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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.

Medicare at 50 — Origins and Evolution

Comments; 1) the author does not emphasize that Medicare in its current state is the most efficiently run insurance program in the country, 2) the author does not mention as cost-saving measures either the problems of malpractice reform or medical school debt, and 3) most relevant to HCAO, if there were a national single-payer health care system paid for by combination of income tax and VAT(ie ongoing sources of revenue), there would be no worry about depletion of the Medicare fund. 
Jerry Robbins MD, Newport

Medicare.jpeg

Health Policy Report, Mary Beth Hamel, M.D., M.P.H., Editor
David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., Karen Davis, Ph.D., and Stuart Guterman, M.A.
N Engl J Med 2015
; 372:479-486January 29, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMhpr1411701

Many Americans have never known a world without Medicare. For 50 years, it has been a reliable guarantor of the health and welfare of older and disabled Americans by paying their medical bills, ensuring their access to needed health care services, and protecting them from potentially crushing health expenses. However, as popular as Medicare has become, Congress created the program only after a long and deeply ideological struggle that still reverberates in continuing debates about its future. Nor was the Medicare program that was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 30, 1965, identical to the program we know today. As we mark the beginning of Medicare's 50th anniversary year, this first report in a two-part series recounts the history of this remarkable health care initiative and explains how it came to be, what it has accomplished, and how it has evolved over the past five decades. In the second report in the series, we will describe the ongoing challenges of the program and discuss proposals to address them.

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Part 2: Medicare at 50 — Moving Forward

David Blumenthal, M.D., M.P.P., Karen Davis, Ph.D., and Stuart Guterman, M.A.
N Engl J Med 2015; 372:671-677February 12, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMhpr1414856

As Medicare enters its 50th year, this popular federal program faces profound challenges to its effectiveness and sustainability in future decades. In this report, we review these problems, building on the issues raised in our earlier article.1 We also review several options to strengthen the program and enhance its viability.

Critical Changes Facing Medicare
Rising Expenditures

Perhaps the most important challenge facing Medicare is the prospect of increasing expenditures, driven in large part by demographic trends. As the U.S. population ages, the number of people who are eligible for Medicare benefits will grow, from 52.3 million in 2013 to 81.8 million in 2030.2 From 2009 through 2013, Medicare spending per beneficiary increased at a historically low annual rate of 1.0% in nominal dollars and actually decreased in real terms (accounting for inflation). Over the next decade, slow growth in Medicare spending per beneficiary is expected to continue, but because of substantial increases in the number of beneficiaries, the growth in total program spending will outpace that in the overall economy (Figure 1 Figure 1Projected Annual Growth Rates for Total Medicare Spending, as Compared with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Medicare Enrollment, 2013–2023.). Total Medicare spending is expected to increase from 3.0% of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013 to 3.8% in 2030, and the program's share of the federal budget is expected to increase from 14.4% to 15.8%.3 These fiscal trends will create continuing pressure to reform the program.

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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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