Thursday, September 14, 2017

Healthcare-- From Otto Von Bismarck To Orange County


Yesterday Bernie released his Medicare-For-All plan. The idea of this kind of coverage goes back a long way. When Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck was unifying Germany in the 1800s, his government came up with a plan for non-profit insurance companies to cover all German citizens. His model was widely discussed in the U.S. and, more or less the one in use not just in Germany but in France, Belgium, Holland, Japan and Switzerland. In the 1930s, New Dealers want dot include universal health care here in the U.S. but conservatives and special interests were too strong and Democrats could never get what they wanted. John Conyers' House bill, which pactically outlaws private health insurance (for anything other than nose jobs and braces, is more radical than Bernie's. This is the statement the Congressional Progressive Caucus released yesterday:
Today, seventeen Senators will join the 117 House Members who have publicly committed to pursuing a bold vision for achieving universal health care by expanding and improving Medicare to cover all Americans. As with the Fight for 15 and the demand for debt-free and tuition-free college, progressives in Congress are responding to the demand for bold action from millions of working Americans, who are fed up with a rigged economy where working hard and playing by the rules isn’t enough to get by or get ahead.

We applaud our colleagues in the Senate who have joined with more than 60 percent of the Democratic members of the House to endorse a commonsense vision: health care must be a human right, grounded in justice, access, and dignity-- not profit. Medicare for All means never having to worry about going bankrupt because of a severe illness. It means never watching a parent or grandparent cut their pills in half because they can’t afford their medications. It means never letting a health insurance executive get between you and your doctor. And it means that a health insurance corporation will never profit by denying you or a loved one necessary care.

These are the goals and values that have united Democrats since President Franklin Roosevelt proposed a universal system of public health insurance as a part of Social Security. Medicare for All is just the latest chapter in the important path towards ensuring health care is a right for all Americans not just the privileged few.

We take the opportunity on today’s milestone to encourage all of our colleagues in the Senate to cosponsor Senator Sanders’ bill, and those in the House to cosponsor Rep. Conyers’ H.R. 676. The time for small ideas and half-measures is over. The American people demand action and that is why the time is now to support Medicare for All
I decided to see how this is playing out away from Washington. CA-45 is the center of inland Orange County, from Villa Park, Tustin and Irvine through Lake Forest and Rancho Santa Margarita down to Laguna Hills and Mission Viejo. The DCCC has never competed in the district before but their backward-looking 2018 strategy is to put all their (rotten) eggs into the districts Hillary won in 2016. Solidly Republican-- Obama lost both times, first 51-47% and then 55-43%-- Hillary beat Trump, albeit narrowly, 49.8% to 44.4%. Last cycle the PVI was a daunting R+7 and this year it has changed precipitously to R+3, a far more flippable district. The incumbent, Mimi Walters, a multimillionaire who lives on the beach in a neighboring district, is a complete rubber stamp for Trump and Ryan. Her Trump adhesion score is the highest of any congressmember from California-- 97.7%.

The contest for the Democratic nomination is fierce. There are at least half a dozen Democrats running (although one, Brian Forde, is a Republican pretending to be a Democrat). We reached the 3 top candidates and asked them what they thought about Bernie's announcement yesterday. Ready?
Katie Porter: "I've seen far too often during my work as a consumer advocate how a major illness like cancer, a sick child or an accident can literally bankrupt a family that was on sound financial footing just months before. I'm proud to endorse Senator Sanders’ Medicare-For-All plan-- it's the right thing to do for our families."

Dave Min: "It’s wonderful to see Congress proposing health care reform that would increase health care coverage, rather than eliminate it for millions of working families. As I’ve consistently stated, I believe health care is a human right and universal affordable coverage should be the principal goal of any health care reform efforts. To help reach this goal, I’ve called for expanding Medicare down to the age of 55, expanding children’s health insurance coverage, empowering Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, and allowing the public to buy into Medicare. I’m excited to see that Senator Sanders’s bill also calls for these same policy steps.

"I’m glad Democrats are having this long-needed and critically important conversation about how to increase health care coverage, so that nobody is denied health care or forced into bankruptcy because of a pre-existing condition or a lack of insurance. I wish that Republicans like Mimi Walters would also focus their health care reform efforts on trying to improve our health care system, rather than to rip away coverage from millions of Americans to pay for tax cuts for their billionaire benefactors. When I’m elected to Congress, I promise to defend the gains we’ve made with the Affordable Care Act, and to work to expand health care coverage to all Americans."

Kia Hamadanchy: "I am thrilled that Senator Sanders has introduced a Medicare-for-all bill in the Senate and I strongly endorse it. Healthcare is a universal right and every single man, woman, and child in America deserves access to quality and affordable healthcare. No one in this country should ever go bankrupt or face financial ruin because they got sick. That is why I was the first candidate in California’s 45th Democratic Primary to come out in support of a single-payer or Medicare for all system of healthcare. It represents the best and most efficient way of meeting the healthcare needs of each and every American. This is the system that Americans need and deserve.
Bernie in his NY Times OpEd yesterday: "Even though 28 million Americans remain uninsured and even more are underinsured, we spend far more per capita on health care than any other industrialized nation. In 2015, the United States spent almost $10,000 per person for health care; the Canadians, Germans, French and British spent less than half of that, while guaranteeing health care to everyone. Further, these countries have higher life expectancy rates and lower infant mortality rates than we do.

"The reason that our health care system is so outrageously expensive is that it is not designed to provide quality care to all in a cost-effective way, but to provide huge profits to the medical-industrial complex. Layers of bureaucracy associated with the administration of hundreds of individual and complicated insurance plans is stunningly wasteful, costing us hundreds of billions of dollars a year. As the only major country not to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry, we spend tens of billions more than we should.

"The solution to this crisis is not hard to understand. A half-century ago, the United States established Medicare. Guaranteeing comprehensive health benefits to Americans over 65 has proved to be enormously successful, cost-effective and popular. Now is the time to expand and improve Medicare to cover all Americans.

"This is not a radical idea. I live 50 miles south of the Canadian border. For decades, every man, woman and child in Canada has been guaranteed health care through a single-payer, publicly funded health care program. This system has not only improved the lives of the Canadian people but has also saved families and businesses an immense amount of money.

"...The transition to the Medicare for All program would take place over four years. In the first year, benefits to older people would be expanded to include dental care, vision coverage and hearing aids, and the eligibility age for Medicare would be lowered to 55. All children under the age of 18 would also be covered. In the second year, the eligibility age would be lowered to 45 and in the third year to 35. By the fourth year, every man, woman and child in the country would be covered by Medicare for All.

"Needless to say, there will be huge opposition to this legislation from the powerful special interests that profit from the current wasteful system. The insurance companies, the drug companies and Wall Street will undoubtedly devote a lot of money to lobbying, campaign contributions and television ads to defeat this proposal. But they are on the wrong side of history.

"Guaranteeing health care as a right is important to the American people not just from a moral and financial perspective; it also happens to be what the majority of the American people want. According to an April poll by The Economist/YouGov, 60 percent of the American people want to “expand Medicare to provide health insurance to every American,” including 75 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of independents and 46 percent of Republicans.

"Now is the time for Congress to stand with the American people and take on the special interests that dominate health care in the United States. Now is the time to extend Medicare to everyone."

Bernie has expanded his bill to incorporate Alan Grayson's proposal from 2 years ago to include vision, dental and hearing-- as well as prescription drugs.

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At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so... put up a list of how many democraps have taken from the health and phrma lobbies and how much. Also who among Pelosi's and scummer's recruits are taking and how much.

Then tell me how much these lobbies would be willing to spend to thwart EVERYONE's version of SP in 2018 and on.

Then, and only then, tell me why I should get a boner about this happening... while I still can get hard.


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