Medicare for everyone
Most Kentuckians are pleased that health care coverage has been expanded in our state, but there are questions to be considered.
Are the managed care organizations (MCOs) that oversee Medicaid providing quality treatment and follow-up — including prescribed medications for the mentally ill? MCOs profit by reducing costs and, bluntly stated, cost-cutting strategies often involve cutting care.
Persons who bought private plans (gold, silver, etc.) on the Kynect exchange last year must now re-enroll for 2015. Before buying, enrollees should read the policy carefully: Can you see your preferred doctor? How narrow is the hospital network? How high is the deductible? If you had to pay out of your own pocket for treatment, would that keep you from going for help when you have worrisome symptoms? If you have a chronic disease, check the drug formularies: Is your medication listed? Has the co-pay gone up?
As we ponder all these critical issues, the people in other advanced nations are happily going about their day because their leaders had sense enough to implement a single-payer system —saving money for their country and for each individual. Instead of all the political and judicial machinations now going on across the U.S., let’s just tell Congress to pass HR 676. Simply improve traditional Medicare and give it to everybody!
HARRIETTE NYE SEILER
Garrett Adams, MD, Lectures at Sewanee
On October 15, 2014, Dr. Garrett Adams, Medical Director of the Beersheba Springs Medical Clinic and immediate past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, gave a lecture at Sewanee: The University of the South.
Dr. Adams' lecture addresses the plight of America’s medically under-served, especially in Appalachia, how America’s wealth inequality affects the nation’s health and society, and the positive effects a publicly funded national health program could have on our society as well as our national health. Video.
Louisville Single Payer Activists Volunteer
for RAM Free Clinic in Morehead, Oct. 25-26, 2014
The line snaked through the pre-dawn darkness of a church parking lot. Hundreds, many wrapped in blankets against the chill, awaited the opportunity to see a dentist or doctor or to get a pair of glasses, all without any cost or questions. Their presence, in spite of Kentucky’s successful sign up of more than 500,000 in the exchanges, bore witness to the continuing unmet health care needs and the necessity to move the nation forward to single payer.
This was the October 25-26, 2014, Free Clinic, one of many that Remote Area Medical regularly sponsors in Appalachia and across the country.
“Wow, it looks like 3D,” exclaimed a young woman who peered through her new glasses for the first time. Check out RAM on The Daily Show.
Volunteers L to R: Kay Tillow, Louisville; Afeni Henderson, RN, Knoxville; Kathryn Hunt, Physical Therapist, Lexington; Lane Adams, Louisville; Garrett Adams, MD, Louisville; Harriette Seiler, Louisville. The Louisville participants are activists in Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care.
Single Payer in the Kentucky Hemophilia Walk
On Saturday, October 11, 2014, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care participated in the first annual Kentucky Hemophilia Walk in Middletown’s Wetherby Park.
Braving the chilly weather, KSPH distributed over 200 flyers with information about single payer healthcare, noting that with the ACA, many individuals with bleeding disorders and other chronic conditions still find essential treatments too costly or not on their insurers' formulary – a situation fully understood by hemophiliacs and their families. The flyer provided information on HR 676 and ways to join the movement locally.
Walkers were appreciative of KSPH’s presence, and over $30,000 was raised for the Kentucky Hemophilia Foundation. All in all, it was a very successful event!
Single Payer in the Louisville AIDS Walk
On Sunday, September 21, 2014, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care joined a spirited crowd and their pets for the Louisville AIDS Walk, Fleur de Life.
KSPH distributed 400 flyers with a message noting that while health care reform helped some, many with AIDS and other conditions still find essential drugs too costly or not on their insurers' formulary.
"Last July, 300 patient advocacy groups protested to Health & Human Services that those with chronic illnesses are still facing barriers to care," the flyer continued.
The flyer concluded by pointing the way forward:
"A bill in Congress, HR 676, Expanded & Improved Medicare for All, will provide care for everyone under a single payer, publicly funded system. All medically necessary care including dental & drugs will be covered--and you choose your doctor.
"No co-pays, no deductibles, no limited networks. No worry about medical bills! Monies now going to corporate profits will be available for care.
"We invite you to join this movement. Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care meets 1st & 3rd Thursdays each month, 5:30 pm, Board Rm, Mezzanine, Louisville Free Public Library, 301 W. York.
"Learn more: www.kyhealthcare.org, www.pnhp.org. KSPH offers free presentations on single payer,(502)636-1551, email@example.com."
The walkers thanked us for being there and many expressed their agreement with single payer.
Louisville Celebrated Medicare's Birthday
Lighting Up the Night from the Big Four Bridge
Thousands attending a riverside concert on July 30, 2014, saw the message curving across the city skyline. Louisville joined dozens of cities in celebration of our nation's best health program.
We must protect Medicare for it has lifted generations of seniors from poverty, made the hospitals of the South integrate because Medicare could not be collected by those who segregated, brought dialysis to all with kidney failure, and shown that this public program works efficiently and saves money.
Yet we must improve Medicare for even with it some cannot afford care--it does not cover dental, nor hearing aids, nor nursing homes, co-pays and deductibles are growing, some drugs are very expensive, and it is being privatized through the Medicare Advantage plans.
And we must expand Medicare so that every person, regardless of age, has health care. By passing HR 676, national single payer health care, we will secure Medicare, save billions, and make health care a human right.
The homemade, lighted letters arc across the sky. Photo by Eddie Davis
Medicare celebration soars above Louisville and the youthful crowd of concertgoers. Photo by Jean Marie Borger
At twilight on the ramp facing west. Photo by Eddie Davis
Lining up the letters on the lawn before ascending the ramp
Waiting on the ramp for the sun to set with the Big Four Bridge in the background and Jeff Boat in the distance
Spelling it out.
The message floats above the city lights--and the moon. Photo by Carrie Irwin.
Keeping it in proper order
The four big boards were heavier and harder to carry but Scotty Pulliam, Dr. Garrett Adams, Keith Rouda, and Mark McKinley rose to the task
Raising lofty aspirations--to improve Medicare and expand it to all by passing HR 676 bringing universal care to the nation
Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care is delighted to bring the first Light Brigade to Louisville. We thank Leslie Harris of the North Texas Light Brigade and the Overpass Light Brigade for the inspiration and the guidance. Thanks to all of the letter carriers who braved the difficult parking conditions to lift up the message. Thanks also to the lettermakers, Harriette Seiler, Peg Box, Dave MacCool, Betty Schmitt, Garrett Adams, Lane Adams, Jill Harmer, and Kay Tillow, who put the signs together from corrugated plastic and LED lights run by batteries.
Celebrate Medicare's 49th Birthday, Wed., July 30, 2014;
Improve Medicare and Expand it to All--Pass HR 676!
July 30, 2014, will mark the 49th anniversary of Medicare, our only publicly financed, universal health plan, which lifted a generation of seniors out of poverty.
Congressman John Conyers has reserved 30 minutes on the House Floor for this. Dozens of events will happen, making this a national action!
We will have a special celebration in downtown Louisville that will take place on the evening of Wed. July 30, and will involve individuals carrying lightweight signs to spell out a message. We need 20 committed people for the signs--plus more to help us leaflet.
To help, please call Kay 636 1551 or Harriette 899-3861, or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
We can do this!
Rep. John Conyers speaking on HR 676 as he welcomes the participants in the May 22, 2014, National Single Payer Lobby Day
Single Payer: Where Do We Go From Here?
On May 21, 2014, in the Dirksen Senate Building on Capitol Hill, Senator Bernie Sanders chaired a panel with single payer leaders.
Video here. The video begins at the 25 minute mark.
25.00 Senator Sanders:
"We are the only major country on earth that doesn't guarantee health care to all people."
27:45 Rob Weissman, President, Public Citizen:
"We win the argument on the merits." Remarks.
34:10 Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics, Amherst:
"We have 4 years less life expectancy given our spending."
41:04 Margaret Flowers, MD, Popular Resistance:
"We should fight further privatization of health care." Remarks.
48:50 Andy Coates, MD, President of Physicians for a National Health Program:
"Single payer would work--we could do this." Remarks.
54:44 Michael Lighty, National Nurses Union:
"Cost saving is now denying care."
1:01:00 Senator Sanders starts the discussion which ends at 2:16:17.
Placing Single Payer on the Nation's Agenda, May 22, 2014
Pictured above are some of the participants in the National Single Payer Lobby Day held in Washington, DC, on May 22, 2014.
The event was sponsored by: All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care – HR 676, American Medical Students Association, Gray Panthers, Healthcare-NOW!, Labor Campaign for Single Payer, National Nurses United, National Organization for Women, Physicians for a National Health Program, Progressive Democrats of America, and Public Citizen.
National Single Payer Lobby Day, Thur. May 22, 2014
On Thursday, May 22, 2014, Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) (above photo) and Dr. Andy Coates, President of Physicians for a National Health Program, will speak at 10:00 AM in Room 2226, Rayburn Building, to a House briefing on single payer that kicks off the lobby day. Details here.
Congressman Conyers is the chief sponsor of HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, national single payer legislation that would assure universal care. With the addition of Janice Hahn of California's 44th District and Tim Ryan of Ohio's 13th district, HR 676 now has 57 co-sponsors.
If you cannot go to DC, you can still participate in this national effort. Please call your congressperson on Thursday, May 22 and urge her/him to sign on to HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.
Call the switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your representative.
You can find out who your representative is by entering your zip cope here.
Please let us know the results of your calls at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the preceding day, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will host a panel on single payer:
Wed. May 21, 2014
Room 430 Dirksen Bldg.
Speakers: Andy Coates, MD, President, PNHP; Rob Weissman, President, Public Citizen; Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics, Amherst; Margaret Flowers, MD, PNHP & Popular Resistance; Michael Lighty, National Nurses United.
To be folllowed by Q and A.
This event can be viewed live here.
Mighty Kindness Festival, April 26, 2014
KSPH reached out to hundreds at the Mighty Kindness event at Waterfront Park. Skies were sunny; mood was upbeat. Children danced with butterfly wings and the painted faces of lions. We forgot the duct tape to attach the banner to the table, but the day was delightful. Lots of conversations about single payer and many signed the petition for HR 676.
L to R: David Ross Stevens, Larry Hovekamp, Harriette Seiler, Kay Tillow, Dave MacCool. Also Rose Stevens and Tyler Fairleigh helped to put up and staff the booth.
Ed Weisbart, MD, spoke on single payer in Louisville
in a four event whirlwind over three days, April 10-12, 2014.
Ed Weisbart, MD, Chair of Physicians for a National Health Program--Missouri, explains single payer health care during a public program at the Old Medical School in Louisville on Thursday, April 10, 2014.
Some of the participants in the Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care workshop and PNHP-KY Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 12, 2014. L-R: Carol Tvaroh, Ada Beale, Tyler Fairleigh, Tom Moffett, Dr. Garrett Adams, Dr. Scott Graham of Fredonia, KY, Dr. Kenny Zegart, and David Ross Stevens of Borden, IN.
Edgar Lopez, MD, moderated a panel of Kentucky physicians at the PNHP-KY Annual Meeting. They spoke about what is currently happening to patients and to medical practice. L-R: Dr. Lopez; Scott Graham, MD, Fredonia, KY; Tracy Ragland, MD. In addition, Esther Costel, MD, was on the panel.
Doctors Edgar Lopez and Garrett Adams at the PNHP-KY Annual Meeting.
Dr. Carol A. Paris spoke at the PNHP-KY Annual Meeting on "Fighting for Single Payer in the US and Health Care in New Zealand." Dr. Paris, a member of the Baucus 13, has just returned from a year of practicing in New Zealand.
Ed Weisbart, MD, Spoke on Single Payer in Louisville
Ed Weisbart, MD
"We will not solve our health care crisis as long as private insurance plays a dominant role. We should correct the flaws of the current Medicare program and extend this coverage to all age groups," says Ed Weisbart, MD, Chair of the Missouri Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program who was in Louisville speaking at a series of events:
* Thur. April 10, 2014, 7:00 PM,
Old Medical School Bldg, 101 W. Chestnut St.
“Health Care Reform: What’s Here? What’s Coming? What’s Missing? The solution: Improved Medicare for All”
* Fri. April 11, 2014, 7:30-8:30 AM,
Over 70 physicians attended the UofL Family and Geriatric Medicine Grand Rounds at Jewish Hospital.
“Health Care Reform 2.0: Beyond the Affordable Care Act. Fix the problems with Medicare and provide that to all Americans.”
* Fri. April 11, 2014, 12 Noon,
Dr. Weisbart met with 50 Medical Students at University of Louisville Medical School.
* Sat. April 12, 2014, PNHP-KY Annual Meeting and KSPH Workshop 10 AM to 2:30 PM
Lang House, 115 S. Ewing Ave, Louisville. Full agenda.
“Building Single Payer Support in Kentucky - Responding to the health care crisis”
Chaired by Dr. Garrett Adams, Louisville, immediate past president of national PNHP.
Workshop, with Dr. Weisbart; Dr. Art Sutherland of Tennessee PNHP; Dr. Edgar Lopez, Louisville; Dr. Scott Graham, Fredonia, KY; Dr. Carol Paris, member of the Baucus 13, and single payer activists.
Dr. Weisbart is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a faculty member at Washington University in St. Louis. He is a family medicine physician and author of “A Single-Payer system Would Reduce U. S. Health Care Costs,” an article that appeared in the AMA Journal of Ethics.
Sat., March 15, 2014, St. Patrick's Parade
Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care walked in Louisville's St. Patrick’s Day Parade to the applause and cheers of the crowds. We distributed over 1,700 flyers on single payer. Pictured L to R, Scotty Pulliam, Betty Schmitt, Enid Redman, Greg Pecaro, Charlotte Schmitt, Theresa Schmitt, and Harriette Seiler.
50th Anniversary March on Frankfort for Civil Rights
On March 5, 2014, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care participated in this commemorative march and rally at the State Capitol in Frankfort. Thousands marched demanding voting rights and passage of HB 70.
On the left is Scotty Pulliam, former president of IBEW Local 369 and KSPH Board Member; second from right is Charlie Clephas, Vice President of the Greater Louisville Central Labor Council; third from right is Charlie Essex, Business Manager of IBEW Local 369.