Wednesday, March 9, 2016

In Memory of Dr. Quentin Young




Dr. Quentin Young, one of the most extraordinary leaders in our movement and a founding member of both Physicians for a National Health Program and Healthcare-NOW, died yesterday surrounded by family, at the age of 92.

Dr. Young was a founding member of the Committee to End Racial Discrimination in Chicago Medical Institutions (or CED), which during the 1950s fought for integration of hospitals and awarding staff privileges to black physicians. The CED evolved into the Chicago branch of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR), the medical arm of the civil rights movement, about which John Dittmer has written an extraordinary history: The Good Doctors.

Dr. Young was a medical volunteer for the Mississippi Freedom Project in 1964, and served as the national chairman of the MCHR from 1967-1968. In addition to their anti-segregation and -discrimination work in the north, MCHR organized medical professionals to provide free healthcare for civil rights activists putting their health and lives on the line at rallies and actions across the South.

In 1968 Quentin was summoned before the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee, which was trying to connect the Medical Committee to the Communist Party. A friend of Dr. Young's has posted his HUAC testimony online - he refused to answer whether he was a communist, and repeated his belief that HUAC's activities were unconstitutional.

Dr. Young served as President of the American Public Health Association in 1998; was the private physician of Barack Obama and Studs Terkel; and cared for Dr. Martin Luther King when he was injured by thrown rocks during a Chicago march. Dr. Young two years ago published an extraordinary autobiography, Everybody In, Nobody Out: Memoirs of a Rebel Without a Pause, and a documentary of Dr. Young's life - The Good Doctor Young - is currently under production. I'd encourage you to read the moving statement by PNHP in memory of Dr. Young.

Dr. Young, like Healthcare-NOW's founder Marilyn Clement, was one of the living bridges who built the single-payer movement out of the institutions and networks created by the civil rights movement.

At Healthcare-NOW, we hope to honor Quentin's memory by redoubling our organizing efforts until everybody is in, and nobody is left out of our healthcare system. I hope you'll join us.

Benjamin Day
Executive Director
Healthcare-NOW!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

CALIF - SF Mar 5 - The Human Face of Obamacare - hold the date


The Human Face

of ObamaCare:

Promises vs. Reality and

What Comes Next

Sat. 3pm, March 5

518 Valencia in SF

(At 16th St – 2 blocks from the 16th St BART)

 

A Panel Review of the book, "The Human Face of ObamaCare" by John Geyman, M.D.

Featuring Single Payer Now members:

Mona Cereghino, retired teacher

Ann Chen, retired MediCal social worker and SEIU union member

Susan Cieutat, RN, J.D., small business owner

Fran Devlin, RN, Nurse Practitioner

Mukulla Godwin, RN, member Bay Area Black Nurses Assn.

Tara Keir, Sociology B.A., Mills College

Carolyn Long, retired Social Worker, UCSF

Eileen Wampole, retired librarian and SEIU union member

 

Sponsored by Single Payer Now and the Fund for Social and Economic Initiatives

For more information, call 415-695-7891 or email dbechler@value.net

www.singlepayernow.net

 

Healthcare Yes!         Insurance Companies No!

Support Medicare for All

Labor Donated – posted 2/16/16

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PNHP statement-"Single Payer health plan would NOT cost U.S. more"


Single-payer health plan wouldn't cost U.S. more

By Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein

  

Philadelphia Inquirer

February 5, 2016

Single-payer health plan wouldn't cost U.S. more

By Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein

 

In our "read my lips/over my dead body" political culture, the threat of tax increases usually shuts down proposals for single-payer national health insurance. Lately, conservative pundits - and even liberals like Hillary Clinton - have been repeating the mantra that single-payer insurance would break the bank.

 

Never mind that Canadians, Australians, and Western Europeans spend about half what we do on health care, enjoy universal coverage, and are healthier. Their health-care taxes are higher.

 

Or are they? According to our study in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health, American taxpayers picked up 65 percent of the total health-care tab last year - a figure that will soon rise to 67 percent.

 

We paid $2.1 trillion in taxes to fund health care - $6,560 per person. That's more per capita than Canadians or people in any other nation pay. Indeed, our tax-financed health-care bill is higher than total health spending (private as well as public) in any other nation except Switzerland.

 

Official accounts from agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services peg taxpayers' share of U.S. health spending at about 45 percent, a figure that includes Medicare, Medicaid, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Veterans Affairs. However, this kind of tally omits two important items.

 

First, it leaves out government spending to buy private health coverage for public employees like teachers, firefighters, and members of Congress. Indeed, government employers account for 28 percent of all employer health spending.

 

Second, it excludes tax subsidies for private employer-paid plans and other privately paid care - $326 billion last year - that mainly benefit affluent families.

 

Omitting these government expenditures from the official health-spending tabulations obscures the fact that our health-care system is already about two-thirds publicly funded. In contrast, the Office of Management and Budget, not to mention most health-policy experts, considers tax subsidies for private insurance to be tax expenditures.

 

Even many uninsured families pay thousands of dollars in taxes for the health care of others.

 

More than one-third of these tax dollars meander through private insurers on the way to the bedside. These private insurers siphon off 12 percent for their overhead and profits (vs. 2 percent in the Medicare program) and also inflict huge paperwork costs on doctors and hospitals. A shift to single-payer national health insurance would save at least $400 billion annually on paperwork alone, enough to cover all of the uninsured and eliminate co-payments and deductibles for the rest of us.

 

That means a national single-payer plan wouldn't cost Americans any more than we're currently spending. Moreover, the taxes to pay for it would be fully offset by the savings from eliminating private insurance premiums.

 

Moving from our current level of tax financing, 65 percent, to Canada's 70.7 percent would mean a tax increase of about $185 billion per year. But Americans would save at least that much on premiums. The vast majority of American households would come out ahead financially, and everyone would be covered.

 

Drug and insurance firms that would lose billions under single-payer health coverage generously fund its detractors (including Clinton, who has gotten more health-industry dollars than any other presidential candidate). These naysayers suggest that a single-payer plan (or "Medicare for all," as Bernie Sanders likes to call it) would downgrade Americans' coverage, and they also raise the specter of big tax increases.

 

But a national single-payer plan would give all Americans the first-dollar coverage enjoyed by Canadians and Brits, and guarantee them a free choice of doctors and hospitals - a choice that private insurers currently deny to many of us.

 

Surprisingly, American taxpayers already pay enough to fund national health insurance. We just don't get it.

 

Steffie Woolhandler, M.D. and David U. Himmelstein, M.D. are professors of health policy and management at the City University of New York School of Public Health and lecturers in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

 

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20160205_Single-payer_health_plan_wouldn_t_cost_U_S__more.html

 

***

Comment by Don McCanne

 

There are two important reasons for distributing this update on how much we spend in taxes for the health system. One is that most people do not realize how much they are already spending for health care through mostly opaque tax policies - approaching two-thirds of our national health expenditures! Right now the more important reason is that people are bashing single payer reform with reports and articles based on selected taxes drawn from single payer financing proposals - particularly countering the brief single payer proposal from a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for President. Misinformation is rampant.

 

A big part of the problem is that most people have no idea what they are currently spending on health care, especially since most of it is hidden in our taxes. So when people "analyze" the single payer proposals by pulling out the various taxes, adding them up, along with recalculating upward what the expenditures would be under single payer, ignoring the savings that are already firmly established in the policy literature, then calculating the deficits in the federal budget that would result, and then projecting that out over ten years - the cumulative total is in the trillions - an almost incomprehensible number. Scary.

 

When individuals compare those enormous numbers with what they know they are currently spending - employee share of the premium for employer-sponsored plans, deductibles and copayments, and Medicare payroll taxes - they do not realize that this is only a small part of what they are actually paying, so the single payer taxes appear to be horrendous to them. Little do they realize that, with our current system, we will be spending about 43 trillion dollars on health care over the next decade, and much of the spending will be opaque to individuals and their families (since, again, two-thirds is paid through the tax system).

 

We now have claims on one side that the costs of single payer are egregiously high, and on the other that the savings for individuals and families will be phenomenal - conclusions that are reached by playing with these numbers. In fact, well designed single payer models save typical individuals and families an average of about 5 percent from their current total spending (including the hidden costs). Only very high income individuals would pay more.

 

By losing people in the fog of these incomprehensible numbers, the opponents are able to suppress discussion of the more important reasons why we should enact a single payer system: absolutely everyone is covered, deductibles and other financial barriers to care are greatly reduced or eliminated, free choice of health care professionals and hospitals is returned to patients, central planning ensures adequate but not excessive capacity in the system, excessive prices are reduced to fair levels, and economic policies are put in place that slow health care inflation to sustainable levels.

 

Do not get hung up on the numbers, Just remember that most people will see better numbers, whether they recognize them or not, while everyone will see a superior health care system. And that is what single payer is all about.

 

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) is a nonpartisan educational organization. It neither supports nor opposes any candidates for public office.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Fwd: Gerald Friedman's defense of Medicare for All against Clinton & Wall St Journal attacks


Gerald Friedman Defends Medicare for All

As the Wall St Journal and Hillary Clinton

Attack Single Payer

Radio Presentation on KPFA

And Open Letter to Wall St Journal

 

 

Medicare for All is in the news.  Both the Wall St Journal and Hillary Clinton are attacking it.

Gerald Friedman, the UMass economist and Board Member of Healthcare Now has been defending single payer. 

On January 21 he spoke on KPFA radio for 25 minutes. 


The link is

http://archives.kpfa.org/data/20160121-Thu0700.mp3   

He begins speaking at 34:10.


Attached below is Friedman's September 15 response to the Wall St Journal.

Please let us know if you have forwarded this alert.

___ I have forwarded this alert.

Thank you.

Don Bechler

Chair – Single Payer Now

Healthcare Now Board Member

415-695-7891



An Open Letter to the Wall Street Journal on Its Bernie Sanders Hit Piece

 09/15/2015 08:03 pm ET | Updated Sep 16, 2015
  • Gerald FriedmanProfessor of Economics, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY IMAGES

Gerald Friedman's research was cited in a Wall Street Journal story about Bernie Sanders's proposals for government spending. Friedman responds to that story below.

It is said of economists that they know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. In the case of the article "Price Tag of Bernie Sanders's Proposals: $18 Trillion," this accusation is a better fit for the Wall Street Journal that published it.

The Journal correctly puts the additional federal spending for health care under HR 676 (a single payer health plan) at $15 trillion over ten years. It neglects to add, however, that by spending these vast sums, we would, as a country, save nearly $5 trillion over ten years in reduced administrative waste, lower pharmaceutical and device prices, and by lowering the rate of medical inflation.

These financial savings would be felt by businesses and by state and local governments who would no longer be paying for health insurance for their employees; and by retirees and working Americans who would no longer have to pay for their health insurance or for co-payments and deductibles. Beyond these financial savings, HR 676 would also save thousands of lives a year by expanding access to health care for the uninsured and the underinsured.

The economic benefits from Senator Sander's proposal would be even greater than these static estimates suggest because a single-payer plan would create dynamic gains by freeing American businesses to compete without the burden of an inefficient and wasteful health insurance system. As with Senator Sanders' other proposals, the economic boom created by HR 676, including the productivity boost coming from a more efficient health care system and a healthier population, would raise economic output and provide billions of dollars in additional tax revenues to over-set some of the additional federal spending.

Summary of 10-year projections

Because of the nearly $10 trillion in savings, it is possible to fund over $4.5 trillion in additional services while still reducing national health care spending by over $5 trillion. With these net savings, the additional $14.7 trillion in federal spending brings savings to the private sector (and state and local governments) of over $19.7 trillion.

Projected 10 year impact of HR 676 in billions

10-year estimates of spending with the current system and HR 676 (in $ billions):

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fwd: SF Dec 12 Organizing for America's Health SF,CA


Report From National Healthcare

Strategy Conferences

Sat. 3pm, Dec 12

2940 16th St in San Francisco

½ block from 16th St BART

I hope you can attend our Dec 12 meeting in San Francisco.  A dynamic panel will discuss the state of America's health, and what projects activists are organizing to win universal healthcare.

See leaflet below.

Please let us know if you can attend the Dec. 12 meeting.

___ I plan to attend the Dec. 12 meeting.

___ I can come early (2:30) to help set up.

Thank you.

Don Bechler

Chair – Single Payer Now

415-695-7891

Report From

National Healthcare

Strategy Conferences

The State of America's Healthcare Movement

 

A panel of activists who have attended the Physicians for a National Health Program, Labor for Single Payer, and the Healthcare Now meetings in Chicago at the beginning of November.

 

Alan Benjamin: Exec. Bd member, San Francisco Labor Council

Art Chen, MD: President of Alameda & Contra Costa Medical Assn.

Michael Lyon: Member of Gray Panthers and the California Alliance for Retired Americans.

Matthew Musselman: Touro University, DO/MPH, class of 2019

Binh Nguyen: Patient Advocate

Li-hsia Wang, MD: Member of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Don Bechler: Chair of Single Payer Now.

 

Sat. 3pm, Dec 12

2940 16th St

(one block east of Mission St and 16th St BART)

 

Event sponsored by Single Payer Now & the ESIFund

For more information call 415-695-7891 or email dbechler@value.net.

 

Healthcare Yes, Insurance Companies No

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

SF,CA - Report from Nat Healthcare Strategy Conference

Report From National Healthcare 

Strategy Conferences

Sat. 3pm, Dec 12

2940 16th St

 

I hope you can attend our Dec 12 meeting in San Francisco.  A dynamic panel will discuss the state of America's health, and what projects activists are organizing to win universal healthcare.

See leaflet below and attached. 

We encourage you to post the attached leaflet in a coffee shop or worksite.

And we encourage you to forward this alert. 

Please let us know if you can attend the Dec. 12 meeting. 

___ I plan to attend the Dec. 12 meeting.

___ I can come early (2:30) to help set up.

___ I will post a leaflet.

___ I will forward this alert.

Thank you.

Don Bechler

Chair – Single Payer Now 

4155-695-7891

Report From

National Healthcare 

Strategy Conferences

The State of America's Healthcare Movement

 

A panel of activists who have attended the Physicians for a National Health Program, Labor for Single Payer, and the Healthcare Now meetings in Chicago at the beginning of November.

 

Alan Benjamin: Exec. Bd member, San Francisco Labor Council

Art Chen, MD: President of Alameda & Contra Costa Medical Assn.

Leslie Ann Fuchs, MD: Medical Director, Home Care Advisors 

Michael Lyon: Member of Gray Panthers and the California Alliance for Retired Americans. 

Jonathan Meade: Co-chair SEIU 1021 Medicare for All Committee.

Matthew Musselman: Touro University, DO/MPH, class of 2019

Binh Nguyen: Patient Advocate

Li-hsia Wang, MD: Member of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Don Bechler: Chair of Single Payer Now.

 

Sat. 3pm, Dec 12

2940 16th St

(one block east of Mission St and 16th St BART)

 

Event sponsored by Single Payer Now & the ESIFund

For more information call 415-695-7891 or email dbechler@value.net.

 

Healthcare Yes, Insurance Companies No       

 

labor donated posted 12-1-15