oleeb's picture

    Hopeful note for Medicare for All!

    Don't know about anyone else, but I didn't see the following story in the news last week about a coalition that has formed to press the Medicare for All legislation in Congress.  If you can get two very different kinds of Congressmen like Conyers and Dingell supporting the same basic approach on health care, then it becomes crystal clear that theonly thing standing in the way of doing the right thing is the greed of the insurance compaines.

    It wouldn't be easy to drive a stake through the heart of those blood suckers, but it would be worth it to try.  And if you don't even try then you have made the failure of attaining the goal a foregone conclusion.  So I'd say those interested in actually providing health care for all Americans should do what they can to support this coalition and promote passage of the Medicare for All bill in the House.

    Here's a link to the article:




    Good catch, oleeb! Thanks. :)

    Do not forget Waxman. He gave a fine talk caught by CSPAN today. He wants single payer, and he wants to push any legislation to that end.

    Sorry, I am kind of stuck on Waxman. He seems to be a new force in the House. Conyers has been my hero for years. And Dingell is a force.

    Good post, as always Oleeb.

    Thanks. I hadn't seen the report.

    It's the least expensive means. Most of those employed in the health insurance industry would remain employed, but the highly paid execs and the profit takers (blood suckers as you put it).

    I think you make an excellent point. Henry Waxman has been a real force in the House for a couple of decades. I remember watching him in hearings in the early 80's and he was a mover and shaker then. Now, with the sort of seniority he has, his key chairmanship, with being part of the enormously influential California delegation headed by the Speaker he really is in a position to put his mark on just about anything. I hope Henry fights hard for Medicare for All.


    Hey Hey Hey . . .

    "I didn't see the following story in the news last week about a coalition that has formed to press the Medicare for All legislation in Congress.

    Oleeb ... You needed to go no further for this story than right here in the Cafe. I posted this blog last Thursday that has all the info needed about the report that the CQ article speaks about. Here's the link:

    Dramatic New Study Presented in Congressional Briefing

    There have been reports about single-payer being off the table that have come from various sources within the new administration in lieu of a plan of "Incremental Universalism" to health care coverage. You may wish to check out CVille's blog here.

    But you are correct about a lack of "news" coverage. There seems to be a black-out of sorts with the coverage by the mainstream media related to the single-payer side of the debate.

    Surprised? Not me...

    Following is the direct link to the Think Progress interview with John Podesta explaining Obama's position related to the health care issue. The part begins at 4:14 in the video:




    Oh and . . .

    If you are wondering, here is what I meant by the term "Incremental Universalism"...


    Hate to rain on your parade, but do you even know that medicare no longer provides access to even basic levels of health care, unless you have an expensive supplemental health insurance policy?

    Even public hospitals no longer take patients with medicare only. Getting a private physician to take a medicare patient w/out supplemental insurance is impossible. Medicare for all, is still health care for only those wealthy enough to afford it.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but too much time among the netroots in the blogosphere causes people to lose touch with the reality on the ground. You need to talk with the grassroots.

    Obviously, I missed it. But it doesn't hurt to keep putting things up in order to reach more people. The more I consider it, the more it seems to me there's no real reason to do anything unless we're going to go straight to Medicare for All. Anything else simply perpetuates the current horrendous system that doesn't serve everyone to beging with and doesn't serve those it does serve very well at all.

    I don't think your read of the situation is entirely correct. If we socialize the healthcare system for all as we did with the health care system for the elderly, it will be the health program for all and the whole idea of supplemental private insurance will disappear at least insofar as you're referring to it regarding how that sort of thing works with Medicare presently. Yes, you'd probably need some sort of additional insurance for things like boob jobs and other vanity operations, but not for medical care that impacts your health and is not purely elective or cosmetic.

    Thanks for this, and the link, oleeb. I'd seen the study (which was great), but knowing there's a coalition forming is really good news. Gives us something we can throw our weight in behind. Rec'd.

    Oleeb, I know someone who died, not because he didn't get a "boob job" or any vanity operation.. he was a patient waiting for an organ transplant, but that's not what killed him. He had been denied the physician he needed, and fought to get for six years. He couldn't afford supplemental insurance, because he didn't have the money for it. It was a lymphoma (a cancer) that went undiagnosed, because he didn't have the physician performing the routine blood tests to monitor the progression of his condition. Had the doctors at the public hospital taken him as a patient, they would have caught the lymphoma when it was still in a very survivable stage. Hon, you really need to find out the realities here in the US, because you don't have even the basic understanding of what is going on at present.

    Americans with medicare die every day, and medicare doesn't just cover the elderly, it covers the disabled, and disabled includes those with critical illnesses that render people too ill to work.

    They have universal health care in the UK, and are understaffed because over the years, as the NHS's burden became too great, more physicans abandoned the NHS and went into private practice, other doctors emigrated.

    Even if we implemented "medicare for all", there would still be a private system, and the majority of all physicians would refuse to work within the "medicare for all". When the universal health care system was created in Vermont, doctors who had previously taken medicaid and CHIP patients, dropped them, and would only take private insurance. When private insurers started leaving the state, doctors left the state as well.

    I know something needs to be done, but it's not quite so easy as saying "medicare for all". We need to deal with a number of issues, and there needs to be serious parameters laid out, so that no matter if you have a far right winger or far left winger in a position of power, neither could impose cruel and inhumane policies regarding access to health care. There needs to be fair compensation for physicians, and by the same token, physicians have to bring their income expectations down to planet earth. There should be incentives given to those who who wish to attend medical school and are willing to commit to general practice/internist, and to work with the public system. There are so many important factors, but I shouldn't be up this late, can't believe I lost track of time.

    And it's already set up. So easy for both patients and provides to work with.

    Supplemental means it takes care of the Medicare co-pay. For Mr. TheraP (who will be 70 this year, that costs about $150/mo. For a younger person, I would presume a policy like that would cost much less or the younger person could simply decide to pay the co-pay out of pocket.

    This is nothing but a scare tactic!

    Of course Medicare patients die every day. Most of them are elderly!

    For Medicare patients who have very little money, Medicaid kicks in. There are many ways this can be handled.

    But it's nonsense to knock Medicare. The elderly love it. Those who are disabled are very relieved to have it.


    Hello . . .

    Rain on the parade? Naw ...

    It's more like spitting into the wind. Don't let any of it get on ya'...

    Before coming in here half-cocked telling folks they are out of touch, I recommend you read the following House Bill HR 676 and then get back to us about what you learned about the system that can and should be implemented.

    United States National Health Insurance Act
    (or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act)

    I love a full outline of what you learned ...

    But for some funny reason, I don't expect it.



    Hey Q . . .

    There has been a coalition forming since 2006... Before the house was retaken by the dems...

    That's just for general info.



    Right-i-o . . .

    As far as it not hurting to keep putting things up in order to reach more people, you are singing to the organ player in the choir.

    Maybe you haven't seen my post about Pushing Obama."

    And I fully agree that anything but single-payer type is not the way to go... That link to the Incremental Universalism (think Massachusetts) was to show what they have in store, not that I agree with that type of plan.


    We cannot afford to delay doing what every other civilized country does because of anecdotes about a bad situation or outcome. What we need is a population that goes to the doctor regularly and first and foremost has access to regular care so they can go. Right now we have millions that get the same health care the average citizen received 500 years ago: none at all.

    Medicare was and remains one of the most successful public programs in the history of the ocuntry. It does, in fact, provide for the basic medical care most people in the progrm need. It is a vast improvement over the days when people just stayed home and stayed sick when they got older and the quality of life for our older citizens has been enormously improved because of it. The same will be true when we provide medical care for the rest of the population.

    I cannot speak to your friend's situation. I know that many older people die no matter what health care they have. That's part of life. I don't mean to make light of the situation you spoke of, but all in all I'd say people are pretty darn happy with Medicare (even after the Republicans starting screwing it up).

    What I can say is that the Medicare for All Act is a comprehensive and well thought out approach to providing for the first time in our history real, full, comprehenive health care for all our people regardless of income. That is what we need. Any other approach is more expensive, more complicated and less effecient. Medicare for All is not a simply or simplisitc approach, but the general concept of how it works is relatively simple which is a good thing because otherwise it would just be confusing to people.

    Yes, this is also my strategy, OGD. WE have to get out ahead of Obama. He's not going to pull the country behind him, he needs to lead from within the pack. And I, like you, feel that we have to find every which way to push forward what needs to happen, to keep the a hearth burning for healthcare and another hearth for Justice to be served and so on.

    I recently saw a sign in a specialist's office about a co-pay for a life-saving medicine. This injection is not only life-saving, but without it, patients live with agonizing pain. The sign read: "We are sorry but we can no longer provide **** injections to Medicare patients without a $300 co-pay." The injections are required weekly. These are real people. Some will die this year in great pain. I would guess that some 20 patients in this one office will stop the injections. This is another reason I think the number of people who die each year in America because they don't have comprehensive coverage is far greater that has been suggested.

    The prescription add-on that the Bush administration negotiated with Big Pharma is a travesty. It is so complicated, and the euphamistically named "DoughNut Hole" (to make it seem friendly (?) leaves many people in the lurch. You can go on-line and try to figure out which plan will cover the meds you are on, sign up for it, and the plan can discontinue any of those meds without penalty.

    That is one part that needs total re-vamping. Talk about single-payer -- the prescription part is the most glaring of abuses. No one should have to use a computer to figure out over and over again who will cover their medications, as opposed to who won't.

    As long as our system requires that someone make a profit simply for pushing papers, and providing NO OTHER SERVICE whatsoever (!) people will get the short end of the stick.

    Why is it so hard for anyone to understand that if all medical dollars are spent on medical care, we will have better care? That is such a simple concept. Makes me think that those who are against it just might have some of that profit to skim off for themselves.

    --Or in the case of Congress -- they don't want to give up their gold-plated coverage and join with the HoiPaloi.

    The drug companies have to be nationalized, not only here but in other countries. The laws which allow them to patent drugs must be abandoned. The idea that drug companies create wealth must be seen as primitive and hurtful. Research into new drugs must shift to the government. The goal for a scientist should be a Nobel Prize not millions of dollars. Removing the profit motive and shifting research to governments (and universities) will encourage drugs for many diseases that have no research efforts because the numbers of the people with these diseases are too small to make it profitable. You can now see three versions of Viagra advertised on television. That is about profit not healthcare.

    I agree with dd. Outpatient medications are hugely expensive and the insurance companies are making a bundle by denying needed meds.

    That is not due to the Medicare program, but as dd says, it was a republican give-away. That needs to change!

    Pardon my lapse of attention. I agree with C Ville Dem. (If dd weights in on this, I'll likely agree with him as well - as he's on Medicare, I believe.)

    Very good point, but I think the focus needs to be on shifting our entire system over to a single payer first. We can fix the problematic anti-patient provisions of previous Republican Congresses. Even with the kinds of flaws you point out the nation would be better off than with what we now have.

    I would point out also that it is clear from all the polling and research that has been done (oft repeated by the Obama folks too) is that whatever is done for health care, it needs to be simple, easy to understand and done all at one time. I don't care what they call it, but embracing the Medicare for All idea is the only way to achieve these things and it really is the only appropriate and practical solution.

    All those that argue it is not practical to institute a single payer plan are the ones who are being impractical. Without exception, those who voice that opinion or viewpoint propose complicated, expensive options that attempt to preserve and sustain as much of the bad system we now have. Our current system is set up as a for profit enterprise. Could there be any more inappropriate endeavor to be operating on the basis of profit being the goal than health care? I think not.

    Maybe we need to nationalize the providers and have their records of success and failure a matter of public record. This is not to say the names of their patients should be published, just their namless, faceless records of his office as a whole. There is too much privacy in the medical field.

    Doctors are beholden to pharmaceuticals so there is a tendency to over-medicate. Reserachers are more interested in making profits then collaborative medicine. I have heard the competition is fierce in the laboratories because the one who gets the credit gets the cash, so stealing is rampant among the employees who work right next to each other. Better to reward an entire lab then whoever touched the new medicine last.

    It seems it would be best if there was a hybrid here. Competition is good when the game is played fairly, which it is not. I believe the key is transparency. I dislike the private sector because they live in a world of secrets that could benefit society. To me, the words that usually follow "Private" are "Keep Out". We need to have all the information so that we can make better choices.

    The best way to ensure a national healthcare system works may well be within the structure of medicare and medicaid, but we should set them us as a mutual insurance. These anachronisms were highly successful in their day and it was due to this success that the hyper-rich wanted their hands on it. Mutuals are run by employees with salaries and the profits return to the policy holders, who are also the share holders.

    We can provide exhorbitant salaries to the managers of these companies to attract the best and the brightest, but it should be without a bonus for scraping more money from delivering services. It should be transparent so that any diversion of funds can be easily traced. The leadership should be for five year terms, after which new leadership is selected. We could do this in a rotation among the positions so that each year only a few managers change.

    This model is from UPS, who transfers their managers regularly to prevent any corruption from growing among people who get too comfortable with their colleagues.

    This may be something already discussed and dismissed in the heathcare debate, but I have not heard of it. Mutual insurances worked when they were well-regulated. It's an historical fact.

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