How does Oregon rate when it comes to health transparency? Hint: Not too well

Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute rate states' health transparency laws.

Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute rate states' health transparency laws.

Elizabeth Hayes, Staff Reporter- Portland Business Journal

When it comes to transparency, most U.S. states, including Oregon, have a lot of work to do, according to a new report card issued by Catalyst for Payment Reform and the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute.

All but five states received an F and none got an A. Colorado, Vermont and Virginia earned C's, and Maine and Massachusetts garnered B's.

The groups analyzed state-specific laws and regulations surrounding price transparency in health care and state-mandated price transparency websites.


Obamacare subscribers: Beware of high deductibles

Wendell Potter

Wendell Potter

Commentary: Coverage 'not as affordable as many people need it to be'
by Wendell Potter
Public Integrity, March 17, 2014

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last Thursday rejected the notion that Democrat Alex Sink’s narrow loss to Republican David Jolly in last week’s special election in Florida — in a congressional district that Republicans have held for half a century — was a referendum on Obamacare.

“I’m very proud of our House Democrats, not only how they’ve embraced the Affordable Care Act … but how proud they are of it,” Pelosi said. “I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their election issue and they will find that out.”

Pelosi went on to say, however, that, “there are some things (about the law) that need to be fixed.”


Vermont Single-payer Advocacy Group Gets Boost From NEA

Green Mountain Care.jpeg

Poll Shows Support for Health Reform
by Morgan True, vtdigger Feb. 21, 2014

The single-payer advocacy group Vermont Leads is back in action with an $80,000 infusion of cash from the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union.

The grassroots organization has returned with a new poll it says illustrates broad support for Vermont’s health care reform agenda.

Peter Sterling, the group’s director, said the poll wasn’t conducted to make a splash in the media, but to help the NEA gauge public opinion on single-payer before throwing its support behind the initiative.

“We support Green Mountain Care, and believe it is an outstanding opportunity for Vermont to show the rest of the country that universally available, portable and publicly funded health care can work for all Vermonters,” Vermont NEA President Martha Allen said in a statement.

They are also interested because teachers’ unions will eventually be required to purchase health insurance through the state exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act.


US rebuff of 'socialized medicine' baffles world health leaders

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by Brett Wilkins
Digital Journal Reports,  Feb 10, 2014 in Health

 +San Francisco - Why is the United States the only most-developed nation lacking some form of government-funded universal health care system?

Why are so many Americans, even those who support or rely upon government programs like Medicare, so vehemently opposed to 'socialized medicine?'

Why do so many Americans continue to believe theirs is the best health care system in the world, even when presented with irrefutable evidence to the contrary?

To help answer these questions, this Digital Journalist interviewed more than a dozen leading health officials from around the world and asked them to compare health care attitudes in their countries and in the United States.

"It comes down to a difference in culture and character," said Dr. Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and a fellow at the Royal College of Physicians in London. "In America, you've got this sense of individualism and Darwinian survival and opportunity to win. In the UK, we have this very strong sense that we have to provide for the weaker in our society."



The Single-Payer Answer to Our Broken Healthcare System


Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v13n6 (02/06/2014)
by George Sax

A skeptical, well-dressed middle-aged man was the first person to take advantage of Dr. Andy Coates’s surprise invitation to the audience gathered Thursday evening in D’Youville College’s Madonna Lounge to hear him discuss the need and prospects for a national single-payer health insurance system. Instead of immediately proceeding to his remarks, Coates, an Albany physician and a nationally recognized expert, asked the approximately 100 people in the audience if any of them wanted to ask a question, and this questioner challenged the very idea of national health insurance.

“I don’t trust the federal government,” he told Coates. “The postal system had a monopoly and they screwed it up.” Private delivery firms, he charged, had done a better job and dismissed the idea that the government could run a health insurance system.


Single Payer Rises Again

In These Times, February 3, 2014

Marylanders flood Baltimore in October 2013 to support single-payer healthcare. (Courtesy of Healthcare Is a Human Right Maryland)

As the ACA takes effect, an alternative gains ground at the state level.
bY Sarah Jaffe

When Sergio Espana first began talking to people, just over a year ago, about the need for fundamental changes in the U.S. healthcare system, confusion often ensued. Some people didn’t understand why, if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had passed, people still wanted to reform the system; others thought organizers were trying to sign them up for “Obamacare.”

Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland, the group to which Espana belongs, is in pursuit of something else: a truly universal healthcare system that would cover everyone and eliminate insurance companies once and for all. Espana and many others in the growing movement see opportunity in the renewed discussion around healthcare reform as the ACA’s insurance exchanges go into effect.


Reviving the Fight for Single-Payer

Representative Jim McDermott of Washington wants to give states the tools to adopt it—at their own pace.

by William Greider
Published on Thursday, December 5, 2013 by The Nation

William Greider is national affairs correspondent for The Nation.

William Greider is national affairs correspondent for The Nation.

When the media frenzy subsides and Republicans run out of scare stories, the country will be faced with the most important question about Obamacare: Can it deliver what it promised? Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a new business model is rapidly emerging in the medical-industrial complex that, in theory, can dramatically reduce the inflated costs of healthcare while serving everyone—rich and poor, healthy and sick. But the reformed system will also still rely on the market competition of profit-making enterprises, including insurance companies. A lot of liberal Democrats, though they voted for Obama’s bill, remain skeptical. 

“In the long arc of healthcare reform, I think [the ACA] will ultimately fail, because we are trying to put business-model methods into the healthcare system,” said Washington Representative Jim McDermott. “We’re not making refrigerators. We’re dealing with human beings, who are way more complicated than refrigerators on an assembly line.” I turned to the Seattle congressman for a candid assessment because he’s the third-ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee and has been an advocate of single-payer healthcare for decades. Plus, he’s a doctor. 


Sanders introduces a new Single Payer bill


S. 1782, The American Health Security Act of 2013 (189 pages):
Comment:  by Don McCanne, PNHP

Introduction of another single payer bill - S. 1782, The American Health Security Act of 2013 - is very timely. Here’s why.

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act is proceeding, and a handful of citizens are pleased to finally gain entrance to an insurance market that they’ve been locked out of. Nevertheless, dissatisfaction is widespread because of a mandate to purchase insurance products that are expensive, that leaves individuals exposed to excessive out-of-pocket costs should they need health care, and that reduces health care choices by reducing the number of providers allowed in the insurance networks. Those with employer-sponsored plans are beginning to see the same changes that reduce both financial security and choices of physicians and hospitals. People are not happy.

The rocky rollout of the exchanges created more smoke than fire, but it did cause people to think more about whether Obamacare is a wise solution to the problems with our health care financing system. On the left, there is a loud and clear call to move forward with enactment of a single payer system - an improved Medicare for all. On the right, there is a loud clamor that Obamacare is so bad that we might end up with a single payer system. By some on the right, that’s posed as a threat, but by others it seems to be a dispirited acknowledgement that Obamacare is so bad, and the proposed Republican reforms are so ineffective, that people will demand a system that works - single payer.