Now is The Time Film Tour Proposes a Timely Replacement for Obamacare

When former Oregon-resident filmmakers Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg began shooting Now is the Time- Healthcare for Everybody, they had no idea the U.S. healthcare system was about to be thrown into disarray by the new administration’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, potentially causing millions of Americans to lose their healthcare access. But the threat of impending major changes to the healthcare system makes their film even more timely.

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Inaugurate Social and Eco Justice Demonstration - Friday, January 20

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On Friday, Jan. 20, Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates, along with many other groups working toward social justice, will be part of a march and short rally that is billed as a Community Organizing event. It will begin on the OSU campus around 3:00 at the Student Experience Center Plaza, under the big translucent canopy, just east of the Memorial Union on campus (Jefferson street).  The parade will proceed toward and along Monroe, weaving around town, and stopping briefly at Central Park. As dusk approaches, all will be welcomed at the Odd Fellows Hall on 2nd Street for hot cider, conversation, and networking. Titled “Inaugurate Social and Eco Justice,” the event's goal is to showcase issues that our community cares about and will be working on in 2017.

MVHCA members will meet on Monroe at 11th Street at 3:10 to distribute “Health Care For All Oregon” and “Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates” banners and gown-plus-bun costumes so we will be ready to join the procession. Please meet us there as we move into a season of activism! E-mail Bobbi if you have questions, rlhall@peak.org.

Dr. Samuel Metz Protests the AMA's Endorsement of Price for HHS Secretary

Below is a letter to the AMA by Dr. Samuel Metz of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and Health Care for All Oregon (HCAO) about his opposition to the AMA's endorsement of Donald Trump's nomination of Dr. tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Dear Oregon physicians,
 The nomination of Dr. Tom Price as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services was endorsed by the American Medical Association. https://wire.ama-assn.org/ama-news/why-we-support-dr-price-lead-hhs
 I was not happy with this choice. Below is a letter sent to the AMA office listing my objections. Following it are two responses from the AMA.
 Other physicians were even more unhappy with this choice. Nationally, many took action:
 https://medium.com/@ClinicianAction/the-ama-does-not-speak-for-us-d697511267d5#.rwy2o6f3i
 
http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2016/12/15/not-all-oregon-doctors-like-trumps-choice-for-hhs.html
 The first link allows more physicians to join as signatories. Please consider doing so.
 Please also consider contacting the AMA office with your opinion.

Samuel Metz, MD

 
-----Original Message-----
From: Samuel Metz [mailto:s@samuelmetz.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 10:17 AM
To: Medical Association American (Jack.Deutsch@ama-assn.org)
 
Mr. Deutsch,
I am deeply disappointed with the AMA’s enthusiastic endorsement of Dr. Tom Price for Secretary of Health and Human Services.
As the AMA endorsement states, Dr. Price is an experienced physician, administrator, and legislator. He understands how to achieve policy goals.
It is his specific policy goals that concern me. Dr. Price’s highest priorities are protecting physician Medicare revenue and reducing federal Medicaid spending.
 In contrast, my highest priority is increasing every patient’s access to healthcare regardless of ability to pay at time of need. Dr. Price’s priorities conflict with mine.
 I am a private practice anesthesiologist who enjoys my highly paid medical specialty. All my patients receive excellent care, or so I hope. My greater concern, and the concern the AMA should adopt, is getting care to patients who currently get none, and suffer or die for that lack of care. One third of Americans, insured or not, delay or defer care because of inability to pay. The US is unique among industrialized nations in rationing care on the basis of individual wealth.
 Dr. Price’s policies improve my income and reduce my taxes. They do not correct America’s wretched system of denying care.
 The AMA has always put my professional financial needs first. That should change. Compared to other nations, American patients (including mine) suffer the worst outcomes from chronic diseases and die more frequently of treatable diseases because of inability to pay for treatment. This also should change. I want the AMA to advocate for patients. I am willing to sacrifice portions of my income to bring better care to more patients.
 The AMA endorsement of Dr. Price creates a moral dilemma. Do I remain a member of a professional organization that places my financial interests above the interests of patients too poor to afford care, even care from me?
 The AMA public image, rightly or wrongly, as a “physicians first – patients second” organization is corroborated by this endorsement. I urge the AMA leadership to consider the credibility damage to the AMA generated by associating with Dr. Price’s policies. My fear is that the AMA will lose current members, lose public trust, and lose the next generation of physicians whose professional commitment places patient access above personal financial success.
 Please reconsider the AMA endorsement of Dr. Price.
 Samuel Metz, MD
 

Betty Johnson on YouTube!

Betty Johnson, long time health care advocate and organizer thanks HCAO and coalition volunteers (MVHCA is a coalition member of HCAO) for their dedication to single payer health care.

Thank you Betty, for your time, dedication, and leadership.

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.


Health Care for ALL Oregon Coalition Meeting - November 14, 2015

It was an exciting meeting in Corvallis, filled with information about Health Care for ALL Oregon’s plans to achieve universal health care for all Oregonians this decade.  Attendees came from all over Oregon to hear reports from the leadership, give feedback,  share information, participate in workshops and plan activities.    

A dedicated crowd of activists filled the hall of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in Corvallis.

A dedicated crowd of activists filled the hall of Good Samaritan Episcopal Church in Corvallis.

Benjamin Gerritz, vice president of HCAO at the podium.

Benjamin Gerritz, vice president of HCAO at the podium.

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

Photos from Mercy Killers LBCC Event

It was great to see so many people and so many new faces at the LBCC performance of Mercy Killers. Thank you to all who helped make the evening a success!

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

Where Is The Mercy?

As published in the Health Care for ALL Oregon website:

Mercy Killers brings the human story behind cancer statistics
to Oregon

Cancer has a major impact on society in the United States and across the world. Cancer statistics describe what happens in large groups of people and provide a picture in time of the burden of cancer on society. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 40% of American men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetime: one of three women and one of two men. Additionally, prominent oncologists are calling for support of a grass-roots movement to stem the rapid increases of prices of cancer drugs. More than 60% of bankruptcies in the US are caused by such out-of-control medical expense.

Award-winning playwright/actor Michael Milligan portrays the human face of these statistics, dramatizing the crushing psychological and financial impact of such a diagnosis on ordinary people with his one-man play, Mercy Killers. At the invitation of Health Care for All-Oregon and sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Program, Milligan is bringing the play on an Oregon tour in September. His performances will be followed by “talk-back” audience participation with Milligan and local medical personnel and advocates. Proceeds, after expenses, will benefit HCAO and its regional groups

Milligan has performed Mercy Killers hundreds of times in churches, homes and theaters across the land. The play, inspired by his personal experience, chronicles the reality, not just the statistics, of the corporate culture that runs our market-based health care system; of the struggle with insurance companies, drug companies and hospitals that profit from medical distress and then discard terminally ill people when they no longer can pay.

Joe is an all-American apple pie, Rush Limbaugh-loving, blue-collar patriot with conservative values of self-reliance and personal responsibility. His love of country, life and liberty are thrown into question when his wife becomes sick. Suddenly, the American Dream is not what it seems. Joe is being interrogated by an unseen police investigator over the death of his terminally ill wife. His tragic tale of love and anger illuminates the dark side of the American medical system

Milligan was a member of a working group of Occupy Wall Street called Health Care for the 99 Percent and works with the advocacy group Health Care Now. He is committed to theater that tells the story of ordinary people, that allows audiences to see themselves and their experiences reflected on stage. Mercy Killers is a surprisingly tender love story, a cry from the heart, not a prescription. With this play, Milligan delivers a message that must be honored, regardless of ideology.

Bring your friends and buy your tickets now. This is a message you won't want to miss.

Mercy Killers performances are scheduled for:

Portland: Thursday September 17, 8 p.m. at The Alberta Rose Theater, 3000 NE Alberta street. Buy your tickets NOW.  Sponsored by the Portland Health Action Group.
Contact Tom Sincic for more information.

Newport:  Friday September 18, 7 p.m. at the Newport Performing Arts Center,777 W Olive St. Sponsored by HCAO Newport. Ticket price is $15 at the door, with advance sales available HERE. Contact Jerry Robbins for more information.

Albany/Corvallis:  Saturday September 19, 7 p.m. at the Linn-Benton Community College Russell Tripp auditorium, 6500 Pacific Blvd. SW in Albany. Sponsored by Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates. Tickets may be purchased at Grass Roots Bookstore on Second Street in downtown Corvallis and will also be sold at the door. In addition, people can call Tessa Green at 541-961-8436 to have tickets mailed. Tickets will be $10 regular, $7 for seniors and students.

Springfield:  Sunday September 20, 2 p.m. in the Richard E. Wildish Community Theatre, 630 Main St. Buy your tickets NOW. Sponsored by HCAO Eugene/Springfield.
Contact Vicki Anderson for more information.

Florence:  Thursday September 24, 7 p.m. at the City Light Cinemas, 1930 HWY 101 in Florence. Sponsored by HCAO Florence. Advance tickets will be sold at City Lights Cinemas, 2006 Hwy 101, every day between noon and midnight until Sept. 24. They are also available online HERE. Get tickets early to avoid delays the night of the show.
Contact Stuart Henderson for more information.
Eugene:  Friday September 25, 7:30 p.m. in The very Little Theatre, 2350 Halyard St. in Eugene. Buy your tickets NOW  Sponsored by HCAO Eugene/Springfield.
Contact Lou Sinniger for more information.

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

MVHCA Annual Picnic Celebration!

INSTEAD of having a business meeting on the fourth Monday of August we will be celebrating a very busy 2014-5 year — rally, hearing, meetings with legislators, 50th Medicare birthday, TR Reid-visit and much hard work! So it is time for a picnic-potluck.

Bring food you'd like to share: a casserole, a salad, a main dish or dessert—whatever you like and enough for a few others too. If you have plastic or metal plates, and silver and napkins, bring them along! and we’ll have some recyclable ware if you do not; we’ll take home what’s leftover and compost what waste we produce. If you have a large cloth tablecloth, bring it along and don’t forget it when you go home. We can relax and refresh, and get prepared to enjoy a provocative play (called “Mercy Killers”) on Sept. 19, 7 p.m., at Takena Hall at LBCC (tickets available at the potluck and at Grassroots Books too).

We’ll have food and conversation and a short program including a visit from the Health Care for All Oregon’s Outreach board member Nancy Sullivan who will very briefly describe strategies that HCAO is considering. We’ll also introduce a few other distinguished guests and make a few announcements, but mainly we’ll enjoy the evening. You can take a minute to have a photo petition made to show your legislators you favor health care for all, too.

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

HB 2828 Health Care Study Bill Signed into Law by Governor Brown

Thank you to all who worked hard at educating your elected officials about the importance of this bill in identifying the most cost effective way of providing health care to all Oregonians.

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION UPDATES

Help MVHCA as we work for Improved Medicare for All by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. Thank you.

Health Care for ALL Oregon (HCAO) posted this information about health care bills in the Oregon Legislature:

The 2015 Health Care for All Oregon Act previously LC 2548 is now SB 631 with its formal introduction in the Senate occurring on February 11th. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Health Care committee which is chaired by Senator Laurie Monnes-Anderson a supporter of our bill. A hearing is expected in early March.

Our priority bill in the 2015 legislative session is the extension and full funding of the Health Care Study HB 2828.  Passage will commission a rigorous study, the results of which will be a recommendation to the legislature as to the best method of funding comprehensive health care in Oregon. HB 2828 will be heard by the House Health Care committee on Monday February 16th at 1pm. Testifying on behalf of the bill will be Senator Michael Dembrow chief sponsor, Representative Smith Warner Co-sponsor and Sam Metz a physician allied with HCAO and key player in the passage of HB 3260 the predecessor to HB 2828. The bill is expect to pass out of the committee and move on to the House Ways and Means committee where it should be funded at the end of the 2015 session.

At the February 11th HCAO Capitol Rally HCAO activists from across the state met with their legislators to discuss our bills and ask their legislators' support.  From the report outs both oral and written our bills and especially HB 2828 received strong support. Some fiscally conservative are waiting to see the results of HB 2828 study before weighing in on SB 631.

Our goal in the 2015 session remains 36 sponsors and co-sponsors for our bills. As of the Rally on February 11th the number of sponsors for HB 2828 was 27 and rising. Having just been introduced SB 631 is only beginning to gain sponsors and cosponsors. We do expect as a results of our many legislative visits on the 11th and ongoing efforts we will see sponsorship continue to grow. Thanks go to all who came to Salem for the rally and lobbied their legislators.

Information on the SB 631 hearing will be made available as we receive it. We are presently preparing our panel of experts for the hearing. If you would like to testify at the hearing please contact me by clicking on my name below.

Information regarding our bills will continue to be available on this site.

Mark Kellenbeck, Chair, HCAO Legislative Committee

Summary of Our Bills:

 2 pages: Summary of The Health Care for All Oregon Act – SB 631.  
     This is HCAO’s publically funded universal health care bill.
     Full Bill text
1 page: Summary of The Health Care Study Bill – HB 2828. 
     The is HCAO’s must past bill in 2015.
     Full Bill Text

Recap of Voting History:

3 pages: The Oregon Health Care Study Bill - 2013 Passage Voting Census. 
     This recaps 2013 voting in the House and Senate. We are counting on these votes and desirous of new supporters (especially Republican) in 2015. 

Recap of Bill Sponsorship:

1 page: The Health Care for All Oregon Act – 2013 Legislative Sponsors.  
      This recaps all sponsors in the House and Senate in 2013, we are working to increase sponsorship to 36 (12 new sponsors in 2015).

Talking Points for Single Payer and HCAO Legislation:

2 pages: HCAO Talking Points
2 pages: Talking Points for the Health Care for All Oregon Act SB 631. 
      This provides strong single payer arguments and explanation of HCAO’s bill as well.
1 page: Key Talking Points for the Oregon Health Care Study Bill
      The provides a summary of the bill and strong points supporting the value and passage of the bill in 2015.

Summary of Responses to Interviews with 315 Linn and Benton County Residents in 2013-2014

The following is a summary of responses to interviews with 315 Linn and Benton County Residents in 2013-2014. These structured interviews were carried out by members and acquaintances of Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates (MVHCA) with friends, neighbors, church members, etc., as well as interested persons who attended healthcare-related events or stopped by to ask questions at a table hosted by MVHCA. It was a sample of convenience, not a scientifically designed sample. Yet it provides an important view of how some of our county residents are experiencing health care problems and what their values are regarding health care.

  • Almost half (48%) of the respondents reported having had problems getting needed health care.

  • About half (52%) reported being unable to get needed care because of costs.

  • 42% reported they had stayed in a job or relationship to keep health insurance.

  • 15% had experienced discrimination when trying to get health care because of race, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

  • Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents had developed more serious health problems because of high costs/limited insurance that delayed needed treatment.

  • Almost a third (32%) had had problems with medical debts.

  • 99% of respondents said they thought everyone in our state should get the health care they need to maintain health.

  • 90% of respondents said they believed that health care is a human right; 6% were not sure; and 4% said no.

  • 87% said they believed it is the role of our government to make sure that everyone has health care; 9% were not sure; and 4% said no.

  • 84% of respondents said they liked the idea of a universal health care system that would be publicly funded; 12% were not sure; and 4% said no.

Thanks to Carol Gold,  Greg Fitzpatrick, and Jack Drexler who analyzed the data from our interviews. Thank you also to the many volunteers in Linn and Benton Counties who took the time to interview people in our community.

Help MVHCA on the road to true universal health care by donating, hosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings.

 

Video of Salem Rally

Filmed in Salem Oregon on 2.11.15 on the steps of the State Capital Health Care For All Oregon This is the complete rally and speeches video More info here: www.HCAO.org

Help MVHCA on the road to true universal health care, by donating, hosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings.

Senate Bill 631 (Health Care for ALL Oregon) Summary

Summary of SB 631
 

Purpose of the Act: The purpose of the Act is to ensure access to comprehensive, quality, patient-centered, affordable, and publicly funded health care for all Oregonians, to improve population health, and to control the cost of health care for the benefit of individuals, families, business, and society.

Who is covered: All persons residing or working in Oregon.

Covered services: Services that are medically necessary, and/or appropriate for the maintenance or rehabilitation of health or the prevention or diagnosis of health problems, excluding elective cosmetic surgery, and including: Primary and preventive care, including health education; Specialty care; Inpatient care; Outpatient care; Emergency care; Home health; Prescription drugs; Durable medical equipment; Mental health services; Substance abuse treatment; Dental services; Women's health services; Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Naturopathic services; Ophthalmic services, as well as basic vision and vision correction; Diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, and other diagnostic and evaluation services; Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative services; Emergency transportation; Language interpretation and translation services; Palliative and hospice care; Podiatry; Dialysis; and telemedicine as it becomes available and effective. In 2019, The Board shall submit a plan to the Legislative Assembly to include Long Term Care in the Plan. (The Board will determine which services will be covered under each of the above categories.)

The Plan will cover all services previously covered by Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB), Public Employees Benefit Board (PEBB), Medicare, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Plans unless strong medical evidence indicates such services should be discontinued.

Choice: Participants are free to choose any state licensed health care providers practicing within the scope of their licenses.

Affordability: No co-payments and deductibles. Providers must accept payments from the Plan as payments in full and may not bill participants for services covered by the Plan.

Financing the Plan: In lieu of premiums, co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles, the Health Care for All Oregon Plan will be funded primarily by a progressive income tax and a progressive employer payroll tax, which will be collected by the Oregon Department of Revenue and deposited in the "Health Care for All Oregon Fund." The intent is that:  

• The revenue raised by the progressive income tax will be approximately equal to the total currently paid by Oregonians for co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles, with no new income tax on those below about 150% to 200% of the poverty level. (details TBD)
•  The revenue raised by the employer payroll tax on public payrolls will be smaller than what is currently paid for employee health insurance. (details TBD)
•  The revenue raised by the employer payroll tax on private sector payrolls will be less than the average currently paid for employee health insurance by firms of similar size. (details TBD)

Following arrangements for necessary waivers, exemptions, and agreements, the Legislative Assembly shall enact legislation necessary to assure that all payments for health care services provided to participants from federal, state, county, and local government sources will be paid directly to the "Health Care for All Oregon Fund."  
 
Fund for displaced workers: The Board will provide in the budget funds for up to two years of training and extended unemployment benefits, if necessary, of workers displaced as a result of this Act for the first four years that the Plan is operational.

Health Care for All Oregon Fund: All money in the Fund shall be used only for payments to health care providers, administrative costs, approved "capital expenditures for major facilities and equipment, independent Ombudsman offices for both health care providers and Plan participants, training for workers displaced by the Plan, extended unemployment benefits to workers displaced by the Plan if needed, and incentives/training to ensure an adequate number of health care providers in Oregon.

Governance: The Plan will be governed by a Board of Directors of nine voting members, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Two of the appointed members shall be licensed health care providers, at least one of whom is other than an MD or DO, two shall have significant education and experience in public health, two shall have extensive demonstrated experience in health or
consumer advocacy, and one each shall be from labor and business. There shall be at least one board member from each of Oregon*s congressional districts.

Responsibilities of the Board: The Board is responsible for the development and implementation of the Plan and oversight of Plan management, including, but not limited to: Seeking all waivers, exemptions, and agreements from federal, state, and local government sources that are necessary to provide funding for the Plan; Determining policies and adopting administrative rules; Adopting a biennial budget; Determining the specific benefits package; Overseeing management of the HCAO Fund; Ensuring that health services reimbursed by the Plan are evidence-based and cost-effective; Ensuring access to quality health services; Emphasizing disease prevention and health promotion; Establishing a process to evaluate proposed capital expenditures for major facilities, equipment and services to ensure equitable distribution of facilities and services; Partnering with public health agencies to improve population health; Submitting the Plan budget to the Oregon Legislature; Ensuring that implementation of the Act is equitable for Plan participants, regardless of health status, age, disability, gender, employment or income; Reporting at least annually to the Legislature and the public on the performance of the Plan; Recommending needed amendments to this Act and related legislation; Establishing cost containment mechanisms; Ensuring that Oregon's health care workforce is sufficient in numbers and adequately trained to meet the increasing demands of health care expansion and transformation, possibly using funds to attract or train providers if necessary; Working with Oregon's congressional delegation to change federal legislation or policy to support Oregon's health care expansion and transformation.

Advisory Committees: The Board shall apportion the state into regions for advice and planning purposes with at least one such region in each congressional district. Each region will have a Regional Advisory Committees to solicit input, receive complaints, conduct public hearings, facilitate accountability, and assist the Board. Each region shall also have a Regional Planning Board to identify health care facility and service needs in order to achieve optimum population health and equitable distribution of health services throughout Oregon. The Regional Planning Boards will review both privately and publicly funded major capital projects, and may recommend capital expenditures by the Plan towards health care facilities or equipment.

Oregon Health Authority: The Oregon Health Authority shall implement and administer the Health Care for All Oregon Plan under the general direction, policies, and oversight of the Board. This Act repeals the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange, Oregon Medical Insurance Pool Board, Oregon Medical Insurance Pool, Office of Private Health Partnerships, Family Health Insurance Assistance Program, and the private health option under Health Care for All Oregon Children program when the Plan becomes operational.

Thank you Roberta Hall for this summary.

To follow the progress of this or any other bill, or to read the entire text, click here

Help MVHCA on the road to true universal health care, by donating, hosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings.