L to R. Mark McKinley, Harriette Seiler, Charlie Casper, Karl Wisman, and Kay Tillow waited for the parade to begin. Others who marched or distributed flyers were Peg Box, Jill Harmer, Patrice Rickard, Lane Adams, Antonio Wilson, and Garrett Adams. Thousands lining Bardstown Road cheered their approval.
We started Beersheba Clinic, not because of the lack of available health care, but because of the lack of affordable health care. My friends and neighbors were suffering. I knew this intuitively, but since opening the clinic, I have witnessed their pain firsthand; it has been a profound experience.
Garrett Adams, MD, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program, and founder of the Beersheba Clinic.
To read the story, go to the link below, then scroll down to “Publications.” Click on the one with the purple on the cover, then go to page 12.
Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care is pleased to announce that E. Ann Hagan-Grigsby, CEO of the Park DuValle Community Health Center, will speak at our March 16th meeting:
Board Rm. on the Mezzanine, Louisville Free Public Library, 301 York
Topic: What Are Community Health Centers and What Impact Do They Have on US HealthCare?
Everyone is invited to join us!
Elizabeth Ann Hagan-Grigsby grew up in Washington D.C. and graduated from George Washington University with a B.S. in Biology, prior to attending the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Ms. Hagan-Grigsby also earned an MBA from University of Phoenix, and in 2004 she was included in a select group of health care executive applicants chosen to participate in the Johnson and Johnson/UCLA Health Care Executive Program at the UCLA John E. Anderson School of Management.
Ms. Hagan-Grigsby has worked as an Editorial Assistant for the Library of Congress Science Policy Research Division; Medical Research Technologist for the U of L Kidney Disease Program; Assistant Director/Allied Health Coordinator for the West Louisville Area Health Education Center, and Chief Administrative Officer at Park DuValle Community Health Center.
Ms. Hagan-Grigsby is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Park DuValle Community Health Center, Inc. in Louisville, where she also serves on the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Health Center Network, West Jefferson County Community Task Force and AIR Louisville. She is also a member of the Louisville Primary Care Association and the Kentucky Primary Care Association.
On Saturday, March 11, Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care will be in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade–once again promoting national single payer health care, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.
You are invited to join us! We will line up on Broadway near Baxter. We are #47 and will be in that slot in the purple area on Broadway.
Map is here.
The parade begins at 3:00 pm. We will march from Broadway to Baxter to Bardstown Road ending at Windsor Place. In between we will distribute our green flyers with information about the single payer programs and films that we offer and inviting people to our meetings.
Contingents begin lining up at 1:30 PM on Saturday, March 11, 2017
Further info is here.
If you have questions prior to Saturday, please call Kay at 636 1551. If you are trying to find us on the day of the parade, please call Harriette’s cell at 899-3861.
Come early and dress warmly!
Does the Democratic Party really believe that health care is a right?
Published 11:51 am Tuesday, February 28, 2017
By BRIAN COONEY
Over the past seven years, Republicans have regularly voted to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA/Obamacare). Those repeal votes were cheap talk as long as Republicans could count on a Democratic president’s veto. But now, to their surprise, they have their very own President Trump eager to fulfill his campaign promise to eliminate the ACA, and they can’t agree on a replacement.
They know the American public won’t tolerate going back to the status quo before Obamacare (back when we had what Mitch McConnell ignorantly described as “the finest health care system in the world”). Obamacare brought several major improvements to America’s health care system, and most people today want to keep them.
It banned insurance companies from denying coverage or charging higher premiums for pre-existing conditions, and from setting a lifetime limit on how much an insurer has to pay for covered benefits. In the good old days, many people were unaware that a single bout of cancer could leave them bankrupt after their policies maxed out.
Obamacare also required allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26. It put a cap on insurance company profits and limited premium differences between old and young. Through its subsidized insurance exchanges and expansion of Medicaid eligibility, it “reduced the number of uninsured Americans by an estimated 20 million people from 2010 to 2016” (NYT 1/13/17). However, it still left more than 27 million uninsured (more than the combined populations of Belgium and the Netherlands).
The problem for Republicans is that these very popular features of Obamacare require a lot of government supervision and expensive subsidies for those who cannot afford the care they need. The current GOP is an anti-government party that does not believe health care is a right that should be guaranteed by the government.
The problem for Democrats is that, although their 2016 Party platform reaffirms the traditional Democratic belief that health care is “a fundamental right for every American,” they haven’t been willing to commit to reforms that would implement this right. Instead, the platform suggested tweaking Obamacare. However, if health care is a right, then a system that leaves 27 million uninsured fails to respect that right. “Additionally, underinsurance is an increasing, often overlooked problem,” says Dr. Jessica Schorr Saxe of Physicians for a National Health Program:
“According to the Commonwealth Fund, this included 21 percent of adults below Medicare age in 2014. More than one-third of Americans did not get needed care due to financial barriers, and more than one-third have trouble paying a medical bill. Free clinics, which expected declining numbers after the ACA, are seeing an influx of insured patients who cannot afford co-pays or deductibles.”
The U.S. pays much more for health care than other high-income nations, but gets much less. In its recent survey of health care in 11 high-income countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States), the Commonwealth Fund reached this conclusion:
“In comparison to adults in the other 10 countries, adults in the U.S. are sicker and more economically disadvantaged. . . .Although the U.S. has made significant progress in expanding insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, it remains an outlier among high-income countries in ensuring access to health care. The authors point out that all of the other countries surveyed provide universal insurance coverage.”
The argument over retaining, tweaking or repealing the ACA is a distraction. If health care is a right, then we must have a national program to secure health care for everyone. There is a bill in Congress that would do just that: H.R.676 — Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) with 59 cosponsors.
Medicare as it now exists is a program for the elderly that 77 percent of Americans consider “very important” (second only to Social Security), and 75 percent of recipients say is working well. It is (mostly) a single-payer system in which a government-administered fund pays for services delivered by private hospitals and practitioners. H.R. 676—Medicare for All would create a universal and much more comprehensive single-payer system.
Like the Canadian single-payer system and our current Medicare, it would drastically reduce (by hundreds of billions of dollars) the administrative costs imposed on doctors’ offices and hospitals by the multiple forms and rules of competing private insurers. It would also (as in Canada and Europe) help patients by reducing drug prices through direct negotiation with pharmaceutical companies. These savings would enable the U.S. to cover those uninsured 27 million, and greatly expand coverage for everyone.
Even Donald Trump saw this back in 2000, when he wrote in his book “The America We Deserve” that “We must have universal health care. Just imagine the improved quality of life for our society as a whole. … The Canadian-style, single-payer system in which all payments for medical care are made to a single agency (as opposed to the large number of HMOs and insurance companies with their diverse rules, claim forms and deductibles) … helps Canadians live longer and healthier than Americans.”
According to a recent Gallup poll (5/16/16), 58 percent of Americans (73 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans) favor replacing the ACA “with a federally funded healthcare system that provides insurance for all Americans.” Yet Hillary Clinton’s majority in the Democratic National Platform Committee voted against single-payer, ignoring the overwhelming preference of Democrats.
The DNC’s vote, and Hillary’s refusal to endorse single-payer, were a vivid reminder that the Democratic Party was still the servant of the health care industry and not of the people. Can it reform before 2018?
Panel members left to right:
Dr. Susan Buchino, Phd, OTR/L, School of Public Health and Information Sciences;
Dr. Barbara Casper, MD, Internal Medicine, Professor of Medicine;
Representative John Yarmuth, 3rd Congressional District, Kentucky
Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 12 Noon, Kornhauser Auditorium, 500 S. Preston, Louisville
Sponsored by: U of L Chapter of Students for a National Health Program SNaHP
Article by med students Brandi Jones and Mallika Sabharwal:
I am a physician who has cared for uninsured and underinsured patients for my entire 31 years of practice. In the past I have written editorials in support of the Affordable Care Act and with the likelihood of its repeal without a viable replacement I feel that I need to provide a voice for my patients who will be adversely affected by this change.
People need to understand that not having insurance kills people. I have seen this in my own practice prior to the ACA. I cared for a patient who refused to come to the doctor in spite of an obvious cancer until it was so advanced that there was little we could offer her but comfort care. She was too young for medicare, had to quit her job to care for an ailing husband and was concerned that they might lose their house if she incurred medical bills. She may have lost her house but sadly she did lose her life.
My personal experience with the implementation of the ACA is that patients can now afford their medications and their preventive care. This has resulted in many of my patients now having their chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension under control. This has significant economic benefits to our communities in that the cost of catastrophic care for the consequences of these diseases left unchecked are much more expensive, not only in dollars spent but in suffering. My experience has been verified by a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine where a comparison of health care in Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas was completed. Kentucky and Arkansas both expanded medicaid while Texas did not. The results indicate that in Kentucky and Arkansas the number of emergency room visits decreased, the visits to primary care physicians increased as did compliance with medications. This was in contrast to Texas where patients are still obtaining their health care through the emergency department. This is what the law was intended to do.
This is not a perfect law – some folks did not benefit from the expansion of Medicaid or the subsidies and now have higher deductibles and limited options for plans. The law could be improved but the Republicans have focused so much on the repeal that nothing has been accomplished. It is interesting that now that they have the votes to actually repeal the law, no viable replacement has been discussed. They have had seven years to develop their own plan. My own personal opinion is that a single-payer system – Medicare for all would be the best possible replacement.
A recent poll indicated that only 20 percent of the public is in support of the repeal of the ACA. For me, this is NOT a political issue – it is an issue of caring for my patients. I have had many discussions with patients in my office recently who are concerned about losing their insurance and I have difficulty reassuring them. I will continue to care for them – it seems to me that our elected officials do not.
Barbara R. Casper MD, is a professor of medicine at the University of Louisville.
On Saturday, December 10, 2016, at the Unity Dinner, Tom Moffett was honored by the Kentucky Alliance against Racist and Political Repression with the 2016 Carl and Anne Braden Lifetime Achievement Award. Tom is an ardent single payer advocate in addition to his constant struggle against racism, for peace, and for economic justice. Congratulations, Tom.
L to R: Christie Swan Kelly, Tom Moffett, and Barbara Boyd, Chair of the Kentucky Alliance.
On Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, about 200 people picketed and rallied outside the headquarters of PHARMA in Washington, DC, to protest astronomically high prices for drugs and to demand improved Medicare for All. The demonstration was called by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), the national organization of over 20,000 doctors who support single payer health care.
Dr. Robert Zarr, a Washington, DC, pediatrician and President of PNHP chaired the rally.
Lane Adams (red scarf) and Dr. Garrett Adams (blue coat) of Louisville, Kentucky, were among the protesters. Behind them is Richard Master, the producer of “Fix It–Health Care at the Tipping Point,” the movie that explains the economic advantages of a single payer system.
Mark Dimondstein, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), addressed the rally. “The people of this country are ready for a Medicare for All, single payer system,” he said. “Big Pharma is criminal cause people die on the altar of profit,” he stated.
Members of the APWU joined in the protest. The APWU represents more than 200,000 USPS employees and retirees, and nearly 2,000 private-sector mail workers
Medical students who were attending the PNHP training and annual meeting kept the picket lively with songs and chants.