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Stacie Ritter’s twin daughters were diagnosed with cancer at the age of four. Their insurance provider, CIGNA, denied them coverage even though they had been covered by the family’s former insurer. The incident marked just the latest chapter in the family’s ongoing troubles with the health insurance industry. A few years ago, the Ritters filed for bankruptcy due to their high medical expenses—even though they had health insurance at the time. Stacie Ritter joins us to tell her story. Read and watch it here.
Sick of Congress ruining healthcare reform? Join the effort to make Pennsylvania the first state to provide Medicare for All -- come with us to Harrisburg on Tuesday, October 20, to Rally for the state single payer bill in Harrisburg in the Capitol Rotunda 10 AM to noon, flyer attached. Take the 7:25 AM Amtrak train from Philadelphia for $46 round trip (15 % off for seniors) or take the bus from Bala Cynwyd at 7:25 AM for $25, details below.
But first, check out our blog and see just how alive single payer is in PA!
All About Single Payer for Pennsylvania.
Click here to reserve online for the Bala Cynwyd Bus: Call Joan Martini 215 242 4057 for questions.
Tell us about any insurance company horror stories here.
From the Associated Press:
In New York, Baltimore, Washington, San Diego and San Bernadino, ACORN workers gave advice to Hannah Giles, 19, and the man who rescued her, James O'Keefe, age 26, about how to get a mortgage to buy a house where Giles and the girls would no longer be abused and exploited by "Sonny", a pimp with ties to the Mafia known for his violent physical abuse. Giles, isolated from her family, said that all previous efforts to get help had been rebuffed by mainstream lenders who had discriminated against her because merely she was a prostitute. O’Keefe, a law student and aspiring politician, said that he came forward because he needed to ensure that Hannah and the girls were safe. ACORN workers gave the couple school advice, tax advice and urged Giles and O'Keefe to reach out to family and friends for help while evaluating their current choices. "We are not going to judge these young people in their efforts to save themselves", said a spokesperson for ACORN. "They are poor, they need help, and it is our mission to help them since it was made clear that no one else would. We are confident that with just a little help and guidance, Giles will be able to leave the Life behind someday thanks to O'Keefe promising future and commitment to Giles. Certainly, they have shown through their insistence that they free other young girls from sex slavery from the same pimp that abused Giles that they are worthy of help.
I've sort of exhausted myself this past two weeks here defending in the comments section of numerous diaries (most of which, to be fair, were trying to help folks understand what really was happening with this story) the reputation and importance of the largest community organizing group in the United States, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), against what has been a plethora of claims about its being a "corrupt criminal enterprise" that "turns a blind eye to prostitution." And against claims that ACORN is unimportant to the Left because "it raises no serious money" and "has no vital constituency" and should be thrown overboard post-haste for political cover.
But I hadn't seriously defended the alleged conduct of that handful of employees/volunteers out of the 400,000 nationwide who had supposedly been "caught". I had not raised any serious challenge to the narrative. I merely assumed without actual close study that the ACORN employees had indeed done what they are repeatedly being accused of having done, a fair summary of which is this: Read more.
PEACE GRANNIES EMBRACE THE HEALTH CARE ISSUE
by Joan Wile
New York City peace grannies -- Grandmothers Against the War and the Granny Peace Brigade -- who have heretofore focused on urging an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, have expanded our horizons to the fight for universal health care.
"These are two issues of extreme urgency to the U.S." said Barbara Walker, a member of both granny groups, "and each is at a critical juncture. The issues really can't be separated, as the gross funding for the unnecessary and doomed wars wastes money which could be used to cover all citizens' health needs."
Nine grandmas participated in an action held on Sept. 29, 2009, in front of the Bristol-Myers Squibb and Aetna insurance companies. In addition, there was a gaggle of Raging Grannies singing their satiric new lyrics to old standards. A surprisingly large turnout gathered in front of Bristol-Myers, and after a rally and a picket line which circled in front of the company's building, walked approximately 13 blocks down Park Avenue to the Aetna building, where they again formed a picket line for about an hour. A number of disabled people in wheelchairs participated in the action, adding to the drama of the occasion and demonstrating effectively the need for reform.
Earlier in the day, 16 protesters were arrested inside the Aetna building when they refused to leave until Aetna changed their policies (in both senses of the word). Among the arrestees was another of our Granny Peace Brigade women. She along with the other arrestees, was held in jail for 26 hours.
The prospect for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians is “dead as a doornail,” said Francis Boyle in an interview with the Canadian Charger on September 25.
That is “because Obama sided with Binyamin Netanyahu,” at the UN meeting of the General Assembly.
Boyle is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois and was legal advisor to the Palestinian delegation at the peace negotiations that culminated in the Oslo agreement.
According to Boyle, former senator George Mitchell “is running a dog and pony show” in his scampering around the Middle East.
“Because of his accomplishments in Northern Ireland, I had given him the benefit of the doubt, but not with what happened at the UN. Now it is clear that Mitchell’s mission is just a public relations exercise to delude the Arab and Muslim world into believing that the Obama administration is going to do something while in fact they are pushing their agenda against Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.”
“At the UN,” he said, “the entire world saw Obama personally get steamrollered by Netanyahu. Obama was humiliated in front of the entire world which saw him as a pusillanimous and feckless leader.”
The US continues to fund Israel to the tune of $4 billion a year but will not insist on peace measures such as a halt to settlement construction.
Boyle believes that the current situation will inevitably lead to a third intifada, which will “sweep aside the geriatric leadership of Fatah.”
As for Gaza, “most of their leaders have been killed by Israel.” And as for Israel, it “never wanted peace. It always wanted more land, a greater Israel.” Read more.
The Pentagon’s efforts to develop a beam weapon that can deter an adversary by causing a burning sensation on their skin has taken a step forward with the development of a small, potentially hand-held, version. The weapon, which is claimed to cause no permanent harm, could also end up being used by police to control civilians.
The idea of the weapon is to “create a heating sensation that repels individual adversaries”, according to the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) in Quantico, Virginia, which develops less-lethal weapons for the US military and coastguard.
Tests with a rifle-mounted infrared laser, carried out at a US air force lab near Dayton, Ohio, have determined a combination of laser pulse power and wavelength that causes an alarming, hot sensation on the skin, but which stops short of causing a burn, says JNLWD project engineer Wesley Burgei. Read more.
On Wednesday afternoon, September 30, 2009, the "Mad as Hell Doctors" rallied in front of the White House, in Lafayette Park. The group supports a Single Payer Healthcare System. Two of their slogans are: "Everybody In! Nobody Out!" and "Single Payer or Bust! "The doctors have been on a nationwide tour promoting their cause: via a huge Care-A-Van; staging many rallies, town hall meetings and giving speeches; canvassing numerous neighborhoods for new advocates; and, often times getting their message out by traveling in a caravan, while proudly displaying their symbolic white ribbon. Their laudable initiative, which sees "healthcare for all" as a moral and social justice issue for all Americans, was launched in Sequim, WA, on Aug. 28th. Dr. Margaret Flowers of Baltimore, who helped to organize the rally, also served as the MC for it. For background, see the Mad As Hell Doctors web site.
Speakers at Lawyers, Torture and Accountability, to be presented by the Eric R. Neisser Public Interest Program at Rutgers School of Law - Newark on Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at 4 pm, will consider the role and accountability of government lawyers in authorizing the torture of suspected terrorists following the 9/11 attacks. The event represents the law school's participation in Alliance for Justice's 2009 Student Action Campaign, programming on social justice topics held around the country each year in conjunction with the opening of the new U.S. Supreme Court term. The program will include a special screening of Tortured Law, a 10-minute Alliance for Justice documentary on the topic.
Following the panel discussion, Erika Wood '99, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, will receive the 2009 Eric R. Neisser Public Interest Award.
What: "Lawyers, Torture and Accountability"
Who: Dean John J. Farmer, Jr., Keynote
- Penny Venetis, Clinical Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Constitutional Litigation Clinic, Rutgers School of Law - Newark
- Baher Azmy, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, who represented Guantánamo Bay detainees
- Nan Aron, President of Alliance for Justice
Neisser Award Honoree:
Erika Wood '99, Deputy Director of the Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law When: 4 pm, Wednesday, October 7, 2009 Where: Baker Trial Courtroom, Rutgers School of Law - Newark
Just one example: "Medical malpractice lawsuits are a hot topic but, are they? Tort Reform is such a “Red Herring” and is easily disproved. A 2004 report by the Congressional Budget Office said medical malpractice makes up only 2 percent of U.S. health spending. Even “significant reductions” would do little to curb health-care expenses, it concluded."
Supreme Court to Review Statute Criminalizing Humanitarian Aid | Press Release
CCR Calls Provisions of Material Support Statute Unconstitutional
September 30, 2009, New York, NY – Today, the Supreme Court announced that it will hear an appeal from lower court rulings stating that key provisions of the federal “material support” statute are unconstitutional. The statute makes it a crime to provide money or goods, “training,” “personnel,” “expert advice or assistance” or “services” to any organization on the State Department’s list of “foreign terrorist organizations,” resulting in convictions carrying maximum sentences ranging from 15 years to life.
“The material support law resurrects guilt by association and makes it a crime for a human rights group in the U.S. to provide human rights training,” said lead counsel and CCR Board Member David Cole. “We don’t make the country safer by criminalizing those who advocate nonviolent means for resolving disputes. The Supreme Court should make clear that only those who intend to further the illegal ends of an organization can be punished.”
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) originally filed the case, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, on behalf of the Humanitarian Law Project, a human rights organization that seeks to provide nonviolent dispute resolution and human rights advocacy training to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the main Kurdish political party in Turkey, and several groups of Tamil-American physicians and other professionals who seek to provide humanitarian relief in war-torn areas of Sri Lanka controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), especially areas affected by the 2004 tsunami.
In its most recent ruling, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the provisions of the statute making it criminal to provide “training,” “expert advice or assistance” in the form of “specialized knowledge,” or “services” to the PKK or LTTE were unconstitutionally vague. In six separate decisions, every court that has considered this case over the last 11 years has found that significant parts of the statute were unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs are represented by David Cole and Shayana Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and by cooperating attorneys Carol Sobel, Paul Hoffman, and Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran.
For more information on Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, click here.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
Sen. Kyl, AZ: I Don't Need Maternity Care In My Health Insurance - Sen. Stabenow, MI: Your Mom Probably Did!
Another example of some Republicans' "Your On Your Own" (YOYO) attitude. Particularly shameful since Arizona's Senator Kyl received $2,253,387 over his career from HMO's and Medical Industry Campaign Contributions.
Aetna is the real death panel, and any health insurance companies who deny doctor-recommended lifesaving treatment: Mobilize for Healthcare.
Citizens and health care providers today staged a sit-in at the offices of Aetna, one of the nations largest health insurance companies, in New York City (99 Park Ave @40th. The action is part of a national mobilization to end health insurance abuses such as the denial of coverage for lifesaving treatments, and win support for the only real public option Medicare for all, a single payer plan. The action was part of a Mobilization for Health Care for All campaign that includes actions in Chicago, Los Angeles, and other cities across the country.
Click "Read more."
Yesterday, five Democratic United States Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark), Bill Nelson (D-Fla) and Tom Carper (D-Del) voted against the a proposal to put a government administered public option in the health reform bill that will come out of the Senate Finance Committee.
Are these senators accurately voting for the will of their constituents?...
Americans support the notion of a government administered health insurance plan by a margin of 65% to 26%. According to the same poll, people who identify themselves as Democrats favor the public option by a margin of 81% to 12%. That's nearly 7 to 1 in favor of, yet the representatives of the Democrat party in the Senate Finance Committee only voted for the public option at a ratio of 8 to 5. Perhaps the most interesting number revealed by this poll is that Republican voters favor the public option 47% to 42%.
So why can't the people's representatives in Washington get behind the public option? Specifically, why can't these five Democrats get behind it when 81% of people in their party want the option. The answer I'd like to hear is that less than 50% of the voters they represent back home oppose the public option so they're voting on behalf of their constituents, however, the numbers we see in the NYT/CBS poll make that extremely unlikely. So if that's not the reason, what is? One likely answer is money. Look at the amount of money the health industry has pumped into these five Democrat's coffers:
President Obama attempts to depict proponents of Medicare for all as lefty health care “extremists.” But that’s precisely the kind of “robust” public plan favored by two-thirds of Americans, according to a recent poll. Obama is to the Right of the people, and the GOP is off the map.
Despite the infamous Max Baucus Senate committee’s long-anticipated rejection of even a fig leaf of a public health care “option,” public opinion remains remarkably firm in support of allowing everyone access to a comprehensive government health plan. A New York Times/CBS News survey last week provided the best polling evidence in recent months that most people favor a public option that is a lot more “robust” than anything the Congress is offering, aside from straight-up single payer.
The poll once again confirms that something very much like single payer remains an idea whose time has come. After all these month’s of the Obama Administration’s attempts to shrivel into near nothingness the very concept of health care “reform,” and despite the mad howlings of Republicans about the evils of “socialized medicine,” two-thirds of the American people still support a Medicare-like government health care plan. Read more.
On Wednesday afternoon, September 30, 2009, the "Mad as Hell Doctors" rallied in front of the White House, in Lafayette Park. The group supports a Single Payer Healthcare System. Two of their slogans are: "Everybody In! Nobody Out!" and "Single Payer or Bust!" The doctors have been on a nationwide tour promoting their cause. One of the speakers at the spirited event was Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH). He is one of the key champions in the House of Representatives of HR 676, a Single Payer Bill. Dr. Margaret Flowers of Baltimore, who helped to organize the rally, also served as the MC for it. For background on Single Payer and the Mad as Hell Doctors, check out their web site here.
Your Money, or Your Life
By Rosemarie Jackowski
Death is not optional. It will come to all of us sooner or later. The best that can be hoped for is to have a life that is long and a death that is as painless as possible.
Forty-three year old Edith Rodriguez lost on both of those counts. Her life was needlessly brought to a tragic end. She spent her last time on earth writhing in pain. Why? Was Edith in some desolate third world country? No, she was in the United States. Was Edith in an isolated location, far from medical help? No, she was in the Emergency Room of a California hospital. Was this tragedy caused by the fact that she might not have had health insurance? Maybe. Was the problem that she was sick while being Hispanic? Could be.
The news reports have painted a picture that is difficult to think about. Edith writhing in pain in the Emergency Room -falling out of the wheel chair, vomiting blood while lying on the cold Emergency Room floor, excruciating pain, a possible bowel perforation - the janitorial staff cleaning the floor around her limp body, while the medical staff ignored the pleas for help from her family. The US has many excellent doctors and nurses. This is not meant to be a condemnation of all medical personnel. It is meant to be a condemnation of the system, a system that has lost any hint of humanity.
Why did no one help Edith? What mistake did Edith make that caused this tragedy? Was this death-by-geography? If Edith had been almost anywhere else in the industrialized world, she probably would still be alive. She died because she was in the United States. Living in the US can be hazardous to your health. This is a nation that puts profits before patients; capitalism before compassion.
EFF Wins Release of Telecom Lobbying Records | Press Release September 24th, 2009
Government Must Provide More Information on Campaign to Give Telecoms Retroactive Immunity
San Francisco - A judge ordered the government Thursday to release more records about the lobbying campaign to provide immunity to the telecommunications giants that participated in the NSA's warrantless surveillance program. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered the records be provided to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) by October 9, 2009.
The decision is part of EFF's long-running battle to gather information about telecommunications lobbying conducted as Congress considered granting immunity to companies that participated in illegal government electronic surveillance. Telecom immunity was eventually passed as part of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008, but a bill that would repeal the immunity -- called the JUSTICE Act -- was introduced in the Senate last week.
"Today's ruling is a major victory for government transparency," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "As the court recognized, it was unlawful for the government to deny Americans access to this information in the midst of the debate over telecom immunity last year. We're pleased these records will now be available to the public as Congress considers the JUSTICE Act."
Andy Worthington Discusses Bagram on al-Jazeera
Yesterday, I was delighted to take part in “Is Bagram The Other Guantánamo?,” a discussion about the US prison at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan on The Riz Khan Show on al-Jazeera, following a recent announcement by the Obama administration that it is planning to introduce Guantánamo-style tribunals for the 600 or so prisoners held at Bagram. The show is available below in two parts, via YouTube:
As I explained in two articles following the Obama administration’s announcement — “Obama Brings Guantánamo And Rendition To Bagram (And Not The Geneva Conventions)” and “Is Bagram Obama’s New Secret Prison?” — these proposals are an improvement on the existing review system for the Bagram prisoners, which, disturbingly, consists only of Unlawful Enemy Combatant Review Boards, in which the prisoners have no representation whatsoever, and are only allowed to make a statement before they hear the evidence against them. However, as I also explained in my articles, it’s clear that the decision to introduce a new review system is disturbing for two particular reasons.
The first is that...Read more.
October 3-10, 2009
Keep Space for Peace Week:
International Week of Protest to
Stop the Militarization of Space
No Missile Defense
No Use of Space for Drone Wars
Stop Endless War
Convert the Military Industrial Complex
Fund Human Needs
Local Events (List now in formation)
Rick Scott profits off the uninsured
A leading foe of healthcare reform owns a chain of clinics aimed at people who would benefit from a public option
Editor's note: Research support was provided by the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.
By Tristram Korten | Salon
Multimillionaire health care entrepreneur Rick Scott has been at the center of the aggressive campaign to derail health care reform in Washington DC. He has met with lawmakers, coordinated conference calls with conservative activists, written op eds on the evils of socialized medicine, starred in a nationwide ad campaign, and founded the anti-reform group Conservatives for Patients Rights. But little attention has been paid to the business model at Scott's own for-profit health care company, Solantic, which profits off of the uninsured. As a new Investigative Fund probe by Tristram Korten shows, without masses of uninsured people dependent on the ER for their care, Scott doesn't have a client base.
One key Scott tactic in his assault on health care reform is to rail against government health systems, using anecdotes to show that they "kill people" by limiting access to care. Yet Korten found a doctor in one of Scott's clinics may have rushed a diagnosis due to his massive patient quota and faces a wrongful death lawsuit now winding its way through the Florida courts. "The whole point was volume and speed," one former Solantic doctor told Korten. "I believe the target was 50 patients a day." And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Korten's article, "Rick Scott Profits off the Uninsured," the first installment of a two-part investigation into Rick Scott and Solantic, was supported by the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and appears today on Salon. Read it here.
Government GiveAway to Health Insurance Companies: No Constraint on Administrative Costs/Profits in Proposed Legislation
So, imagine this, we offer no Public Option, nothing that we can control through public policy avenues, and yet we give billions to insurance companies without a requirement how much they will pay for coverage. I did not see the Republicans argue against this give away as being fiscally irresponsible.
The issues are not just the Public Option, if an insurance company gets a subsidy, we must cap the Medical Loss Ratio. We must make sure that the public dollars and our lowest income families get the most in healthcare from the public dollars.
...Under the Baucus plan, there is a mandate, meaning every one in America will be required to carry insurance. To help those who cannot afford insurance there is a provision that the Federal government will give subsidies to people to pay for all and in some cases a portion of the premiums.
The federal subsidies, meaning the money the Federal Goverment will pay insurance companies to make insurance affordable, is in the range of half a trillion to cover lower income people.
If we do not get a public option how do we make sure that the billions we pay insurance companies, get us the most healthcare? There is metric called Medical Loss Ratio. What is that? Medical Loss Ratio means if I pay an insurance company $100 in premium, there is an amount they pay for medical care and another amount they put in their pocket for administrative costs and profits. Read more.
Co-authored with Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director, California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee
Now we know why they've stopped calling this health care reform, and started calling it insurance reform. The current bills advancing in Congress look more like rearranging the deck chairs on the insurance Titanic than actually ending our long health care nightmare.
Some laudable elements are in various versions of the bills, especially expanding Medicaid, cutting the private insurance-padding waste of Medicare Advantage, and limiting the ability of the insurance giants to ban and dump people who have been or who ever will be sick.
But, overall, the leading bills and the President's proposal are, like the dog that didn't bark, more notable for what is missing.
Here are 13 problems with the current health care bills (partial list):
1. No cost controls on insurance companies. Read more - this is a short but very descriptive list. Don't miss it!
More Obama Administration Witch-Hunt Targets
By Stephen Lendman
The FBI's top six news stories for the week ending September 25 were about arrests and/or indictments of suspected Muslim terrorists. Combined, they became the latest national security targets in America's war on Islam.
Waged relentlessly since 9/11, it continues unabated under Obama for the same political advantage George Bush sought by stoking fear to be used as a pretext to wage imperial wars and crack down ruthlessly at home with police state efficiency - today against Muslims, Latino immigrants, environmental and animal rights activists, and street protestors, tomorrow against anyone voicing dissent.
Najibullah Zazi - The FBI's Top Story for the Week Ending September 25, 2009
On September 24, an FBI press release announced the indictment of Najibullah Zazi, an Aurora, CO-based legal US resident from Afghanistan on a conspiracy charge "to use weapons of mass destruction (explosive bombs) against persons or property in the United States" based on allegations that he "received bomb-making instructions in Pakistan, purchased components of improvised explosive devices, and traveled to New York City on September 10 in furtherance of his criminal plans."
He was also charged with knowingly and willfully making false statements to the FBI regarding international and domestic terrorism. In addition, the indictment alleges that he and others traveled in interstate and foreign commerce and used email and the Internet to carry out his "criminal plans." If convicted, Zazi faces a potential life sentence even though he's likely another victim of police state justice in Washington's war on Islam.
New York Times writers David Johnston and Scott Shane called it "One of the Most Serious (Cases) in Years based on documents filed against Zazi that "he bought chemicals needed to build a bomb - hydrogen peroxide, acetone and hydrochloric acid - and in doing so, Mr. Zazi took a critical step made by few other terrorism suspects." He made his purchases at a beauty shop, hardly the sort of venue for terrorist supplies.
Hydrogen peroxide is a common bleaching agent and mild disinfectant. Acetone is an inflammable organic solvent used in nail polish remover, making plastics and for cleaning purposes in laboratories. Hydrochloric acid is used in oil production, ore reduction, food processing, pickling, and metal cleaning. It's also found in the stomach in diluted form.
Here's a list of the good things a universal single payer health insurance system will do for Pennsylvania. There are more, most importantly the over one million uninsured citizens of the Commonwealth. Support our efforts to pass sane health care legislation in Harrisburg. Learn about the bills working their way through the State House right now.
1. Protect Pennsylvania jobs - by capping the employer contribution to the Health Trust at 10% of payroll. Those Pennsylvania employers currently paying for employee health insurance coverage will enjoy a substantial savings and will no longer be at a competitive disadvantage to those paying nothing toward the cost of health care coverage. This also completely eliminates the administrative overhead costs associated with employer paid health insurance.
2. Reduce the cost of prescription drugs - by using Pennsylvania's 12.5 million citizens as a formidable bargaining entity in dealing with drug companies.
3. Eliminate uncompensated care - by assuring that health care providers are paid for all of the services they provide.
4. Assure comprehensive care for all - through a universal health care system. Approximately one million out of our 12 million citizens have no health coverage of any kind.
5. End wasteful "defensive" medicine - which, according to a recent survey, 90% of Pennsylvania physicians admit to. We address this by replacing the fault based malpractice system with a no-fault program that emphasizes broader availability of compensation, quality assurance instead of punishment. Those who believe they are better off retaining their traditional fault based right to sue may opt out of the no-fault system, but the Balanced Plan adopts the no-fault approach as the default position and thus the vast majority of Pennsylvanians will participate in the no-fault program.
6. Address racial disparity - through universal access and a commitment to assuring the availability of quality providers in all communities.
7. Dramatically reduce wasteful administrative costs - through a single payer approach that eliminates the unnecessary and redundant overhead of the existing myriad of public and private payers. Major studies have agreed that approximately 20% of our health care dollars are wasted due to the inefficiencies of the current system.
8. Remove health care as a recurrent union/management issue in collective bargaining - by providing automatic, comprehensive, and universal health care independent of the employment relationship. This legislation does permit unions and employers to opt out of the Commonwealth Plan so long as the benefits included in the collective bargaining agreement are at least as comprehensive as the Commonwealth Plan.
9. End health care expenses as the leading cause of personal bankruptcy - thus preserving the dignity and savings of Americans who already face the burdens directly associated with family illness or accident. Read more.