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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
Probation Ends for "Baucus 8"
Group Vows: “The fight will continue until every person in our nation has access to quality, affordable health care.”
Last spring, single payer advocategroups representing over 20 million people nationwide sent a request to the Senate Finance Committee requesting that one of their leaders testify. This was denied. No one advocating single payer healthcare was permitted to testify.
Jan. 8, 2010, Washington, D.C.—Members of the "Baucus 8" appeared at the H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse today for their final hearing following 6 months of probation and, for 3 members, 40 hours of community service. The Baucus 8, all of whom are doctors or health advocates, were arrested in the Senate Finance Committee Health Care Roundtable on May 5 for standing up and asking why single payer advocates were not allowed to testify.
Dr. Pat Solomon, a retired pediatrician, noted that, “When we looked at the list of 41 people testifying in the three days of Roundtables, we saw that not a single witness was an advocate of the principle that healthcare should be a fundamental human right for all in America, nor was there anyone to speak for the majority of the American people who support single payer/Medicare for All.”
Senator Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, convened the May Roundtable to kick off the public consideration of the 111th Congress’ legislative proposals for healthcare reform. The Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care, a coalition of nurses, doctors, labor, faith, health advocate and community groups representing over 20 million people nationwide, sent a request to the Finance Committee for one of their leaders testify. When this was denied, thousands of single payer supporters across the nation contacted the committee to request that single payer be included.
“Despite the outpouring of requests,” said Katie Robbins of Healthcare-Now.org, “we were clearly told that we would be excluded. This cemented our growing impression that the healthcare debate was at best, political theater, and that we would have to try a different tactic in order that the only really affordable health reform solution, that addresses the real health care needs of 100% of our nation be heard.”
Senator Baucus received nearly $2 million in campaign contributions from the health industry in 2008 and the entire Senate Finance Committee received over $13 million in 2008.
Kevin Zeese of ProsperityAgenda.US, called the committee “pay to play” because, he charged, “Every seat at the Roundtable was bought by the lobbyists. Senator Baucus received nearly $2 million in campaign contributions from the health industry in 2008 and the entire Senate Finance Committee received over $13 million in 2008.”
“Congress and the White House keep calling the medical industry corporations the ‘stakeholders’ in this reform process,” said Dr. Margaret Flowers of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), “But we know that the true stakeholders are those who provide and receive medical care, not those who profit off the current situation.”
"After we were arrested, Senator Baucus admitted that it was a mistake to take single payer off the table," said Russell Mokhiber of Single Payer Action. "Clearly it was. Both the House and Senate bills would require Americans to buy a junk insurance at an inflated price. This bill is a bailout of the insurance industry. Instead of bailing out the private insurance companies, we ought to get rid of them and replace them with one public insurance pool. Everybody in, nobody out. Congress ought to defeat this monstrosity, start from scratch and pass single payer. We will get single payer sooner or later. Better sooner."
“Wendell Potter, formerly of CIGNA and Humana (not a member of the Baucus 8), calls this legislation ‘The Private Health Insurance Profit Protection and Enhancement Act,’” stated Dr. Carol Paris, also of PNHP, a practicing physician in Southern Maryland. “And we agree because the final legislation will benefit the medical corporations, further strengthening their ability to buy members of Congress, and will continue the expensive and complicated health situation that we have in this country right now which makes it difficult for patients and doctors to focus on health care.”
In fact, as an example of the revolving door between those who are lobbyists and those who are staff, Liz Fowler, former Vice President of Public Policy at Wellpoint, one of the largest health insurers in the nation, left her lucrative position to work as the point person in the Senate Finance Committee to oversee the legislation. Her name is cited as author of the Senate Finance Bill.
Mark Dudzic of the Labor Campaign for Single Payer, said the group’s action has been vindicated by the subsequent actions in the Senate. “The current deplorable proposals for healthcare reform under consideration in Congress show what happens when you start bargaining by conceding all of the terrain to your opponent. Any shop steward in America would have done a better job than the leaders of the political party in control of overwhelming majorities in both houses of congress.”
In addition to probation, the prosecutor insisted that the three Baucus 8 defendants who lived in the Washington, DC area also perform 40 hours of community service. “I spend every day serving my community,” said Adam Schneider, who is employed by Health Care for the Homeless. “I’m proud of the stand we took and had no problem doing an extra 40 hours of service to my community. But if there was any justice in the world, Senator Baucus and his corporate sponsors would have also been required to spend 40 hours with my clients to understand their desperate need for access to healthcare before they give a $500 billion bailout to the private health insurance industry.”
The group is unanimous that no matter what passes this year, health care reform is not over in this nation. Patients will continue to suffer and die needlessly, families will continue to face bankruptcy and foreclosure because of medical debt until we have a national publicly-financed and privately-delivered single payer/Medicare for all health system. Such a system would be transparent and accountable to the people unlike the current situation in which private insurers are experts at hiding information from the public and at violating their own written rules without recourse.
This year saw tremendous growth in a national movement for Medicare for all. The Baucus 8 vow to continue to do whatever it takes, even facing arrest again, to get an honest and open-minded debate about what type of health system is best so that people in this nation can be healthy and productive and stop worrying about what they will do if accident or illness strikes.
Signatories to this Baucus 8 report include: Kevin Zeese, email@example.com; Mark Dudzic, firstname.lastname@example.org; Margaret Flowers, M.D., email@example.com; Russell Mokhiber , firstname.lastname@example.org; Carol Paris, M.D., email@example.com; Katie Robbins, firstname.lastname@example.org; Pat Salomon-Rodriguez, M.D., email@example.com; and Adam Schneider, firstname.lastname@example.org
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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 January 9, 2010.