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President Obama's mission to keep the U.S. health care system safe for the profiteering classes got waylaid last week by - the profiteers, themselves. The health care industry "refused to corroborate Obama's claim that they had agreed to reduce health care spending by $2 trillion dollars over ten years." Worse, some of them pointed out that, in point of fact, Obama doesn't have a fully developed health plan. The president's business allies' failure to back up his fiction means Obama will have to pick another occasion to proclaim that the private sector has made sacrifices, and it's time to take the axe to "entitlements."
Please go right now and vote for the "Will You Fight for Single Payer?" question. The following is from Congress Matters:
Got a question for Congress?
Tue May 19, 2009 at 07:14:25 PM PDT
Here's an idea: Use Internet technology to enable an improved level of two-way communications between the public and Members of Congress.
What do you think?
Yeah, yeah, we're already sort of doing that with blogs. But this is more specific. You'll like this. It's the Feedback Forum of ProgressiveCongress.org.
You go there, and you answer this question:
In response to what she described as an enormous amount of feedback/flak she got on her so-called comprehensive program about the health care/insurance situation, Diahn Rehm is devoting this hour (10-11 this morning) entirely to single payer.
Adrienne Campbell of Dearborn, MI, was diagnosed with cervical cancer at age 22. Her insurer denied coverage for a highly suspect legal reason. Ms. Campbell went $8,000 in debt to cover the cost of her treatment. At age 26, and uninsured, she developed ovarian cancer.
Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending.
Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies’ trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country.
After meeting with six major health care organizations, Mr. Obama hailed their cost-cutting promise as historic.
Note: Baucus has taken money from health insurance companies as well as pharmaceuticals, but very little compared to Obama! Don't believe much of what Obama says. He ignores the question and talks about how healthcare costs too much -- blames it for the military-created national debt even! -- but avoids the fact that single-payer would reduce costs. When the crowd repeatedly cheers for single-payer Obama calls them "the little single-payer advocates".
Washington is abuzz with news from the Senate Finance Committee's recent Health Care Roundtable Discussions and President Obama's announcement on Monday that he supports proposed voluntary action by the insurance industry and its allies to cut health care cost inflation by 1.5% per year.
However, as the National Coalition on Health Care points out, health care costs are actually rising at a rate of more than 6%.
“Since the first days of his administration, Obama has methodically erased single-payer advocates from the picture.”
The president feigns amazement at popular demands for a change in the industrial world’s most expensive and dysfunctional health care system. "We're doing some stuff on health care because I think the country is geared up, businesses are geared up, families are geared up to go ahead and start solving some our extraordinary health care system problems," Obama fairly gushed, as if his own corporate-friendly proposals accurately reflect the public will. In reality, the Administration is engaged in an elaborate charade designed to sidetrack, possibly for decades, the most broadly supported idea in American politics, today: single-payer health care.
Obama has gone to extraordinary lengths to suppress advocates of a single-payer or “Medicare for all” system, which polls have consistently shown to be favored by at least six in ten Americans, including majorities of doctors and other health care professionals. HMOs, insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations rank among the most despised institutions in the land – causing Obama to take on the mission of saving them from the public’s wrath. As the reigning impresario of theatrical faux-change, Obama choreographed last weekend’s parade of industry troglodytes (and one very wayward union) promising to “save” the homeland from their predatory selves to the tune of $2 trillion over the next ten years by reducing the growth of the percentage they gouge from the economy.
We’ve Lit a Fire, Now We Need to Fan It
A Populist Health Care Rebellion is Brewing
By Kevin Zeese | Campaign for Fresh Air and Clean Politics
Last week when I was one of the Baucus Eight, so-named because eight of us were arrested before Sen. Baucus, I hopped others would join us. Yesterday, they did. And, the single payer movement grew stronger.
Before the hearing I joined nearly 50 people in a spirited protest outside the U.S. senate letting all who entered know we wanted a single payer national health care plan.
And, inside there were a series of protests.
As the hearing began, and Sen. Baucus was speaking a group of about 30 nurses, dressed in their red hospital uniforms, stood up and turned their backs on Baucus. They had pinned to their backs: “Nurses Say: Stop AHIP. Pass Single Payer.” (AHIP is America’s Health Insurance Plans – the health insurance industry lobby.)
MASH's Mike Farrell, Actress Mimi Kennedy & PDA Director Tim Carpenter Speak on Single-Payer Health Insurance
One of the speakers at a Capitol Hill rally, on Wednesday, May 13, 2009, advocating for a Single Payer Healthcare System was actor Mike Farrell. Mr. Farrell is a long time champion of progressive causes and a proud member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).
At a press conference, on Capitol Hill, on May 13, 2009, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) spoke out strongly for a single payer healthcare system. He said: “Healthcare is a Civil Right!”
This actually made it onto NPR (and of course includes lengthy nonsensical opposition to single-payer): Listen here.
By David Swanson
Dr. Margaret Flowers, who was arrested along with seven others at the first Senate Finance Committee hearing on healthcare, just phoned me from the second one. As Chairman Max Baucus called the hearing to order, about 20 members of the California Nurses Association (CNA) stood and turned their backs on the committee. Pasted on their backs were signs reading: "Nurses Say: Patients First," "Stop AHIP," (referring to health insurance lobbyists), "Pass Single Payer."
Tuesday morning, Max Baucus's Senate Finance Committee will again hear from healthcare "stake holders," among whom there will not be a single supporter of single-payer healthcare. Among the non-stakeholders, including the American people, things could be better:
Here are the US rankings out of the 30 OECD countries (1 is best; 30 is worst -- worst as in Somalia-like). The names of the countries even more Somalian than the US appear in parens.
Infant Deaths: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).
Life Expectancy: 24 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Hungary, Poland, Czech & Slovak Republics).
Health Expenditures: 1 out of 30.
Poverty Rates: 28 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey).
Child Poverty: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Poland).
Income Inequality: 27 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Portugal).
Obesity: 30 out of 30.
Incarceration: 30 out of 30.
Work Hours (ranked in ascending order): 30 out of 30.
Height (women): 25 out of 30 (Mexico, Turkey, Korea, Portugal, Japan).
Height (men): 24 out of 30 (Italy, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Korea, Japan).
Max Baucus Should Not Be Deciding Health Care for America
The “Senator for K Street” is Putting Campaign Donor Profits Ahead of the Basic Needs of the People
By Kevin Zeese | ProsperityAgenda.US
Senator Max Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee are too corrupted by corporate health industry profiteers donations to give America the health care policy it needs.
Health care is 15% of the U.S. gross domestic product. Health care costs have been rising rapidly for several years. U.S. health care expenditures surpassed $2.4 trillion in 2007, more than three times the $714 billion spent in 1990. The cost of health care is projected to reach $4.4 trillion by 2018. There is a lot of room for corporate profiteering in the increasing cost of health care. So, the millions the health care industry has invested in Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee could turn out to be a very profitable one.
All Out Effort: Put Single-payer Healthcare “On the Table”
It's National Nurses Week, and we’re joining the California Nurses Association in Washington, D.C. to promote single-payer healthcare. We need your help!
Please make 2 calls TODAY to get single-payer experts into the Senate Finance Committee Roundtable discussion!
This Tuesday, May 12, the Senate Finance Subcommittee is holding its final roundtable on healthcare reform. The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee has issued a request to include Roseann Demoro, Executive Director of CNA/NNOC and longtime leader in the single-payer movement. PNHP has formally submitted the names of two outstanding physicians, Drs. Marcia Angell and Steffie Woolhandler, to testify as expert witnesses.
Please call Sen. Baucus' office in Washington at 202-224-2651, or fax him at (202) 224-9412, and urge him to extend the invitations.
Among the giant taboos afflicting Congress these days is the proposal to create a single payer health insurance system (often called full Medicare for everyone).
How can this be? Don't the elected politicians represent the people? Don't they always have their finger to the wind?
Well, single payer is only supported by a majority of the American people, physicians and nurses. They like the idea of public funding and private delivery. They like the free choice of doctors and hospitals that many are now denied by the HMOs.
Why we risked arrest for single-payer health care
By Margaret Flowers, M.D.
On May 5, eight health care advocates, including myself and two other physicians, stood up to Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the Senate Finance Committee during a “public roundtable discussion” with a simple question: Will you allow an advocate for a single-payer national health plan to have a seat at the table?
The answer was a loud, “Get more police!” And we were arrested and hauled off to jail.
The fact that a national health insurance program is supported by the majority of the public, doctors and nurses apparently means nothing to Sen. Baucus. The fact that thousands of people in America are dying every year because they can’t get health care means nothing. The fact that over 1 million Americans go into bankruptcy every year due to medical debt – even though most of them had insurance when they got sick – means nothing.
Broadcast 04/29/09, as posted at Health Care Now!
National Lobby Day and Rally for Single-Payer in DC, Wednesday, May 13, noon-2 PM, Upper Senate Park, Washington, DC
Michael Munk details Obama's political odyssey on his single-payer health care positions:
According to Quentin Young, MD, whose partner in his practice has been Barack Obama's personal physician since the Senator moved into Hyde Park, in Obama's early years in politics, he used to say he was all for single-payer. Then in 2006, the Senator started to say he was still for it, but that it would never happen without a solid Democrat majority in Congress. Then during the presidential campaign, he said that that option would be included in the mix of plans he supported.
Today, he finally made it clear that now he is committed to protecting the profits of health insurance companies and was opposed to single payer! Read on...
Sebelius Aims To Settle Concerns About Single-Payer Health System | CaliforniaHealthline.org | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing Wednesday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that the Obama administration does not support taking over the health care system entirely, but hopes to create a public insurance option that would compete with private insurers, the Los Angeles Times reports.
She said, "Dismantling the private market and having an entirely public option, a single-payer system, I think is not something that the president supports."
By David Swanson
I can't recall a better corporate news video segment in at least the past decade than the story that Ed Schultz just aired on MSNBC in which he interviews Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and Senator Debbie Stabenow on the topic of healthcare reform.
Sure, Ed slaps a gratuitous insult on the heroines of Code Pink, says he's against protesting and "getting arrested" as a rule but thinks it's OK if doctors in suits and "educated professional people" do it, and pretends to believe (or actually believes) that President Obama favors considering the possibility of creating single-payer healthcare. But the heart of this story is the gaping chasm between majority opinion and the corporate agenda of the United States Senate. And Ed Schultz hits it out of the park.
"It's faster and easier than selling drugs."
Those are the words of a convict, once a Miami drug dealer, who left the street life to participate in a scheme to make even bigger money: Medicare fraud.
And it worked. In seven years, he estimates he made about $8 million....
On May 5, 2009, eight activists were arrested at a health care hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, in the Dirksen Office Building, Room 106. As soon as the Committee Chair, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), opened the proceedings, the activists began in turns to stand and to make comments, like: "Why isnt a single payer at the table?" They were immediately "escorted" out of the room by the Capitol Hill police and placed under arrest.
Click "Read more."
By Kevin Zeese
Yesterday morning, eight doctors, lawyers and other activists stood up for single payer health care. We stood up during a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. The hearing was only to hear from the insurance industry, pharmaceutical companies, HMO’s and business interests. They did not want to hear about a real national health care plan.
I was one of the eight.
We stood up to the private health insurance industry, to the corporate power in Congress and demanded a single payer national health care plan where everybody is in and nobody is out. We want a plan that ensures the peoples right to choose their own doctor, hospital and health care treatment. We want a plan that will control costs – something that cannot be done unless the insurance industry, HMO’s and pharmaceutical companies are challenged.