CALENDAR – AUGUST
August 3rd 11:00 – 12:30 Communications Committee. U.S. Bank, Walnut & 9thSt.
August 3rd1:30 Legislative Team, First Presbyterian Church, B-2
August 14Osborn Pool, Corvallis. Noon to 7:00 p.m. Family Swim Event; article below; MVHCA will have a table.
August 15th MVHCA Board, 1:00 – 3:00, First Presbyterian Church, Library.
August 18th 1:00 – 3:00 Outreach Committee, St. Mary’s Church.
August18th Benefit for Health Care for All Oregon:
“An Evening With Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini”
Click here to get An Evening with Thomas Lauderdale Tickets.
NOTE! August 22d MVHCA General Meeting: at Westminster House, corner of 23rd and Monroe, McLain room (at the north end of the building). Free parking available on Monroe after 5 p.m.Campus parking lot on the south side of Monroe is available for all users after 5 p.m.
Late Breaking News Coverage from Aug. 1 Panel Discussion in Portland
My sense and the understanding of others I spoke with after the panel presentation--which was sponsored by Portland City Club and Oregon Physicians for a National Health Program--was that we heard about many policies we had heard about before, but we also heard a few enticing gems and perhaps some new commitments. Among the panelists Alisha Moreland-Capula spoke most strongly for making sure that everyone in the state is covered — Paul Gorman, moderator, agreed, and both Kitzhaber and Berwick did not disagree, but perhaps for them, universal coverage was not as strong a priority. Others in MVHCA may have a different perspective, and we all will enjoy debating what influence the session might have. Thanks to Sam Metz who played a critical role in making the forum happen, and getting it recorded.
A video was made and will be available on YouTube, I believe, and I am making a radio version of key portions of it; I also interviewed Rep. Mitch Greenlick about what he hoped to learn and why he came. MVHCA will let members know how to access these recordings.
Short summary, review, and photos by Roberta Hall, chair, MVHCA.
Donald M. Berwick, MD, President Emeritus, Institute for Healthcare Improvement and former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
John Kitzhaber, MD, former Governor of Oregon
Alisha Moreland, MD, executive director, Avel Gordly Center for Healing; Assistant Professor of Public Psychiatry, OHSU School of Medicine.
Paul Gorman, MD (moderator), Assistant Dean for Rural Medical Education and Professor of Medical Infor-matics and Clinical Epidemiology and Medicine at OHSU School of Medicine
The photos immediately below are Rep. Mitch Greenlick, chair of the House Healthcare Committee on the left, and on the right is Sen. Michael Dembrow. Below them, on the left are Drs. Don Berwick, John Kitzhaber, and Alisha Moreland-Capula — the panelists. To the right is a picture of Dr. Paul Gorman, who served as Moderator.]
MVHCA CELEBRATES ITS 25THANNIVERSARY!
It was a great occasion--MVHCA’s big anniversary party on July 22! The planning committees really outdid themselves! We all sang “The Health Care Blues” with Mark Weiss and Pete Kozak.
The Hilltop Big Band set the mood. Featured soloist, Audrey Perkins, got people out on the dance floor. Did you see us (grey heads) out there, swinging to the music? (I haven’t danced the jitterbug since….)
An OSU dance group, Cool Shoes, gave a dazzling performance!
Did I mention the food? Varied and abundant. But, I must say, I never saw so much hummus. Thank God for a little salami. And the cakes, of course: carrot, chocolate, white. Ron Green narrated the historical skits, mixing a sense of fun with a string of MVHCA accomplishments. The Mad As Hell Doctors were there in their Mad As Hell t-shirts. Physicians for a National Health Program were accordingly costumed.
Mike Huntington was everywhere, keeping the electronic gear on line.
Who organized all this? It seems there were lots of organizers, but no one to claim leadership. It was suggested by some that Betty Johnson was behind it all. No surprise there! Maxine Eckes took notes and reminded everyone what they’d promised to do! And everyone came through. Co-founder Rich Lague came from Seattle to see what we’d done with what he helped to start 25 years ago.
A highlight, of course, was the Skype interview with T.R. Reid, a leader of ColoradoCareYes. He told us how they are preparing to do battle in the fall with big health insurance companies which are pouring in big bucks for TV ads. MVHCA did its darnedest: and we raised more than $3000 for ColoradoCareYes!
HCAO-Albany has tabled this summer at the Saturday Market in Albany, the Lions July 4th Breakfast and, along with HCAO-Salem, at the Berniefest in Lebanon. The latter was a very high-spirited affair!
A Medicare Birthday Celebration was held on July 30th at the Saturday Market in Albany. Cupcakes with candles were distributed.
Our goal has been to get one letter-to-the-editor per month published in The Democrat Herald this year.
HCAO-Albany meets on 3rd Mondays at Lakeside Center in Mennonite Village, 5353 Columbus St. SE. For more information on HCAO-Albany call Edie Orner 541-926-5989.
Reported by Helen McGovern
Health Care for All Oregon Hires
New Executive Director
Health Care for All Oregon, a coalition of 120 organizations and over 17,000 activists statewide advocating for universal publicly funded health care, announced the hiring of a new Executive Director, Jan Falk, MSW, effective July 1, 2016.
Jan is a native of Fairfax Station, Virginia, where she lived and worked as a family therapist, political activist, change agent and executive director. She has served as the CEO of four nonprofits including St. Francis House, Boston’s largest treatment facility for the homeless, NAMI of Massachusetts, SAVE (Shelter Against Violent Environments), as well as the Center for Human Development, a national think- tank on effective education strategies. Prior to serving as Executive Director of HCAO she was the Director of Development for the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the HIV/AIDS service provider for the DC area, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Police Foundation. She has been a grant writer for various nonprofits and community based organizations since 1981.
Jan Falk has been active in political campaigns for the past twenty years to elect candidates and to support legislation and funding for issues including healthcare, gun control, homelessness, domestic violence, and children’s programming. Jan graduated from the University of Maryland and George Mason University in Virginia.
She moved to Bend two years ago where she has a private psychotherapy practice. She has three sons who live in Seattle and New York.
Family Swim Day, Osborn Pool, 12 noon to 7:00 p.m. August 14
De acuerdo a la opinión del público, Campeones de Salud cambia su enfoque para ofrecer Aqua Campeones de Salud - un día familiar en las albercas de Corvallis Osborn Aquatic Center! Este evento es gratuito y se llevará a cabo elDOMINGO, 14 de agosto de 2016.
In response to community input, Campeones de Salud is re-launching with a Family Swim Day at Osborn Aquatic Center! This free event will be on SUNDAY, August 14, 2016. It will include a number of vendors offering health screenings and health information. MVHCA will have a table at the event, which takes the place of the Latino Soccer Games and Health Fair, usually occurring at the end of August.
ROOM FOR DEBATE
On June 28 the New York Times ran a well-balanced debate about whether the VA should permit vets to get treatment anywhere they choose, or restrict them to the VA system. Check out the article by clicking on the title.
Growth in Health Care Spending & Comment, by Blogger Don McCannes
From Health Affairs July 13, 2016
“National Health Expenditure Projections, 2015–25: Economy, Prices, and Aging Expected To Shape Spending And Enrollment” by Sean P. Keehan, John A. Poisal, Gigi A. Cuckler, Andrea M. Sisko, Sheila D. Smith, Andrew J. Madison, Devin A. Stone, Christian J. Wolfe and Joseph M. Lizonitz (all from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary)
Health spending growth in the United States for 2015–25 is projected to average 5.8 percent — 1.3 percentage points faster than growth in the gross domestic product — and to represent 20.1 percent of the total economy by 2025. As the initial impacts associated with the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions fade, growth in health spending is expected to be influenced by changes in economic growth, faster growth in medical prices, and population aging. Projected national health spending growth, though faster than observed in the recent history, is slower than in the two decades before the recent Great Recession, in part because of trends such as increasing cost sharing in private health insurance plans and various Medicare payment update provisions. In addition, the share of total health expenditures paid for by federal, state and local governments is projected to increase to 47 percent by 2025.
National Health Expenditures (NHE) 2016
NHE $3.3507 trillion
NHE as percent of GDP 18.1%
Government proportion of NHE 46%
NHE per capita $10,345.5
The health sector is in the midst of a unique period, in which various forces are exerting differential pressures on health spending growth. Economy-wide and medical-specific price growth have been very low, helping restrain inflation’s impact on health spending, and the Medicare program is experimenting with various alternative payment approaches. Meanwhile, many Americans are gaining access to health coverage for the first time, aging into Medicare, or finding that a greater share of their health expenses needs to be paid out of pocket. And the Medicaid program is evolving: Its population mix is increasingly likely to be covered through private plans.
For the period 2015–25, growth in health spending is projected to average 5.8 percent, influenced in part by an expectation of higher economy-wide and medical prices. By 2025, as economic, legislative, and demographic influences play out, the health spending share of the economy is projected to reach 20.1 percent, up from 17.5 percent in 2014, and governments are anticipated to sponsor 47 percent of health spending, up from 45 percent in 2014. The percentage of the US population that is uninsured is expected to be 8 percent in 2025, down from about 11 percent in 2014.
CMS National Health Expenditure Projections 2015-2025:
Comment by Don McCanne
The Great Recession has contributed to slowing of the growth in health care spending in recent years, but the future changes are predicted to be more closely related to various demographic related coverage changes plus certain payment trends including the increase in cost sharing in private insurance plans. Also the increase in the government contribution to our national health expenditures deserves special mention.
Regarding increases in patient cost sharing, it is no secret that this has been a blunt instrument to control spending, resulting in a decline in use of beneficial health care services. As has been stated repeatedly, we need more patient-friendly methods of slowing the increase in spending such as fairer publicly-administered pricing through a single payer national health program.
The government contribution to our national health expenditures has increased to 46 percent, but that does not include two large components of taxpayer-funded government spending on health care: 1) The government contribution to employee health insurance on the federal, state and local levels, and 2) the massive tax expenditures for employer-sponsored health plans (i.e., the health insurance component of the employee benefit package is not subject to income taxes, reducing revenue for the government which must be made up by other taxpayers).
The irony is that we already pay in taxes devoted to health care alone more than almost every other nation pays in public and private health care spending combined. Without increasing our current level of spending we could pay for a comprehensive, government-financed, single payer national health program. Yet we continue to support our dysfunctional financing system that wastes so much on administrative excesses while perpetuating injustices by misallocating distribution of our health care resources.
We can and must do better.
NOW'S THE TIME: Beyond Obamacare
The Healthcare Movie, a documentary by Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg is to have a sequel titled Now’s the Time! Their self imposed deadline is in September.
Request for clips: If you have video clips or photos from inside hospital rooms or doctors' offices and/or video of Single Payer actions in which your group participated, you may be able to get them into the movie if you get them to the producers pronto. They might be used to illustrate some points in the movie. E-mail the producers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a Part of the Release - Host a Screening Party!
They are hoping to coordinate several screenings in multiple locations--hopefully in September--to launch the release of the film. If you want to participate by hosting a screening please let them know. They will send you a screener DVD or link to online streaming if you promise to "pass the hat" at the screening to help with production and distribution costs.
If you want to host a screening please let them know! E-mail the producers email@example.com
MVHCA Has a New Logo!
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. Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates is pleased to announce our new logo. It is pictured here in two versions—with and without text, and exists in both TIFF and PNG formats.
Designed to reflect our mission—that we support health care coverage for all—the image depicts an umbrella representing coverage and a crowd of figures representing all ages and walks of life, all contained within the Oregon outline.
Ms Holteen’s website is 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.firstname.lastname@example.org) for the logo and usage guidelines.MVHCA Has a New Logo!
MVHCA at the July 4 Parade
At Corvallis’s hometown family-and-dog-friendly 4th of July parade, anyone one who wants to walk just shows up. Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates did, and a large crowd waved for all participants as, walking and waving, we delivered our messages for a universal, comprehensive health care system.
We were 26 people in all. Mike Huntington was on his bike, tootling an impressive horn, which brought cheers from kids along the way. Others held onto the ends of our two banners. Between the banners, Cindy Scott, wearing a hospital gown with a fake plastic bare bottom (over her jeans) cavorted to the crowd’s delight with a sign calling attention to “poor coverage” under our current system of care.
The photo taken just before the parade started was made when only half of us had arrived, but the spirit shows!
Report and photo by Bobbi Hall
Rep. Alan Grayson, 9th District, FL, Running for the Senate:
Grayson Celebrates the Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid
“Today [July 29] we celebrate the birthday of Medicare and Medicaid — together with the Affordable Care Act-- the most important healthcare programs in our country’s history. [I decided] to spend the day working on…an appropriate present for Medicare’s birthday -- an expansion to include eyes, ears, and teeth.
“Since Medicare was enacted, the poverty rate among seniors has dropped almost two-thirds; American women’s life expectancy has increased by five years; and American men’s life expectancy has increased by eight years. But despite this success, there are gaps in Medicare coverage that need to be closed. The most glaring gap is the fact that Medicare does not provide basic medical coverage for seniors’ eyes, ears and teeth. It’s as though Medicare assumes that seniors don’t need to see, hear or chew.”
Rep. Grayson, who is running for the Senate, is campaigning on the promise of Medicare… “a promise that we make to ourselves, the young to the old, one generation to the next. The promise is that after you reach your 65th birthday, your medical needs will be met. To keep that promise, our seniors have paid into the system for as much as half a century before they receive a single earned benefit. They deserve the best care that we can provide for them.” “That’s what I’ve been working to accomplish in the House, with my Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act. I already have reversed brutal GOP cuts in senior housing, and increased free tax advice for seniors by 50% -- two years in a row. So with your help, that’s what I hope to continue to work on in the Senate.”
Attend our Fourth Monday General Meetings!
Next meeting: August 22
This time, exceptionally, at Westminster House, 23d & Monroe, 7—9:00 pm
(See calendar for parking directions) The MVHCA Bookmobile (& DVDs) appears at our General Meetings