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Job Announcement: Health Care for All-Oregon seeks Executive Director

    Health Care for All-Oregon seeks a dynamic and creative Executive Director to shape, inspire, and manage the organization’s future, in close collaboration with its talented team of hard-working staff, enthusiastic statewide volunteers and committed Board of Directors. 
    Health Care for All-Oregon is a 501©(4) nonprofit based in Portland, OR, with a sister organization, the HCAO Education Fund, a 501©(3) charitable organization. HCAO is a statewide coalition of over 110 member organizations, working to bring universal, publicly funded health care to Oregon and (eventually) the entire United States.
    The Executive Director is responsible for operations and personnel management, fundraising and fiscal oversight, board engagement and community relations, and working with a growing network of volunteers building Oregon’s health care reform movement.
    For more information on HCAO and HCAO EF go to www.hcao.org  and www.hcaoef.org.
Please see Job Description Here.
     We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, a pleasant working environment and an exciting opportunity to work for one of Oregon’s foremost change campaigns. Salary is based on a nonprofit scale ranging from $45,000 to $55,000, commensurate with experience.
      HCAO is committed to workplace diversity and inclusion. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate in hiring or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. Qualified candidates from diverse personal, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
    To apply: Send a cover letter describing why you believe you are a strong candidate for this position, a resume describing relevant education, training and employment and three references to: Health Care for All-Oregon, 619 SW 11th Ave., #121, Portland, OR 97205, or e-mail to lee@mainstreetalliance.org. Applications will be reviewed beginning April 30, 2015.

For further information contact Lee Mercer, President, Health Care for All-Oregon, 831-818-5247lee@mainstreetalliance.org

How American health care turned patients into consumers

     Dr. Philip Caper

     Dr. Philip Caper

by Dr. Philip Caper, Special to the BDN
Bangor Daily News, March 19, 2015

A clash of cultures is rapidly developing among those of us who see the mission of the health care system to be primarily the diagnosis and healing of illness and those who see it primarily as an opportunity to create personal wealth.

The concept of health care primarily as a business is uniquely American, and it has gained ascendancy during the last few decades. While there have always been a few greedy doctors, businessmen-wealth-seekers — not doctors — now dominate the medical-industrial complex. They include for-profit insurance, medical device and pharmaceutical companies as well as for-profit and nonprofit corporate providers of health care services, such as the three large hospital systems in Maine.

Partly because of the Affordable Care Act, they also include a rapidly growing army of lawyers, consultants and policy wonks who are creating lucrative businesses helping hapless “consumers” — formerly “patients” — “navigate” their way through the grotesquely byzantine maze our health care system has become.

This shift in emphasis from patient care to money profoundly has affected the practice of medicine and resulted in the clash of cultures within health care. As increasing numbers of “providers” — formerly “doctors” — become employees of large health care corporations — formerly community hospitals — we have come under increasing pressure to diagnose profitable diseases and order profitable tests and procedures without enough regard to the benefits or harm accruing to patients. Hospital “CEOs” — formerly “administrators” — trained in the ethics and practices of business rather than health care are incentivized to configure their “product lines” — formerly “services” — to produce the largest “profits” — formerly “margins.”

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The GOP Gang of Supremes Go After Obamacare

Published: March 6, 2015 | NationofChange | Op-Ed
by Jim Hightower

Look out — the Supreme Court’s black-robed gang of far-right ideologues are rampaging again! The five-man clan is firing potshots at Obamacare — and their political recklessness endangers justice, the Court’s own integrity, and the health of millions of innocent bystanders.

In an attempt to override the law, these so-called “justices” have jumped on a wagonload of legalistic BS named King v. Burwell. But that case is a very rickety legal vehicle. It sprang from a frivolous lawsuit concocted in 2010 by a right-wing front group funded by such self-serving oligarchs as the Koch brothers, Big Oil, Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. The chairman of the front group was neither delicate nor discrete in describing the purpose of the lawsuit as a raw political assault on Obamacare: “This bastard has to be killed as a matter of political hygiene,” he howled at the time. “I do not care how this is done, whether it’s dismembered, whether we drive a stake through its heart … I don’t care who does it, whether it’s some court some place or the United States Congress.”

So much for the intellectual depth of the King case, which was fabricated on a twisted interpretation of only four words in the 906-page health care law. The plaintiffs claim that the law prohibits insurance subsidies to the millions of low and middle-income Americans living in the 36 states that did not set up a state exchange — thus making health care unaffordable to millions of hard-working Americans and small business who are purchasing insurance on the federal exchange, essentially, nullifying the heart of Obamacare.

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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.

 

Letter to Representative Barreto

by Frank Erickson, MD

Thank you for seeing us yesterday in your office - I hope to be in touch with you regularly about the reform of health care in Oregon.

Regarding our unfinished discussion on health care as a human right and the need for single payer health care reform, here are a few thoughts on the foundation of our position, which is shared by thousands of supporters throughout the state:

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 217A (III) of 10 December 1948)

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

We are a member of the United Nations and are obligated to follow resolutions as signatories, although we have been failing to uphold portions, such as this one on health care and the one about torture.

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How Obamacare Is Unsustainable: Why We Need a Single-Payer Solution for All Americans

John Geyman’s timely book on ACA and single payer
Posted by Don McCanne MD on Thursday, Feb 5, 2015

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

Right now we have a chance to change history. We should make widely available John Geyman’s book based on sound, effective policy – just what the nation desperately needs..

By John Geyman, M.D.
Copernicus Healthcare, January, 2015

As we all know, the intense debate over Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a polarizing issue that sharply divides political parties and the public. Confusion reigns over its benefits, problems and prospects as claims and counterclaims fill press and media coverage.

This book is an attempt to make sense out of all of this - to cut through the rhetoric, disinformation and myths to assess what is good and bad about the ACA, and to ask whether or not it can remedy our system's four main problems - uncontrolled costs, unaffordability, barriers to access, and mediocre, often poor quality of care.

In Part One, we will briefly trace historical roots of various reform attempts over the years, and summarize some of the major trends that have changed the delivery system, professional roles and values, the ethics of health care, and the role of government vs. the private sector. In Part Two, we will compare the ACA's promises with realities of what it has accomplished, examine its initial outcomes on access, cost containment, affordability and quality of care, ask whether its flaws can be fixed with a private insurance industry, and point out the lessons that we can already take away from the first five years of the law. In Part Three, we will discuss the many myths that are perpetuated by opponents of single-payer national health insurance (NHI) and show how that approach stands ready to deal directly with what has become a national disgrace - our increasingly fragmented and cruel health care system that serves corporate interests at the expense of ordinary Americans. We will make the case for NHI in three ways - economic, social/political, and moral. Most other advanced countries around the world came to this conclusion many years ago.

Why this book now? With the 2014 midterm elections behind us, divisions between the parties are even more polarized. The future of health care is even more uncertain. The 2016 election cycle is already underway, and both parties have to confront the failures of yet another incremental attempt to reform our so-called health care system. We have a short year and a half to re-assess where we are and try once again to get health care reform right. As much of the public knows all too well, the stakes get higher every day.

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HCAO has Lunch with Louden

Mike Huntington, Cheryl Simpson and Lee Mercer recorded an internet streaming program with the Coffee Party, a program called Lunch With Louden, hosted by Jeanene Louden. 

Here is a link to today's internet interview.  It has a few technical glitches but gets quite a bit of information out there about the HCAO Rally and the movement.

This show will be streaming nationally, available to the 550,000 folks on the Coffee Party list. When Jeanene played our Rally PSA on their Facebook page she said it got 3,000 hits!

See you at the Rally!

Register Here for Feb 11 HCAO Rally on Capitol Steps in Salem

Bitter Pill: A Critical Review

by Tim Roach, Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates, Corvallis

Steven Brill's been making the rounds with media of late, plugging his newest book, America's Bitter Pill--Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System. His recounting of the making of the sausage that is the Affordable Care Act is both interesting and informative, as is his enumeration of its flaws and shortcomings. He is spot on when he focuses on the costs of health care that continue to spiral higher and higher and its related profiteering. I appreciate his reporting of such matters. We are agreed, our nation needs to move beyond Obamacare!

However, when Brill transitions to his final chapter and attempts to speak prescriptively about what we might do to make the best of -- or even "fix" -- our "old jalopy" of a healthcare system, in my opinion, his wisdom fades. For starters, he views America's health insurers as victims of our nation's dysfunctional health care system, rather than major actors/enablers of that system. Furthermore, his basic prescription leans heavily upon a provider-insurer model (with the leadership of such oligopolies restricted to physicians) with government regulation.

As Brill himself describes his script--"Let the foxes run the henhouse -- with conditions." I, for one, see danger and warning signs all over such a scenario. It seems to me that, for some reason, Brill longs to mirror in our health care system many of the same elements that led to the recent fiasco with the nation's banking industry.

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Herb Rothschild Jr.: Support single-payer

RELOCATIONS
Posted Jan. 24, 2015 
Ashland Daily Tidings, Opinion

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and of the enactment of Medicare. Not long ago, a U.S. Supreme Court dominated by Republican appointees gutted the Voting Rights Act, and a Democratic president who never could have been elected without it took Medicare for Everyone off the table when he proposed his much ballyhooed health reform.

The American Medical Association tried to defeat Medicare. It cleverly labeled all such proposals “socialized medicine.” Medicare isn’t socialized medicine. The VA health care system is socialized medicine. Its hospitals are publicly owned, and VA staff are salaried employees paid with tax dollars. Medicare is only an insurance program.

So Medicare didn’t threaten the livelihood of physicians. Instead, it added huge numbers of paying clients to their patient base. The AMA had identified the wrong threat. The real threat emerged in the 1980s. It was the private insurance industry, not public insurance, that drastically interfered with the practice of medicine.

Private insurance plans forced most physicians to join groups like health maintenance organizations, hospital systems, and other large groupings — some of them corporations interested in profits, not health care. Often physicians couldn’t treat their patients without approval for payment from the patients’ insurance carriers, whose on-staff medical personnel could second-guess the attending physician. In more subtle but ever-present ways, the imposition of a corporate model has distorted the practice of medicine and diminished the satisfaction of practitioners.

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