Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

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?]

Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

07.17 ‘Off-the-charts’ heat to affect millions in U.S. in coming decades

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 Billions of air pollution particles found in hearts of city dwellers

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.]

07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

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!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

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.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

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!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

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 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

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

07.18 In Sinclair's New 'Must-Run' Segment, Former Trump Adviser Tries to Defend Racist Attacks on 'the Squad'

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

07.18 Deadly Delays in Jail Construction Cost Lives and Dollars Across California

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]

07.18 "Can't Change a Corrupt System by Taking Its Money": Sanders Urges All 2020 Democrats to Reject Insurance, Big Pharma Cash [48:58 video]

07.17 Why Democrats’ oversight machine is moving so slowly against Trump

07.17 Here's the real reason Trump is attacking 'the squad': he's scared of their politics

07.17 'Good,' Says Elizabeth Warren, After Billionaire Right-Winger Peter Thiel Says She's 2020 Democrat He Is 'Most Scared By'

07.17 The American Right Defines Patriotism As Complacency About Racism

07.17 This is what today's America looks like. The squad is us

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 George Will's startling assessment of Donald Trump

07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

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.]

Justice Matters

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!]

High Crimes
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

07.18 Corporate tax cuts blocked at least 15,000 affordable homes in California. Here’s how

07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

International & Futurism

07.18 There are 16 million slaves around the world making our stuff

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...]

07.17 Trump’s Unlawful Asylum Policy Is a Jab at Mexico

07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

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 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

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 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

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 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

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...]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Real Health Care Reform - Universal Single Payer
Newspaper logo

HEALTH CARE COMMENTARY:

Real Health Care Reform - Universal Single Payer

The best solution is off-the-table because it doesn't protect high profits for health insurance and drug companies

by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Health insurance and Big Pharma lobbying and political contributions will continue at a ferocious pace, and, as always, will yield industry-friendly results at the expense of real change. Their stranglehold only allows minor changes, possibly making the system worse.

Organizations like Physicians for a National Health Program want Americans to have the same system in place in all other Western countries and elsewhere, including Venezuela, South Korea, Japan, Cuba, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. But not in America - the only industrialized country without it despite spending more than double per capita than the other 30 OECD countries and delivering less for it.

In a September 2007 report to Congress, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) compared 2004 US health care spending with other OECD countries:

  • America then averaged $6,102 per person, well over double the average $2,560 for OECD countries;
  • US health care spending was 15.3% of the economy compared to 8.9% on average for OECD countries; for Canada it was 9.9%; Germany - 10.6%; Great Britain - 8.1%; France - 10.5%; and Japan 8.0%;
  • "US prices for medical care commodities and services are significantly higher than in other countries (delivering comparable care) and serve as a key determinant of higher overall spending;" high insurance and drug costs are the most significant factors;
  • life expectancy in America is lower than in other OECD countries;
  • the US ranks 22nd on life expectancy at birth; post-65, it's 11th for men and 13th for women;
  • America has the third highest infant mortality rate after Turkey and Mexico;
  • heart disease, cancer, and respiratory diseases are the top OECD country causes of death; America ranks 17th for heart disease "despite (performing) substantially more invasive heart procedures than all the other (OECD) countries;"
  • quality of US health care isn't superior overall; nor do Americans "have substantially better access to health care resources, even putting aside the issue of the uninsured;" and
  • because of the cost, many Americans delay or forego treatment.
World Health Organization's (WHO) Ranking of World Health Systems

WHO ranks America 37th overall, behind Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iceland, Malta, Colombia, Cyprus, Morocco and Costa Rica and about equal to Slovenia and Cuba.

In other measures, it has the US 24th on life expectancy, 72nd on level of health, 32nd in distribution of care, 54 - 55th in financial contribution fairness, 15th in overall goal attainment, and first in per capita amount spent. If Obamacare is adopted, it will drop America lower in world rankings by making its dysfunctional system worse.

In a 2007 Commonwealth Fund study comparing Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, the UK and US, America ranks last as in its earlier studies on access, patient safety, efficiency, chronic care management, and equity. Most notable is its absence of universal coverage. Overall, the US ranks poorly on its ability to promote healthy lives through affordable, high quality care. Its for-profit system prevents it.

National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) Data

Founded in 1990, NCHC is the "largest and most broadly representative alliance working to improve America's health care." Its membership includes Common Cause, Consumers Union, AARP, Children's Defense Fund, several labor unions, numerous medical groups, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, and American Academy of Family Physicians, League of Women Voters, and National Council of La Raza. Below are data it reports on US health care coverage, costs and quality.

  1. Health insurance coverage:
    • most Americans have employer-provided insurance; costs are shared, and as industrial America became more service-based, employment no longer assures coverage, and when it does it's often woefully inadequate;
    • in 2007, about 46 million Americans were uninsured, and nearly 90 million (about one-third of the below-aged 65 population) lacked coverage during some portion of the year;
    • working adults with no insurance topped 20% in 2006; the same year (before today's economic crisis) 1.3 million full-time workers lost coverage; and
    • employment-based coverage was 62% in 2007; rising insurance costs are largely to blame; from 1999 - 2007, premiums rose 120%, over four times the rate of wage growth;
  2. Costs:
    • annual costs are rising at twice the rate of inflation;
    • in 2007, it was about $2.4 trillion or $7900 per capita;
    • estimated 2017 spending is projected to be $4.3 trillion or 20% of GDP;
    • for 2008, the average cost of health insurance for a family of four was about $12,700; it topped $4700 for single coverage but is much higher for older singles and those with a history of poor health;
    • employee contributions to company-provided coverage rose 120% since 2000; out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-payments rose 115%;
    • medical expenses are the leading cause of personal bankruptcies;
    • in normal economic times, about 1.5 million families lose their homes annually because of unaffordable medical costs; and
    • America spends six times more per capita on administrative costs than other industrialized nations.
  3. Quality:
    • despite spending more than twice per capita of other developed countries, America ranks low on many quality measures, including life expectancy, infant mortality, and ability to receive needed care;
    • only 54.9% get the care they need; over 100 million insured Americans get sub-standard treatment, especially for high-cost procedures, surgeries, hospitalizations, and other extended care; and
    • overall America's health care system fails to deliver quality care to growing millions; affordability is the major factor.
Families USA on Americans Losing Health Care Coverage

Calling itself the advocacy organization for "high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans," Families USA says US Census Bureau data "indicate that some 45.7 million Americans lacked health coverage in 2007." On its web site, it says nearly 3.7 million more lost coverage since January 1, 2008. Those without it now number nearly 50 million, and their ranks are rising exponentially each month.

A May 2009 Health Affairs.org-published Todd Gilmer - Richard Kronick study estimated the following:

  • 44,230 Americans currently lose health coverage each week;
  • 191,670 each month;
  • 2.3 million each year; and
  • by yearend 2010, 6.9 million more Americans will be without it unless new policy measures halt it.

Unfortunately, Families USA supports Obamacare (with a public option) calling it "Long overdue steps to modernize the system, improve the quality of care provided, and curb unnecessary spending so our American care system delivers the best possible care." Current House and Senate bills fall short on each count and won't direct spending where it's most needed.

Single-Payer Legislation in Congress

On January 26, 2009, HR 676: United States National Health Care Act or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act was introduced in the House "To provide for comprehensive health insurance coverage for all United States residents, improved health care delivery, and for other purposes." It was referred to the House Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Natural Resources Committees. No further action was taken.

The bill proposes the following:

  • establishes the United States National Health Care (USNHC) Program to provide all residents in America and US territories with free health coverage - including all necessary care, primary and preventive care, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care;
  • only public and non-profit institutions may participate;
  • patients may freely choose their providers;
  • prohibits private health insurance duplicative of this act; insurers may sell non-medically necessary benefits like non-essential cosmetic surgery;
  • establishes a USNHC Trust Fund to finance the program from existing government revenues, a personal income tax increase on the top 5% of earners, a Tobin-type tax on stock and bond transactions, and progressive payroll and self-employment income taxation;
  • creates a confidential electronic patient record system;
  • establishes a National Board of Universal Quality and Access to advise on quality, access, and affordability; and
  • integrates the Indian Health Service and Department of Veterans Affairs programs into the new one.

On March 25, 2009, S. 703: American Health Security Act of 2009 was introduced in the Senate "to provide for health care for every American and to control the cost and enhance the quality of the health care system." It was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. It had no co-sponsors, and no further action was taken.

The legislation is largely similar to the House bill to provide all lawful US residents with health care services. It establishes a State-Based American Health Security Program, an American Health Security Standards (developmental and administrative) Board, and an American Health Security Quality Council to review and evaluate guidelines, quality standards, performance measures, medical review criteria, and develop minimum competence criteria. It also creates the Office of Primary Care and Prevention Research at NIH within the Director's office and amends the Internal Revenue Code to fund the program.

Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP)

With over 16,000 physician members nationwide, PNHP believes universal single-payer coverage is a human right no different from food, shelter, clothing, and other essentials to life and well-being. High-quality health care "should be provided equitably as a public service rather than bought and sold as a commodity." All barriers to proper treatment must be removed for "the uninsured, the poor, minority populations and immigrants, both documented and undocumented."

Social justice demands democratic, not corporate, control, "public administration, and (equitable) single-payer financing" by progressive taxation. Doctors should be "professional advocates for (their) patients," not burdened under a wasteful system or constrained from delivering essential care by bureaucratic gatekeepers denying expensive treatments and excluding pre-existing conditions to control costs. Providers should be care-givers, not manipulated tools of marketplace medicine.

The Hippocratic Oath should be sacred under which physicians observe the highest ethical and moral standards - above all to deliver high quality care using their full range of knowledge, skills and tools. Only under universal single-payer coverage, freed from a for-profit bureaucracy, is that possible.

In testimony before Congress on June 24, PHNP's Dr. Quentin Young said:

Current congressional legislation "will fail miserably in its purported goal of providing comprehensive, sustainable health coverage to all Americans. And it will fail whether or not it includes a so-called 'public option'....."

"....single-payer national health insurance is not just the only path to universal coverage, it is the most politically feasible path to health care for all, because it pays for itself, requiring no new sources of revenue." It eliminates costly private insurance, achieves huge administrative savings (over $400 billion), and redirects them for care.

"Elimination of US-style private insurance has been a prerequisite (to achieve) universal (coverage) in every other industrialized country in the world." America's structurally defective model can't be fixed under current House and Senate proposals. Universal "single payer is the only fiscally responsible option. Two-thirds of (Americans) support it." Most physicians do as well plus the US Conference of Mayors, 39 state labor organizations, and hundreds of local unions across the country. This committee must take the lead to provide it.

Elements of HR 3200

According to a July 24 Free Republic.com posting, the bill:

  • rations health care;
  • lets a government committee and Health Choices Commissioner decide what treatments and benefits are allowed;
  • provides a National ID Healthcard to all US residents;
  • gives the government access "all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer;" also to all financial and personal records;
  • lets the government set physician wages;
  • taxes individuals with inadequate coverage 2.5% of income;
  • cuts Medicaid payments;
  • has doctors of all specialties get comparable compensation; and
  • lets the government decide end-of-life treatments.

In a July 20 article, this writer said:

The administration and lawmakers have been unresponsive (to single-payer advocates) in moving ahead with House and Senate legislation to enrich health insurers, Big Pharma, and large hospital chains. It will ration care, curb expensive treatments and surgeries for those who can't afford them, leave millions in the country uncovered, deny it altogether to undocumented immigrants even though they pay income, payroll and other taxes, and claim it's real reform like they always do.

Both bills stress cost cuts, "efficiencies," and market-based solutions, not real reforms addressing human needs. If Obamacare passes, most working people, the poor and disadvantaged, and those designated less important (like seniors needing expensive treatments) will face big cuts in quality, readily accessible care, and costly services when they most need them. They'll learn they were fooled again by being denied the same universal coverage available to people in all other industrialized countries.

Their system has everyone in, nobody out. So if you have no job or lose one, you've got health care from birth to death. Private gatekeepers can't exclude pre-existing conditions or impose other restrictive barriers. Patients retain autonomy to freely choose their providers and most treatments. Unneeded middlemen are excluded and administrative waste reduced. Significant cost savings are achieved, including through volume drug purchases. Most important, public welfare priorities rank above marketplace ones, replacing a dysfunctional system with more equity.

Most doctors agree - universal single-payer is the right prescription for America. It's the only way to have comprehensive, cost-effective coverage for everyone.

The Best Health Care Industry Lobbying Money Can Buy

Money talks and with multi-millions it bellows. The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) keeps track of how loudly. It says that during the 2008 election cycle, health sector political contributions totaled over $167 million, and for the first time since 1992, Democrats got more than Republicans.

However, lobbying spending is far greater. With national attention on health care reform, corporate interests spent $126 million in 2009 Q 1, and topped it with "the most cash on federal-level lobbying efforts in" Q 2. "The health sector was the No. 1 sector, spending $133 million during the second quarter of 2009. And within the 100-plus industries that CRP tracks, the pharmaceutical/health products industry was again the top dog on K Street, spending roughly $68 million during the quarter."

The biggest contributors included the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Amgen, and the American Hospital Association. These interests favor mandated insurance coverage but oppose a public option. Big Pharma also wants strong patent protection rights to delay the availability of cheaper generics and no change in the ability to charge high prices. Until health care issues are resolved, lobbying and political contributions will continue at a ferocious pace, and as always yield industry-friendly results at the expense of real change.

That's only possible with universal single-payer coverage, the one true fix off-the-table and not considered, so what's ahead is one of two options - leaving today's dysfunctional system in place or making it worse. Either way, US health care will keep costing more and delivering less. Financial solvency ahead will more than ever depend on staying well because illness for most Americans will be unaffordable. The best democracy money can buy assures it.


Steve Lendman

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

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 August 5, 2009.
 



Public Service Ads:
Verifiable Voting in Maryland