Tea Party Patriot May Vote For Hillary

From Rawstory:

A conservative video blogger with over a million views on YouTube said this week that he would likely vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because he was terrified that a Republican president would take away his affordable health insurance.

James Webb, a 51-year-old YouTube celebrity who devotes his “Hot Lead” channel to topics like his love of guns and ranting about gay men kissing on The Walking Dead, may have shocked his viewers on Monday when he revealed that he was torn over which party to vote for in the 2016 election.

“And I’m serious because I asked myself, ‘Which party has helped me out the most in the last, I don’t know, 15 years, 20?’ And it was the Democrat [SIC] Party,” Webb lamented. “If it wasn’t for Obama and that Obamacare, I would still be working.”

“With Obamacare, I got to retire at age 50 because if it wasn’t for Obamacare, I would have had to work until I was 65 and get on Medicare because health insurance is expensive when you’ve got medical problems,” he continued.

Webb said that he hoped to lose some weight and get in shape by taking advantage of a gym membership that was covered by his health insurance.

“But you know, the Republican Party, they haven’t done nothing for me, man. Nothing,” he remarked. “So, I’m leaning toward voting for Hillary unless something major comes up. I don’t trust the Republicans anymore because they’re wanting to repeal the Obamacare. And I don’t want them to do that, man, because then I’ll have to go to work again. My life’s already planned out.”

“Just a tough decision,” Webb sighed. “I voted for Republicans for 32 years, I’m a charter member of my Tea Party Patriots chapter. I’m also a veteran of the U.S. Army under Reagan, when Reagan was in. That was great when Reagan was in there.”

“Things have changed. So unless the Republicans change with it, I’m probably going to have to swing my vote over toward Hillary.”

Watch the video below from the Hot Lead YouTube channel.

The lesson -- once people get health care, they don't want to give it up. Publicly funded universal health care would cover more people for less money. Help us spread the word by joining MVHCA!


AWESOME! 2 Talks by Gerald Friedman, PhD, Economist , UMass.-Amherst

Reception for Dr. Friedman

Number of tickets

 

May 16, Gerald Friedman, PhD, Economist , University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Gerald Friedman, PhD, Economist , University of Massachusetts-Amherst will tour Oregon mid-May, speaking to health care practitioners, business leaders , health care activists and other interested persons in Pendleton, La Grande, Eugene, Ashland, Corvallis, Bend and Portland.

Here is a recorded 5 minute concise message from Gerald Friedman in a May 9 interview by KLCC in Eugene.

The Oregon tour is sponsored by Physicans for National Health Program , Oregon chapters: Health Care for ALL Oregon, and Main Street Alliance of Oregon.

At noon, Friday, May 16 in Corvallis, Dr. Friedman will talk about U.S. Health Care in comparison to health care systems in other developed countries at OSU Hallie Ford Center, room 115, Campus Way and 26th St. Center for Global Health, OSU College of Health and Human Services, and The Hundere Foundation, OSU College of Liberal Art are co-sponsors.
At 7 p.m., May 16 in Corvallis, Dr. Friedman’s talk “Best Health Care?”, will focus on can we afford health care for ALL at Dennis Hall ,First Presbyterian Church, 9th and Monroe. Participants are encouraged to bring their questions.Physicians for National Health Program, Corvallis chapter and Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates are also co-sponsoring the OSU and Dennis Hall events.

Both presentations are free and open to the public.Immediately following the presentation in Dennis Hall, a reception will provide opportunities for participants to talk with Dr. Friedman. Tickets for the reception are $15 and tickets are available through MVHCA website (see below) and at WineStyles and Grass Roots Book Store in Corvallis.

The recent fiscal study by Dr. Friedman reports that upgrading the nation’s Medicare program and expanding it to cover people of all ages would yield over half-trillion dollars in efficiency savings its first year of operation, enough to pay for high quality comprehensive benefits for all residents of the United States at a lower cost to most individuals, families and businesses.

Dr.Friedman’s study is based on analysis of HR 676, a bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, extending Medicare to all US residents within a single risk pool, frequently described as a “single payer”.  The study centers on the nation’s health insurance system, where competition among private payers leads to administrative redundancy which increases costs without improving health.

In addition to Dr. Friedman’s study of HR676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for ALL, Dr. Friedman has published four state studies of single risk pool health systems.

 

In Concert-Singer/Songwriter George Mann April 24, 7 PM

New York folksinger tours Oregon

It’s just a man and his guitar. And stories. And the occasional poem or a capella piece. Not chasing fame or fortune, mind you. Just trying to get a message across in his fight for a better world with affordable health care for all.

Mann, a former union organizer and activist, is doing a series of benefit concerts throughout Oregon, with other stops in Bend, Phoenix, Florence, Eugene, Corvallis and Portland.

Mann sings songs from the last century of labor and social activism as well as his own songs, powerful and funny takes on the state of the nation.  Full Article.

What Is a Patient-Centered Primary Care Home?

What is a patient-centered medical home? To some it means the place you go to get health care – full primary care and a convenient and efficient entry path into more specialized services. To others it means a way of organizing the business of health care to make it more accountable for reducing costs, guided by the dictates of private insurers and government bureaucrats implementing the Affordable Care Act.

There was a time when family medicine saw itself as a counter-culture in medicine with a mission to incorporate a different set of values.  Our job should be to improve the wellbeing and health of our patients and their communities, not the bottom line of the corporations who thrive off our labor.

Such a dream will not happen until health care is seen as a public good instead of a private commodity.  A national health system, it seems, is the only economically rational and humane way forward.

more here

The Mirror South of the (Canadian) Border by Catherine Varner, MD

The current health care debate in the United States has had the effect of stoking our own debate on the Canadian health care system—and some misunderstandings about proposals for health reform in the United States have had the effect of perpetuating several myths regarding the Canadian health care system.

My perspective is that of an American-trained physician who came to Canada to complete a family medicine residency. I trained in a public hospital in North Carolina that served many of that state’s uninsured. The uninsured of North Carolina are the working poor, as in most of the United States. Indeed, my patients’ stories were tales of woe—inaccessible health care, end-stage presentations of preventable disease, and growing insurmountable debt.

For the first time in more than a decade, health care has become a potluck, church, and dinner table conversation in my home town. However, as I piled on another spoonful of baked beans at a wedding attended last July, the discussions I overheard were not belabouring the details of the contentious Health Care Reform Act; rather, they were corroborating the media’s representation of the “Canadian health care system”—refusal to treat based on advanced age, devastating wait times for emergent surgeries, or inaccessibility to state-of-the-art diagnostic testing. Being American and Canadian trained, I have found myself addressing many of the myths surrounding this contentious debate on both sides of the border at a number of social gatherings, as well as in the clinic.

Myth 1: The Obama administration is proposing a “Canadian system”

In opposition to the Health Care Reform Act, Republican Senator Judd Gregg said that a government insurance program being considered in the United States “is a slippery slope to a single-payer system like Canada or England.”1 Those who oppose this bill are quick to compare its contents to a single-payer system. In reality, however, the bill adds to the hodgepodge, multipayer American system, hoping to insure the uninsured and making health insurance more affordable. In short, it means to expand health care coverage to the approximately 40 million uninsured Americans2 by lowering the cost of health care and making the system more efficient. To that end, this includes a new government-run insurance plan to compete with private companies, a requirement that all Americans have health insurance, a prohibition on denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions and, to pay for it all, a surtax on households with an income above $350 000.3

Myth 2: Too old for care

Physicians in Canada have far less third-party interference than physicians in the United States do. For multiple reasons, including greater physician autonomy and less fear of litigation, physicians in Canada are better able to provide evidence-based medicine, the cornerstone of medical practice.

Myth 3: No access to specialists

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, in the past 10 years 90% of medical school graduates in the United States have opted to enter into subspecialties. Only 10% have chosen primary care.5 These figures are in comparison with the nearly 40% of medical graduates in Canada who were matched to family medicine in 2009 by the Canadian Resident Matching Service.6 It is no surprise, therefore, that Americans see 40% more doctors, most likely owing to increased specialist referrals and self-referrals.

Health care reform is a contentious and divisive issue in my home town this year. Even at neighbourhood potlucks, it replaces talk of traditionally divisive issues such as war, abortion, and gay marriage. Unfortunately, rather than focusing on the need to change the US system, the debate vilifies the Canadian single-payer structure and offers a distorted view of health care across the border. As Canadian family physicians, we should use the attention garnered from the American debate as an opportunity to increase public awareness of successful elements of our system and to highlight failing areas, rather than allowing a wide net of negativity to be cast over the entire Canadian health care system.

Read more about these myths here.

 

Single Payer Rises Again

As the ACA takes effect, an alternative gains ground at the state level

When Sergio Espana first began talking to people, just over a year ago, about the need for fundamental changes in the U.S. healthcare system, confusion often ensued. Some people didn’t understand why, if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) had passed, people still wanted to reform the system; others thought organizers were trying to sign them up for “Obamacare.”

Healthcare is a Human Right Maryland, the group to which Espana belongs, is in pursuit of something else: a truly universal healthcare system that would cover everyone and eliminate insurance companies once and for all. Espana and many others in the growing movement see opportunity in the renewed discussion around healthcare reform as the ACA’s insurance exchanges go into effect.

They believe that the ACA’s continued reliance on (and subsidies of) private insurance simply aren’t good enough. People are still falling through the cracks, employers are trying to dodge the requirement that they provide insurance for their workers, and many states refused federal subsidies to expand their Medicaid programs. What these activists want is a program that would replace existing insurance programs, cover everyone regardless of their employment status, and be funded by the government, with tax dollars. Such a plan had strong support when the national healthcare overhaul was being crafted in 2009—including initial backing by President Obama—but the president and Congress decided it wasn’t politically possible and passed the ACA as a compromise.

More here.

Health Care Forum -- Sunday, February 2, 9:30-10:20 AM

The single-payer healthcare system of Taiwan and how we might learn from it to build a better system in the US.

  • Speaker: Chunhuei Chi, MPH, Sc.D., Associate Professor of the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
  • When: Next Sunday, February 2, 9:30-10:20 am.
  • Where: First Congregational Church (Adult Forum), 4515 SW West Hills Road, Corvallis.

audio recording of the Cover Oregon event (8/20/13)

On August 20, 2013, three key leaders of Oregon's new Healthcare Exchange, called Cover Oregon, described their program for a standing room only crowd at the Benton County library. This 28-minute program provides an overview and excerpts from that meeting.

 Liz Baxter, board chair; Onofre Contreras, staff member, and Ralph Prows, CEO of an CO-OP non-profit commercial health plan talked about how the program will work. They also discussed what is known---and not known---about how it will function. Dr. Prows focused on how his health insurance plan differs from standard for-profit health insurance plans. Cover Oregon will accept online applications for membership and for government subsidies for Oregon's expanded Medicaid and insurance plans in October and they will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.

The Health Care Movie

Attention Advocates:  Late notice just received that The Health Care Movie is coming back to Corvallis, showing at the Darkside Theater this Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings at 7 pm.  If you missed it earlier this year, it's worth making an effort to fit it into your schedule now.  The Darkside is sharing the profits with Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates - thank you, Paul!

The Health Care Movie:  "In Canada, healthcare is regarded as a social service, and treated as a responsibility of the government, to be provided to every citizen.

Not so in the United States. In America, health care is regarded as a profit-making commodity, to be operated for the financial gain of insurance and pharmaceutical companies, doctors and hospitals.

This documentary considers how it came to be that the two systems ended up in such different places.. It explores the health care system in Canada: how it came to be, how it works for ordinary Canadians, how it is paid for, and how it compares to its American counterpart."

See the event on Facebook.  Click 'join' to show you are going and to invite your friends.

Big changes coming for low-income patients, hopefully increasing options and curbing growth in spending

July 07, 2013 11:45 am  •  By Jeff Nielson -- Corvallis Gazette-Times

Coming changes in health care will mean a big difference for providers and low-income patients alike: Patients will be asked to assume a greater role in reaching their own health goals, and providers will earn Medicaid reimbursement based on progress patients make toward better health.

It’s a radical change from the past, when health care providers were paid for “encounters,” or each time a doctor saw a patient in a clinical setting. Starting in the near future, patients on Medicaid will be assigned to a specific health care organization, which will receive reimbursement each month for every enrolled member regardless of how many times a patient is seen during a given time.

Although this approach is already being tested under pilot programs in Oregon, it isn’t yet a sure thing here, health officials said. The coordinated care organization, or CCO, that includes Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties is known as the Intercommunity Health Network. It is administered by Samaritan Health Services, which still is negotiating with providers over alternative payment options.

One thing that won’t change, though, is patients who are insured under the Oregon Health Plan still will have the same doctor and benefits will stay the same.

The idea is to give health care providers the flexibility to provide several treatment options based on individual needs, rather than just involving doctors. Instead of simply seeing a doctor, for example, a patient might be offered help such as peer group support, exercise classes or even help shopping for groceries to make better food choices.

Eric Owen, deputy director of clinical operations for Benton County Health Services, believes the changes will be positive for health care providers and patients alike. (Benton County Health Services is the administrative arm of the Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties.) Mental health patients served by the Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties, which operates a total of five clinics in Benton and Linn counties, will be the first to see changes by the end of the year. A timetable for primary care patients still is being finalized.

“So much of what makes people healthy happens in the community and the home,” said Owen, who came to Benton County last year after 10 years of experience operating health clinics in Seattle. “This will give us more flexibility to start working with nurses and health navigators to engage clients in their goals to become healthier.

“We’re restricted now because funding is restricted to office visits.”

Treating the uninsured

Oregon, led by Gov. John Kitzhaber, a former emergency room physician, long has been nationally recognized as a leader in trying to provide quality health care to the uninsured — people who often found their only option was to seek treatment at hospital emergency rooms. State officials and the Legislature, working with health care partners, formed the Oregon Health Plan in the mid-1980s.

Last year, Oregon began forming CCOs, which are charged with implementing the changes to the Oregon Health Plan. The state’s stated goal is to “meet key quality measurements for improved health for Oregon Health Plan clients while reducing growth in (OHP) spending by 2 percent per member in the next two years.” The quality measurements also are a work in progress.

Benton County Health Services will see a future big difference in its financial structure as well, said Morry McClintock, chief financial officer.

In any given year, about 8,500 people are regular patients for mental health or primary care services or both, McClintock said. In the biennial budget that began July 1, McClintock estimates the percentage of patients who have no insurance, known as self-pay, will drop to 10 percent from the current 30 percent as insurance is made more available to everyone.

McClintock also estimates the percentage of patients covered by Medicaid under the Oregon Health Plan will increase to 48 percent from the current 38 percent as more people are eligible for the OHP.

Under current rules, noninsured people who want OHP coverage and meet low-income guidelines must sign up for a once-a-year random drawing for a few available slots.

Starting in 2014, anyone with income below 133 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for the OHP, and those with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for subsidies to purchase insurance from private companies.

An individual earning up to $15,282 per year would qualify for the OHP, or up to $45,960 per year to be eligible for private insurance subsidies. The dollar amounts rise depending on the size of a household. (See accompanying chart.)

Under the new Affordable Care Act, all persons will be required to carry health insurance, the cost of which has been the source of a continuing debate. In late June, Oregon state regulators cut rate requests from insurance carriers for those who will have to purchase their own insurance by as much as 35 percent.

One thing is certain: Under the new health insurance landscape, both the way care is delivered and who bears the costs will bear little resemblance to the past.

“We’re looking at a whole new way of doing things,” Owen said.

Jeff Nielson is a Corvallis freelance writer and a member of the board of directors of the Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties. He can be reached at: jnielson@bendcable.com.

America Is the Greatest Country? Look at Our Health Care -- and Weep

by William Astore, Huffington Post, June 25, 2013

Americans generally, and politicians in particular, proudly proclaim that we live in "the greatest" country. But how should we measure the greatness of a country? I'd suggest that quality of life should be a vitally important measure.

And what is more fundamental to quality of life than ready access to health care? When you're sick or suffering, you should be able to see a medical specialist. And those costs should be -- wait for it -- free to you. Because health care is a fundamental human right that transcends money. Put succinctly, the common health is the commonwealth. And we should use the common wealth to pay for the common health.

Here's the truth: We all face the reality of confiscatory taxation. If you're like me, you pay all sorts of taxes. Federal, state, and local income taxes. Property taxes. School taxes. Social security. State lotteries are a regressive tax aimed at the poor and the gullible. We pay these taxes, and of course some for health care as well (Medicare/Medicaid), amounting to roughly 30 percent of our income (or higher, depending on your tax bracket, unless you're super-rich and your money comes from dividends and capital gains, then you pay 15 percent or lower: see Romney, Mitt).

Yet despite this tax burden, medical care for most of us remains costly and is usually connected somehow to employment (assuming you have a good job that provides health care benefits). Even if you have health care through your job, there's usually a substantial deductible or percentage that you have to pay out-of-pocket.

America, land of the free! But not free health care. Pay up, you moocher! And if you should lose your job or if you're one of the millions of so-called underinsured ... bankruptcy.

Health care is a moral issue, but our leaders see it through a business/free market lens. And this lens leads to enormous moral blind spots. One example: Our colleges and universities are supposed to be enlightened centers of learning. They educate our youth and help to create our future. Higher Ed suggests a higher purpose, one that has a moral center -- somewhere.

But can you guess the response of colleges and universities to Obamacare? They're doing their level best to limit adjunct professors' hours to fewer than thirty per week. Why? So they won't be obligated by law to provide health care benefits to these adjuncts.

Adjuncts are already underpaid; some are lucky to make $3000 for each course they teach. Now colleges and universities are basically telling them, "Tough luck, Adjunct John Galt. If you want medical benefits, pay for health insurance yourself. And we're limiting your hours to ensure that you have to."

So, if Adjunct John Galt teaches 10 courses a year (probably at two or three institutions of "higher" learning) and makes $30,000, he then faces the sobering reality of dedicating one-third of this sum to purchasing private health insurance. If that isn't a sign of American greatness, I don't know what is.

I groan as much as the next guy when I pay my taxes. But I'd groan a lot less if I knew my money was funding free health care for all (including me and mine). Commonwealth for the common health. With no death panels in sight.

As "Dirty Harry" said in a different context, "I know what you're thinking." Free health care for all is simply too expensive. We say this even as we spend a trillion dollars a year on national defense and homeland security, to include the funding of 16 intelligence agencies to watch over us.

A healthy republic that prides itself on "greatness" should place the health of its citizens first. That we don't is a cause for weeping -- and it should be a cause for national soul-searching.

Astore writes regularly for TomDispatch.com and can be reached at wjastore@gmail.com.