If the coronavirus could speak, it would thank America for its warm welcome. It would be delighted by the abundance of available hosts, such as factory workers who couldn’t afford to stay home, people in prison for whom social distancing was impossible, and health care workers who weren’t provided sufficient protective equipment. It would mock us for significantly outpacing the rest of the world in COVID-19 cases and deaths despite spending the most per capita on health care.
America’s fractured health system has enabled the coronavirus to thrive. Millions of Americans, particularly Americans of color, lack health insurance or otherwise can’t access care.
When I become a physician next year, I aspire to provide excellent medical care to everyone, without exception. The only way America can successfully defeat COVID-19 (and adequately respond to future health crises) is through enacting comprehensive, lifelong health coverage for everybody.
Unprecedented moments call for unprecedented actions: It’s time for Medicare for All.
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A. Dr. Mike Flynn and Dr. Eugene Shively discuss the Covid 19 virus in an interview by Mark McKinley. Wed., May 27 at 2 pm; Thur., May 28 at 11 am; and Fri. May 29 at 1 pm. It is archived at this link.
B. Dr. Mike Flynn and Dr. Eugene Shively discuss healthcare in rural settings. Wed. June 10 at 2pm; Thur. June 11 at 11 am; Fri. June 12 at 1 pm. Here’s the link.
Past radio shows.
A. Dr. Flynn and Dr. Shively radio show aired on April 22, 23, and 24. It is archived here.
B. Dr. Ed Weisbart of PNHP Missouri interviewed by Kay Tillow. Show is archived here.
C. Kay Tillow interview on single payer by Hart Hagan and Justine Mog on Truth to Power radio show. Archived here.
D. Dr. Barbara Casper, Louisville internist, and Charlie Casper discussed the problems of our current health care system on May 13 , 14 and 15. The program is archived at this link.
How tragic that 18 of Kentucky’s 45 rural hospitals are in danger of closing, and the president of the rural hospital association says that’s a conservative estimate. How can we let this happen? These hospitals mean life-or-death access to care – or not – for millions of Kentuckians.
Since the late ‘80s, Physicians for a National Health Program has proposed a national single-payer system that would assure funding of every hospital through global budgeting. Hospitals’ income would be stable and predictable. Bureaucracy geared to billing, profits and bill collection would be eliminated. Responsiveness to the needs of the community and quality of care would replace financial performance as the criteria for judging the value of a hospital. Every hospital that serves a community would have the funds to care for its patients.
The World Health Organization has ranked U.S. health system performance as 37th despite having the wealth to be the best. The majority of us are for this improved Medicare for All, single-payer system. We must insist that the legislation that would make it real be passed.
Dr. Barbara Casper, a Louisville internist, shares her concerns about our current profit driven healthcare system and the harm it causes for patients and providers. She is interviewed by her husband Charlie Casper who is a member of the steering committee of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care.
This episode of Single Payer Radio will air on 106.5 FM on Wednesday May 13 at 2pm with repeat broadcasts on Thursday May 14 at 11am and Friday May 15 at 1pm – the Forward Radio Community Access hours for the 2nd week in May.
Single Payer Radio is a project of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare and Physicians for a National Health Plan, Kentucky. We are proud to be a community partner with Forward Radio. kyhealthcare.org
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Michael Flynn, MD, a retired surgical oncologist, has an article in the March 2020 edition of Louisville Medicine, the publication of the Greater Louisville Medical Society. The article is on page 31 and can be accessed from this link:
Would you rather have your life and death medical decisions made by a “nameless bureaucrat” or in a boardroom in New York city? Having worked for many years for our government, I can assure you that the vast majority of government workers are motivated by the desire to do a good job and to provide a decent living for their family. They are not motivated by the need to siphon off millions of dollars from the healthcare industry to enrich their fellow board members and stockholders. These “nameless bureaucrats” do indeed have names and are responsible hard-working people trying to help with the mission their agency has been assigned. They are held accountable when they make mistakes and not given a golden parachute to go away. If all of our government workers and politicians are just lazy crooks, just what makes our country so great?
The insurance companies do not add any value to our health care. We can get along just fine without them. Our own Medicare, Medicaid and VA have proven this. Look at all of the other industrialized countries in the world that do just fine with government-run health care systems. If these other countries can afford to provide healthcare to all of its citizens, then surely the wealthiest country to have ever existed could also.
Gary Hagan, Shepherdsville, KY 40165
Letter writer wrong about “Medicare for all”
I respectfully disagree with the views expressed by E. W. Hoelscher in his letter published in The Courier Journal’s Community Forum. In opposing Sen. Sanders’ “Medicare for All” bill, it appears Mr. Hoelscher was confusing Bernie’s plan with the British National Health System (NHS), where doctors and hospital workers are employed by the government. The NHS is a true socialist system. Under Bernie’s proposal, physicians would not work for the government. They would operate their own practices, and their fees for service would be reimbursed and processed through the government—as is now the case for traditional Medicare. Nor would hospitals be expropriated; they would operate as they do now but be paid through the single-payer financing system, rather than by way of costly middlemen. It is true that “Bernie and friends” oppose the private insurance companies who pay their CEOs outrageous salaries and add billions to the costs of U. S. health care.
Harriette Seiler, Louisville, 40207
March 11, 2020
Distortions about single-payer healthcare
Not surprising, the single-payer, Medicare for All alternative to our current healthcare mess is being heaped with distortions and outright false information. Witness two recent letters to the editor in The Courier Journal.
One writer says businesses will be the big winner with Medicare for All. Partially correct. They will definitely save money, but they will pay their fair share, just like employees. Eliminate premiums, deductibles and co-pays, and workers are the big winners, not employers.
The second writer claims the federal government will expropriate all hospitals and clinics if Medicare for All is adopted, and everyone will be working for the government. Not true. Hospitals and clinics would continue to be privately owned and operated. No different than the current Medicare program.
When the profit and overhead of insurance companies and hospitals amounts to hundreds of billions of dollars, and drug prices will be lowered due to negotiation, the savings are huge under Medicare for All. Savings will go to patient care and everyone will be covered.
And rest assured, Medicare for All will be sustainable long term, since Congress will be included in the plan, just like each of us, a sure-fire way to make sure funding is preserved.
State Representative Tom Burch has introduced HB 445 which would end the ability of Medigap plans to charge higher rates or deny coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions. The legislation is needed because seniors in Kentucky who purchase Medicare Advantage but later seek to return to traditional Medicare and purchase a Medigap plan are no longer protected from underwriting.
Such persons with pre-existing conditions can be charged sky high prices, or denied entirely, a supplementary Medigap plan. The problem is discussed in Medpage Today.
There are only four states where there is some protection against discrimination for pre-existing conditions under these circumstances. This article from Kaiser Family Foundation explains.
Republicans, Democrats and independents are all opposed to charging outrageous rates or refusing to sell policies to people because they are, or have been, sick. The practice is clearly inhumane, and Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care asks all legislators to join with us in banning Medigap discrimination on the basis of pre-existing conditions.
Please call your representative and ask her or him to co-sponsor and support HB 445 so that we can end this injustice to seniors in Kentucky.
Currently there are massive ad campaigns to entice seniors to purchase Medicare Advantage plans by offering additional benefits and lower or no monthly premiums. Such offers are compelling for Kentucky’s many seniors with fixed incomes and tight monthly budgets.
What the ads do not say is that for-profit Medicare Advantage plans place limits on which physicians you can see and which hospitals, rehab centers, and nursing homes you can use. These private plans can also charge co-pays, drop physicians from their networks, and charge large payments for drugs.
The limitations of the Medicare Advantage plans only become apparent when a patient is sick and has to use the plan. When seniors initially become eligible for Medicare, they are protected against discrimination for pre-existing conditions in the purchase of a “Medigap” plan to supplement traditional Medicare. But those who purchase a Medicare Advantage plan and later seek to return to traditional Medicare will find that protection no longer applies.
Speaking on behalf of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care, Dr. Garrett Adams stated that Rep. Tom Burch’s bill to end discrimination by Medigap plans on the basis of pre-existing conditions has strong public backing. He added that the longer term solution must be the enactment of a national, improved Medicare for All plan that will finally cover everyone through a not-for-profit single payer system. “Such a plan will end the waste caused by profits, free everyone to choose their own doctors, end discrimination for pre-existing conditions and remove all financial barriers to care,” Dr. Adams said.