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Drinking Liberally in New Milford, Connecticut

An Economically Created Health Care Disaster

And your state is sure to be suffering:

Medicaid rolls are surging, by unprecedented rates in some states, as the recession tightens its grip on the economy and Americans lose their employer-sponsored health coverage along with their jobs.” In many states, Medicaid rolls grew by 5 to 10 percent in the last year, often double the growth the previous year. Congress is likely to extend Medicaid aid to states in the upcoming stimulus package.

And, as early as March, Obama will be moving forward on health care reform, according to the Politico:

The move signals Obama’s intent to keep one of the most ambitious and politically crucial campaign promises at the top of his agenda. On the campaign trail, Obama pledged to provide universal health care by the end of his first term, but the severity of the economic downturn has raised doubts about how quickly he can deliver on that promise. Obama and his point person on health care, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, have staffed up like they plan to push forward with it, lining up a roster of communications and policy strategists to assist in the effort.

I wrote last week on a Tom Daschle statement that could be taken as a signal of which way Obama wants him to go:

Be still my single payer heart…
Via DCblogger at Corrente and emphasis mine:

Mercury News

Daschle, the point man for Obama’s campaign to revamp the health care system, supports the concept of “a government-run insurance program modeled after Medicare.” It would, he says, give consumers, especially the uninsured, an alternative to commercial insurance offered by companies like Aetna, Humana and WellPoint.
But the proposal is anathema to many insurers, employers and Republicans. They say the government plan would have unfair advantages, like the ability to impose lower fees, and could eventually attract so many customers that private insurers would be driven from the market. “The public plan option is a terrible idea — one of our top concerns in the health reform debate,” said James Gelfand, senior manager of health policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Why would employers object to a public plan that would be better and cheaper for their workers?

Here, not only do we have the right wing Chamber of Commerce health care Czar telling you flat out that the for profit health care providers can not compete in a free market with Medicare, a government run single payer program… But the fact that it starts with a Tom Daschle hint of things to come that damn near made me have a heart attack.

If this is the starting point of the health care debate than it is already over… (And, for a change of pace from the last 8 years, America wins!)

Anok, over at identitycheck, expanded on what this looked like to herself. And President Obama has this up at the White House website:

On health care reform, the American people are too often offered two extremes — government-run health care with higher taxes or letting the insurance companies operate without rules. President Obama and Vice President Biden believe both of these extremes are wrong, and that’s why they’ve proposed a plan that strengthens employer coverage, makes insurance companies accountable and ensures patient choice of doctor and care without government interference.

The Obama-Biden plan provides affordable, accessible health care for all Americans, builds on the existing health care system, and uses existing providers, doctors, and plans. Under the Obama-Biden plan, patients will be able to make health care decisions with their doctors, instead of being blocked by insurance company bureaucrats.

Under the plan, if you like your current health insurance, nothing changes, except your costs will go down by as much as $2,500 per year. If you don’t have health insurance, you will have a choice of new, affordable health insurance options.

Make Health Insurance Work for People and Businesses — Not Just Insurance and Drug Companies.

  • Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.
  • Create a new Small Business Health Tax Credit to help small businesses provide affordable health insurance to their employees.
  • Lower costs for businesses by covering a portion of the catastrophic health costs they pay in return for lower premiums for employees.
  • Prevent insurers from overcharging doctors for their malpractice insurance and invest in proven strategies to reduce preventable medical errors.
  • Make employer contributions more fair by requiring large employers that do not offer coverage or make a meaningful contribution to the cost of quality health coverage for their employees to contribute a percentage of payroll toward the costs of their employees’ health care.
  • Establish a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress that will allow individuals and small businesses to buy affordable health coverage.
  • Ensure everyone who needs it will receive a tax credit for their premiums.

Reduce Costs and Save a Typical American Family up to $2,500 as reforms phase in:

  • Lower drug costs by allowing the importation of safe medicines from other developed countries, increasing the use of generic drugs in public programs, and taking on drug companies that block cheaper generic medicines from the market.
  • Require hospitals to collect and report health care cost and quality data.
  • Reduce the costs of catastrophic illnesses for employers and their employees.
  • Reform the insurance market to increase competition by taking on anticompetitive activity that drives up prices without improving quality of care.

The Obama-Biden plan will promote public health. It will require coverage of preventive services, including cancer screenings, and increase state and local preparedness for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility: Barack Obama will pay for his $50 – $65 billion health care reform effort by rolling back the Bush tax cuts for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year and retaining the estate tax at its 2009 level.

In the above part the key part of the plan is the opening up of the private plans available to Congress members. The Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) offers many different choices for people that all include prescription drug benefits. While wildly varying in co-pay costs depending on the plan, the FEHBP offers no savings over a plan such as Medicare.

Another problem is the fact that NOWHERE does Obama’s plan address the serious issues with private plans that create “Death by Spreadsheet”, clearly the most immoral aspect of private plans.

  • No indication of how they would address insurance workers being paid bonuses for depriving clients – patients – of services that they have paid for in their premiums. Some have suffered for long periods of time battling for their rightful services to be paid for. Other people have died under these scenarios. That is a fact.
  • No indication of addressing caps on services – either over single delivery of a service, a short period of time (a month? a year?) or over a lifetime. I.E.: Last year I had some dental surgery done. That one procedure maxed out my benefits allotted for the year for surgical procedures. I have had to wait for January to roll around in order to schedule work that I needed done because I could not afford the costs out of pocket above the severely low maximum.

Similar problems are seen in all private plans.

A “maximum annual cap” on a health insurance policy is actually the total amount that the insurer will pay during a year. If you see this on your policy benefits sheet, you’ll want to pay attention; a low maximum annual cap makes the policy nearly worthless. After all, the idea of insurance is to protect someone from high medical costs.

The black ink in the ledgers is being balanced by the red blood of those that die in the name of profitability.

I discussed Daschle’s previous statement that would, IMHO, begin the end of private health plans that prey on its victims through their various uses of “Death by Spreadsheet.” It is the long road plan to single payer and will expose the fact that the for-profit plans can not compete on a level playing field with any single payer program in the free market. The far right wing knows this and, considering the fact that 65% of Americans want single payer health care, the rest of America knows this as well.

Sixty-five percent of those polled said the United States should adopt universal health insurance that covers everyone under a program such as Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers. Fifty-four percent went where politicians dare not tread, saying they supported a “single-payer” health system whereby all Americans would get their health coverage from a single government plan financed by taxpayers.

To be clear, Medicare is a form of a single payer program.

But the republicans have so polluted discourse on this subject in the past that some Americans think that Single Payer is socialist. A blatant lie that the majority has seen through as they became better educated on this issue. Hell… There is even a Republican group for single payer, now. That is how mainstream this demand is becoming.

Via DCBlogger at Corrente, America has changed a lot in the last few years:

Let me explain where we are right now, it is like 1989 in Moscow. Glasnost is in effect, the old regime has lost what ever legitimacy it ever had and ordinary people are losing their fear. It still looks very formidable, but it is about to crumble.
That is where we are with health care. Everyone is still refighting 1994 without noticing that the entire political landscape has shifted. We didn’t have anything like HealthCare-Now, Physicians for a National Health Plan, or California Nurses in 1994. We didn’t have a National Day of Action with picketing in cities across the country. Single payer activists are playing the same role dissidents played in the fall of the Soviet Union. We are saying the unsayable and we keep saying it until it becomes obvious.

Specifically how do we get a bill passed? Given our support in the House of Representatives, I am confident that we can get a bill to pass. So how do we win the Senate? Well, to switch historical analogies, we need a Republican Senator to play de Klerk to Conyers Mandela. Someone needs to break ranks, and if we maintain pressure, someone will do so.

Which Republican Senators do you think we have the best shot of winning over?

The people want single payer and we need a strategy on how we can go about getting them one or two Republican Senators to support a plan like H.R. 676. The most popular single payer health care solution and one that will be a direct route to the holy grail of health care and eliminating the need to wait for the free market to prove what everyone already knows and aknowledges on all sides, as evident even by the other sides arguments.

It is all the cover the Democratic party needs to pass single payer and that is what it may come down to if we want to get what we deserve.

Which Republican Senator is really bi-partisan or, at least, bi-partisan enough to walk away from the insurance company Astroturf groups and the far right wing corporatists to support what the vast majority of Americans want and really do need if we are going to weather the shitpile created economic shitstorm?

Arlen Specter and the women on the Republican side of the aisle have shown a more reasonable record of supporting women’s rights issues (Equal Pay – Pro-Choice) in the recent and distant past. Is it possible to exploit this for our important issue? I honestly don’t know if the statistics of women’s support for single payer would make this a feasible avenue to explore?

A good healthy portion of the information linked here is unashamedly and liberally taken from Corrente, though, this piece is written/assembled by myself (blockquoted text excepted) for my Blog and to share in ePpluribus Media’s ongoing health care discussions – I believe that Corrente deserves a lot of props for the great work they are doing FOR YOU right now. You could thank them by financially supporting their efforts. Or even just stopping by their site and saying thanks. We need to kick the tires on all of the proposed health care solutions so we know what, exactly, they are trying to sell us.

Previous ePluribus Media pieces:

by Carol White:

  1. An Addition to the Discussion on Health Care Coverage

by Connecticut Man1:

  1. Be Still My Single Payer Heart
  2. How do you know Obama’s health plan is bad for YOU?, Tue, 01/13/2009
  3. All That I Want…, Wed, 12/24/2008
  4. Single Payer Health Care Would Help Auto Industry, Tue, 11/18/2008

And a MUST-MUST read by DrSteveB:

  1. The Most Complete & Honest Comparison of Health Proposals…so far, Tue, 01/13/2009

[ed note] 12:44 A.M. Jan. 23rd, 2009 – Extensive edits from the White House information on down to the end. CM1


January 22, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Single Payer Universal Health Care | , , , | Leave a comment

Christianity as a Lifestyle Choice

Christianity is a Lifestyle Choice. That is what it is. You always hear them talking about personal choices and lifestyle choices of others.

For over seven minutes last night, Jon Stewart grilled former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on his opposition to gay marriage. Huckabee is touring the country to promote his new book, “Do The Right Thing.” When Stewart compared gay marriage bans to interracial marriage bans, Huckabee restated his view that homosexuality is simply a behavior choice:

STEWART: Segregation used to be the law until the courts intervened.

HUCK: There’s a big difference between a person being black and a person practicing a lifestyle and engaging in a marital relationship.

STEWART: Okay, actually this is helpful because it gets to the crux of it. … And I’ll tell you this: Religion is far more of a choice than homosexuality. And the protections that we have for religion — we protect religion. And talk about a lifestyle choice — that is absolutely a choice. Gay people don’t choose to be gay. At what age did you choose to not be gay?

Huckabee tried to insist that “60 percent of the American population” opposes gay marriage. Stewart interrupted him, calling it a “travesty” that gay Americans have to plead for their civil rights… (READ ON)

The truth is that being gay or lesbian is not likely a lifestyle choice. The facts would seem to suggest that it is the way you were when you born – in pretty much the exact same way that you are born black, white, whatever, etc. – and environment may only be a factor in how it can effect the genetic code that people are born with. And not just no, but HELL NO! I am not going down that Nazi like road of eugenics to “eliminate or treat” what some of you crazies want to call a disease… That is just sick.

And even if it were a choice?

Who cares… Exercising free will, to make your own choice, is as much a right as it is a personal responsibility. Even according to the Bible, Free Will is a Divine Institution:

1.Free will, 2.Marriage, 3.Family, 4.Government etc.

Yeah… You hear a lot from the religious wing nuts about the “Divine Institution of Marriage” – the second divine institution…

But they conveniently choose to skip the First Divine Institution in their bankrupt arguments.

Free Will – The one God supposedly gave everyone to choose their own destiny.

Religion is quite simply and for certain nothing more than a lifestyle choice…

You aren’t born that way. Even if you are a believer – God gave you the free will to choose to believe. In fact some of these religions make a big deal out of converting people into believers. Because. People. Were. Not. Born. That. Way.

They made a choice.

People choose their religions all the time. Often they change their choice of religion on a whim.

Often that religion of choice has clearly bigoted views that they would like to force upon the rest of the world. Anti-Marriage Equality views would be included there. It is no different than other bigoted religious views that have been argued for in the past:

The term “miscegenation” has been used since the nineteenth century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sex, and more generally to the global process of racial admixture that has taken place since the Age of Discoveries, particularly through the European colonization of the Americas and the Atlantic slave trade. Historically the term has been used in the context of laws banning interracial marriage and sex, so-called anti-miscegenation laws. It is therefore a loaded word and is considered offensive by many.

Today, the word miscegenation is avoided by many scholars, because the term suggests a distinct biological phenomenon, rather than a categorization imposed on certain relationships. The word is considered offensive by many and other terms such as “interracial,” “interethnic” or “cross-cultural” are more common in contemporary usage. However, the term is still used by scholars when referring to past practices concerning multiraciality, such as anti-miscegenation laws that banned interracial marriages.

Christians and their ever changing views on traditional marriage…

I am pretty sure most of them have given up the bigoted views against interracial marriages.

Huckabee talks about “5000 years of traditional marriage” based on his own personal lifestyle choice’s rulebook – the Bible – but will, no doubt, refuse to accept what that loaded definition actually includes if implemented as law:

A. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

B. Marriage shall not impede a man’s right to take concubines in
addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

C. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a
virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

D. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden.
(Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

E. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

F. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother’s widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

G. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

Added to that list of new laws would be the many forms of rape marriage that are traditionally acceptable according to Huckabee’s God and Bible…

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT
If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her.

Just remember that these are precisely the views and lessons that have formed people like Mike Huckabee’s “family values and morals” in the religious lifestyle choice they have made.

History will not be kind to you and yours, Huckster…

Time and time again these family values types have had to be forced to re-define their idea of traditional marriage because of what societies morals have defined as abhorrent practices. This time is no different than any of the other times. It truly sickens me that in a nation where all men are supposedly created equal… That we constantly have to sink down to these morally corrupt and repugnant people’s level to argue for the most basic civil rights of other men and women. Their right to choose.

Those of you on the other side of these arguments – and I assure you, they are all the same arguments repeated over and over again – will be viewed in the history books as the bigots and haters that you are. But let’s be clear on this…

That was your choice to be viewed as a homophobic bigot.

Not mine. My choice and belief would be that other people have no right to stick their noses in to the love lives, bedrooms and marriages of other adults. And I never had to ask for Mike Huckabee’s or any one else, Gay, Lesbian, heterosexual, religious, atheist or other, for permission to get married – other than my wife-to-be at the time. All of you on the wrong side of this argument have been left with the freedom to choose your religion, your morals, your values and even your spouse.

The LGBT community deserves the same rights, the same freedoms guaranteed to them under the Constitution, to make all of these same choices without your 5000 years of traditionally misguided, immoral and bigoted input.

December 12, 2008 Posted by | LGBT Issues, Religion | , , , , | Leave a comment

Single Payer Would Help Save Auto Industry

Hi. I am Stephen Herron, AKA: Connecticut Man1 from various community Blogs and from my own Blog: Drinking Liberally in New Milford. While I originally wrote this in January of 2007, concerning the cost of health care to consumers and service provided, it is equally applicable to the savings for the auto industry and all other industries, as well. And that is not my opinion, that is the opinion of the successful auto industry management. The ones like Toyota that aren’t asking for a bailout. Below the original post are added reactions and actions from various communities for us to take and one comment that would suggest even the Big 3 wholeheartedly agree with the idea of Single payer Universal Health Care.

At the time I wrote this in 2007, each vehicle assembled in the United States cost GM $1,525 for health care; those made in Canada cost GM $197. Probably more savings now since this was written nearly two years ago:

In U.S., it’s pay more, get less – Universal Health Care
Why is this man smiling?

In U.S., it’s pay more, get less:
“A RELATIVE BARGAIN: George Mercieca, a worker at a GM assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, shows off his Canadian health care card. GM spends an average of $1,385 a year on medical bills for hourly workers in Canada. An American autoworker costs the company about $5,000, but studies show Americans are no healthier than their foreign counterparts.”

He is smiling because he has a great job with better medical benefits than most Americans could ever hope for under our failed health care for profit system. The kind of job that Connecticut , and the USA as a whole, can never hope to attract under our current system. If you do not believe me then ask yourself “what does the manufacturing industry have to say about this?”

While training issues are less of a problem here in Connecticut because we have a decent educational system, health care is cited as a major issue for Toyota’s choice of Ontario as the location of a new factory for their Rav-4s slated to open in 2008:

“The level of the workforce in general is so high that the training program you need for people, even for people who have not worked in a Toyota plant before, is minimal compared to what you have to go through in the southeastern United States,” said Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, whose members will see increased business with the new plant.

Acknowledging it was the “worst-kept secret” throughout Ontario’s automotive industry, Toyota confirmed months of speculation Thursday by announcing plans to build a 1,300-worker factory in the southwestern Ontario city.

“Welcome to Woodstock – that’s something I’ve been waiting a long time to say,” Ray Tanguay, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada, told hundreds gathered at a high school gymnasium.

The plant will produce the RAV-4, dubbed by some as a “mini sport-utility vehicle” that Toyota currently makes only in Japan. It plans to build 100,000 vehicles annually.

The factory will cost $800 million to build, with the federal and provincial governments kicking in $125 million of that to help cover research, training and infrastructure costs.

Several U.S. states were reportedly prepared to offer more than double that amount of subsidy. But Fedchun said much of that extra money would have been eaten away by higher training costs than are necessary for the Woodstock project.

He said Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained – and often illiterate – workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use “pictorials” to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

“The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario,” Fedchun said.

In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.

“Most people don’t think of our health-care system as being a competitive advantage,” he said.

It is clearly an advantage for any company that wants to open up a business in any industry… A 4 to 5 dollar per hour advantage. An advantage so great that any state that passes true-single-payer Universal Health care first will be positioned to become a mecca for any company considering opening any kind of business.

We already have an educational advantage over the most of the USA, having a highly rated school system and a high rate of college graduates. Why the hold up on giving these businesses the real money savings that Universal Health Care would provide and the other best reason to set up shop in Connecticut?

Because of lobbying from the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. We need to take them out of the loop in the decision making process for this issue since we know they will fight it tooth-and-nail. We need to look at what is best for the people of Connecticut and for all industries, not just those two lobbying behemoths.

And just how much more is health care costing us?

Medical bills soar

Divide the nation’s medical bill evenly across the population, and each of us paid $6,102 in 2004, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That’s 50 percent more than the residents of the country with the next-highest health care bill, Switzerland ($4,077), and more than double the average for industrialized nations ($2,546).


Those countries provide health care for all their residents for less money than the United State spends while it leaves an estimated 46 million without insurance.

That’s contradicted by studies conducted by Gerard Anderson, director of the Center for Hospital Finance and Management at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “We have about the same number of MRIs and CT scanners as Canada, the U.K. and France, and far fewer than Japan,” Anderson said. “We have the same number of doctors, doctor visits, hospitals and inpatient days at hospitals.

“The difference is we pay two to 2 1/2 times more for virtually identical services.”

The average U.S. physician earned $180,000 in 2004, Anderson said; in Canada, it was $100,000 (in U.S. dollars).

Even after adjusting for the higher income of U.S. residents, Americans pay on average $2,000 more per year for health care than the residents of the next-highest paying country, Anderson said.

One out of every seven dollars spent today in the United States goes for health care — a record 15.3 percent of the gross domestic product in 2004, the latest year for which statistics are available. By comparison, Canada spends 9.9 percent of its GDP; Japan spends 8.0 percent.

By 2015, one out of every five dollars spent in the United States will go for health care, according to projections by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. If those projections hold, the average American’s share for medical needs alone will be a staggering $12,320.

For all that money, you would expect Americans to be healthier than their foreign friends. The opposite is true.

Whoa! They are healthier than us, and they pay less? It is not just a monetary cost:

If you’re born in the United States, chances are that you’ll die younger than people born in other industrialized nations. The United States has the lowest life expectancy of 14 nations measured by the World Health Organization. U.S. life expectancy in 2001 was 77.1; Canada, 79.7; Italy, 79.8; Japan, 81.5

The infant mortality rate is higher in the United States than in other industrialized nations. In 2003, seven infants died for every 1,000 live births in the United States — the worst rate of 19 countries measured by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

I am thinking that anyone that is really PRO-LIFE, and not just talking about it for partisan political reasons, would have to be shocked by those infant mortality rates. Why aren’t they screaming about this issue? If they are really honest about being pro-life than they should be our allies on true Universal Heath Care.

As for manufacturers, just how much profit margin can health care open up for them?

Those vehicles, often parked on the same dealer lot as identical vehicles produced in U.S. plants, have one notable difference: Each vehicle assembled in the United States cost GM $1,525 for health care; those made in Canada cost GM $197.

The higher salaries of Canadian autoworkers offset much of the health care savings for the company, said Jim Cameron, labor relations director for GM Canada. But at the cash-strapped automaker, such a huge health care cost differential is hard to ignore. The difference is primarily a result of Canada’s national health care system, in which most medical bills are paid by the government. Most countries have similar systems.

WHAT THE FUCK!!! The GM employees get higher wages up there too? And GM still racks up more profits from production up north in Canada then they can down here? How much more of this are you Nutmeggers willing to take?

Can you imagine the shockwave across the nation if a car manufacturer or some other large industry chose to locate in Connecticut over other states or countries… And it could happen.

Do you want to continue to pay more just to get less? Less healthy workers, less money, less jobs, less profit for industry as a whole.

Why not get more? More people that actually have coverage? More healthy workers that are more productive? More savings in health care for us and for industry? More manufacturers picking Connecticut as their destination of choice? More smiles on Nutmeggers’ faces.

Universal Health Care is the answer to everyone getting more.


It might be the answer to save all US industries.

There is an off the shelf answer sitting there getting dusty. Ask Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Dennis Kucinich and the other cosigners about H.R. 676. It would be a huge step towards helping every industry in this nation become competitive.

If you need to know about a health care plan that can fix many of the problems with our privatized ripoff:

The United States National Health Insurance Act

H.R. 676

“Expanded & Improved Medicare For All”

*introduced by Reps. John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Jim McDermott and Donna Christensen

National health insurance is not only the best answer,

it is the only answer to eliminating health disparities.

If you live in CT-05 you may want to know that Rep. Chris Murphy has yet to sign up as a co-sponsor to this bill. Ya think it is time to remind him how important H.R. 676 is to all Americans?

Rep. Chris Murphy’s contact info

Chris Murphy
(202) 225-4476,
1 Grove Street, New Britain CT 06053

If you live elsewhere, you might want to consider contacting your own Congress critters, as well.


(I tried to post this diary the other day here at MLN but put a link to my Blog instead because I had to edit all of the HTML in it to get it to post. This is important enough of an issue that I did get around to it… So, here it is with some reactions from around the internet added to it below.)

Some more actions we can take to bring this change, via Bruce Dixon at the Black Agenda Report:

What We Can Do to Protect US Jobs, Accomplish Universal Health Care, and Hold the New President Accountable.

  1. Get the information about single payer health care and spread what the corporate media won’t.Be a frequent visitor at the web site of Physicians for a National Health Care Plan, There you will find research material, talking points, frequently asked questions and answers, press releases and new information every day, enough to answer anybody’s questions on single payer, and to provide answers to all the lies and propaganda spread by the insurance companies. This is the stuff to write about, to blog about, to send and forward to everyone on your email list.
  2. Email, call and visit your member of Congress about single payer health care and saving US jobs.Whether they already support HR 676 or not, remind your elected representative that US industries cannot compete with those in societies which offer free health care. Demand that single payer health care ought to be part of any legislative deal to save US auto companies.Phone calls and emails are good. Letters and faxees are better. But group visits of five or more people to district offices are the most potent weapons of persuasion. Organize one. Nearly all members of congress have open hours during which constituents can make an appointment with or drop in on the Great Man or Woman to discuss issues of importance. If you video any of these visits, we will be happy to post them here, and in some cases if you organize the visit, we can arrange to shoot the video. Email us for details.
  3. Call a public meeting or teach-in at your school or neighborhood to talk about single payer health and others can help you arrange authoritative and knowledgeable speakers. Video that too so others not present at the event can see it.This is not the time to lay back, to wait and see what the new administration does or wants to do. Every day we wait before organizing to inform each other and publicly pressure the new president and his party to keep their promises is a day that the parasitic private health insurers enjoy unrestricted and unfettered access to the new administration behind the scenes. Elite pressure occurs behind the scenes. Pressure in the public interest is — well — public.This won’t be easy. Nearly every Democratic president since Harry Truman has aimed at some kind of solution to the health care mess. Producing an aroused public makes it easier for the new administration and its party to do the right thing. But if we don’t get loud about the link between saving jobs and delivering health care early in an Obama administration, a precious opportunity will be lost that we may never see again.

And… Just to be clear on what the BIG 3 really thinks about single payer universal health care, from tiggers thotful spot at TPM:

Yes, (The best way to ‘rescue’ General Motors is single payer health care) great minds think alike.

This is from a letter that the Big Three executives SENT to the Canadian govt:

The public health care system significantly reduces total labour costs for automobile manufacturing firms, compared to the cost of equivalent private insurance services purchased by U.S.-based automakers; these health insurance savings can amount to several dollars per hour of labour worked. Publicly funded health care thus accounts for a significant portion of Canada’s overall labour cost advantage in auto assembly, versus the U.S., which in turn has been a significant factor in maintaining and attracting new auto investment to Canada…

For both employers and workers in the auto industry, it is vitally important that the publicly funded health care system be preserved and renewed, on the existing principles of universality, accessibility, portability, comprehensiveness, and public administration…

From Ozzie, a couple of videos discussing single payer health care:

Nick Skala, formerly of PNHP and co-founder of Health Care for All Illinois details quite a bit. Part 1.

Part 2 here.

From Imavehmontah on savings with single payer universal health care:

Single payer healthcare means replacing the present patchwork quilt of payment mechanisms for the cost of health care with a single point source payer. That single payer is responsible for defining the benefits package that is covered, actuarial predictions of what the cost would be for those services, collecting the money required to cover those costs, and disbursement of the money. The single payer obviously has a great amount of power and responsibility for health care. There may or may not be the addition of other payers for services that are outside of the benefits package chosen by the single payer. Some single payer systems have also allowed people to “opt-out” of being covered by a single payer system and go it alone, with or without the help of other insurance companies or plans.

Why is single payer advantageous? There are a number of ways that single payer plans (can potentially) improve care and reduce costs:

When all people are in a large common pool, the single payer has enormous leverage to negotiate prices.

When all people are in a common pool, the single payer can prospectively look at the relative values provided by different modes of treatment and decide which modalities are most cost effective for the populace at large.

The single payer can preferentially fund and reward preventive care (which may even include preventions typically not thought of as “health care” like smoking cessation), which frees up resources that may otherwise be wasted.

The single payer can reduce greatly the amount of resources required to get reimbursement for service provided, freeing those resources to be used for other health care services.

The single payer can reduce geographic maldistribution of health care resources.

The single payer has no fear that money invested in services that keep people healthy will become a reward for someone else down the line as people change health care plans.

Being involved in a single payer system raised the awareness and accountability of all of participants in the system. It quickly becomes clear that it is in your interest to make sure that your neighbors take advantage of preventive services and behaviors because everybody wins.

A single payer plan can (if properly designed) be more responsive to local needs and variations, and more locally accountable.

A single payer system can improve the use of health care technology for information use that will give us a clearer picture of how to allocate resources for the best return on investment.

A single payer system can greatly reduce the percentage of the total GNP that health care consumes, benefitting all industry.

Now, there are going to be a lot of anecdotal replies to this about this description. I admit that not all single payer implementations realize these potentials. But nonetheless these are the possible benefits in a well designed system.

neroden on systems eliminated by single payer universal health care:

I’ll count Medicare (parts A and B) as continuing to exist, because they would likely form the basis of the single payer system. If the single-payer system was “built fresh” they would go away too.

(1) All private insurance companies, including all HMOs and PPOs. There might be a small number left to provide “supplemental” insurance.

(2) Medicaid. Subsumed by single-payer.

(3) S-CHIP. Subsumed by single-payer.

(4) Medicare [Dis]Advantage. This is private companies.

(5) Medicare Part D. Elimination of private companies.

(6) Health care compensation from auto insurance. (Compensation for lost wages and “quality of life” would continue, but would be much simpler to adjudicate; premiums would drop).

(7) Health care compensation for ‘worker’s comp’. (Compensation for lost wages and “quality of life” would continue, but would be much simpler to adjudicate; premiums would drop.)

(8) “preferred providers”, doctors accepting some insurances and not others, and all similar doctors’ office paperwork. Every doctor would either be “in the national system” or not, and very few would not.

(9) State and local health insurance systems for their employees. Subsumed by single-payer.

(10) Self-funded insurance schemes from corporations (like GM) and universities (like Cornell). Subsumed by single-payer.

(11) Special “flu clinics” and other such schemes for getting basic preventative medicine to everyone. Everyone would have a regular doctor in the system and that doctor would offer preventative medicine for free.

(12) Health care aspect of disability insurance for business. (Compensation for lost wages would continue, but would be much simpler to adjudicate; premiums would drop.)

(13) Federal government employees insurance system. Subsumed by single-payer.

(14) Charity care budgets at emergency rooms. Subsumed by single-payer.

It would instantly save many corporations, hospitals, and individuals from bankruptcy.

Current estimates are that the tax increase needed would be very small. The administrative savings from combining Medicare, Medicaid, S-CHIP, and the Government Employees insurance program is substantial; the savings from pricing power are large; and the government already covers all the people with the highest health care costs (children, the elderly, the poor, and the military), so adding all the “cheap” people costs a lot less proportionally. Estimates are that the government already pays 7/8 of all health care spending in the country, so that gives you a good sense of the necessary increase.

People relatively well-to-do would presumably see their taxes go up slightly, as would well-to-do businesses. However, almost anyone who is actually paying for their insurance would end up saving money. Only people who are uninsured and healthy (who benefit by getting coverage), or who have their insurance entirely paid for by employers (which is very rare these days) would have a net increase in costs.

What it would require is firing a lot of people — the people working for the health insurance companies, or working in other offices to deal with the health insurance companies. That’s where the out-of-pocket savings for most Americans would come from: the fired paper-pushers. That is the actual downside: elimination of jobs, but since they’re wasteful make-work, or even make-trouble, jobs, I think it’s worth it. We could come up with a job placement program for them.

While it would eliminate insurance company jobs that PRODUCE NOTHING (except for the leeching effect off of our paychecks) these jobs would be replaced by more productive jobs in the health care industry. More Doctors, Nurses, technicians and other supporting jobs for hospitals, clinics and industries that produce health care products.

Jobs that would be more beneficial to individuals, industry and to society as a whole.

December 3, 2008 Posted by | Economy, Single Payer Universal Health Care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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December 3, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment