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We need Single Payer/Medicare for all!

by US Sen. Bernie Sanders
Tuesday, September 30, 2014

One year after health insurance markets were opened to the public, Politico asked “some of the country's smartest health-care thinkers” what Obamacare hasn't fixed in the American health care system and what we can do now. Sen. Bernie Sanders shared his idea for a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.

“The Affordable Care Act has made modest improvements in American health care since it took effect. Twenty million Americans have gained insurance under the law, including young people who can stay on their parents' policies and others who may no longer be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions. The law also has expanded access to primary care to some 4 million more Americans through community health centers that also provide dental care, low-cost prescription drugs and mental health counseling. 

“But the United States remains, shamefully, the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee health care to all its people as a right. And because of the profiteering of the pharmaceutical industry and private insurance companies, the United States spends almost twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation, while our life expectancy, infant mortality and preventable deaths are higher than most other countries. If our goal is to provide high-quality health care for all Americans in a cost-effective way, we must move toward a single-payer system.

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Report: Racial Discrimination Severely Undermines Black Women’s Health

All too often, when women of color are concerned about things outside of what appears to be the predominant white woman’s agenda, they aren’t considered "women’s issues." But, we cannot tell women of color what issues are important to them. (StoryOfAmerica / YouTube)

All too often, when women of color are concerned about things outside of what appears to be the predominant white woman’s agenda, they aren’t considered "women’s issues." But, we cannot tell women of color what issues are important to them. (StoryOfAmerica / YouTube)

by Elizabeth Dawes Gay, Reproductive Health Technologies Project
August 13, 2014
This piece is published in collaboration with Echoing Ida, a Forward Together project.

On Wednesday, August 13, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination begins a two-day review of the United States government’s efforts, or lack thereof, to address pervasive racial discrimination in law and practice. When the United States ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 1994, it consented to a periodic review by human rights experts of its progress toward meeting the goals in the treaty. The last time such a review was conducted was 2008, when the committee expressed specific concern about persistent and worsening disparities in sexual, reproductive, and maternal health in the United States—particularly for Black women—and offered recommendations about how the country could reduce those disparities.

It’s no secret that Black women are more likely than others to experience negative maternal health outcomes, such as preterm birth or stillbirth, to suffer from conditions like preeclampsia, and to die at higher rates from pregnancy-related causes. A new shadow report, Reproductive Injustice: Racial and Gender Discrimination in U.S. Health Care, by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective shares some alarming data on maternal health outcomes as well as disturbing firsthand accounts of the racial discrimination experienced by Black women.

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Our Health Care Dead Matter Less Than War Dead?

caption: "We cannot stop people from getting sick or hurt, but we can stop killing them with our lack of action to change the system that snuffs out their lives," writes Donna Smith. (Photo: Public Citizen)

caption: "We cannot stop people from getting sick or hurt, but we can stop killing them with our lack of action to change the system that snuffs out their lives," writes Donna Smith. (Photo: Public Citizen)

Published on Monday, August 11, 2014 in Common Dreams
By Donna Smith

The photos are horrific of the dead and injured from the most recent escalation of warfare in Palestine.  Seeing dead children who have their small bodies ripped apart by weapons of war forces me (and others I suspect) to confront the realities of our violent, war-prone world.  I hate war.  It hurts to see the photos, and I always have a hard time understanding why we have all had to assert our power since the beginning of recorded history by killing one another.  Will we ever advance beyond settling our differences with war?

Then I also think about the 123 people dying every day in the U.S. without access to the health care that might have saved their lives.  This is a war too.  It is a war waged by the rich and powerful against those without enough money or power.  People suffer and die needlessly and invisibly since no one takes their photos or speaks of them on the evening news.  Do their lives matter less than those of the war dead in the Middle east?  Apparently so.  Or we'd see the pictures and we'd hear the stories and we'd stop blaming these health care dead for not being rich enough or powerful enough to access care.

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Medicare fight ain’t over, Wyden says

Senator Wyden

Senator Wyden

Jul 2, 2014, 1:29pm PDT 
by  Elizabeth Hayes ,
Staff Reporter- Portland Business Journal

Sen. Ron Wyden may not have been able to pass the Medicare payment reform he wanted this spring, but don’t count out the possibility of it happening yet this year.

A defiant Wyden told the Business Journal staff he is still determined to overhaul the “sustainable growth-rate formula” (known as SGR), which the Senate has patched 17 times since 1997 to prevent steep cuts to physicians.

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