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Health Care for All-Oregon Celebrates Medicare’s 49th Birthday All Over Oregon

On July 30th, Medicare turns 49! HCAO activists are gathering for a “week of action” in communities across the state. Throughout Oregon rallies, special events, leafleting, postcards to legislators, op-eds and letters to the editor are spreading the word that we want health care for all people in Oregon. 

Check out our Events page for ideas and to see what is happening in Oregon.

Everybody in and nobody out!

The Larger Stakes in the Fight over Medicare

By Peter Shapiro

Forty-eight years ago this month, Lyndon Johnson overcame years of resistance by the medical establishment and signed Medicare into law. It’s as close as this country has ever come to establishing the kind of universal, publicly funded, “single payer” health care system that prevails in most other industrialized countries.  Coming at a time when half the nation’s seniors lived in poverty, its passage quickly demonstrated that it was possible for the federal government to provide health coverage for the   costliest section of the population to insure, at a fraction of the administrative cost required by private industry.

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Single Payer tomorrow!

​by Samuel Metz, MD

Maybe Oregon should delay single payer health care for another decade. Let’s listen to what people are saying:

“Single payer is not feasible.”

“ObamaCare and the CCOs need decades to show what they can do.”

“These health care changes are not achievable in our current political climate.”

And these aren’t opponents speaking; these are purported single payer supporters.

The need for a single payer solution to our health crisis grows daily. Every day, another Oregonian dies of a treatable disease because they lacked money for treatment. Every day, 30 Oregon families go bankrupt from medical costs. Every day, Oregon’s health care costs go up another $6 million.

Our worst enemies are not single payer opponents. Our worst enemies are ourselves.

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If not now, when?

By Samuel Metz, MD

Maybe Oregon should delay single payer health care for another decade. Let’s listen to what people are saying:

“Single payer is not feasible.”

“ObamaCare and the CCOs need decades to show what they can do.”

“These health care changes are not achievable in our current political climate.”

And these aren’t opponents speaking; these are purported single payer supporters.

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The health care debate isn’t over: Let your voice be heard

Dr. Samuel Metz

Dr. Samuel Metz

Posted on Street Roots November 29, 2012

By Sam Metz, Contributing Columnist

Does the specter of your family going bankrupt from a disease not covered by your health insurance keep you staring sleeplessly at the ceiling? Have you lost hope that our country will ever get the health care system we need?


There is a solution, and you can make it happen.

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Dr. Mitchiner explains single payer to his emergency medicine colleagues, and to all of us

Posted by Don McCanne MD on Friday, Nov 2, 2012
This entry is from Dr. McCanne's Quote of the Day, a daily health policy update on the single-payer health care reform movement. The QotD is archived on PNHP's website.

It’s Time for Single-Payer

By James C. Mitchiner, MD, MPH, American College of Emergency Physicians
ACEP News, August 7, 2012

“You can always trust the Americans to do the right thing, once they’ve tried everything else.”

Winston Churchill’s iconic remark, reportedly issued at the dawn of America’s entry into World War II, is equally applicable to the present American health care debate and the crisis that spawned it. Regardless of whether you are elated or disappointed with June’s historic Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, it is certainly no panacea for the problems facing U.S. health care. Even with the law intact, and despite its best intentions, it will still leave some 25 million uninsured, underinsure millions more, expand the corporatization of health care, and do little to control the escalating costs of care over the long term. So it’s clear we need to do the right thing: the creation of a national, universal, publicly funded health care system, free of the corrupting power of profit-oriented health insurance, and at the same time capable of passing constitutional muster. In short, the right thing is an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program, otherwise known as single-payer.

Don’t be so shocked. For the last 30 years, we have tried all the alternatives, and none of them have worked.

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The Eighth Factor Driving Up Health Care Costs

By Samuel Metz, MD

The Bipartisan Policy Center, quoted in the Oct. 24 PBS NewsHour program, “Seven Factors Driving Up Your Health Care Costs,” missed the most expensive factor making the US the world’s costliest health care system, yet with the worst record in public health in the industrialized world.

Financing our health care system with American private insurance is an ongoing disaster. It leaves millions of us with limited or no access to health care. It consumes $350 billion in administration that might otherwise provide real health care. This factor dwarfs the effects of everything mentioned in the report.

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Am I My Brother's Keeper? Why pay for health care for the undeserving?

By Samuel Metz, MD

My brother-in-law Max has smoked since he was 12 years old. Now he’s turning 40 and hates the miserable habit. His many efforts to quit reduced his three-pack a day habit to one, but he still can’t kick the addiction. Meanwhile, his many years of low-paying jobs, if they offered any benefits at all, provided him only with high-deductible health insurance he couldn't afford to use. He hadn’t seen a physician in years. But last month he went to the emergency room with a hacking cough that kept him awake for two nights running. The ER people gave him three pieces of bad news: (1) he’s got an advanced lung cancer requiring an operation he can’t afford, (2) the only hospital that will admit him is the county hospital funded with tax dollars, and (3) the multi-hundred dollar emergency room bill is more than he can pay.

Question: Should we spend our hard-earned tax dollars on Max’s operation? Or should Max go without health care because, after all, his bad decisions had allowed the disease to go undetected for so long and caused the cancer in the first place?

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