Health Reform 2019



Sun Port Charlotte: Is Medicare For All a Good Idea? - The best, short summarization ever of why it is.


NYTimes: In the US, an Angioplasty Costs $32,000, Elsewhere? Maybe $6,400


NYTimes: Crisis Looms in Antibiotics As Drug Makers Go Bankrupt - As previously noted here, some drug-resistant bugs can alter their own DNA on the fly, and Here, to resist all currently known antibiotics. Back in 2012 the FDA lifted all limits on the use of tetracycline and penicillin in livestock. It’s clear that the use of antibiotics in livestock feed is fueling the increasing resistance of superbugs that attack humans, however the FDA has its hands tied when attempting to tighten restrictions. The statistics on the increase in the number of Americans who die yearly as a result of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and how we are falling behind in addressing this issue is very scary, not only on livestock farms, but also in fish.


National Bureau of Economic Research: Medicaid Expansion and the Unemployed - The exact opposite finding of what neo-liberal, austerity promoting politicians would have you believe.


CA Medical Assoc: Looming Anthem/Cottage Termination Could Have Negative Impact on Patient Access in Santa Barbara Area - Hospital corporations and insurance corporations fight it out while sick people suffer. Wouldn’t happen with M4A.

Democracy-NOW: “The First Cell”: Dr. Azra Raza on Why the ‘Slash-Poison-Burn’ Approach to Cancer Has Failed


PNHP: CBO Report on Distribution of Household Income 2016 - 2021


Wendell Potter: The Current System Has Choices?


Otherwords: Who’s Afraid of Medicare for All? - “If the Democratic Party won’t stand up for the transformative structural changes that America’s middle and low-income majority clearly wants and needs, why would those people stand up for Democrats?”


The Hill: ‘Medicare for All’ Backers Notch Win With High-Profile Hearing


Health Affairs: Medicare For All Would Improve Hospital Financing - A fact based article refuting the voices that claim that 100’s of hospitals would close under M4A. The secret is ‘global financing’ like the way the fire and police departments works, and eliminating the bureaucracy in the hospitals dedicated to filing claims against dozens of private payers.


PNHP.ORG: National Healthcare Spending; But What’s the Real Story? and CMS Office of Actuary - US healthcare spending rose 4.6% in 2018, to $3.6 Trillion, 17.7% of GNP - $11,172 per person - almost 20% of median household income. About 30 million Americans remain without any coverage at all and that number is also expected to increase over time. We’re the only OECD country without some form of government subsidized universal healthcare. Under current law it will reach $6 Trillion by 2027. And for this what do we get? Per OECD Health Data - out of the 44 ‘first world countries’, the US ranks 28th in life expectancy and 33rd in child mortality. We are first in cost of health care dollars per capita, as a percent of GNP, and in absolute dollars. Disgraceful.


PNHP: The Public Option Won’t Fix Our System - ...and why.


JAMA: Life Expectancy and Mortality Rates in the US, 1959 - 2017 - The corporate run healthcare system is failing us. US life expectancy has steadily decreased since 2014, unlike every other advanced country. Cause? mainly citizen inaction.

Boston Globe: Bucking Industry Line, Some Hospital Chiefs See Benefits of Medicare for All


Politico: “There’s a Fear Factor, A Fear of Change”


Commonwealth Fund: Trends in Employer Health Care Coverage 2008-2018: Higher Costs for Workers and Their Families - The title says it all. Despite ACA, the cost for medical coverage continues a steep upward trajectory, and “has outpaced the average growth in median income over the period studied.” Under “policy implications” are listed several add-ons, and kludges such as expanding ACA (how?), or adding a public option. Then buried in the last paragraph: “Others have suggested eliminating all private insurance and replacing it with a public plan like Medicare...”

How sad that Commonwealth Fund essentially dismisses this approach by treating it as an unattainable aspiration, when all that’s needed is the political will to get it done.

This whole-corporate driven system, aka capitalism, needs some serious disruption.


Common Dreams: Democratic Naysayers Are Wrong on Medicare for All

Reuters: 3 Separate Polls Reveal Majority of Americans Want Medicare for All - Kaiser: 53%, Progressive Change: 66%. However, corporate lobbying has been successful at confusing a large chunk of America that they would be better off with the ‘known’ (ever increasing premiums, deductibles, co-pays, out of network costs, unaffordable life-saving drugs), than the ‘unknown’ Medicare for All.


Robert Reich: The Real Deal With Medicare For All

Journal of General Internal Medicine: The Effect of Large-Scale Health Coverage Expansions In Wealthy Nations on Society-Wide Healthcare Utilization - “This important study looked at 13 large coverage expansions in 11 nations and found that, by and large, utilization increases were fairly negligible, thus increases in costs and rationing were also negligible. The change that did seem to occur was that there was a limited redistribution of care from low-value care for the healthy and wealthy to essential care for the sick and poor - an actual improvement in health care delivery.”


Critics of M4A like to trot out their groundless canards that if it comes about doctors and hospitals will be swamped and sick people will be forced to wait unreasonable times to receive healthcare. This study uses empirical evidence to show that would not happen.


Washington Post: Elizabeth Warren Is No Longer a Medicare-For-All Purist - She’s back peddling. She’s never had any intention of doing it.

FTI Consulting: Assessing the Impact of a Public Option - FTI is “an alliance of American hospital, insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyists,” so it’s clear what their intentions are. It’s amusing because they arrive at the conclusion that a Public Option would put them at a competitive disadvantage. And yet these are the same neo-cons that are always telling us that more competition is good because it drives out inefficient producers and reduces costs for the consumer.

But the report was not written for the public. It was written as a call for action, for distribution to their member corporations. So look for more ‘public service’ spots telling us how bad the Public Option would be for the consumer. Just more corporate lies.


Center for Economic and Policy Research: Energy and Health Insurance Drive Inflation Higher - Health insurance overhead was up over 20% in 2019. Insurers fuel the increase with their insatiable need for profit, executive level compensation and advertising. Medicare for All would save the US at least $500 Billion per year.

Fierce Healthcare: Blues Plans to Launch “High-Performance” Networks in 2021 - By “High-Performance,” what they really mean is a very narrow in-network set of providers, from whom they can extract the lowest possible costs. It reduces both choice and competition. Result: Higher profits for the Blues, more cost and foregone healthcare for the patients. Again, a more fragmented and dysfunctional healthcare system. It doesn’t have to be that way.


Gallup: Millions in US Lost Someone Who Couldn’t Afford Treatment - 34+ million. We know the simple solution. Do we just walk away?


NYTimes: With Medical Bills Skyrocketing, More Hospitals are Suing For Payment - Typically against poor patients who thought they had health insurance.


Intercept: Joe Biden Campaign Pointing Reporters to Larry Summers For Comment on Elizabeth Warren’s Health Care Plan - American politics has become just a straight up over-dramatized Kabuki Play. The players all change rolls depending on the season, but the end results never change.

Although cheeto-head has added more lobbyists and insider alligators to the swamp than probably any president in history, Obama certainly did his share as well. And now they live on as the neo-liberal wing of the party.

Examples: Kathleen Sebelius Sec. of HHS, now employed as a board member of Devoted Health, a firm specifically created to sell Medicare Advantage plans. Here’s why that program is a neo-liberal’s dream and, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. Former Biotech Governor of the Year Tom Vilsack: Sec. of Agriculture. Monsanto provided the jet that Vilsack used to travel the state of Iowa during his gubernatorial campaign. Former Monsanto VP and lobbyist Michael R. Taylor appointed to Food Safety Czar at FDA. Former Citigroup exec. Sec. of Treasury Jack Lew. Penney Pritzker Sec. of Commerce, heir to Hyatt fortune, anti-union, illegal-alien-exploiting, former part owner of Superior Bank, which crashed leaving 1,400 people without their life savings but making her rich.  Keystone XL and fracking promoting Ernest Moniz Sec. of Energy. Charter school and education privatization promoter Arne Duncan Sec. of Education. The appointment of Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman of GE - the biggest exporter of jobs overseas. GE makes about $5 Billion/year, pays no taxes, got a $16.1 Billion government bailout, and is sitting on about $80 billion in cash - to head Obama’s Jobs Creation Commission (Immelt must have gotten confused on which country he was supposed to create jobs in). This is not to mention Robert Rubin proteges Geithner, Larry Summers, etc., all pro austerity and willing servants of corporations.

Prior to her run as the Bernie Sanders-mimic, Elizabeth Warren extravagantly praised all of these Obama appointments on her senate web site. All that has been removed now of course. Now that she has been chosen by the DNC to syphon votes from Sanders, she has to play a brand new role, and these appointees are now portrayed as her political opponents. Naturally,  as soon as the Dem convention is over, and her job of diluting the influence of, and then killing off the progressive wing of the party is complete, she will join the fold and take more “realistic” positions. Soon thereafter, her political career will take off and she’ll go right to the top of the party - after another 4 years of cheeto-head.


JAMA: History Suggests Most Physicians Likely to Remain as Participants in Medicare

Harvard School of Public Health: Americans’ Values and Beliefs About National Health Insurance Reform - PNHP response: “What is interesting is that those opposed to a greater government role nevertheless do support health care justice in that they agree that health care should be a right regardless of ability to pay, that all Americans be treated equally in terms of the health care that they receive, that poor American families receive the same quality of health care as rich American families, and that African Americans receive the same quality of health care as white Americans.”

However, many people are so averse to change, that they would rather hang on to the current dysfunctional, grossly inefficient corporate delivery model they know, and then try to kludge onto it yet another dysfunctional fix. Are people really that stupid? Sadly, the results speak for themselves.


Guardian: Make No Mistake: Medicare for All Would Cut Taxes For Most Americans - Synopsis: It would also lead to the biggest take-home pay raise in a generation for most workers. Health insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays are essentially taxes paid to health insurance corporations. They reduce wages, are mandatory or quasi-mandatory - required by the ACA and employers with over 50 employees are required to enroll their workers in a health insurance plan.

Unlike food and clothes, there are no cheap ways to treat a heart attack, give birth or handle emergency or any medical need. Unlike haircuts or restaurant meals, everybody needs health care regardless of budget, and it’s not cheap. That’s why every advanced country except the US funds health care via taxes, determined by ability to pay. Insurance premiums are the most regressive type of tax possible, and since we know that in the US, the working class - the 50% of Americans with the lowest incomes - pay higher tax rates than the billionaires. Those billionaires should be the first place we look to help finance Improved Medicare for All.


CounterPunch: The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of Those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills - Another problem that Improved Medicare for All would solve. Wall Street again. If we give them long enough, they will soon find a way to charge for the air we breath.


PNHP: The Urban Institute’s Single Payer Cost Estimate: False Assumptions, False Conclusions


ProPublica: When Medical Debt Collectors Decide Who Gets Arrested


NYTimes: This is the Most Realistic Path to Medicare for All - Synopsis: Private health insurance is failing. Why? It is not reasonably priced, and administrative costs absorb 20% of each premium dollar, which forces more costs onto increasingly frustrated customers, while insurance companies do everything they can to avoid paying claims. Denial of in-network claims runs about 18% across the board, with some insurers denying 30%. With longer living patients, comes increases in chronic conditions, and thus ever increasing costs. No business model can withstand these pressures over the long run. The only solution: Pooling and financing at the broadest level, aka Single Payer Medicare for All.

About the author.


Universal Health Reform: Congressional Budget Office Report on Single Payer: A Good Start


Houston Chronicle: United Healthcare Takes Choice of Hospital Away From 100,000 Plan Members - This affects plan members enrolled in employer-sponsored plans and Medicare Advantage. These members will lose access to 8 hospitals and 800 physicians. So much for those who say the private market can provide more choices. United is reducing choices of hospitals, physicians, and benefit plans.

Axios: Health Care’s Fraud and Abuse Laws Are Getting Overhauled...and not for the better.


The Nation: The ‘Public Option’ on Health Care is a Poison Pill - ‘Incrementally’ achieving Medicare For All is not possible. This article explains why.


Health Affairs: Lower Drug Costs Now

Presidential Proclamation: Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Cannot Afford Health Care - Trump and the complicit Republican Congress want to make sure that immigrants have health care, but waived the requirement for that very thing from ACA. Far more Americans cannot afford health care, about 30 million, than immigrants. It’s another problem that Medicare for All would solve.


Public Citizen: By Increasing Corporate Power Over Medicare, Trump Threatens Health Care for Seniors and Americans With Disabilities


National Bureau of Economic Research: Does Medicare Coverage Improve Cancer Detection and Mortality Outcomes? - “This study provides the first evidence to our knowledge that near-universal access to Medicare at age 65 is associated with improvements in population-level cancer mortality, and provides new evidence on the differences in the impact of health insurance by gender.”


Kaiser Family Foundation: 2019 Employer Health Benefits Survey - To hear the media tell it, this is Americans’ favorite type of health care. Findings: Premiums have risen at over twice the rate of inflation. That great insurance that the media keeps telling us we want to keep has also failed to provide adequate financial protection for low- and middle-income families, and isn't even offered to 43 percent of the workforce.

California Health Care Foundation: A Closer Look at Medi-Cal Managed Care - In 2009 when Obamacare was first passed, private for-profit managed care was all the rage. ‘Let the free market take over and obtain efficiencies, higher quality of care and lower overall costs.’ was the mantra of the day. California led the way. Now that we have 10 years of data on these plans what are the results? Basically none of that is true.

  1. -"Among 41 quality measures collected in two or more years, more than half (59%) remained unchanged or declined."

  2. -“Quality was stagnant at best on most measures.”

  3. -"Six of the nine quality measures currently in use that are related to children declined or stayed the same."

  4. -"Medi-Cal enrollees’ rating of their experiences with their MCP were consistently below the 50th percentile nationally."

- “By ownership, most striking was the substantially lower quality scores of the for-profit MCPs, on average, relative to the nonprofit and public MCPs."

- "Counties that rely on a single public MCP (County Organized Health Systems) had on average better quality scores than counties that furnish Medi-Cal services through either a Two-Plan or competing commercial model."

- “We can conclude that for-profit, commercial Medicaid managed care plans often provide lower quality care, and levels of patient satisfaction are low.

PNHP: “More importantly, counties that rely on a single public managed care plan (County Organized Health Systems) have better quality scores than counties that rely on competing health plans, belying the claim that health plan competition improves quality. This should speak well for the single payer model of Medicare for All.”


NYTimes: Does Anyone Really “Love” Their Private Health Insurance? - “I am alive today not because of insurance companies but despite them.”


People’s Poverty Project: Medicare for All Would Cut Poverty by Over 20%


Guardian: For Rural America, Medicare For All Is A Matter of Life or Death - “Insurance firms are gobbling up airtime in Iowa to attack Medicare for All. They claim it would hurt the very same hospitals their business model has spent years bleeding dry.”


Democratic Underground: Medical Bankruptcy is An American Scandal - And That’s Not Debatable


The Hill: Medicare Advantage For All - This is the dream of most right-wing conservatives, which includes Democrats like Biden, K. Harris, and Buttigieg. It’s tempting with out-of-pocket costs very low, but that’s the idea. Get the majority signed up, drain the life out of traditional Medicare and then stick it to everybody.


National Bureau of Economic Research: Impact of Rural and Urban Hospital Closures on Inpatient Mortality - Conclusion: When hospitals close, people die. Wouldn’t happen with Improved Medicare For All.


Guardian: High Turnover, Understaffing, Low Pay: US Nurses Fight to Unionize


Politico: AMA Drops Out of Industry Coalition Opposed to Medicare Expansion - The sole purpose of this group was to fight Medicare For All. Young doctors are beginning to flex their muscle, and Here. With the loss of the AMA, this industry group is now running out of steam. It is only a matter of time, and Here.


NYTimes: Why Doesn’t the United States Have Universal Health Care? The Answer Has Everything to Do With Race. - “There has never been any period in American history where the health of blacks was equal to that of whites,” Evelynn Hammonds, a historian of science at Harvard University, says. “Disparity is built into the system.” Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act have helped shrink those disparities. But no federal health policy yet has eradicated them.” There is one that would.


JAMA: Assessment of Out-of-Network Billing For Privately Insured Patients Receiving Care in In-Network Hospitals - Surprise!! You think you are insured when you go to an in-network physician who treats you in an in-network hospital. Then you get the bill. This is even worse for insured patients who have to go to an ER, but can’t find or don’t have time to go to an in-network hospital. Even if your policy says you are covered in such a situation, you aren’t if an out-of-network doctor drops by your room to take a quick peak. This study shows the trend is getting much worse. This wouldn’t happen with Single Payer.


The Hill: Elderly Couple in Apparent Murder-Suicide Indicated They Could Not Afford Medical Care - This is becoming all too common in America.


Business Insider: 59% of Americans With Employer-Based Health Care Support Moving to Medicare For All -  This directly refutes a popular right-wing canard. We also know from recent polls that 60% of American voters in general want Medicare For All: Pew Research 1/17, Gallup 5/16, and The Economist 4/17 (item 81).


Splinter News: We Will Win Health Justice in America


Kaiser Family Foundation: Financial Performance of Medicare Advantage, Individual, and Group Health Insurance Markets - This and the American Prospect articles just below are closely related. The short AP article succinctly explains how Medicare Advantage plans deny coverage - limit their marketing to younger, healthier populations, and intensely manage their HMO-like therapy strategies. This article shows just how financially successful Medicare Advantage plans are for insurance companies. Their return is about double that of the other types of health plans. Politicians such as Harris, who promote Medicare Advantage, aka ‘medicare buy in’ or ‘public option’ as a way to reach “Medicare for All” are working for insurance companies, not the people.


American Prospect: Kamala Harris’ Fake Medicare-For-All Plan - Medicare Advantage is an intensely managed HMO. It is marketed mainly to younger, healthier retirees. In both ways MA makes its profits by denying care. Harris’ plan would simply expand that private system.


Healthcare-NOW: The Politics of Race and Medicare For All - This 5 min. video explains why the USA is the only 1st world country (or is it really?) without some form of government subsidized universal health care.

National Bureau of Economic Research: The Opportunities and Limitations of Monopsony Power in Healthcare: Evidence from United States and Canada - Using its monopsony power, Canada has forced the cost of drugs down to 54% of what they cost in the US. In the US we hear that forcing big pharma to accept lower prices would stop innovation of new drugs. But the fact is that US pharma corporations spend twice as much on advertising than on R&D, and twice as much on executive salaries than on R&D, and receive 3 times, or 300% of the R&D costs back in revenues over the life of the drug.


NYTimes: How a Medicare Buy-in or Public Option Could Threaten Obamacare - Why are politicians apparently bending over backwards to preserve Obamacare?

It turns out that what seems like a simple desire: ‘Allow people to keep what they have or buy-in to Public Option/Medicare for All’ becomes very complicated when all of the details are considered.

Why do politicians want to preserve the gross inefficiencies of private insurance companies (15-20% overhead vs. 2% overhead with Medicare), the limited in-network choices, the high and rapidly rising premiums and deductibles, and limited availability of Obamacare?

All of these complications go away with Medicare-For-All, and it’s about $500 Billion less expensive per year, and Here. Even a recent Koch-funded study found that it would save at least $200 Billion.


The Hill: Medicare for All: A Voter’s Cheat Sheet


Kaiser Health News: Medicare Advantage Plans Rip-Off  Tax-Payers by the Billions


Current Affairs: Why a “Public Option” Isn’t Enough


JAMA: Association Between Care Management and Outcomes Among Patients With Complex Needs in Medicare Accountable Care Organizations - Benefits of ACO management: zero. And yet the medical community can’t seem to stop trying them and studying them. Why are there no studies or modeling of the benefits of Medicare for All?


St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Think Twice When You Hear the Words ‘Public Option’ - A great, short article that encapsulates the entire case for Single Payer.


NYTimes: Some Democrats Talk About Cosmetic Surgery Insurance. It Doesn’t Exist. - When they say that, they are trying to ride the fence. They are trying to sound like they are in favor of Single Payer, but won’t come out and say that private insurance will go away when Single Payer comes online.


Critical Care Medicine: Health Insurance and Out-of-Pocket Costs in the Last Year of Life Among Decedents Utilizing ICU - What this study found is that our current method of paying for this segment of health care takes very good care of insurance companies and hospitals, but ruins patients financially. So why are politicians so anxious to keep it? Medicare For All would fix this.


ProPublica: The Nonprofit Hospital That Makes Millions, Owns a Collection Agency and Relentlessly Sues the Poor - “The only thing that kept me levelheaded was praying and asking God to help me,” she said. Praying to God to protect her from The Methodist Church.


NPR: When Hospitals Sue for Unpaid Bills, It Can Be Ruinous For Patients


US House Ways & Means Committee: Former Head of CMS Testifies in Favor of Medicare For All


Modern Healthcare: AMA Narrowly Defeats Single-Payer Healthcare - 53% - 47% is not a defeat. Given where we started in 2009, when the AMA was practically unanimous in its denial of single-payer, and when Single-Payer and Medicare For All were essentially unknown to almost everyone, this is a huge victory. The youngest doctors and medical students are now almost unanimous in their advocacy. What is really becoming clear: It’s only a matter of time.

Intercept: Ways and Means Committee Chair Doesn’t Want Medicare For All Hearing to Mention “Medicare For All” - Wait what?


John Geyman, MD: Struggling and Dying Under Trumpcare: How We Can Fix This Fiasco

Guardian: Nurses, Doctors, Med Students: Why We’re Fighting the American Medical Association


Axios: Voters Are Tuning Out the Health Care Debates - Points that voters need to focus on:

With Medicare-for-All/Single Payer...

  1. -Never have to change insurers, ever.

  2. -Free choice always of doctors and hospitals

  3. -No medical bills since care is prepaid through a highly progressive tax structure

  4. -Any increase in taxes is more than offset by the elimination of premiums, deductibles, conditions not covered, pre-existing conditions

  5. -Coverage doesn’t change if you change jobs

Neither Republican nor Democrat health reform proposals are consistent with the above.


JAMA: Single-Payer Reform - “Medicare for All” - an explanation


The Week: How Socialist Health Care Saves Lives


Forbes: Doctors to Test AMA’s Opposition to Medicare for All


AP: Medicare-For-All’s Rich Benefits Leapfrog Other Nations


Modern Healthcare: Health Inflation is Now In Insurance Rather Than Healthcare


NYTimes: ‘Medicare For All’ Could Kill 2 Million Jobs. And That’s OK  - In a nutshell, part of the plan is to retrain those affected.


LATimes: Health Insurance Deductibles Soar, Leaving Americans With Unaffordable Bills - “One in six Americans who get insurance through their jobs say they’ve had to make “difficult sacrifices” to pay for healthcare in the last year, including cutting back on food, moving in with friends or family, or taking extra jobs. And one in five say healthcare costs have eaten up all or most of their savings.”


Guardian: Ady Barkan, Activist Dying of ALS, Gives Impassioned Testimony at Medicare-for-All Hearing

Journal of General Internal Medicine: Prevalence and Correlates of Medical Financial Hardship in the USA - “137 million adults face medical financial hardship.”


NYTimes: Universal Health Care Might Cost You Less Than You Think - This is a must read. If you think of your (and your employer’s) health care premiums, deductibles, co-pays, conditions not covered, out-of-network, etc. costs as a form of tax, it then becomes clear the question is not ‘How are we going to pay for it?’ but ‘What will we do with the money we save?’

Fair: Corporate Media Are Here to Warn You: Medicare For All is a Very Bad Idea - Great article. It clearly explains why, as Single Payer gains is popularity, corporate owned media has recently increased its gloom-and-doom reporting on the subject. It’s because they are “owned by investors with stakes in highly profitable medical and pharmaceutical companies—the very same companies that supply them with millions of dollars each year in advertising. This system of interlocking and conflicting interests is rarely acknowledged by corporate media, who also rely on medical and pharmaceutical companies for funding through advertising and patronage.”


Common Dreams: America’s Biggest Lie: We Can’t Afford Medicare for All


Common Dreams: Private Health Insurance Stocks In Free Fall as Medicare for All Gains Momentum - This is people power in action.


JAMA: Workplace Wellness Programs Do Not Improve Health or Economic Outcomes - But we know something that will.


AMA Student Assoc. Endorses Medicare for All


Healthcare Dive: Healthcare Administrative Costs Will Tally $500 Billion This Year - This is 15% of total US healthcare expenditures. Currently administrative costs of traditional Medicare is under 2% and Here.


Chico Enterprise-Record: Why Butte County Needs Medicare-for-All More Than Ever


USA Today: Take it From An Economist, Medicare for All is the Most Sensible Way to Fix Health Care


American Economic Assoc.: Health Care Spending and Utilization in Public and Private Medicare - This article is a direct comparison of prices and utilization between corporate delivered Medicare Advantage (MA), and traditional Medicare (TM). TM patients can choose their doctor. MA patients can choose only from a very limited ‘network’ of providers.

From the article: MA revenues are 30% higher than their health care spending! That’s called profit. The reason is that MA markets to healthier segments of beneficiaries (lower utilization), but they engage in serious upcoding to make it appear that the patients are sicker, thus increasing revenues further.

MA patients are happy with their care, but don’t realize that the insurance corporations are being reimbursed by the government essentially the same as for the sicker TM patients, who need more specialized care.

Annals of Internal Medicine: Medicare for All and Its Rivals - “The leading option for health reform in the US would leave 36.2 million people uninsured in 2027 while annual costs would ballon to nearly $6 trillion - from $3+ trillion today. That option is called the status quo. That is unsustainable, so there will be changes. Out of the quagmire there is the opportunity for comprehensive, affordable, equitable health care for everyone: the single payer Medicare for All model.”

San Jose Mercury: Why Single Payer Would Improve California Health Care - Written by a health care wonk, very plainly explains the advantages of single-payer health care.


Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: New Arkansas Data Contradict Claims That Most Who Lost Medicaid Found Jobs - 18,164 Arkansans lost Medicaid coverage in 2018 because of a draconian new law that kicks residents off of Medicaid if they aren’t able work. HHS Secretary Alex Azar told a House hearing last Tuesday that most of them found work. That was a lie. Only 1,981 (11%) found work. So 16,183 (89%) are still out of work and now don’t even have health care. Medicare for All would make this question moot.


Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Openings and Labor Turnover - Total separations in 2018: 66 million. Nothing unusual about this, but that means there were 66 million people in the USA that for one reason or another did not get to keep their health insurance policies. Also, if the US economy can absorb this many people looking for work, then the 1.6 million that now work for health insurance companies (and some estimates are much lower) can easily be absorbed when those companies no longer exist.


The Hill: Why Medicare for Some is the Wrong Idea - “Let’s get real: Commercial insurance is the biggest threat to health care choices and our freedom to receive the health care we need. Employers choose our insurers, and the insurers restrict the providers we can use, the treatments we can receive, and the prescription drugs we can take. Every year, we can be forced to change provider networks, benefits, out-of-pocket costs and, often, insurers. If we change jobs, every aspect of our health insurance changes. And, we are left to fend for ourselves if we leave the job market.”


Health Over Profit: Pharma & Insurance Gave $43M to the 130 House Democrats Not Backing Medicare For All - This article includes names and amounts. None of the leaders of the Democrapic party support this measure. That’s all you need to know about Democraps.

Democracy-NOW: The Time For Medicare-For-All Has Arrived


USA Today: Choose Your Food Based on the Facts - Another look at ‘organic’, ‘non-GMO’, and chemical additives.


Intercept: The Special Interests Behind Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All Bill Are Not the Usual Suspects - No, they are the people. You and me.


Fortune: US Health Care Spending Skyrocketed to $3.65 Trillion in 2018 - Trillion with a ‘T’.


The Nation: We Don’t Need Private Health Insurance - "Particularly hot right now is the meme that people would have to sacrifice by giving up their private insurance if we switched to single payer. But private insurers are intermediaries that use administrative mechanisms designed to reduce utilization of health care no matter how beneficial that care may be.

High deductibles and other cost sharing create financial barriers to care. Narrow provider networks limit access to health care professionals and institutions. Administrative interventions such as prior authorization requirements create additional barriers to care. And for this we pay more because of these expensive administrative functions that provide no health benefit. Besides, how many people do you know who have been able to keep their same precious private insurance plan throughout their lives? Nobody. Private insurance is an unstable method of financing health care with constant changes in providers, benefits, and in the insurers themselves, especially with inevitable changes in employment. Switching from private insurers to stable, life-long coverage is not a sacrifice, but rather it is another benefit of a single payer system."

Carving out a niche for private insurance is like knocking a whole in your floor in order to create work for a carpenter.


BAR: Pelosi Sabotages Medicare For All, Corporate Media Pretends Not to Notice


STAT: ‘Cloud of Secrecy’ in Medicare Advantage Plans Can Create an Environment for Fraud


Commonwealth Fund: Eighty Seven Million Adults Are Inadequately Insured


Intercept: Pelosi Aide Tells Insurance Executives Not to Worry About Democrats Pushing Medicare-For-All


Public Citizen: The Case for Medicare-For-All - Very short, and about the Real Medicare-For-All, not the Demopublicans’ version. One more “Key Fact” to add to its very concise list: Employees don’t have to worry about losing their medical care if they decide to quit or change jobs.


WBUR Boston: As Drug Prices Rise, is Boston’s Prosperity Based on a Moral Crime? - Capitalism is the crime. Single Payer would solve this. But money-grubbing Demopublican politicians will not let it happen.

Mario Savio had the answer (begin at 0:34).


CNN: Top Democrats Want to Keep Private Insurance in Play - The headline says it all. Despite the fact that Single Payer is the cheapest, most efficient, covers everybody, greatly reduces administrative overhead, and about 70% of Americans want it, Democrats will never make it happen.


Kaiser Health: The Uninsured and the ACA: A Primer - Before ACA, 44 million Americans were uninsured. Now there are 27 million. What a crummy result for all that work. Sure, some of this is due to Rethug shenanigans. However that was all baked in from the start by both parties under the instruction of the health insurance lobby. Obama said ‘everybody got a seat at the table’ during the negotiations before passage of the law. He lied. Single Payer advocates were frog-marched out of the building. Pathetic.


Gallup: US Uninsured Rate Rises to Four-Year High - According to the article: The uninsured rate before ACA was 18% and today it stands at 13.7%. Health care gets more and more expensive everyday, as do healthcare corporate profits. Poll after poll cited on this portal indicate that the vast majority of Americans want Medicare For All. The Rethugs have no coherent plan. The Democraps want to take us back down the ACA road. Both parties are doing the bidding of their big donors and not that of the American people. This is not democracy.


NYTimes: Trump Proposals Could Increase Health Costs for Consumers


Gatehouse News: CVS Paid Itself Far More Than Some Major Competitors - More capitalism, more corruption...and who always suffers?


Harvard School of Public Health: Poll: America’s Health and Education Priorities For the 2019 Congress - See page 10 of the overall document, POLQ1, c. Overall 68% of Americans want Medicare for All. See also entries of 12/18, and 10/22/18. At least half a dozen polls over the last two years all agree.


NYPost: AOC Slams Critics Calling Her Agenda Too Radical - Here is a recent peer-reviewed study showing that Medicare for All would save the USA $310B per year. Here is another from 2013 showing savings of $500B per year. Here is a collection of peer-reviewed studies that have looked at this same question since 1991. Even a recent Koch-funded study found that it would save $200B per year. For Anderson Cooper to ask AOC ‘how we gonna pay for it’ is more than a bit asinine. The question should really be: “What are we going to do with all the money we save by switching to Single Payer?”

Why does nobody ask ‘how we gonna pay for it’ when Congress gives away $700B per year to military contractors, an $80B increase from last year, and more than all other countries in the world combined? Or when Congress gives a $2 Trillion gift to the ultra-rich? Or when we give a $700B bail out to the banks with all sorts of conditions that were never met, and they just kept the money for stock buybacks and executive bonuses? Or when the Fed institutes “Quantitative Easing” to the tune of $4.5 Trillion.


Kaiser Health News: Coverage Denied: Medicaid Patients Suffer as Layers of Private Companies Profit - Private companies syphon off funds meant to help sick people. Their profits soar while patients die.

Health Reform 2018