Rep. John Yarmuth, Chair of the Budget Committee, held a public hearing on “Key Design Components and Considerations for Establishing a Single-Payer Health Care System.”
The hearing took place on Wed. May 22, 2019, at 10 AM in 210 Cannon House Office Bldg. in Washington, DC. The witnesses were from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Rep. Yarmuth has said that there will be another hearing in the Budget Committee on Medicare for All that will hear from other witnesses.
You can watch the hearing here.
Here is the link to the questions that Rep. Yarmuth sent to the CBO.
Here is the link to Rep. Yarmuth’s statement on the CBO report.
Reprinted from The Courier-Journal – 05/06/2019
USA TODAY NETWORK
Metro budget – health insurance
With a population approaching 772,000, Louisville/Jefferson County is roughly the same size as Winnipeg, Canada; Frankfurt, Germany; and Marseilles, France. Each of these cities has a budget covering operations, economic development, urban renewal, housing, etc., but only Louisville expects to pay over $50 million during the 2019-20 budget year to provide health insurance for city employees and retirees. Most of that sum will go to HUMANA, a private company that paid its CEO $16.3 million in compensation in 2018. This coming year, Metro workers facing stagnant wages can expect health plan premiums and deductibles to rise.
Municipalities large and small across the U.S. are held hostage by the costs of health insurance. Why are we locked into this foolish and inequitable system? In other advanced nations, cities do not go broke, cut police services, close recreational facilities to pay for health care. Why? Because their national government has done the math and set up a single-payer plan to cover every resident. All taxpayers participate, sharing risk and cost; for-profit insurers are heavily regulated, or not allowed.
I call on the voters and elected leaders of our community (whatever your party affiliation) to study the cost-effectiveness of single payer. We may not be able to fix this year’s city budget, but surely future budgets will reflect the fiscal common sense of running a city within a single-payer system.
This letter appeared in the Courier-Journal on May 3, 2019.
Great thanks to Dr. Garrett Adams for spelling out the benefits of a single payer, Medicare for All nationalhealth plan. I remember going to a single payer rally in Jeffersonville when a Koch Brothers’ “Americans for Prosperity” bus pulled up. People organized by the Kochs emerged with their rehearsed talking points to protest single payer and overwhelmed our rally. Doesn’t that speak volumes about who benefits from the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical industries?
In those countries Dr. Adams cited, and several others, nobody goes bankrupt from medical bills or worries about losing health insurance if they lose or quit their job. Preventive care is more accessible, helping to avoid putting off treatment until it’s lifethreatening. Their generally healthier diets also contribute to their longer life expectancy and better overall health. The high calorie, high salt (sodium) and sugar in our grocery and restaurant foods are literally killing us. One in four U.S. deaths is diet-related. Read all labels carefully. Avoid processed foods and look for lower calorie, lower sodium choices in restaurants. Healthier diets and Medicare for All will put us on par with the rest of the developed world.
Ruthanne Wolfe Gonder
Louisville, KY 40204
On Tuesday, April 30, 2019, House Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern presided over an all day hearing on Medicare for All. You can see the video of the hearing here:
Reprinted from the Courier-Journal, April 16, 2019
Your turn, Garrett Adams, Guest columnist
American health care is in continuing crisis. Access is declining, and costs are out of control. Medical bankruptcies, unheard of in other developed countries, still plague us. Even though the U.S. spends nearly twice as much per capita on health care, our health outcomes are far worse than other comparable nations. For example, way more American women die of pregnancy-related complications, and the rate is rising.
Statistics are people with the tears wiped dry.
What’s wrong? Corporate profiteering. Corporations squeeze the insured, you, for every nickel to pay their dividends and increase cash value. Insurance companies raise premiums, deductibles and copays; they deny claims and contrive to insure only healthy (cheap) people.
The patchwork of private insurance costs our nation billions in administration, billing and collecting – amounting to a full third of health care expenditures.
Hospitals track every pill and bandage and charge for each item. Physicians spend an average of nine hours a week with a jumble of plans for billing, preapproval and payment. It is taking a toll on the profession in burnout, early retirement, depression and suicide. Patients are angry and frustrated by the bureaucratic maze of filing claims, with justifiable claims often rejected.
Medicare Advantage, which privatizes Medicare, is burdened with fraud and poor cost control. Insurance companies selling Advantage plans bilked the government for an estimated $70 billion between 2008 and 2013.
The U.S. system isn’t about improving health care; it’s about profit. Single-payer changes the dynamic; with single-payer the system becomes patient-oriented, not profit-oriented.
Single-payer means ONE payer, the government, pays the bills while health care delivery (doctors and hospitals) remain in private hands. The wasteful bureaucracy of private health insurance goes away. The government becomes the insurer. Coverage is unhooked from employment, allowing workers to change jobs or start new businesses.
What about workers for insurance companies when single-payer replaces private insurance? The new system will need their administrative experience. Moreover, single-payer legislation specifies that displaced workers be provided retraining and two years of salary. Many, who are health care workers themselves, will move back to actually providing care. And, like all of us, they and their families will have all medically necessary care as a right!
In 2003 the first single-payer bill in the U.S. Congress was tagged the Medicare-for-All bill. The name stuck. Today there are many “Medicare for Alls.” However, only two are single-payer plans, one House and one Senate version. They provide for publicly financed, nonprofit national health insurance that fully covers medical care for all Americans.
Drug companies, for-profit hospitals, insurance companies and others invested in profit-based care are campaigning vigorously against single-payer, spreading misinformation and fearmongering.
Don’t believe the lies. National health plans work extraordinarily well in every other industrialized nation. Canada, Scotland, Sweden, Taiwan, Japan and dozens of others cover their entire population for a fraction of what the U.S. spends (wastes!) and enjoy longer lifespans and better health outcomes. An American single-payer plan will pay for itself by redirecting wasted administration and profiteering funds into patient care. Consider the vast difference in cost: From 2007 to 2014, spending in private plans grew nearly 17 percent per enrollee, while Medicare spending decreased 1.2 percent per beneficiary.
Congressman John Yarmuth has represented the 3rd District of Kentucky in the House of Representatives with honor and distinction since 2006, and he has been a single-payer champion. As chairman of the budget committee, he called for Medicare for All hearings. He knows that a majority of Americans support single-payer, but he has recently withdrawn his support. Chairman Yarmuth should give singlepayer his wholehearted endorsement.
Single-payer will have an immediate healing effect on all our people, and it will arrest our surging wealth inequality. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” With singlepayer, in one transformative action, on at least one level, everyone becomes the same, and we seriously commit to a true democracy with justice for all.
Dr. Garrett Adams is a founding member of Physicians for National Health Program-Kentucky and a member of the group’s national board.
The letter is reprinted from the April 14, 2019, edition of the Courier-Journal.
The sorry state of health care in this country is consistent–it’s sorry, but seems to be getting worse. From the usual Republican mantra of “repeal but no replacement,” to the many progressive, Democratic efforts to cover all citizens, the path forward is an untidy and unnerving effort.
It doesn’t need to be this way. The Medicare for All, Single Payer approach is the most viable and economically stable way to cover everyone for less dollars. Under this program, the vast majority of citizens would pay less and have much better coverage than is currently available. No premiums, no deductibles, and no copays, just a simple and affordable payroll tax that is matched by employers, along with a tax on unearned income. We cut out administrative waste, overhead and profit, and use the savings to fund the uninsured and underinsured. It’s really simple.
Finally, as a way to ensure the Medicare for All viability, all members of Congress and the administration would have the same coverage as everyone else. We can all rest assured that with this mandate, the long-term success would be a slam dunk. After all, why is Congress making decisions for our health care when they possess the best blue ribbon coverage in existence? They need to be part of the solution: Medicare for All, Single Payer.
Charlie Casper, Louisville 40207. Charlie Casper is the Treasurer of Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care.
Since Congressman John Yarmuth was elected in 2006, he has cosponsored HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All bill, that would cover all of us under national single payer legislation.
There is an instinct among political pundits to confuse caution for practicality — an assumption that those who advocate for incremental change are being reasonable, while those pushing for bold reforms aren’t. This is seen most starkly in the debate around health care reform, despite the fact that the “practical” pushers of limited reform fail to address the real problems in our health care system.
In early March, University of Louisville medical students Mallika Sabharwal and Sarah Parker traveled to New York City to participate in the annual meeting sponsored by Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP). Parker is the current president of the SNaHP Chapter at ULSOM, and Sabharwal is the immediate past president. There are currently 67 chapters of the organization at medical schools across the country where a new generation of physicians are working
to win national single payer health care, a greatly improved Medicare for all. SNaHP is the student affiliate of Physicians for a National Health Program.