Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
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Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]
07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn
07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]
07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]
07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]
07.16 As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on 'Building Empire for the Right Wing' [And the South shall rise again...]
07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]
07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]
07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]
07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]
07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]
07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]
07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]
WHY AMERICA'S ÜBER CAPITALISM SUCKS:
The Simple Answer to America’s Health Care Crisis: Medicare for All
Tuesday, 23 June 2009
Here’s the problem. As long as the health insurance industry is permitted to be the primary paymaster, the cost of medical care will continue to soar.
When it comes to reforming America’s disastrous health care “system,” there are two issues that need to be considered: access and cost.
The so-called reform proposals being offered by the Obama White House, the House and the Senate, are failing on both counts, and deserve to die.
No progressives should allow themselves to be suckered into promoting one or the other.
Here’s the problem. As long as the health insurance industry is permitted to be the primary paymaster, the cost of medical care will continue to soar, not least because the insurance industry is so concerned about minimizing its own outlays that it is forcing the system to devote nearly 30% of every health care dollar spent to administrative costs (compared to 3-4 percent for Medicare, and even less for single-payer systems like Canada’s). That’s true whether there is a so-called “public option” government-run health insurance plan or not. Note that 30 percent of America’s $2.5-trillion health care bill per year is $750 billion a year, a sum which does absolutely nothing to make a single person more healthy or less ill. Even if one were to assume that the lion’s share of those administrative expenses were only for the private funded portion of America’s health care system, and for Medicare, the state-run but partly federally-funded portion that is famous for its paperwork mess, and the uninsured, who also consume a lot of paperwork when they do get treated at hospitals under mandated free-care provisions of at the expense of local governments, we’d be talking about 30% of $1.5 trillion, or about $450 billion going to administrative costs every year—still a staggering sum.
Medicare, the health program for the elderly and the disabled, and Medicaid, the federally and state-funded program that funds medical care for the poor, together cost some $850 billion a year. Add to that the $150 billion that hospitals and local governments spend annually to cover the uninsured poor who don’t qualify for Medicaid, and the $50 billion the federal government spends for veterans’ care. That’s just over $1 trillion in government spending to cover the health care of roughly half the population of the United States.
The rest of us—working people and our families—rely on private insurance, some of it paid for by employers, some by us, either as our share of the cost of company plans (growing every year), or as the deductible and co-pay portions of our medical bills. That privately funded medical care costs us about $1.5 trillion a year—50% more than the government spends on the medical care for a roughly equal number of people. If you do the math, it turns out that we who rely on the private sector are spending about $10,000 per person per year on health care, either directly out of our own pockets, or in the form of money our employers are paying into insurance plans for us—money that could otherwise be coming to us in the form of higher wages or lower-priced goods.
What this means is that right off the bat, if the politicians in Washington were to simply thumb their noses at the insurance industry, and at the greedy docs and drug companies who are paying millions in legal bribes to protect their stake in the lucrative medical game, and if they were to extended Medicare to all of us, we could immediately eliminate $500 billion from the nation’s collective medical bill, because that’s how much more cheaply Medicare, Medicaid and the VA are able to treat patients than the private sector. But the savings would be far more than that. The cost of treating the uninsured--$150 billion a year—would be dramatically reduced, because it is currently almost entirely for emergency care at hospitals, the most expensive possible way to deliver medical care. My guess is that at least $100 billion would be saved simply by switching all those people over to Medicare, so they could walk into a doctor’s office for treatment instead of into an ER. The VA, with its separate government-owned hospital system, would become largely redundant if all veterans were simply treatable under Medicare, which would probably save a considerable portion of that $50 billion-per-year expense. Furthermore, by switching private-pay patients over to Medicare, most of the $450 billion a year currently wasted on administrative costs would be eliminated—a savings of perhaps $3-400 billion a year. While some of that would be reflected in the cost differential between privately financed and Medicare financed care, most is not. The main reason Medicare’s per-patient cost for care is much lower than for private pay patients (who, remember, are younger and healthier on average than Medicare patients, and so should be cheaper to treat, not more expensive), is that Medicare sets out payment schedules for doctors and hospitals, and negotiates payments for medicines—all at much lower levels than do private insurers, who often just set reimbursement rates, and let their insured patients cover the difference out of pocket.
Taking all these savings together, it’s a good guess, I would say, that by simply expanding Medicare to cover all Americans without exception, the nation as a whole could save upwards of $900 billion on its current $2.5 trillion annual medical bill.
Now that’s not to say such a change wouldn’t involve a tax increase. The current publicly funded share of that $2.5 trillion bill is about $1 trillion, when you add together federal, state and local outlays, all funded by the taxpayer. An expanded Medicare that covered everyone would, by my reckoning, cost about $1.4 trillion, once all the costs were added, and the savings implemented, including lowered payments to doctors, hospitals and drug companies. So we’d have to cover an extra $400 billion a year through tax increases.
But remember, there would be no more local revenues going to pay for uninsured care at local hospitals, no more state taxes going to pay for Medicaid for medical care for the poor, no more out-of-pocket payments by families for co-pays and deductibles, or for employee share of insurance premiums. And companies would no longer be paying anything for employee health insurance. The net gain to the average person would be enormous.
That’s the point that the medical industry lobby conveniently ignores. It’s a point also conveniently ignored by the politicians they’ve bought in Washington and the White House, who only talk about the increased taxes that a single-payer government takeover of health care finance would entail.
And, to get back to the beginning of this article, there would no longer be an issue of Americans going without access to medical care. Everyone would be on Medicare. And not one of the costly “reform” proposals being pushed through Congress today can say that. Every proposed “reform” plan leaves millions uninsured.
Note too that, under basic Medicare (as long as you don’t get suckered into one of those HMO rip-offs like Humana and other insurance firms advertise), everyone gets to choose his or her own doctor and hospital. There is no gatekeeper system—another bugaboo raised by the health industry lobbyists.
With a universalization of Medicare, at one fell swoop, America would have a single-payer system—one that its elderly citizens already have, and by all accounts are very satisfied with—and one that would be substantially cheaper than what we have now.
Socialized medicine? Maybe, but it’s a socialism we already know. Call it “socialism with American characteristics,” if you like. Or to crib from a comment President Obama made to the fat cat docs at the American Medical Assn. convention recently, it’s a socialism that is “part of the American tradition.”
So, want to have some fun? Tell your congressional delegation to demand that the Congressional Budget Office, which just came up with an estimate that the Senate’s health “reform” bill would add $1.6 trillion in costs over 10 years, do a study of what expanding Medicare to all would cost, after netting out the savings to individuals and employers of having their insurance payments and out-of-pocket health expenses eliminated.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on June 23, 2009.