Job Announcement: Health Care for All-Oregon seeks Executive Director
Health Care for All-Oregon seeks a dynamic and creative Executive Director to shape, inspire, and manage the organization’s future, in close collaboration with its talented team of hard-working staff, enthusiastic statewide volunteers and committed Board of Directors.
Health Care for All-Oregon is a 501©(4) nonprofit based in Portland, OR, with a sister organization, the HCAO Education Fund, a 501©(3) charitable organization. HCAO is a statewide coalition of over 110 member organizations, working to bring universal, publicly funded health care to Oregon and (eventually) the entire United States.
The Executive Director is responsible for operations and personnel management, fundraising and fiscal oversight, board engagement and community relations, and working with a growing network of volunteers building Oregon’s health care reform movement.
For more information on HCAO and HCAO EF go to www.hcao.org and www.hcaoef.org.
Please see Job Description Here.
We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, a pleasant working environment and an exciting opportunity to work for one of Oregon’s foremost change campaigns. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale ranging from $45,000 to $55,000, commensurate with experience.
HCAO is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Qualified candidates from diverse personal, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
To apply: Send a cover letter describing why you believe you are a strong candidate for this position, a resume describing relevant education, training and employment and three references to: Health Care for All-Oregon, 619 SW 11th Ave., #121, Portland, OR 97205, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be reviewed beginning April 30, 2015.
Elizabeth Hayes Staff Reporter- Portland Business Journal
Health Care Inc. NW, Apr 24, 2015,
Drugs for treating multiple sclerosis have skyrocketed 700 percent in the past 20 years, even as newer drugs have come on the market, according to a study out today from researchers at Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University.
“New drugs came on the market 30 to 50 percent higher than existing therapies, which ratcheted up their prices to meet the prices of the new drugs,” said Dan Hartung, the study’s lead author and an associate professor in the OSU/OHSU College of Pharmacy.
First-generation drugs from the 1990s ranged from $8,000 to $10,000 a year. Today, all MS drugs cost at least $50,000 a year, well above inflation, Hartung said. One drug that originally cost $8,700 now tops $62,000.
The study highlights an industry driven by profits, using non-transparent pricing policies, and to a healthcare system that places no limits on the escalation. Also, many “biologics,” or specialty drugs, don’t come in cheaper generic forms.
The end result? Another industry that’s “too big to fail,” the authors assert.
The study also compared the U.S. to other countries. MS drugs here cost two to three times the list prices in Canada, Australia or the United Kingdom, where the governments purchase medications directly from vendors.
A compromise measure from Sen. Steiner Hayward that would have opened up health insurance tools with price information to all consumers won the needed support of Sen. Monnes Anderson, but last-minute pressure on the state’s top lawmaker stopped the price transparency bill dead in its tracks.
by Chris Gray, for The Lund Report, April 22, 2015
Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, halted a legislative effort to force hospitals and health insurers to be more candid about their prices following closed-door negotiations with their influential lobbyists.
The move rankled some in Courtney’s caucus who have been steeling for greater reforms after Oregon was given an F along with 44 other states by the Catalyst for Payment Reform, a national organization that scores states on price transparency. Four East Coast states plus Colorado got a passing grade.
Senate Bill 891 in its original form would have required hospitals to post their prices for common procedures paid by health insurers, Medicare, Medicaid, the school districts and state employees. In the amended version, the public would be given access to online tools with price information from the health insurers that is currently given only to enrolled health plan members.
“I was all set to move it,” Monnes Anderson told The Lund Report. “There were some political decisions made at a higher grade than I,” including “negotiations in the president’s office” with insurers, who claimed the Legislature was already asking a lot from them, she said.
Commentary: playing all sides of the street on Obamacare
by Wendell Potter
The Center for Public Integrity, April 20, 2015
Anyone who still thinks the Affordable Care Act was a “government takeover of health care” should consider this headline from the news pages of last Thursday’s Investor’s Business Daily:
UnitedHealth Profit Soars On Obamacare, Optum—April 16, 2015
That’s from a Wall Street publication whose editorial writers have rarely missed an opportunity to bash the health care reform law. Here are a few other headlines, these from IBD’s editorial page, just since the first of this year.
More Phony ObamaCare Numbers From The White House—March 16, 2015
Shock Poll: Half The Uninsured Want Obamacare Repealed—March 3, 2015
Democrats Keep Running Away From ObamaCare—February 2015
CBO Now Says 10 Mil Will Lose Employer Health Plans Under ObamaCare—January 27, 2015
It wouldn’t surprise me if UnitedHealth Group executives helped shape the opinions of those editorial writers during the reform debate. One of the things I did in my old job as head of PR for one of the country’s other big for profit-insurers was arranging for my CEO to have “desk side chats” with bigwigs at important publications like Investor’s Business Daily. We would often leave those meetings with an invitation to submit an op-ed, as was the case several years ago when Ed Hanway, Cigna’s CEO at the time, and I visited with then Dow Jones CEO Peter Kann and Daniel Henninger, deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal editorial page.
Vida Snyder and her husband have gone without health insurance for several years.
“We don’t get sick; we don’t believe in it,” the 51-year-old Redmond resident said, laughing. “We have a lot of kids. We don’t have time to be sick.”
But it’s been a struggle for Snyder, who has battled and continues to battle serious health issues: a nerve condition that required brain stem surgery three years ago. Breast cancer eight years ago.
The couple had the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid, back when she had cancer, but they haven’t qualified in recent years. They looked into private insurance in December, but — like so many — determined they couldn’t afford the monthly premiums, especially not while Snyder’s husband was trying to start a flooring business.
“We were just like, ‘We’re going to have to take a hit,’ because we were still in feast and famine of trying to raise up a business,” she said.
Although her string of bad luck with health is unique, Snyder and her husband’s determination that they couldn’t afford health insurance is not. Even after the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate took effect at the beginning of 2014, about 5,700 Central Oregonians were still uninsured last year, or 2.73 percent of the Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook county populations combined, according to a February report by Oregon Health & Science University.
Senator Ron Wyden repeatedly promised to fight for transparency in negotiating trade deals that will impact our jobs, wages and quality of life. Not only has he failed to do that, he’s just signed off on legislation that will give away Congress' constitutional trade authority to anyone who becomes president for the next three to six years. This is a betrayal of Oregon’s working families and of democratic policymaking. Oregonians won’t stand for it; and we won't stand for Fast Track!
April 18th Day of Action - Fast Track is Dead on Arrival! #FastTrack DOA
Join the Fast Track Events Across Oregon:
Rally Against Fast Track
Saturday, April 18 * 2:00pm
Wall St & Newport
Contact: Oregon AFL-CIO
Rally Against Fast Track & the TPP
Saturday, April 18 * 3:00pm
Boardwalk on Hwy 101
Coos Bay, OR
Contact: Rick Staggenborg, 541-217-8044
Stop Fast Track Rally
Saturday, April 18 * 2:00pm
7th & Washington
Contact: Oregon AFL-CIO
Stop Fast Track Rally
Saturday, April 18 * 2:00pm
S Central Ave
Contact: Oregon AFL-CIO
**We’ve stopped Fast Track legislation before and we can do so again!**
by Drew Altman
Apr 16, 2015 Wall Street Journal Think Tank
No single fact can settle the long-running debate of whether public or private health insurance is preferable. But by one basic metric, the rate of increase in per capita spending, public insurance has an edge.
The Federal Office of the Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has charted the annual rate of increase in spending for Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance. As the chart above shows, by cumulative growth in per capita spending, Medicare and Medicaid have generally grown more slowly than private insurance and are projected to continue doing so through 2023. Per capita spending is an especially useful measure for comparing public and private health insurance spending because it shows how much Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers spend on each person irrespective of the number of people covered.
Advocates of public coverage tend to like its relative simplicity, uniform guaranteed benefits, and lower overhead costs, as well as the ability of large public insurance programs to use their purchasing power to leverage changes in the health-care system. Advocates of private coverage favor the greater choice it can offer consumers and the competition that can foster in the marketplace. For some people, preferences for public or private coverage are largely ideological.
by Spencer Woodman
VICE, January 8th, 2015
For the past few years, American health insurance companies have been hard at work studying a loophole in the Affordable Care Act—a.k.a. Obamacare—that allows corporations to evade the law’s effort to keep people from going broke when paying for basic medical services. Insurers like UnitedHealthcare have created insurance packages known as “skinny plans” that give employers the ability to peddle strikingly shoddy health insurance to their workers. Existing in a regulatory gap that only applies to large businesses, these insurance plans do not cover basic health necessities like hospitalization or emergency-room care but still allow employers to avoid the largest automatic fine under Obamacare, which, beginning this month, requires large businesses to provide insurance to all full-time employees.
Skinny plans often cover only preventative care like going to see the doctor for a routine check-up—hardly the type of medical attention that racks up huge bills.
One "Webinar" presentation delivered in part by UnitedHealthcare—a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, America's largest health-insurance provider—marvels almost incredulously at the loophole. Employers "can offer preventive-care benefits like doctors' visits and generic drugs without offering much in the way of care," states a portion of the joint presentation given by Crawford Advisors, a benefits consulting and brokerage firm, "and they are considered to be offering insurance coverage." The Crawford Advisors presentation is explicit about the fact that these plans can be marketed to low-wage workers who might take the skinny plans because of their price. In some cases, low-wage workers who take these skinny plans will be passing up either subsidized insurance on state insurance exchanges or more robust employer-sponsored insurance that is considered affordable by the standards of the new health law.
The private health insurance industry in the U.S. has had a long run since shifting to medical underwriting and a for-profit status in the early 1960s. It finds itself increasingly dependent on the government as the costs and prices of health care have continued upward since the 1980s. Its many perks from government include tax exemptions for employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), privatized Medicare and Medicaid programs, and longstanding over-payments to Medicare Advantage programs. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has added to these perks since 2010 with subsidized premiums through the exchanges, a “risk corridor system” to protect insurers from losses, and allowing automatic self-renewal for 2015 plans. (1)
Incremental attempts to contain health care costs and reform the system since the 1990s have built upon our current multi-payer financing system. After five years’ experience with the ACA, we now know that insurers themselves are a major barrier to achieving the kind of access to affordable care that our population so desperately needs.
Here are some of the major reasons why private health insurers warrant no further bailout by government and taxpayers.
Because no one should profit from another's pain
On August 1, 2015, history will be made in the fight for healthcare access for all in the United States. Thousands will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the Healthcare Justice March demanding Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. We have the legislation – H.R. 676 – and now we need the power of the People to stand behind it.
Throughout the week of July 30, there are events being planned across the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of Medicare. We encourage you to participate in whatever events are happening in your area on July 30 and 31 and then top it off by coming to the Healthcare Justice March on Saturday, August 1. We’ll also be lobbying Congress on July 30, so if you’re in or around Washington, feel free to join us in delivering our message to your legislators before they leave for their break!
You can find a listing of events at the Medicare Turns 50 Facebook event page, their website or by checking the Healthcare-NOW! and DUH websites. It may seem like July 30 is a long way away, but the more events that happen, the louder and stronger the message is to our legislators – NO MORE PROFITING FROM OUR PAIN!
We hope for the kind of success that the People’s Climate March had – massive numbers, a wide diversity of people and related causes (and we believe that healthcare is a factor in every social justice cause), and the raising of awareness about the millions of people who are suffering, or know someone who is, from our current wasteful and unjust healthcare system
In order to achieve this, we’ll need to build a unified coalition of organizations that will mobilize their members, help with logistics, fundraising, and other volunteer tasks, and, finally, SHOW UP! It’s a big job, but we must act, we must find our voice as a movement, and we must walk our talk if our goal is ever to be reached.
How Obamacare is Unsustainable: Why We Need a Single-Payer Solution for All Americans. By John Geyman, MD, Copernicus Healthcare, January 2015.
The Affordable Care Act is a sitting duck. Working with private insurance companies, hospital chains and Big Pharma, Congress superimposed arcane regulations on an already Byzantine system of financing health care.
Dr. John Geyman cannot resist this target. His new book, How Obamacare is Unsustainable, confirms that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not the pathway to a better health-care system. It is one of the biggest impediments.
The structure of this critique reflects Geyman's organized mind. The first of three parts reviews the unhappy history of American health-care reform. The second assesses our health-care landscape five years into the ACA. The last presents a solution: a national single-payer health plan.
History first. Geyman notes that President Obama, from whom the ACA derives its nickname, doomed the reform from its inception.
By inviting the insurance industry, hospital chains and pharmaceutical companies to set the agenda, Obama adopted a strategy similar to his unsuccessful predecessor, President Clinton, in the early 1990s.
This time, these key components of the "medical-industrial complex" fought first with outside industries, then with patient interest groups, and finally with each other. Organized medicine joined the fray. It was not pretty.
4th ANNUAL INNER CITY BLUES FESTIVAL
"HEALING THE HEALTHCARE BLUES"
A BENEFIT FOR;
HEALTH CARE FOR ALL OREGON
Saturday April 11, 2015 6:00pm-12:00am
North Portland Eagle’s Lodge 7611 N Exeter & Lombard
tickets $20.00 www.tickettomato.com
also; Music Millennium, Geneva’s Hair PerfecCon, Musician’s Union & Norman Sylvester Gigs
21 & over ~ food, desserts & drinks for sale ~ Silent Auction ~
2 Stages of 9 stellar performances ~ "Community Village" w/
information tables Simulcast live on KBOO Radio
Norman Sylvester Band
Healing the Healthcare Blues PSA
Video filmed by LaMonte Demille
Post Production by Jeff S. Dodge
by Mary T. Bassett, M.D., M.P.H.
N Engl J Med 2015; 372:1085-1087March 19, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1500529
Two weeks after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict the police officer involved in the death of a black man, Eric Garner, I delivered a lecture on the potential for partnership between academia and health departments to advance health equity. Afterward, a group of medical students approached me to ask what they could do in response to what they saw as an unjust decision and in support of the larger social movement spreading across the United States under the banner #BlackLivesMatter. They had staged “white coat die-ins” (see photoUniversity of Vermont Medical Students during a “Die-In” Protest.) but felt that they should do more. I wondered whether others in the medical community would agree that we have a particular responsibility to engage with this agenda.
Should health professionals be accountable not only for caring for individual black patients but also for fighting the racism — both institutional and interpersonal — that contributes to poor health in the first place? Should we work harder to ensure that black lives matter?
As New York City's health commissioner, I feel a strong moral and professional obligation to encourage critical dialogue and action on issues of racism and health. Ongoing exclusion of and discrimination against people of African descent throughout their life course, along with the legacy of bad past policies, continue to shape patterns of disease distribution and mortality.1 There is great injustice in the daily violence experienced by young black men. But the tragedy of lives cut short is not accounted for entirely, or even mostly, by violence. In New York City, the rate of premature death is 50% higher among black men than among white men, according to my department's vital statistics data, and this gap reflects dramatic disparities in many health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and HIV. These common medical conditions take lives slowly and quietly — but just as unfairly. True, the black–white gap in life expectancy has been decreasing,2 and the gap is smaller among women than among men. But black women in New York City are still more than 10 times as likely as white women to die in childbirth, according to our 2012 data.