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 JOIN YOUR LOCAL ACTION TEAM!          ABOUT THE 2015 RALLY

Health Care for All Oregon is a grassroots coalition of over 100 organizations that are determined to create a better way of financing health care for every person who lives or works in Oregon.  Our mission is to provide publicly funded, privately delivered, high quality, affordable, universal health care to everyone. People will be free to choose their medical provider to give them the care that they need, free to choose their career, job, and time of retirement independent of health care costs.  We believe that health care is a human right.  The care we receive should not be dependent on what we can afford.  It is time we joined the rest of the free world and provided ourselves with publicly funded health care just like we do for education, libraries, fire fighters, and police.

New report calls for Universal Health Coverage to be implemented worldwide

Medical News Today, Feb. 18, 2015e
Adapted by MNT from original media release

Health professionals and policymakers came together on 17 February to debate the human right to health as a new report calls on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) to be implemented across the globe. Delegates at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), a global initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), heard from the report's lead author, Sir David Nicholson (former chief executive of the National Health Service in England) as he launched The Next Billion: How to Deliver Universal Health Coverage.

UHC is the basic concept that every person, everywhere, should have access to healthcare without suffering financial hardship. This essential human right is a cornerstone of sustainable development and global security. But today, a billion people worldwide live without access to basic healthcare services and every year millions are forced into poverty after having to pay for healthcare out of their own pocket.

Today's policy report, which is based on a review of all available evidence, highlights the substantial benefits UHC can deliver - for individuals, for countries and for politicians - and provides a solid framework to support policymakers in transitioning their nations' health services to UHC.

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Health Care for All rally brings hundreds to Salem

Northwest Labor Press, Feb 20, 2015

A coalition of more than 100 organizations — including many labor unions — rallied at the State Capitol Feb. 11 where they called on Oregon lawmakers to create a single-payer health insurance system. Bills have been introduced in previous sessions but have gone nowhere.  State Sen. Mike Dembrow (D-Portland), a member of American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, is leading the charge.

Last session, lawmakers did authorize a study on how such a system could be set up in Oregon. The study was to be funded with private money, and supporters so far have raised about $50,000 of the $200,000 needed.  Rallygoers on Feb. 11 called on lawmakers to extend the deadline for the study, and have the state match the amount of private dollars raised. Dembrow also re-introduced a bill to implement a single-payer system. SB 631, which has 27 co-sponsors, will get a hearing in March, but it’s not expected to pass.

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John Oliver: How Big Pharma Makes Doctors Into Drug Pushers [Video]

In this hilarious and chillingly honest video, John Oliver reveals the stunning truth about how doctors are bribed to push drugs. It turns out that nine out of the top ten drug makers spend more money on marketing than they do on research. And most of that money is spent not on marketing to consumers, but rather, on marketing to doctors. Watch and share!

Comment by a Mad as Hell Doctor

When I was doing my internal medicine thing in Albany from '63 to '79, I offered to schedule all the drug reps to meet with me on 1 day a year. Most were incredulous and declined, but still would leave free samples. This was the policy at Mayo during my residency and I agreed with it.

When I was employed at several group practices, regular lunch meetings were the method of most Big Pharma companies to pitch their wares. I eschewed them and got the "stink eye" from colleagues and staff who attended and saw nothing wrong in it!

This satirical muckraking by John Oliver is brilliant and deserves your attention, IMHO. It is also, sadly, too true.  Please know these practices of Big Pharma, and those health professionals who are "on the take", have been strongly condemned by ethical journals and doctors.  Know also that HCAO using Single Payer will fix the problem, just another benefit, among many.  

Joseph H. Eusterman, MD; MS(Med); FACOEM; CIME; AME (Ret.)

WATCH VIDEO HERE

Lincoln County turns out for Health Care Justice

Twenty Lincoln County Health Care for All-Oregon Advocates gathered at Newport's Visual Arts Center on Wednesday, Feb. 11, for a lunch-hour “Echo Event,” in conjunction with the 2015 Rally on the Capitol Steps taking place at the same time in Salem, and with several other similar regional events around the state. Photo by Deane Bristow.

 

Elimination of 'public option' threw consumers to the insurance wolves

Commentary: big firms and their campaign cash found a friend in Joe Lieberman

by Wendell Potter
Center for Public Integrity, February 16, 2015

When members of Congress caved to demands from the insurance industry and ditched their plan to establish a “public option” health plan, the lawmakers  also ditched one of their favorite talking points, that a government-run plan was necessary to “keep insurers honest.”

Getting rid of a government-run insurance option was the industry’s top objective during the health care reform debate. Private insurers set out to persuade President Obama and Congressional leaders that they were trustworthy. Lawmakers were led to believe, for one thing, that insurers could be trusted to offer policies that would continue to give Americans’ access to the doctors they had developed relationships with and wanted to keep.  And they were persuaded that insurers wouldn’t think of engaging in bait-and-switch tactics that would leave folks with less coverage than they thought they were buying.

When he was running for president, Obama regularly talked about the need for a public option. That was one reason why many health care reform advocates supported him instead of Hillary Clinton.

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Report: Advocacy visits to Senators Beyer and Edwards

by David Ivan Piccioni, HCAO Eugene

At one of my visits Wednesday with Lee Beyer I told him my story which I had made into a letter to editor. It is bellow for reference:

Drug price disparities are unfair     
Register Guard 9/1/2014  (Labor Day)
I recently had a biopsy performed to check for liver damage due to hepatitis C. Medicaid excluded me from treatment because my liver looked good enough that they didn’t believe it will be the cause of my death.
Talking to the doctor, I learned that Medicaid wouldn’t pay to treat my condition because of the cost: $84,000.
He said I could take my prescription to Canada and buy the drugs there for $48,000. But that wasn’t what blew my mind; he also said for the price of a round-trip ticket to Iran or Saudi Arabia, or many African countries, I could buy the medication for a thousand dollars.
What? Who says America’s the land of the free? Free to be ripped of by dog-eat-dog capitalism.
I can’t figure out why pharmaceutical corporations are willing to bankrupt Americans while not doing the same to foreigners — after all, they only care about maximizing their profits.
Gilead, the company that currently owns the intellectual property for the medication, will eventually lose some of its loot to other chemists who will modify Sovaldi just enough so it still works but is novel enough to be patented.
Problems such as this are why the Affordable Care Act is far from what the Eugene group Health Care for All Oregon is advocating: single-payer or expanded Medicare for everyone.

I told Lee Beyer that our obstacles were the Insurance companies and the fact that we can't negotiate for prices with big pharma. He agreed about the Insurance, but said that negotiating with the drug companies is impossible because of a congressional clause which prohibits the gov't from bargaining with them. Some people think that the fact that drugs are cheaper in other countries means the big pharma companies are doing them a favor on the back of Americans who pay inflated prices. This is not so. Drug companies always get the most they can in any country. The fact that they negotiate fairly is credit to other countries' leaders and laws. It seems that if there are differences of 84 to 1 in American drug prices vs. say Saudi Arabia shows that this is one of the first problems to tackle: that congressional prohibition that inhibits fair business transactions and negotiating.

Also in a room full of people prompted by one of my questions, Chris Edwards disclosed that the Insurance companies have always offered him money. He said at first he turned it down, but then as he said "because I always vote against them I decided to take their money" "if they are dumb enough to give me money even though I vote against them, I'll take it". I am not mentioning this as an attack on senator Edwards, but I told him it was hard for me to believe the corporations would throw away money and really get nothing. And I told him health insurers are very powerful and they are not "dumb"; there might be strings invisible but real none the less.

Dave