Single Payer Activists at KFTC Annual Meeting

On Saturday, August 27, 2016, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care traveled to General Butler State Park to participate in the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth Annual Meeting.

KSPH leaders Harriette Seiler (orange top), Jill Harmer (white T shirt), Charlie Casper (blue shirt) and Mark McKinley led the single payer discussion.

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Single Payer discussion at lunch at the KFTC Annual Meeting.

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Jill Harmer and Mark McKinley at KFTC.

Letter | Gov’t not to rely on private insurers

The Aetna Insurance Company is claiming it is losing money as a participant in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  It is instructive how the Des Moines Register reacted to this news in a recent editorial.  An excerpt from the Iowa newspaper follows:

“Government should not rely on private insurers. Aetna announced last week that it was reducing participation in health insurance exchanges created by the ACA.  It will sell plans in only four states next year, including Iowa, down from 15 this year. This follows similar market exits from UnitedHealth Group and Humana.

This is yet another reminder of why government should not rely on private companies to deliver health insurance to Americans.  History has repeatedly shown this a costly, dangerous and unsustainable idea.  Yet politicians refuse to listen to history.

When Medicare was created in 1965, the goal was to insure seniors through a program administered by the government. In traditional Medicare, Uncle Sam directly pays providers for health services.  The program is reliable, predictable and has low administrative costs.

In a July 5 letter, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini informed the Justice Department that if it sued to block Aetna’s deal to acquire Humana Inc., the insurer would reduce its presence in exchanges.  The Obama administration says such a merger would increase consumer costs.

‘If the deal were challenged and/or blocked we would need to take immediate actions to mitigate public exchange and ACA small group losses,’ he wrote.

Is that a warning?  A threat?  And how is the Obama administration supposed to respond?

Americans’ access to health insurance should not depend on the profit margins, business dealings or mergers of for-profit companies. Not in Medicare. Not in Medicaid. And not in exchanges created by health reform law.  Instead of funneling tax dollars to private companies, government is better equipped to administer insurance.  It is not beholden to stockholders.  It does not seek to turn a profit.  And it will not abandon the responsibility of providing health coverage to Americans.

Expansion of Medicare covering all citizens of every age would solve lots of existing problems and give us as a nation better health.”

David Ross Stevens

Borden, Ind. 47106

Letter | Aetna CEO doesn’t get sympathy

The Courier-JournalAugust 22, 2016

No one should cry for Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini over his claim of losses in the Obamacare exchange plans. Bertolini raked in $27.9 million in total compensation in 2015.

Just last May, he was positive about the Affordable Care Act, stating that Aetna’s losses were nothing in comparison to the $2 billion Aetna would have had to spend to acquire those customers without the health care law.

Since Obamacare passed in March 2010, Aetna’s stock has soared 270 percent. Cigna and Humana have risen about the same. UnitedHealth Group, which is also pulling out of the exchanges, is up 371 percent. During that time the S&P 500 Index has increased only 99 percent.

Under the ACA, the insurers are getting billions each year to subsidize their insurance plans. No matter how much money we throw at these companies, the market will never work to fix our health care system.

No other industrialized country in the world allows private insurers to control their health care. Those countries have better health outcomes than the U.S. while spending, on average, about half as much per capita as the U.S.

Fixing health care means we must move to a single payer system as proposed by Congressman John Conyers in HR 676. We will save both lives and money.

Kay Tillow
Louisville 40203

William David MacCool 1942 – 2016

On August 3, 2016, Dave MacCool passed away at his home in Louisville.  He worked tirelessly in the single payer movement, serving as one of the top officers of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care and carrying more than his share of the load through dozens of marches, programs, films, power point presentations, speak outs, and more.   When the nation finally wins universal health care, Dave’s name will be inscribed on the honor roll of those whose work made it happen.

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Dave MacCool carrying banner across the bridge on the candlelight walk from Jeffersonville.

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Dave MacCool with Medicare for Everyone sign during a demonstration at Humana Headquarters.

 

He is survived by a family he cherished, his wife Nancy, a son, Christopher, a daughter, Kathleen and his brother, Rob.  Funeral service will be at 11 am Tuesday at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church , 2822 Frankfort Avenue, with a reception to follow the service. Visitation 4-7 pm Monday at Pearson’s, 149 Breckenridge Lane.  Memorial donations may be made to Pitt Academy, 7515 Westport Road, Louisville, KY 40222.

Obituary in the Courier-Journal.

 

Kentuckians Light Up the Night to Celebrate Medicare and Demand its Expansion to All

On Wed. July 27, 2016, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care celebrated Medicare’s Birthday on the Big Four Bridge above a concert attended by thousands. Using homemade letters made from corrugated plastic and LED lights, they spelled out “Happy 51st Medicare, Improve It, Expand It To All, HR 676.”

See the video taken by Dr. Edgar Lopez.

A view from below.

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A view on the ramp of those who raised up the light.

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A close up of some of the letter carriers.

The crowd loved the show and the message.  Leafletters led by Jill Harmer and Bill and Debbie Mahan passed out over 800 flyers which read:

Happy Birthday, Medicare!
Love it.  Improve it.  Expand it to all!

Across the country people are celebrating Medicare’s 51st Birthday by calling for protection of Medicare, improvement of its benefits, and expansion to the entire population.
We call for passage of HR 676, national single payer legislation, known as Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.  This bill would add dental, drugs, long term care—in fact all medically necessary care—and remove all co-pays and deductibles.
HR 676 would end the privatization that threatens Medicare, extend the benefits to people of all ages, and assure that no one goes without care because they cannot pay.
Better care for all—while saving billions.  Join us to make it happen!
Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care,
Mtgs. 1st & 3rd Thurs. 5:30 pm, Board Rm. Mezzanine, Library, 301 York St. www.pnhp.org, www.kyhealthcare.org, nursenpo@aol.com,  502 636 1551.                     Free single payer presentations or movie “Fix It” available.

 

 

KSPH presents single payer to U of L MBA Class

On July 15, 2016, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care presented an updated single payer program to Professor Roger Meese’s Health Care Management class at the University of Louisville Business School. The new power point program was developed by Harriette Seiler with some assistance from Charles Casper, Jill Harmer, and Kay Tillow. We’re now ready to take the program everywhere from university classes to Rotary Clubs, to union halls or anywhere else. If your group would like a presentation, just give us a call at 502 636 1551 or email us: nursenpo@aol.com.

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Harriette Seiler speaking to the class at U of L Business School

KSPH Brings Single Payer to the MS Walk

On May 21, 2016, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care was there to support Multiple Sclerosis patients and distributed 500 flyers about single payer to the participants in the Walk.  MS patients struggle to get needed drugs and care that cost far beyond what their insurance plans pay.

MS Walk May 2016
Pictured above is Harriette Seiler, Secretary of KSPH, with some of the advocates for MS patients.

KY Physicians & Med Students Promote National Single Payer

On May 10, 2016, KSPH brought single payer health care to the heart of Louisville’s medical center. The Courier-Journal, Business First, and Greater Louisville Medical Society covered the story.

Speakers celebrated the publication of PNHP‘s new single payer proposal in the American Journal of Public Health and urged doctors, medical students, and the public to sign on as endorsers to this single payer plan–many did. (Please join the movement by signing on to the proposal here.)

Speaking for the Physicians’ Proposal for a Single-Payer Health Care Reform were:

Peter Esch, M.D., Geriatrics, Internal Medicine
Barbara Casper,M.D.,FACP, U of L Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, Palliative Medicine, and Medical Education,
Edgar Lopez, M.D., FACS, Plastic/Reconstructive Surgery,
Morris Weiss, M.D., Cardiology
Steve Lippmann, M.D., Psychiatry
Brandi Jones, Rising 3rd year U of L Medical Student, Past President of students for a National Health Program, and
Mallika Sabharwal, First year U of L Medical Student, President of Students for a National Health Program

Kay Tillow, William Jones, Brandi Jones, Peter Esch, Edgar Lopez
Kay Tillow, William Jones, Brandi Jones, Peter Esch, MD, Edgar Lopez, MD

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Medical Students Mallika Sabharwal, Brandi Jones, Rina Perlin
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Peter Esch MD; Charlie Casper, KSPH PR Director; Edgar Lopez MD; Aaron Burch, Louisville Medicine Reporter

Where do I sign? Several physicians & med students signed our petition.
Where do I sign? Several physicians & med students signed our petition.

Brandi Jones, medical student, past president of SNaHP
Brandi Jones, medical student, past president of SNaHP

Barbara Casper, MD, with med students Mallika Sabharwal & Rina Perlin
Barbara Casper, MD, with med students Mallika Sabharwal & Rina Perlin

Peter Esch greets crowd
Peter Esch,MD, greets crowd

Steve Lippmann,MD, speaks of unmet needs of psychiatric patients
Steve Lippmann,MD, speaks of unmet needs of psychiatric patients

Banner says it all
Banner says it all

Brandi Jones
Brandi Jones,Rising 3rd Year U of L Medical Student, Past President of Students for a National Health Program

Photos by Harriette Seiler, Secretary of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care