health screenings...
Donna Smith | National Nurses United 11 Jul 2012 Hits:731 HCA Articles
Irvin Calliste, President, Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council, reports that the council has endorsed HR 676, national single payer health care legislation sponsored by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).
Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen is one of the 76 co-sponsors of this legislation which is also called “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.”
The Memphis council is the third one in Tennessee to endorse HR 676. The Knoxville-Oak Ridge Area and the Nashville and Middle Tennessee labor councils, as well as the Tennessee AFL-CIO, did so earlier.
HR 676 would institute a single payer health...
Kay Tillow | All Unions Committee For Single Payer Health Care--HR 676 10 Jul 2012 Hits:769 HCA Articles
The Affordable Care Act upheld by the Supreme Court in late June is unbelievably complicated, results in new tax burdens, require lots of new paperwork, makes the shortage of primary care physicians worse and will likely produce some surprises as unexpected consequences unfold.
But it will expand health insurance coverage and possibly bend down the curve on costs by giving better access to care and changing payment methods.
That’s what a trio of CEOs of the Baltimore region’s top health care providers and insurers told a breakfast...
Len Lazarick | Maryland Reporter.com 10 Jul 2012 Hits:751 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.
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,...
Special Guest Speaker - Mark Dudzik,
Director, Labor Campaign for Single Payer Health Care
Moderator: Kurt Bateman, PDA HCHR IOT Co-coordinator
2022 Welcome and Introductions--Kurt Bateman, Dr. Bill Honigman
2022 Mark Dudzic...
Theme: SCOTUS PPACA decision and possible effects on public healthcare access
The ills of managed care for Medicare and Medicaid
Special Guest: Stephen Kemble, M.D., member Hawaii Health Authority