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FAQ flyer on single-payer bill

Over the last three decades we have heard a continuing drumbeat by proponents of market based health care that the privatized approach brings greater efficiency, more choice and value, while also lowering costs through through increased competition. The track record, however, across various parts of the health care industry, is precisely and consistently the opposite—higher costs, restricted choice, less value and worse quality of care. The only area that privatized care demonstrates new efficiencies is in making money for corporate owners and shareholders.
From How Obamacare is Unsustainable, by John Geyman, M.D., page 36 Privatized Health Care: Claims vs. Reality

Editor’s note: This kind of desperate act will not occur once we have universal, publicly funded healthcare in our country. All medically necessary care, including prescription drugs, will be available to patients.

Florida Man Says He Killed Sick Wife Because He Couldn’t Afford Her Medicine, Sheriffs Say

By Christine Hauser, New York Times, May 19, 2016

William J. Hager, 86, said he had run out of options.

His wife, Carolyn Hager, 78, had been ill for the last 15 of the more than 50 years they were married. The cost of her medications had become so burdensome that they could no longer afford it, he said. So on Monday morning while she was sleeping, he shot her in the head, he told the deputy who came to their Florida home.

The killing in Port St. Lucie and Mr. Hager’s explanation were detailed in an arrest affidavit and by local news media. Mr. Hager was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder. But the case appeared to also highlight the difficulties faced by older people who are retired or on fixed incomes and struggle to pay for their medicine when they are ill or in pain.

At the sheriff’s office, Mr. Hager told deputies that his wife had a “lot of illnesses and other ailments which required numerous medications,” which he “could no longer afford,” the affidavit said.

According to a study by the AARP, an advocacy group for people over 50, specialty drugs that treat complex, chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis come with huge price tags.

Deputies said that Ms. Hager had severe arthritis and other health issues, but they declined to name the drugs she needed, citing privacy laws, according to WPTV, a TV station in West Palm Beach. Records show the Hagers filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and Mr. Hager worked at Sears for a short time to try to pay for the medication, the station said.

When a deputy sheriff arrived at the Hagers’ house Monday afternoon, Mr. Hager told him, “I have bad news,” according to the affidavit. Ms. Hager’s body was propped up with pillows in a bed, covered with a blanket.

Mr. Hager said he had killed her at 7:30 a.m. while she was asleep, according to the affidavit. He placed the gun, a Colt .32 revolver, on a dresser, went into the kitchen of their home and drank coffee. He then called his daughters to tell them what he had done before calling 911 in the afternoon.

Mr. Hager apologized to deputies for not calling them earlier in the day but said he had wanted to let his children know what had happened first.

He said that his wife had told him in the past that she wanted to die, and that he had been thinking of killing her for several days because she was in pain, the affidavit said.

The couple had been married for more than 50 years, local news organizations said. It was not immediately clear if they had Medicare or any other insurance.

“He was perfectly clear on that he was going to be arrested and go to jail, but again, he felt that this is where it had gotten to him and this was his course of action,” Chief Deputy Garry Wilson of the sheriff’s department said, according to the Treasure Coast Newspapers. “He showed emotion and he was very clear that he was out of options in his mind.”

Mr. Hager has appeared before a circuit court judge by video from jail, but had not yet been entered a formal plea or been assigned a public defender, said Kara Odom, a court administrator.

 

'Maine' reasons for universal health care

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What Can Maine Doctors Do?

Return medicine to its healing roots — help educate and advocate for universal, single-payer health care that covers every Maine resident

  • Join Maine AllCare mailing list, and volunteer to help, including supporting financially
  • Join PNHP — www.pnhp.org
  • Visit our websites regularly — www.maineallcare.org & www.philcaper.net for more information
  • Organize and make your voices heard through the Maine Medical Association
    • Doctors have lost influence during the past 30 years or so, but we are far from powerless – they don’t have much of a business without us!
    • Doctors are still influential – make your views known
  • Write op-eds and letters to the Editor of your local paper
  • Testify in person and in writing before the relevant legislative committees when legislation affecting health care is being considered. MAC can help organize these efforts
  • Organize speaking events directed at professions and lay audiences for Maine AllCare speakers
    • Grand rounds
    • Local and specialty medical societies
    • Community forums, church groups, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Chambers of Commerce

If you have ideas about how else we might advance the cause of universal health care here in Maine, please write to us at info@maineallcare.org and and put "Idea" in the Subject line. Thank you.

Cooking the books on single payer

The Urban Institute’s Hatchet Job on Medicare for All

By Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein
Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 17, 2016

The latest attack on Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health reform proposal comes from John Holahan and his colleagues at the Urban Institute. They claim that under Sen. Sanders’ plan medical spending would shoot up by $518.9 billion in 2017 alone, and by $6.6 trillion over the next decade.

Mr. Holahan’s analysis couldn’t pass a laugh test — it’s based on absurd assumptions, ignores a raft of real-life evidence from both the United States and abroad, and directly contradicts itself — but serious people seem to be taking it seriously. So we’ll recite a few of its most egregious gaffes.

Mr. Holahan insists we can’t get more than piddling savings on insurance overhead and the vast costs for billing and bureaucracy that insurers inflict on doctors and hospitals.

Traditional Medicare runs for less than 3 percent overhead, and insurance overhead in Canada’s single-payer system is 1.8 percent. But Mr. Holahan proclaims that a single-payer system here couldn’t get below 6 percent. That drives his spending estimate up by $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years.

While the Urban Institute crew low-balled single-payer savings on insurance overhead, they no-balled the huge bureaucratic savings for hospitals and doctors’ offices under a streamlined single-payer system.

Every serious analyst of single-payer reform has acknowledged these savings, including the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and even a consulting firm owned by the nation’s largest private insurer, UnitedHealth Group. And they’ve all found that the provider savings on paperwork are even larger than the savings on insurance overhead.

Today our hospitals spend one-quarter of their total revenues on billing and administration. That’s more than twice as much as hospitals in Canada or Scotland, where hospitals get paid a lump-sum budget and don’t have to bill separately for each bandage and aspirin tablet.

And America’s doctors spend at least one-fifth of every working day (and tens of billions of dollars) on bureaucracy and billing hassles that would mostly disappear under single-payer. Read More

 

FIX IT – Healthcare at the Tipping Point a must see documentary for all Americans

FIX IT – Healthcare at the Tipping Point a must see documentary for all Americans

This documentary takes an in-depth look into how our dysfunctional health care system is damaging our economy, suffocating our businesses, discouraging physicians and negatively impacting on the nation's health, while remaining un-affordable for a third of our citizens. Produced by Richard Master, owner and CEO of MCS Industries, an Easton PA company.

My company now has to pay $1.5 million a year to provide access to health care for our workers and their dependents. When I investigated where all that money goes, I was shocked. I found that the first three cents of every premium dollar goes to the insurance agent who helps MCS select an insurance plan and negotiate rates with our insurer. The next 20 cents goes to the insurance company to help pay for its sales and marketing and other administrative functions, which includes the work of a huge staff that does nothing more than approve or deny care. Another 10 cents (at least) goes to cover what it costs doctors and hospitals to handle the massive amount of paper work and phone time made necessary by my insurance company’s pre-­approval demands, denials and other payment issues. That’s 33 cents of every premium dollar, 33 cents that has nothing to do with the delivery of health care.

Excerpt from a introductory letter by Richard Master

For arranging a FREE screening of this one hour documentary please email us.