Senator Bernie Sanders introduces single payer bill

Published on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 by Common Dreams

Sen. Bernie Sanders Continues Fight for Single Payer

'The 113th Congress should recognize and proclaim that healthcare is a human right'

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) continued his push for a single-payer system healthcare system on Monday, introducing legislation that he says would allow for better care at lower costs.

Called the American Health Security Act of 2013, the legislation states that "the 113th Congress should recognize and proclaim that healthcare is a human right," and calls for a Medicare-for-all system that would not only provide economic benefits but would address the "unacceptable rate" of Americans who are uninsured.

"It is time that we bring about a fundamental transformation of the American health care system," Sanders stated. "It is time for us to end private, for-profit participation in delivering basic coverage. It is time for the United States to provide a Medicare-for-all single-payer health coverage program."

In an op-ed earlier this year, Sanders called a single-payer program "the only long-term solution to America's healthcare crisis."

Such a program recently got the vocal approval of former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who said at an event last week, "I don't see why we can't do what Europe is doing, what Canada is doing, what Korea is doing, what all these other places are doing."

"I am not an expert in healthcare, or Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act, or however you choose to describe it, but I do know this: I have benefited from that kind of universal healthcare in my 55 years of public life."

Mid-Valley “Rallies the Troops”

If you were among the 80+ people who rode the bus from Corvallis to Salem and back to participate in the February Single Payer Health Care rally – or wanted to go but couldn’t – here’s another opportunity to make your presence felt at the State Capitol. Mark your calendars for May 13th!

The Single Payer Health Care bill (HB 2922) is scheduled to be heard before the Health Care Committee, and Salem needs to see – and hear – that the grassroots support for Health Care for All is growing. MVHCA is again reserving a large yellow bus to take Single Payer supporters to Salem and back – and you won’t find a more convenient and inexpensive way to make the trip. (If you live in Albany, you can be picked up and dropped off there.)

So, come join us! Contact MVHCA’s bus maven, Bobbi Hall, at to let her know to save a seat for you. And don’t wait – we expect to fill the bus!

The bus will be leaving from the Corvallis Unitarian Universalist parking lot (2945 NW Circle) at 9:30 AM, and departing for home from Salem at 3:30 PM. There is no required fee for the trip, but MVHCA welcomes a $10 donation per rider to help defray the cost of the bus rental.

We hope to see you on the bus on May 13th!
see the Health Care for All -- Oregon website for more info

Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates LOVE Gumbo!

The local musical group by that name, that is.  On November 10th, a standing room only crowd packed the Sunnyside Up Café in Corvallis to enjoy an evening of music by Gumbo, playing in support of MVHCA and its mission of Single Payer health care.  Organized by a group named Second Saturdays, and sponsored by Veterans for Peace - Linus Pauling Chapter 132, and Corvallis Alternatives to War, the event raised $500 to support the work of MVHCA.  We also sold a few more of the red “Health Care is a Human Right” tee-shirts and signed up several more potential Advocates.

Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates expresses its heartfelt gratitude to musicians Sid Beam, Joe Casprowiak and Barbara Barry-Doyle; Second Saturdays organizers Gretchen Newlin, Laurie Childers, Leah Bolger and Ruth Roberts;  and the owners of Sunnyside Up Cafe for the great evening.  We’re honored to have been selected as the concert beneficiary, and the money raised will be put to good use to increase public awareness about the need for affordable, publicly-funded health care available to all.

 Hear the audio of the event!

Post election deficit deal threatens Medicare and Social Security

posted in

The solution is Improved Medicare for All

After the November election, there will be a major effort in Congress to pass a budget deal that will make cuts in Social Security, raise the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age, and perhaps more–unless we act to stop it with a solution that is close at hand.

There is agreement from the Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel to liberal economists Dean Baker and Paul Krugman that the pressure will be on to reach a Simpson/Bowles type of compromise.  Such a bipartisan plan would damage our most cherished programs and excuse the dastardly deed by asserting that the cuts are small and necessary because of the deficit.

Those who relentlessly scream at us and finance ads to persuade us that the deficit threatens our grandchildren are obscuring the truth.  The fact is that the transfer of wealth from public funds and the rest of us to the super rich is the real crisis.  But those who have gorged themselves on this massive transfer of wealth also seek to undermine the Medicare and Social Security which are our grandchildren’s heritage from generations of struggles for a better life.

The projected cuts are not minor but very harmful.  Even a small decrease in the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment would deliver an ever increasing downward push on benefits while corporations continue to threaten secure pensions by turning them into lump sums that will fade with the stock market.

Raising the Medicare age to 67 would be disastrous.  There will be no affordable health insurance for those in their 60’s.  The Affordable Care Act allows private insurance companies to charge premiums three times higher based on age.  Under popular pressure, there were regulations placed into the health care reform bill to stop insurance companies from charging higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions.  But the companies were allowed to charge three times the premium based on age.  

Because of this allowed age discrimination, the Kaiser Foundation estimates that an individual of age 60 in 2014 with an annual income of $50,000 will pay a health insurance premium of  over $10,000, or over 20% of income.  That does not include out-of-pocket costs which can add up to an additional $6,000 annually.  That brings the total to 32% of income—a bankrupting figure.

There is a solution that the single payer movement must place on the nation’s table.   Even Bill Clinton said that we could save $1 trillion a year if we adopted the health care system of any of the other developed countries in the world.  No more stewing over the deficit!

An Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, HR 676, would save Medicare, end the uncontrolled, gargantuan rise in all health care costs, ease the deficit pressure, and actually bring universal health care to the nation.  

This single payer legislation, HR 676, introduced by Congressman John Conyers and co-sponsored by 76 representatives, would divert $400 billion annually from profits and waste generated by the private health insurance industry into care for all.  Care would be expanded and costs bought under control through bulk purchasing, global budgeting, and the elimination of administrative expenses forced upon our system in the pursuit of profit.

Doctors would be freed from insurance industry interference with care.  Patients would be freed to choose their physicians.  Dental, eyeglasses, hearing aids, prescription drugs, long term care, doctors, hospitals, home health, mental health—all medically necessary care would be included.  Our health care costs would stop driving us over the cliff and level off just asCanada’s did when that country fully implemented their single payer health care.

Co-pays and deductibles would be banned ending today’s growing problem that health insurance policies are so miserly that even the insured forego care because they can’t afford it.

Our country spends about twice per capita what other industrialized nations spend on health care, yet our health care system lags far behind at number 37 in the world.

So why are we even debating cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid when the solution is at hand that would bring us both better care and cost controls?  HR 676, an improved Medicare for All, is sitting in the Congress, awaiting the rising of a movement that will insist upon its passage.

Kay Tillow

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676