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 -
I live in a state that has refused to accept Medicaid Expansion funds. The latest reports are proof that Texas, the largest state opting out, will cut off its nose to spite its face: we could collect $100 billion in federal funds over the next 10 years if we agreed to expand Medicaid eligibility. While hospitals in other states will see a drop in uncompensated care, Texas hospitals will continue to provide $5.5 billion annually to the uninsured.
It’s a little difficult to understand why politicians in our state—and others like ours–would reject the opportunity...
Deborah Mitchell | Counter Punch 05 Oct 2014 Hits:818 HCA Articles
Besides our own health-care system, Switzerland's may be the one that gets the most attention in America because of its similarities to the Affordable Care Act's new coverage scheme. So it seems worth noting that 64 percent of Swiss voters rejected a ballot measure on Sunday that would have scrapped its own system in favor of single-payer health care.
If that vote had gone through, it would have replaced more than 60 insurers with a government-run system, something that a fair number of liberals and others would like to see here,...
Jason Millman | The Washington Post 05 Oct 2014 Hits:746 HCA Articles
The Affordable Care Act has made a dent in the glaring lack of health care for many millions of poor people in this, the wealthiest country in the world. But allowing states to op-out of providing Medicaid coverage for the poor, most often people of color, youth and those living in rural areas, means many millions more — in 23 states — have been denied access to essential health care.
This disgraceful loophole in the ACA was raised at the Healthcare-NOW! national strategy conference held in Oakland, Calif., Aug. 22-24. “The...
Sue Davis | Workers World 14 Sep 2014 Hits:868 HCA Articles
A study of hospital administrative costs in eight nations published in the September issue of Health Affairs finds that hospital bureaucracy consumed 25.3 percent of hospital budgets in the U.S. in 2011, far more than in other nations.
Administrative costs were lowest (about 12 percent) in Scotland and Canada, whose single-payer systems fund hospitals through global, lump-sum budgets, much as a fire department is funded in the U.S.
The study is the first analysis of administrative costs across multiple nations with widely varying health systems.
It was carried out by an international team...
Stephanie Woolhandler | Single Payer Action 14 Sep 2014 Hits:1244 HCA Articles
Don Berwick is making a vital point about the need for progressives to expand the discussion about healthcare reform.
Democratic and Republican strategists, and the candidates who let campaign consultants frame their range of opinion, are still engaging in picayune debates about the strengths and weaknesses of the Affordable Care Act.
But Berwick, who for seventeen months headed the Medicare and Medicaid programs under President Obama, isn’t getting lost in the political weeds. He’s blazing a trail in the direction of what ultimately must be done—pushing at the constraints of the conversation...
John Nichols | The Nation 14 Sep 2014 Hits:1108 HCA Articles
This week, U.S. experts from the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective will testify before the United Nations' Committee to End Racial Discrimination in Geneva, sharing a report that describes the experiences of American women of color and immigrant women who pay with their health and even their lives for the race and gender discrimination that tirelessly persists in our health system.
The meeting is part of the U.N.'s periodic review process that evaluates how signatories to the International Convention on the Elimination of...
Andrea Flynn | The Hill 17 Aug 2014 Hits:826 HCA Articles
Now that the initial shouting and—at times—vitriol from both sides has subsided after Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, it’s time to take a sober look at what the ruling says about the future of health care reform in the United States. The majority’s ruling was an imperfect solution to a complicated case involving the reach of religious liberty to exempt organizations from providing certain medical benefits that they find morally objectionable to their employees. The fact that these medical benefits were almost exclusively offered to women...
Fred Rotondaro and Christopher J. Hale | TIME 13 Jul 2014 Hits:1326 HCA Articles
The United States currently spends more per person on health care than any other developed country. Health outcomes in the U.S., however, are among the worst.
Despite weak health spending growth worldwide, a number of countries still had substantial health care budgets as of 2012. Based on data released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. led the developed world in 2012, spending $8,745 per capita on health care. Turkey, by contrast, spent just $984 per capita, the lowest among developed countries. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the...
Ashley C. Allen | USA Today 13 Jul 2014 Hits:677 HCA Articles
The venomous politics dogging the Affordable Care Act and the flawed rollouts of its new health insurance marketplaces have too often overshadowed health reform’s noble goal: ensuring that more Americans have access to vital, potentially lifesaving medical coverage.
But on Wednesday, a groundbreaking analysis released by University of Minnesota researchers offered a powerful reminder of why it’s important to keep the big picture in mind as the challenges of implementing the landmark 2010 law continue. Even though this state struggled with the balky MNsure website, historic gains were made in extending...
Editorial Board | Star Tribune 15 Jun 2014 Hits:793 HCA Articles
Oregonians can take a critical step toward comprehensive health care for everyone in the state. That first step is the HB 3260 study of health care financing options.
In 2013, the Oregon House Health Care Committee unanimously approved the study, the legislative passed the measure with bipartisan support, and the governor signed it into law.
Why is this HB 3260 study critical?
The study authorizes the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to study four options to finance comprehensive, universal health care in Oregon. When the study is complete, the OHA will submit its report...
Samuel Metz, MD 14 May 2014 Hits:706 HCA Articles
Twenty years ago this week, Rwanda's genocide began. Over the course of 100 days, more than 1 million people would be murdered, and after the violence ended, the country—including its health care system—was left in ruins. Cholera outbreaks were rampant, HIV was widespread and people no longer trusted the few doctors who remained in the country because of their ties (suspected or legitimate) to the genocidal regime, the Atlantic reports.
In just two decades, however, according to a new study published in The Lancet, Rwanda has gone from one of the world's most health care-deprived countries to a stand-out example...
Rachel Nuwer | Smithsonianmag.com 11 Apr 2014 Hits:844 HCA Articles
When the giant kapok and nawa trees that tower over the Queen's Medical Center in downtown Honolulu were planted more than a century ago, Hawaii faced a health crisis.
Many on the islands, including the queen who founded the hospital in 1859, feared that native Hawaiians, devastated by smallpox, measles and other illnesses brought by foreigners, were in danger of dying off completely.
Today, the people who walk under these trees are some of the healthiest in America.
Hawaiians live longer than their counterparts on the mainland. They die less frequently from common...
Noam Levey | Los Angeles Times 11 Apr 2014 Hits:747 HCA Articles
Sovaldi, a new hepatitis C treatment, can cure up to 90 percent of patients within three months. There's just one problem: The drug costs $1,000 a day. That price tag has thrown the biotechnology world into turmoil, as lawmakers and insurance companies complain that Sovaldi's maker is trying to milk desperate patients.
Doctors are understandably finding it hard to pass over a drug that is so effective. As a result, Sovaldi's manufacturer, Gilead Sciences (GILD), is raking in the dough, while its shares have soared 53 percent over the last year....
Kim Peterson | CBS News 11 Apr 2014 Hits:798 HCA Articles
Canadians don’t drop dead or delay care due to the lack of health insurance. However in America, thousands will continue to face death according to Harvard researchers. About 25 million people will still not have insurance under Obamacare. Those that do, have seen their rates rise and contrary to the promise that “you can keep your existing plans” bullshit, working people with existing coverage and the poor will see rates not only increase, but will continue to pay a greater share of their income for health care than the wealthy...
Steven Maiken | Daily Sundial 16 Feb 2014 Hits:1232 HCA Articles
Lawmakers have begun looking at how to finance a single-payer health care system that Gov. Peter Shumlin hopes will be his crowning achievement.
Shumlin, a second-term Democrat, wants to launch a universal, publicly financed health care system known as Green Mountain Care in 2017. He has repeatedly told lawmakers that the financing plan to support the system, which his administration has estimated will cost $1.6 billion in its first year, will be revealed next January.
But Sen. Peter Galbraith, a Democrat from Windham County, says the governor’s date is too late. He’s...
Staff | Times Argus 20 Jan 2014 Hits:755 HCA Articles
A government-run health care system in Maine would provide universal coverage to residents, cut down on administrative costs and free businesses from the complexities of providing insurance for their employees, supporters of a single-payer model said Thursday.
Advocates of a single-payer system have long been trying to implement the model in Maine with little success, but said they are hopeful that the steps Vermont officials have recently made to spearhead the effort there can help make it a reality in Maine.
"Our current health care system is complicated, is inefficient, unfair and...
Associated Press | Maine Sun Journal 20 Jan 2014 Hits:703 HCA Articles
As the rollout of Obamacare clunks forward, activists who opposed the law from the beginning say it is time to seize the moment, to tear down the current health-care edifice and start anew, especially now as frustration with the law’s implementation is reaching a peak.
These are not Tea Party activists but advocates for a single-payer health-care system who say some of the problems with the launch of the Affordable Care Act—in addition to built-in problems with the law itself—have made the American public more receptive than ever to a Medicare-for-all...
David Freedlander | Daily Beast 10 Dec 2013 Hits:2756 HCA Articles
The Affordable Care Act continues to plow ahead, despite Republican attempts to fight it at every turn. What is unfolding in front of us is nothing short of spectacular. The problems with healthcare.gov are slowly being resolved which is helping more and more people sign up for affordable healthcare, many for the first time in their life. The law provides so much more than that, including standards for even the lowest level plans, protections for young adults 26 and younger, and the elimination of pre-existing plans. Of course, you will...
Salvatore Aversa | Truth Out 08 Dec 2013 Hits:2209 HCA Articles
Former CMS administrator Don Berwick is running for Governor in Massachusetts. He has an uphill battle in the ever growing primary for the Democratic nominee. Yet his controversial tenure in DC, his pursuit of the Corner Office in the state that birthed RomneyCare (a state that is home to some of the best medical research institutions in the world), and his devoted following on the left — all grant extra weight to his comments on healthcare.
Berwick’s campaign released his platform on healthcare for the Bay State last week. Even with little detail,...
Josh Archambault | Forbes 08 Dec 2013 Hits:996 HCA Articles
It's no secret that the rollout for Healthcare.gov has been somewhat of a bumpy road. Technical glitches have caused delays for folks looking to obtain insurance, and frustrated those working hard to provide coverage options for all Americans for the first time in this nation's history. While the kinks get repaired, much of the criticism has been beyond comprehension. Is it okay to highlight website problems? Yes. Is it okay to push the president to get these tech issues resolved quickly? Absolutely. But when did having website problems become the...
Rev. Al Sharpton | Huffington Post 18 Nov 2013 Hits:942 HCA Articles
In my recent column in The Hill titled Obama's health care Katrina I took President Obama to task -- proudly -- for spending years telling Americans they would keep their insurance policies when he knew millions of Americans could not. I called for a solution to help these people and I called on progressives including myself to lead the fight to help them. And now, even more, it is time to do what really needs to be done and fight like hell for a public option, for Medicare for all,...
Brent Budowsky | Huffington Post 17 Nov 2013 Hits:1412 HCA Articles
Whenever scandal arises in Washington, D.C., the fight between the two parties typically ends up being a competition to identify a concise message in the chaos—or, as scientists might say, a signal in all the noise. This week confirms that truism, as glitches plagued the new Obamacare website and as insurance companies cancelled policies for many customers on the individual market.
Amid the subsequent noise of congressional debate and cable TV outrage, Republicans argued that the signal is about government—more specifically, they claim the controversies validate their age-old assertions that government...
David Sirota TruthDig 17 Nov 2013 Hits:1346 HCA Articles
WASHINGTON — Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House on Friday approved legislation that would allow health insurance companies to renew individual insurance policies and sell similar policies to new customers next year even if the coverage does not provide all the benefits and consumer protections required by the new health care law.
The vote was 261 to 157, with 39 Democrats bucking their party leadership to vote in favor of the bill.
The legislation would go further than the fix announced on Thursday by Mr. Obama,...
Robert Pear and Ashley Parker 15 Nov 2013 Hits:831 HCA Articles
Holding signs demanding “Expand Medicaid Now,” about 60 people, including state legislators, medical professionals, clergy and health advocates gathered Thursday in Charlotte to ask the state’s Republican leaders to reverse their position and accept expansion of Medicaid benefits for the poor.
“Today I am making a 911 call to Gov. (Pat) McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly,” said state Rep. Carla Cunningham, a Mecklenburg County Democrat.
She and fellow Democratic state Rep. Beverly Earle have asked McCrory to convene a special legislative session to reconsider the earlier decision to reject Medicaid...
Karen Garloch | Charlotte Observer 01 Nov 2013 Hits:833 HCA Articles
As states open insurance marketplaces amid uncertainty about whether they're a solution for health care, Vermont is eyeing a bigger goal, one that more fully embraces a government-funded model.
The state has a planned 2017 launch of the nation's first universal health care system, a sort of modified Medicare-for-all that has long been a dream for many liberals.
The plan is especially ambitious in the current atmosphere surrounding health care in the United States. Republicans in Congress balk at the federal health overhaul years after it was signed into law. States are...
Dave Gram | The Huffington Post 27 Oct 2013 Hits:863 HCA Articles
PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine nurses group on Monday said President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, which is criticized by conservatives as overreaching, doesn’t go far enough toward universal health coverage.
The Maine State Nurses Association held Monday afternoon health screenings and an evening “town hall” event at the First Parish Church on Congress Street in Portland to advocate for the expansion of the federal Medicare program to cover all Americans, regardless of age.
The organization is planning to hold a second wave of screenings and another town hall event Tuesday afternoon...
Seth Koenig | Bangor Daily News 15 Oct 2013 Hits:968 HCA Articles
Did you happen to see Jimmy Kimmel’s interesting skit last week, where he asked people on the street whether they preferred “Obamacare” or the “Affordable Care Act”? Far too many people chose the “Affordable Care Act” over “Obamacare” without realizing that they are one and the same law.
Even worse, several of Kimmel’s interviewees rejected “Obamacare” after having already endorsed major pieces of it! Some of this cluelessness is no doubt because of propaganda. Some of it is no doubt because of partisan dislike of the president. But we must not...
Rev. Jesse Jackson | Chicago Sun Times 08 Oct 2013 Hits:967 HCA Articles
Despite critics slamming "Obamacare" – the first major U.S. health-care reform passed in nearly 50 years – as "Canadian-style" health insurance, critics note that major differences between the two systems persist.
McGill University Professor of Political Science Antonia Maioni said the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which went into effect earlier this week, is "not even close" to the Canadian system.
"Obamacare keeps in place the basic principle of health care in the United States which is: if you want to get access to care you need to buy insurance coverage," she told...
CTVNews.ca Staff 06 Oct 2013 Hits:1073 HCA Articles
A sweeping national effort to extend health coverage to millions of Americans will leave out two-thirds of the poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of the low-wage workers who do not have insurance, the very kinds of people that the program was intended to help, according to an analysis of census data by The New York Times.
(Claretha Briscoe, left, of Hollandale, Miss., with family. She earns too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to get subsidies on the new health exchange./James Patterson for The New...
Sabrina Tavernise and Robert Gebeloff | The New York Times 03 Oct 2013 Hits:1109 HCA Articles
Donna Smith: “The fact remains that we all have bodies and we all will someday get sick or hurt; all of us will need some level of health care.”
Through all the rhetoric, the misinformation, the lack of information, the cheering and the nay-saying, and the threats and realities of government shutdowns that surrounds the Affordable Care Act (ACA), one thing remains certain: individuals will begin enrolling for health insurance at state exchanges starting on October 1, 2013. Whatever else people may think the ACA is or isn’t, it remains this country’s...
Joanne Boyer | Wisdom Voices 02 Oct 2013 Hits:1039 HCA Articles
Dr. Bill HonigmanCalifornia
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