Health Reform 2018



Common Dreams: Ralph Nader: 25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better Than Obamacare - Astonishing when you put them all together.

Jacobin: Medicare For All Will Be Good For Everyone But CEOs


America Public Health Assoc.: Economic Vulnerability Among US Female Healthcare Workers - “Conclusions: Many US female health care workers, particularly women of color, suffer economic privation and lack health insurance. Achieving economic, gender, and racial/ethnic justice will require significant changes to the compensation structure of health care.” Many of the people who care for us when we are the sickest are also among the most economically disadvantaged people in the USA. Something to think about during this season of giving.


Vox: Comparison of 8 Democrat Universal Health Care Plans


Medscape: Poll Shows Majority of Healthcare Professionals Support Single-Payer System - 68% support, 52% strongly support


USA Today: Democrats, Don’t Waste Time on Health Care Tweaks. Pass Medicare for All. - A great short article by a former VP of Cigna. Unfortunately, the Democrats are going to promote a bill that sounds like Medicare for all, but is really just a way for insurance companies to profit even more at working class peoples’ expense, and kill actual Medicare in the process.


UK Guardian: Universal Healthcare Could Save America Trillions. What’s Holding Us Back?


Politico: Establishment Democrats Look to Crush Liberals on Medicare for All -  The Democrapic party will never allow Single Payer to happen. Party bosses like Pelosi, Clinton, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker will continue to support the fragmented, dysfunctional Obamacare, that leaves 1 in 10 people with no insurance and 1 in 4 with under-insurance, regardless of the fact that Single Payer is the far less expensive alternative, and Here, that would cover all Americans, and the fact that almost 2/3 of Americans favor it.

Why will these Dems oppose Single Payer? They don’t want to lose all of that money from insurance, drug and hospital corporations, and the power that the money brings to them. It will be interesting to see on which side some of the fence-sitters, such as E. Warren, will fall, and if rank and file voters will remember come next election.


Commonwealth Fund: Cost of Employer Insurance Is A Growing Burden For Middle-Income Families


Health Affairs: National Healthcare Spending In 2017 - The good news is that the growth in costs has slowed to 3.9%. The bad news is that at $3.5 Trillion, it is almost one fifth of GDP.


Political Economy Research Institute: Economic Analysis of Medicare for All - This is a big deal. PERI is a highly respected economics research body associated with UMass Amherst. Their findings are similar to an earlier UMass study that showed even higher savings. According to this study: 1 in 10 Americans currently have no health insurance. 1 in 4 Americans is currently underinsured, and can’t afford to go the doctor. The US annually spends 17% of GDP ($3.24 Trillion) on health care. Other high-income countries spend an average of 40% less per person, and produce better health outcomes. Medicare for All would save America $310 Billion per year.

It’s worth pointing out that a recent study by the Koch-funded Mercatus Center found, to their chagrin, that Single Payer would save the US about $200B per year. A host of other studies by GAO and CBO have shown similar savings associated with a change to Medicare for All.

There is no valid economic argument against Single Payer.

Democracy-NOW: Medicare for All: Momentum Grows


Business Insider: Medical Students at Cornell/Columbia Explain Why Their CEO is Wrong to Oppose ‘Medicare For All’


BAR: New Democratic House Leaders Steer Clear of Medicare for All


Intercept: Lobbyist Documents Reveal Health Care Industry Battle Plan Against “Medicare For All” - It’s all about swaying the 123 Dems who co-sponsored HR676. After receiving lobbyist money, they now agree that the message should remain ‘moderate’ and ‘tempered’. This is the reason why supporting any Democratic candidate is truly pointless.


PNHP: The Importance of Aligning House and Senate Single-Payer Bills the Right Way - This is a long primer on all of the bills in Congress that call themselves Single-Payer. Synopsis: The only two that would actually cover all Americans under a single, tax funded insurance program are H.R. 676 and S. 1804.

The House version is co-sponsored by 123 Representatives, and is patterned after both Canadian Medicare and the PNHP proposed system.

The Senate version has been endorsed by 16 Senators. It contains a slightly different funding and payment model which would still leave the door open for up-coding and gaming the system by large corporations. It needs to be brought into alignment with the House version.


Common Dreams: Medicare for All Will Destroy the GOP - Because of Voting


Kaiser Health: Quick: What’s the Difference Between Medicare-For-All and Single-Payer? - Nothing. Except when politicians, who only want to keep their $Millions in insurance company campaign contributions flowing, but also want to sound just like Bernie Sanders, start trying to conflate and confuse. Here is what Single-Payer really means. Here is H. R. 676, which is the bill that would put it in place.

Veterans Healthcare Policy Institute: Unreliable Sources: How Corporate Funders Influenced Mass Media Coverage of Veterans’ Healthcare


Sacramento Bee: CA Nurses Go National with ‘Medicare For All’ Campaign - This is a major milestone.


The Hill: Poll: Majority of Republicans Support ‘Medicare for All’ - Actually, we already knew this, but good to get another verification. A large majority of Americans have supported ‘Medicare for All’ for several years, and Here, Here, Here, and Here (q. 81, 82) .


US Dept. Health & Human Services: Medicare Advantage Plans Profit by Wholesale Denial of Legitimate Claims - A truly shocking report. The great majority of rejected claims were overturned on appeal, but 99% of claims were never appealed. So the insurance companies kept the money. Trump-appointed CMS administrator Seema Verma sees no reason to stiffen the regulations against such activity, and in fact has recently relaxed the rules. Doesn’t happen with traditional Medicare and wouldn’t happen with Medicare for All.


NYTimes: 1,495 Americans Describe the Financial Reality of Being Really Sick - Only in America can you have health insurance and still wind up homeless and bankrupt. See entry of 10/22...the majority of all Americans want ‘Medicare for All’ (fix the current Medicare program and then expand it to include everyone), but politicians refuse to consider it, even thought it would save money.


NYTimes: Is Medicare for All the Answer to Sky-High Administrative Costs? - Here’s the answer, from Physicians For a National Health Program:

The 1.1 percent administrative cost of traditional Medicare increases to 6 percent when only one-third of the Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans. The waste of the private plans is diluted by the efficiency of the traditional program.

More importantly, the administrative excesses permeate our entire health care delivery system because of the highly fragmented, dysfunctional financing system which also places a great administrative burden on the providers of health care. When people ask where we are going to get the funds to pay for Medicare for All, they should be reminded that hundreds of billions of dollars are actually recoverable by merely changing to an efficient Medicare for All public financing. That would still leave hundreds of billions for essential administrative services.

Regarding whether or not the private Medicare Advantage plans are providing value for their administrative excesses, the answer is clearly no. Their intrusive care management has been directed more at upcoding to increase profits rather than providing much in the way of truly beneficial services.

It would be much more efficient to roll the extra benefits of Medicare Advantage, retiree plans, and Medigap into the traditional program, creating an improved Medicare for All. The administrative savings along with negotiated pricing is the key to providing affordable health care services to absolutely everyone.

Politico: Controversial Former Aide to Maine’s LePage to Run Medicaid - Mary Mayhew served as Maine’s Health Commissioner for 6 years, leading the Rethuglican Governor’s efforts to tighten Medicaid eligibility rules. During her time, she oversaw a 70% reduction in enrollment in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program — one of the sharpest declines in the nation — and a 24 percent decrease in Medicaid enrollment. Measures of hunger and poverty rose even while she oversaw cuts to programs designed to feed and support low-income residents. To all those pseudo-christian Trump voters: What was that in the bible about ‘the least of these?’


Vox: Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Sold His Medal for $765,000 to Pay Medical Bills - Only in America.


Health Affairs: Immigrants Pay More in Private Insurance Premiums Than They Receive in Benefits - Another study showing that immigrants actually subsidize health care for everyone.


UK Guardian: Ex-UN Chief: US Healthcare System is Morally Wrong


NPR: High Price of Insulin Leads Patients to Ration the Drug. That Can Be Lethal. - The current HHS Secretary, whose previous gig was president of Eli Lilly, thinks that Medicare negotiating drug prices for life-saving insulin would “move us toward socialism.” He is perfectly willing to let 80,000 Americans die per year in the name of profit. It seems that capitalism is more deadly than socialism.


Sacramento Bee: Doctor, Hospital Groups Organize to Oppose Single-Payer in California - Coalitions of vested groups with lots of money are organizing around the country to oppose Improved Medicare for All (S. 1804, H.R. 676). They will attempt to present a positive front by offering expanded coverages within the current dysfunctional and fragmented system.

The good news is that this is because they now view Single-Payer as a credible threat to their current, expensive, avaricious for-profit health care industry.

But nothing can change the fact that Single-Payer is a less expensive overall, more equitably financed system that provides everyone the health care they need without causing financial hardship to anyone.


Reuters: Reuters/Ipsos Poll: 70% of Americans, Regardless of Party, Support Medicare for All and Here  - See bottom of article for this poll’s results. Poll (see Q. 44) after poll after poll after poll (see items 81, 82), after poll, all show the same basic result.


Modern Health Care: Feds Want to Force Anthem to Comply With Medicare Billing Investigation - Medical insurance corporations know how to make an illegal buck off of you and I. They will stall as long as possible and then pay some of the money back. This is why we need to get rid of these scofflaws (this is a family friendly web site or I would have used a more accurate term) and pass Improved Medicare for All.


Jacobin: Even Libertarians Admit Medicare-For-All Would Save Trillions - $2 Trillion over a 10 year period or $200 Billion per year. But even this understates the savings. The study in question was done by the Koch libertarian think tank. See Health Reform entry of 8/2 for details.

NYTimes: Why America Needs Medicare for All

The Nation: Single Payer is Actually a Huge Bargain


ABC News: Immigrants Cost the Health Care Less Than US-Born Americans, and Subsidize Health Costs for Others - ...per a study by the International Journal of Health Services.


Intercept: Trump Officials Team With Obama Officials and Big PhRMA to Keep Drug Prices in Developing Countries Out of Reach For Most of Their Citizens - But it’s fine because prices are up! Good old Capitalism!


The Nation: How Medicare Was Won


NYTimes: ‘Too Little Too Late’: Bankruptcy Booms Among Older Americans - And what’s the one common thread? Soaring health care costs. Would Not Happen With Single Payer. Doesn’t happen in the other industrialized countries - all of which have some form of government subsidized basic health coverage.


PNHP: The Mercatus Center’s Estimates of the Costs of a National Single-Payer Healthcare System: Ideology Masquerading as Health Economics - Synopsis: The Mercatus Center, funded by the Koch Bros., uses false assumptions to blow cost estimates way beyond reality. These are the common bogus talking points - which seem to come up once every 6 months or so - of groups that benefit from the high cost of health care in the US, now including even Trump’s HHS, so they’re worth a quick review.

Mercatus says that administrative overhead would be reduced from the current 13% of total health care costs (13% of $3.8 Trillion is $494 Billion! to pay private insurance administrators whose sole job is to deny you the healthcare you need) to 6%. Current Medicare overhead is less than 3%, and if Part C (the privatized part of Medicare) is not counted, it’s less than 1%. Canada’s overhead is about 1.8%. So their 6% estimate is ridiculous.

The huge overhead borne by doctors’ offices and hospitals in filing claims with hundreds of different plans and forms is not even considered in the Mercatus analysis. Conservative estimates that doctors offices in the US spend 2 to 3 times as much on this overhead as those in Canada,  and US hospitals spend twice as much. Mercatus underestimates these savings by around $8 Billion.

Mercatus predicts that the only drug savings with Single Payer would come from switching patients from brand name drugs to generics, completely ignoring the 40-50% savings achieved by both the VA and other nations that have switched to a similar Single Payer system, and then used their monopsony negotiating leverage. This study underestimates those savings by $1.7 Trillion over 10 years.

Mercatus predicts a massive $2.2 Trillion increase in utilization of health services with no detailed analysis to back up that prediction. There was no increase at all in total utilization when Medicare was first introduced. And then despite predicting a huge increase in those revenues, it then predicts that doctors and hospitals would be driven out of business by some phantom losses.


Portside: Koch-Backed Think Tank Finds That “Medicare For All” Would Cut Health Care Spending And Raise Wages. Whoops.


Politico: Trump Promised Them Better, Cheaper Health Care. It’s’ Not Happening.


ProPublica: Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You - And It Could Raise Your Rates


NYTimes: The Astonishingly High Administrative Costs of US Healthcare - This is a short article with a lot of authoritative links.

From the article:

Administrative costs for health care in the USA consist of: advertising for health insurance companies, salaries for their employees whose sole job is to deny you health care, astronomical salaries for insurance company C-level executives, chasing down patients/families that can’t afford to pay their rising shares of the bill, and administrative costs for providers that have to file different forms for dozens of different insurance companies.

A widely cited study published in The New England Journal of Medicine used data from 1999 to estimate that about 30 percent of American health care expenditures were the result of administration, about twice what it is in Canada. If the figures hold today, they mean that out of the average of about $19,000 that U.S. workers and their employers pay for family coverage each year, $5,700 goes toward administrative costs...Like the overall cost of the U.S. health system, its administrative cost alone is No. 1 in the world...At just over 25 percent of total spending on hospital care (or 1.4 percent of total United States economic output), American hospital administrative costs exceed those of all the other places.

We all know the solution.


Vox: “Medicare-For-All” Means Something. Don’t Let Moderates Water It Down


NYTimes: Radical Democrats Are Pretty Reasonable - This is Paul Krugman doing his assignment for the neoliberal party. The Democrapic party, has decided they are going to try to confuse the public, and adopt the phrase ‘Medicare for All’ while changing the definition to that of public option. They realized that the actual, true “Improved Medicare for All” as outlined in H. R. 676, was gaining significant momentum nationally and they want to make sure it never gets a chance.

Their purpose, beyond that of confusing the public, is to retain the campaign contributions of the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. Soon, we will begin to see the results of that decision as the term suddenly appears across MSNBC, the rest of the cable networks and corporate news outlets.

It became clear that Krugman is nothing more than a bloviating shill for the Democrats back on 6/28/13 when he declared that Obama’s NSA illegal, unconstitutional, universal, suspicion-less, final evisceration of the 4th Amendment was “nothing more than a policy dispute.” Now the NSA, with complete impunity, vacuums up every email, phone call, instant message, tweet, blog post, and not just the ‘meta-data’ and stores it in the worlds biggest data warehouse - in part thanks to flaks like Krugman.

See Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here. And now Trump and Sessions want even more powers to snoop on everyone, even though the surveillance has never caught a single terrorist, and Here, Here, Here and Here.

So, no Paul the NSA thing is not just a policy dispute, and the public option is not medicare for all.


Reuters: Soaring Costs, Loss of Benefits Top Americans’ Healthcare Worries: Reuters/Ipsos Poll - “For over a year now, Americans have listed healthcare as the most important problem facing the country...when asked what most concerns them about healthcare, they responded ‘the cost of health insurance’.”

There is a straightforward solution, and most people in the country are in favor of it, and Here, Here, Here (item 81 & 82), and Here.


AMA: Report: AMA House of Delegates Report of Reference Committee - Resolution 108, brought by the Medical Students Section, could be a serious milestone for this organization. The resolution basically says that the AMA should consider supporting Single Payer, along with all other solutions on the table that improve health care availability and affordability. The good news is that the resolution was recommended for consideration by the AMA Board of Trustees, and was not recommended for rejection. Single Payer is now, for the first time, officially being studied by the AMA.

The other positive note is that this resolution was introduced by the next wave of doctors coming out of medical school. Younger, newer doctors are leading the way on this issue. The tide is gradually turning within the AMA - up to now a staunch supporter of status quo medical care for profit.


Stat: Is This the Year the AMA Finally Joins the Single-Payer Movement?

New York Magazine: On Obamacare, Sessions Is Standing Against the Rule of Law - Last February, 20 Republican state Attorneys General filed suit to invalidate the ACA in their states. The states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin. Now the Attorney General of the USA has stated that he will not contest the suit. So tens of millions of people in, with pre-existing conditions, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and many other life threatening diseases will apparently be left to die unnecessarily because of greedy health insurance corporations. That’s Capitalism!


NYTimes: Justice Dept. Says Crucial Provisions of Obamacare Are Unconstitutional


Violence Policy Center: Guns and Suicide - What do health reform and gun control have in common? In both cases we know the policy changes that will save thousands of lives, but large lobbyist groups backed by rich corporations stand in the way.


LA Times: Trump’s New Insurance Rules Are Panned by Nearly Every Healthcare Group That Submitted Formal Comments - Now the Dems have someone to blame, conveniently disregarding their own sad performance in 2008-09 when they had a majority in both houses and owned the White House, but refused to give Single Payer a seat at the table.


Milliman Research: 2018 Milliman Medical Index - For a typical American family of 4 covered by an employer sponsored PPO the average cost of health care in 2018 is $28,166, up 5.9% from last year. This includes premiums deducted from their paychecks, deductibles, conditions/treatments not covered, coverage limits, and all other out-of-pocket expenses plus forgone wages for the employers’ share. That is roughly 30% to 50% of American mean family income. And what was the first ‘A’ in ‘ACA’ supposed to stand for?

The question becomes: How would the cost of an Improved Medicare for All compare to what I currently pay? Current costs for health care include the above plus the reserves that each family must maintain in case of a major health care catastrophe. Also over half of the health care costs in the US are paid by the government already: Medicare, Medicaid, CHIPS, the VA, other military medical programs, Indian Health Services, and Public Health Services. We all already pay for that through our taxes.

Improved Medicare for All would be paid for through progressive, fair taxes. For all people, with the exception of the wealthiest (who probably notice it very little), that cost would be far less than what we currently pay. This would be health care coverage for life, not just until we leave our current employers, the way it works now.

Unfortunately, neither of the major parties will give Improved Medicare for All a seat at the table because they are both addicted to the millions of campaign dollars they receive from insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical companies.


Avalere: Seniors Pay More for Generics in Medicare Prescription Drug Plans Despite Stable Prices


Commonwealth Fund: Health Insurance in 2018 Finds ACA Gains Reversing - 4 million working age people have lost health insurance since 2016. It’s easy to blame Rethugs for this, but really the blame goes just as much to the Craps. They refused to even give Medicare-For-All a seat at the table and now this is where that took us.


Foreign Policy: The Royal Baby is Lucky He Wasn’t Born in America - “Everyone in the West, royalty or not, gets better maternal health care that parents in the US.” ...and not just maternal health care. There is an easy fix that is very efficient and would save $500 Billion per year. Why don’t we just do that?


Reuters: Trump Administration Issues Rule Further Watering Down Obamacare - News flash: States don’t ‘regulate’ insurance companies. It’s a revolving door. This sets the stage for insurance companies to get rid of pre-existing conditions, increase their MLR (‘cost’ plus whatever they want), increase premiums, etc. If the elimination of the mandate, and Here, wasn’t enough to kill Obamacare, then this rule finishes the job. If it’s just up to the states, insurance companies can do whatever they want. On the positive side, given Trump’s low popularity right now, this could set the stage for Improved Medicare for All. But everybody’s going to have to realize that neither Dems nor Rethugs are going to make it happen.


Kaiser Health News: Medicare Advantage Plans Cleared To Go Beyond Medical Coverage - Even Groceries - ...even gym memberships...”Egregiously Obscene” As pointed out here many times, the idea is to provide US taxpayer financed benefits far and above what ordinary Medicare provides in order to attract more and more over-65s. Once a critical threshold of patients are signed up, traditional Medicare can be discarded, and all will be forced into a voucher model which will allow insurers to gouge the elderly while all of the government savings can go into the pockets of the 1% health insurance companies. As Paul Ryan has explained, budget demands will “require” these reductions to be made - in order to accommodate the tax cuts for the rich - Bush II: $500 Billion, Trump: $1.5 Trillion.


Democracy-NOW: David Skulkin’s Firing at the VA is Latest Step in Trump-Koch Push to Privatize Veterans’ Healthcare


NYTimes: Privatizing the VA Will Hurt Veterans


British Medical Journal: Trump Blames Free Riding Foreign States For High US Drug Prices - BMJ is trying to put it as nicely as they can. But really it’s the Trump Administration caught in yet another corporate friendly lie. The real reason drug prices are so high in the US? Pharmaceutical boards of directors’ and C-level employees’ bonuses, and excess advertising which drives profits. Again, it’s just #GoodOldCapitalism at work.

Ars Technica: Pfizer CEO Gets 61% Pay Raise - to $27.9 Million - As Drug Prices Continue to Climb


Economist: Which Firms Profit Most From America’s Health Care System - Rent Seekers: That segment of society that reaps income not as a reward for creating wealth or adding to the good of society, but by trapping a larger share of the wealth than would otherwise have been produced without their effort. The wealth that they add to society is far smaller than the share of income that they take. Leeches. Who are these rent seekers in the health care system? Insurance companies. With National Improved Medicare Care for All, health insurance companies disappear.

Common Dreams: A Labor-Based Movement For Medicare For All


JAMA: Health Care Spending in the United States and Other High-Income Countries - Conclusion: Health care costs in the US are the highest in all of the OECD countries, and twice the average. Health care outcomes in the US are poorer than the average. Why? The two biggest reasons are prices and administrative costs. End Conclusion.

National Improved Medicare for All would solve both of those problems. Prices, especially pharmaceutical prices, currently are not negotiated. They would be under NIMA. Administrative costs would effectively go away since: 1. provider offices would only have to file one standard form with one payer, and 2. insurance companies, which are essentially a 100% administrative functionality, would disappear.


BAR: The Healthcare Bait-and-Switch: From the Clintons to Obama and Back Again

PNHP: Our Incompetent Stewards for Health IT Interoperability


The Hill: GOP’s Proposed Medicare Voucher Program Would Lead The Demise of The System - “Under the GOP’s voucher system, private plans could tailor their benefits to attract the youngest and healthiest seniors, leaving traditional Medicare with older and sicker beneficiaries. 

Their higher health care costs would lead to higher premiums that seniors would be unable or unwilling to pay, resulting in a death spiral for traditional Medicare.” ...and for those seniors...

It has long been the dream of Republicans to move healthy seniors to the private sector and turn Medicare into a voucher system used only by the sickest seniors.


Commonwealth Fund: Americans’ Views on Health Insurance - 92% of Americans believe that affordable health care is a right. The only way to achieve that for all Americans is National Improved Medicare For All.


Physicians for a National Health Plan: Expect More Fragmentation of Our Dysfunctional Health Care System - As always, the most interesting comment is the last one, by Dr. McCanne. CAP - which makes up the majority of the heavy hitters in the Democratic party - is trying to steal the “Medicare for All” discussion, while still giving insurance companies all they want. Some in the media seem to be buying in.

Remember “if you like the policy you have, you can keep it”? These are the same people.


Intercept: DCCC Internal Polling Presented to Members of Congress Panned Single-Payer Health Care - Neither Democrats nor Republicans will ever support Medicare For All. The reason is that M-F-A essentially eliminates private health insurance companies which contribute very heavily to politicians of both parties. The politicians are addicted to that money. Neither Rethugs nor Democrats are our friends.


Yahoo: Why Are Democratic Party Think Tanks Still Not Backing Universal Health Care? - See the What’s Not to Like? section. Very succinct.


Truthdig: A Proposal Designed to Confuse Public, Prevent Medicare For All - See entry from yesterday. Those who run the Democratic party understand that ‘fixing ACA’ is a non-starter for most Democrat rank-and-file voters. They understand Medicare for All very well and that’s what they and the majority of Americans want. So Democratic leaders are looking for a way to satisfy their Wall St., health insurance corporate donors and bamboozle voters. Not going to happen.


PNHP: CAP’s ‘Medicare Extra for All’ - What It Really Is - The neo-liberal policy group, run by Neera Tanden and John Podesta - the cabal that has taken over the Democratic party and worked to sabotage the Sanders campaign, and in so doing put Trump in the White House - understands that Americans are waking up to the fact that we need to get rid of insurance company involvement in health care. In an attempt to bamboozle the American people they are offering a plan that would keep the waste involved with insurance companies (and its political contributions), but kind of sounds like National Improved Medicare for All, which it is not. At the end of the linked article is Dr. McCanne’s comment, which says it all. It’s just another Democratic ruse. Look for MSNBC to just drool all over this “new and improved” concept.


JAMA: Value-Based Medicare Payments Exacerbate Health Care Disparities - The problem is nobody really knows how to evaluate “value” in medical care. MACRA is just another neo-liberal law enacted to take money away from care-givers that service the old, poor and sick and give that money to care-givers who service the rich, who are generally healthier. It’s another form of welfare for the rich. This would not happen in a properly designed Medicare For All system.


AJC: For Many, Health Care Changes Grim - I keep wondering when Americans are going to wake up.


Common Dreams: Fueled by Broken Social Contract, Study Finds Inequality and Despair Driving US Life Expectancy Down - It has already been shown that politicians from both parties in this country only respond to the needs of the richest Americans. The desires of the majority of Americans makes no statistical difference in terms of laws that are enacted. As long as this continues, the rates of suicide, and of death from opioid addition will continue to rise and average life expectancy of Americans will continue to decline.


British Medical Journal: Failing Health of the United States - In 1960, the US had the highest life expectancy of any OECD country. Now we are well below average. People in Slovenia, Estonia, Chile, the Czech Republic, etc. live longer. One of the causes is that all other OECD countries have some form of publicly financed health care. People who can’t afford to go to the doctor die.


Physicians For A National Health Plan’s Response to Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Announcement


NYTimes: Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Team Up to Disrupt Health Care


Health Over Profit: The US Healthcare System Increases Income Inequality


American Journal of Public Health: Household Medical Expenditures Worsen Income Inequality - Only in America.


Stat: Drop in Life Expectancy an ‘Indictment of the American Health Care System


Fierce Healthcare: CMS Floats Medicare Advantage Payment Tweaks That Would Boost Insurers’ Risk Scores - This is the latest trick that Dem and Rethug politicians are playing in order to overpay private insurance companies with taxpayer funds. The point of this yearly chicanery is to move the majority of Medicare users into their hands and then close down conventional Medicare - make it a voucher system where all the money goes into insurance company coffers.

NYTimes: Why the US Spends So Much More Than Other Nations on Health Care - Hint: It’s not because of the quality of our health care.

Health Reform 2017