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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.

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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    Chart of Americans’ Support

    From the Medicare for All website:

    Over half of Americans want national single-payer health care, Improved Medicare for All
    Over half of Americans want national single-payer health care, Improved Medicare for All.

    That fact was documented in 2007, as per the bar chart below.
    That fact has been confirmed multiple times since that time, in 2008, 2009, 2010.
    Examples of the wording in polls in 2007: "... adopt a universal health insurance program in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers" (65% yes) and " ... federal government should guarantee health insurance for all." (64% yes)

    Over half of Americans support single-payer health care,
    Improved Medicare for All.
    Results of eight poll / survey questions:
    65%, 54%, 53%, 55%, 64%, 60%, 64%, 47%

    Interview: Connecting the Dots Between Healthcare & Homelessness

    December 18, 2014 by Ben  
    For Healthcare-NOW! Updates

    John N. Lozier has been executive director of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council since its founding in January 1990. The Council is a network of more than 10,000 doctors, nurses, social workers, patients and advocates who share the mission to eliminate homelessness. John lives in Nashville, TN with his wife Joceline, and sits on the Board of Healthcare-NOW!

    Question 1: Can you start off by talking about how people come to experience homelessness, and whether the healthcare industry plays a role in that?

    Medical debt, deeply rooted in the current system, is a major and often overlooked contributor to homelessness. PNHP research shows that over 60% of personal bankruptcies in the US are the result of medical debt. From bankruptcy there is a well-worn path through eviction, followed by temporary stays with family or friends, to sleeping in a car, a shelter or outdoors.

    Beyond that driver of homelessness, untreated illnesses play a huge role in selecting who will experience homelessness in an economy that is sorely lacking in affordable housing. Those who are most quickly squeezed out onto the streets tend to be those with so-called “behavioral health” problems – addictions and mental illnesses. Without minimizing the difficulties in treating these diseases, very helpful treatment approaches do exist, but are far from universally available. Uninsurance and underinsurance play a central role in excluding people who need and want treatment. Even when one has a payment source, system insufficiencies create wait lists for people who need to enter treatment at the point when they are ready.

    Question 2: Does homelessness and housing insecurity create particular challenges for accessing needed healthcare?

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