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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!

How the Republican Tempest Over the Affordable Care Act Diverts Attention from Three Large Truths

ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkele

ROBERT B. REICH, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkele

from the Robert Reich blog
Friday, November 22, 2013

Having failed to defeat the Affordable Care Act in Congress, to beat it back in the last election, to repeal it despite more than eighty votes in the House, to stop it in the federal courts, to get enough votes in the Supreme Court to overrule it, and to gut it with outright extortion (closing the government and threatening to default on the nation’s debts unless it was repealed), Republicans are now down to their last ploy.

They are hell-bent on destroying the Affordable Care Act in Americans’ minds.

A document circulating among House Republicans (reported by the New York Times) instructs them to repeat the following themes and stories continuously: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.”

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Medicare fraud outrunning enforcement efforts

Official: agency failed to investigate 1,200 complaints due to staff shortages, and more cuts coming
By Fred Schulte
July 1, 2013 The Center for Public Integrity

Citing massive budget and staff cuts, federal officials are set to scale back or drop a host of investigations into Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse — even though cracking down on government waste and cutting health care costs have been top priorities for the Obama administration.

The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General is set to lose a total of 400 staffers that are deployed nationwide as a primary defense against health care fraud and abuse. Though agency officials have yet to decide which investigations will be shelved as staff dwindles, the existing staff is already stretched so thin that the agency has failed to act on 1,200 complaints over the past year alleging wrongdoing — and expects that number to rise. The OIG began shedding staff at the beginning of the year.

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Sign the Petition for NALC

Sign the petition IF you believe in the right to Organize Labor, IF you think forty four cents first class postage is still a great deal, IF you put people before privitization & profit, IF you have had good service through the years from your Letter Carriers, IF you believe the USPS being the biggest employer of military veterans is a good thing, IF you would like to have 23,000 breadwinners continue to put food on the tables for their loved ones, IF you believe in Public Service as a career choice for our childrens, childrens, children. It only takes a moment to create an account. Congressman DeFazio was the #1 petition signer and I was #830, we need to do so much more,
In Unity,,
Rich Raimonde,NALC Branch 540 Vineland, N.J., Unions for Single Payer.

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The Deadly Secret About the Fiscal Cliff Charade

Let's stop repeating failures of austerity and move toward solutions that can restore our Federal budget – and us – to health.

Alternet, January 4, 2013  |
Campaign for America's Future
/ By Richard (RJ) Eskow

Imagine a nation with a terrible problem – one its leaders refuse to discuss. The problem will needlessly drain trillions of dollars from its economy in the next ten years.

Now imagine that this problem also robs that nation’s citizens of life itself, draining years from their lifespans while depriving them of large sums of money. Imagine that it sickens and disables countless others, drives many people into bankrupcty, and kills more than two newborn infants out of every thousand born.

Imagine that fixing this problem would make result in a dramatic decline in publicly-held debt. It wouldn’t just “help” the debt problem, mind you – it would cause that debt to plunge.

And now imagine a national “deficit debate” which completely ignores this problem.

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A very bad New Deal!

The deal the media reports President Obama and Republican John Boehner appear close to striking includes a change to Social Security that amounts to benefit cuts "of more than 5 percent and more as the years go by." And what is “chained CPI”? For millions of seniors living on a fixed income, that 5 percent goes to crucial medicine, food, and daily necessities. And the deal would leave in place some of the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 2% that President Obama previously promised to oppose.

The good news is that we really do have a chance at stopping this bad deal. After Democrats picked up five Senate seats in the election last month, Senate Leader Harry Reid said, "We are not going to mess with Social Security." If we let him and other senators know we've got their backs, we'll have a chance—but we need to act right now.

The above is an excerpt from a MoveOn alert. See also today's Healthcare-NOW newsletter for more information.

Call our Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden right now and ask them:

"Senate Democrats have been vocal opponents of cuts to Social Security benefits. Can I count on you to do everything in your power to stop this deal if it includes the reported cuts to Social Security benefits?"

Contact  our Oregon Senators and Representatives today!





Controlling Rising Health Care Costs: Medicare Is the Solution, Not the Problem

By Joe Baker, President, Medicare Rights Center

Posted: 11/13/2012 for Huff Post Politics

Although Election Day is behind us, Medicare remains on American's minds. Medicare ranked third to the economy and federal deficit as an issue of extreme importance in deciding how Americans voted. For months now, pundits, candidates and policymakers have wrestled one another about Medicare's future. Taking place at town hall meetings and on editorial pages, these battles were mostly waged in fiscal terms. Medicare's sustainability, the fiscal slope, and the cost of insuring the Baby Boomers are hot topics for debate. Attention will now turn from the candidates' promises to their actual proposals.

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Trade Policy and Access to Medicine

by Arthur Stamoulis
Oregon Fair Trade Campaign

The TPP’s Threats to Public Health 

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is an international trade and investment pact currently under negotiation between the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  It is also specifically intended as a “docking agreement” that other countries would join over time, with Japan, Korea, China and others already expressing some interest.  U.S. negotiators are pushing to complete the TPP as soon as possible. 

NEGOTIATIONS ARE HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION ON PUBLIC HEALTH

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Post election deficit deal threatens Medicare and Social Security

By: Kay Tillow Saturday October 6, 2012 2:46 pm

The solution is Improved Medicare for All

After the November election, there will be a major effort in Congress to pass a budget deal that will make cuts in Social Security, raise the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age, and perhaps more–unless we act to stop it with a solution that is close at hand. 

There is agreement from the Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel to liberal economists Dean Baker and Paul Krugman that the pressure will be on to reach a Simpson/Bowles type of compromise.  Such a bipartisan plan would damage our most cherished programs and excuse the dastardly deed by asserting that the cuts are small and necessary because of the deficit. 

Those who relentlessly scream at us and finance ads to persuade us that the deficit threatens our grandchildren are obscuring the truth.  The fact is that the transfer of wealth from public funds and the rest of us to the super rich is the real crisis.  But those who have gorged themselves on this massive transfer of wealth also seek to undermine the Medicare and Social Security which are our grandchildren’s heritage from generations of struggles for a better life.

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Dembrow Intends to Keep Single Payer Movement Alive Next Session

The Portland legislator is convinced that a single payer health system is the most affordable and comprehensive option

By: Diane Lund-Muzikant, from The Lund Report

October 18, 2012 -- Despite the emphasis on healthcare transformation, evident by the $1.9 billion in federal funds that Governor John Kitzhaber garnered to implement coordinated care organizations, the single payer movement isn’t dead in Oregon.

Its champion, Rep. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) plans to re-introduce the same legislation again next February. In 2011, it received a hearing in the House but stalled there (House Bill 3510).

This time around, Dembrow has his eyes set on having public hearings in both the House and Senate healthcare committees.

Read more . . .

Sen. Ron Wyden rejects Ryan's debate claim he supports GOP Medicare plan

By Sam Baker – published in The Hill “Heath Watch” 10/12/12

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) did not appreciate Paul Ryan calling him a supporter of the Romney-Ryan Medicare plan during Thursday's vice presidential debate.

Ryan mentioned his work with Wyden to argue that his Medicare proposal could garner bipartisan support in Congress. Romney and Ryan's plan is based on the proposal that Ryan and Wyden released earlier this year — over strong complaints from Wyden's fellow Democrats.

Read More. . .

Romney: ‘We Don’t Have People Who Die Because They Don’t Have Insurance’

By Rebecca Leber.  published in The Columbus Dispatch on Oct 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

Mitt Romney doubled down on his suggestion that uninsured Americans can findthe care they need in emergency rooms, telling The Dispatch that people will always receive the treatment they need, and do not die or suffer because they can not pay for care. He pointed to federal law that requires hospitals to admit emergency patients, repeating his advice that patients rely on the most expensive form of care reserved strictly for emergencies.

Read more. . .