Single-Payer Activists Come to Salem, Tout Universal Care Study

--Chris Gray, the Lund Report, April 21, 2017  (excerpted)

The state’s single-payer activists made their annual descent on Salem on Thursday, championing their perennial legislation to implement publicly financed, privately delivered healthcare -- this time accompanied by new research from the Rand Corporation, showing that the state could give everyone better care for the same amount of money currently spent in Oregon.

“The question is not whether we can afford the single-payer system but how can we afford the current system,” said Chunhuei Chi, an expert in healthcare financing and professor at Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

Oregon consumers, employers, along with the state and federal governments currently spend about $36.2 billion on healthcare in the Beaver State. According to Rand, the single-payer plan outlined in its study would roll up Medicare and the Oregon Health Plan as well as the uninsured and those with private insurance; it would save money by reducing administrative costs and would extract 10 percent lower rates from healthcare providers, especially hospitals.

“The state could always leave primary care rates where they are, or even increase them, while lowering rates for hospitals and other expenses,” said Chapin White, the lead researcher on the study from the Rand Corp. in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, this year introduced Senate Bill 1046, which now has 34 Democratic co-sponsors and implements single-payer healthcare in Oregon. The bill was heard alongside the presentation of the Rand study on Thursday, but since it was scheduled after the filing deadline for new legislation, it has no chance of passage.

In perhaps a show of even-handedness, the Rand study did anticipate one possible downside of single-payer: diminished access to care in the short-term. Rand predicted that providers would struggle to keep up with demand if the state’s remaining 200,000 uninsured people suddenly got access to healthcare, and the drastic reduction in costs to patients would simultaneously encourage people to seek more care.

“The good news is that it’s validated that either one of the universal health plans is better than the status quo. The status quo is deteriorating at the moment,” said Dr. Sam Metz, a member of the single-payer advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program. But Metz said no other single-payer study assumed driving down rates to paid providers, and he complained that the study didn’t do enough to factor in a reduction in administrative waste, both on the insurance side and for medical providers.

One system Rand studied would charge a payroll tax on businesses with more than 20 employees as well as an additional income tax, while the other would enact a state sales tax. Both of those funding mechanisms would still be politically dicey to enact -- Oregon voters have rejected a sales tax multiple times and the state already has one of the highest income taxes in the country.

But consumers and employers would save $13.1 billion in insurance and out-of-pocket medical costs under single-payer, Rand found. Under a market-based system in which the state financed the system through taxes but allowed consumers multiple third-party insurance options, consumers and employers would save $7 billion a year.

All of the models based their coverage on the “Essential Health Benefits” package in the Affordable Care Act -- omitting adult dental care, optometric care and long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities.

The model offering multiple options was borne of an idea from business lobbyist John DiLorenzo, and that enabled the bill funding the study at times to attract multiple Republican backers, including Sen. Jeff Kruse, R-Roseburg. DiLorenzo backs universal healthcare because it relieves business from the burden of managing health benefits.

Reach Chris Gray at chris@thelundreport.org.

Apr 21 2017

Speakers Training

Learn how to talk to your friends and family about universal health care--come to a speakers training on April 29. Details are here.

Five GOP Health Care Buzz Phrases You Need to Inoculate Yourself Against

Adapted from Julie Chinitz

Stop the Attack on Medicare

A petition is circulating to stop the action to privatize Medicare.  Medicare is a fundamental tool of Americans' economic security – a guarantee that seniors will not be denied health care just because they can’t afford it.  The fight over the future of Medicare could come to a head as soon as the next session of Congress starts in January.

Sign the petition: Stop the Republican attack on Medicare.  Click on the text to access the petition.

RAND study released

For a full copy of the RAND report, entitled A Comprehensive Assessment of Four Options for Financing Health Care Delivery in Oregon, click here. 

MVHCA celebrates latest victory

 MVHCA's primary goal is an affordable, comprehensive, publicly-funded, high quality, universal health care system for all Oregonians.

Thank you, CORVALLIS!

Thanks to the 19,000+ people who voted "yes" on Corvallis ballot measure 2-95.  It passed by a very substantial margin and tells our legislators that universal health care needs to be a priority in Oregon. We count ourselves as fortunate to live in a community that cares about the health of our citizens. This past Saturday, 100 representatives from throughout the state gathered in Corvallis for the semi-annual meeting of Health Care for All Oregon, a coalition of more than 125 organizations and individuals working to develop plans for publicly funded, comprehensive health coverage in our state. 


The Corvallis vote, as well as a similar one passed in Ashland, will serve as a model for other communities as we move toward the vital goal of making health care for all a reality.

We’ve already heard thanks from one State Senator. These important votes of support in our cities will help this senator to persuade others in the legislature to move forward on health care that covers all in one huge risk pool of everyone in our state.  

MVHCA celebrates 25 years of health care activism

Images from the MVHCA 25th anniversary party capture the spirit of the evening. 

The ColoradoCareYes bill will appear appear on the Colorado ballot this November; if it passes, Colorado will provide health care for all the state's residents. The party raised $3,040 for ColoradoCareYes. 

Photos by Don Hall.

MVHCA chooses new logo

Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates is pleased to announce our new logo. Designed to reflect our mission — that we support health care coverage for all — the image depicts an umbrella to represent coverage and a crowd of figures meant to represent all ages and walks of life, all contained within the Oregon outline.

The logo was created by the MVHCA Communications Committee and approved by the Board at its June 2016 meeting. The designer was Shelby Holteen, of Shelby Holteen Designs. Ms Holteen’s website is www.shelbyholteendesigns.weebly.com

For an official version of the logo to use in any official promotional efforts on behalf of MVHCA, please contact the Communications Committee sandra.j.bean.or@gmail.com for the logo and usage guidelines.

Get Involved

We welcome your support and involvement on whatever level and in whatever way works for you!  Attending the monthly meeting on the 4th Monday evening of each month is probably the best way to learn more about the organization and find out how you might want to participate.  

There are lots of volunteer opportunities – helping with planning and arranging events, tabling at Farmers’ Markets and other public gatherings, hosting a front room conversation, writing a letter to the editor, etc.

MVHCA (Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates) and HCAO (Health Care for All Oregon) are 501(c)3 non-profit corporations and all donations are tax-deductible.

Thank you for wanting to support our efforts financially.  We appreciate your donation in any amount and would especially encourage you to consider becoming a sustaining donor (setting up a monthly contribution) to provide stability for MVHCA’s work going forward. 

What are those acronyms?

MVHCA – Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates
    Local volunteer activist group; member of HCAO; non-profit status
HCAO – Health Care for All Oregon Statewide organization with more than 120       member groups
HCAO-Action – is a new 501(c4) and is designed for contributions to be used        for lobbying
PNHP – Physicians for a National Health Program Nationwide organization with      very active local chapter

MVHCA ADVOCATES MEET WITH sENATOR SARA GELSER ON APRIL 20 AT THE STATE CAPITOL IN SALEM.

MVHCA ADVOCATES MEET WITH sENATOR SARA GELSER ON APRIL 20 AT THE STATE CAPITOL IN SALEM.