Beyond the Medicare Advantage Scam

David Cox at Humana Headquarters in Louisville
David Cox at Humana Headquarters in Louisville

In a television ad repeated incessantly, 60’s quarterback star Joe Namath reads his lines to promote the Medicare Coverage Helpline.  “Are you getting all the benefits you deserve?”  He ticks off the new benefits.  You may be able to lower your out of pocket costs and get extra benefit now, he says.

The ad announces that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has officially authorized new benefits that Medicare Advantage Plans may include.  “One simple call gives you free, professional assistance to help you get more benefits and save money,” says Namath.  It sounds like a public service announcement from Medicare.

But it isn’t.  It’s a pitch to sign up in the privatized, for-profit Medicare Advantage plans—and it’s a scam.  It is true that a person may be able to lower monthly costs by enrolling in one of these plans.  That’s a powerful incentive in a time when the majority of seniors live on tight budgets, many just an inch from disaster.  The laws and regulations allow these insurance companies to lure seniors away from traditional Medicare, and Congresspersons of both parties should be held responsible.

Full story:

The Medicare Advantage Scam

Ask Your Mayor to Join Mayors for Medicare for All

Two mayors have announced an effort to get the nation’s mayors to sign on to support Medicare for All.  Here is the story of the launch by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

“Health care is a human right,” Garcia said in the release. “I’ve been supporting a single payer system in our state for many years because of the millions of people uninsured or underinsured. It’s time for Medicare for All.”

Mayor Robert Garcia of Long Beach
Mayor Robert Garcia of Long Beach

Garcia was joined by the Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf:

“The clearest lesson from the COVID-19 crisis is that healthcare must be a right for all — and not a path to bankruptcy and deeper racial disparities,” Schaaf said in the release. “We’re mobilizing local leaders to build a national movement so the next Congress will adopt legislation that brings healthcare access to all.”

It would be meaningful if some Kentucky mayors would sign on to this.  Please ask your mayor to join in this effort.

The website where mayors can sign on is here:

Appeal to Governor Andy Beshear to Support National Improved Medicare for All


Dr. Garrett Adams speaking at the Unitarian Church
Dr. Garrett Adams

Remarks at Virtual Presentation (ZOOM) to Secretary Eric Friedlander, Carrie Banahan, and Jacquelyne Richardson on Aug. 25, 2020

Garrett Adams, M.D., M.P.H.


  • We are proud of your leadership in the pandemic. Thank you.
  • Your recent comments regarding the disproportionate rates of cases and the effects of Covid-19 on Black and Brown Kentuckians again reflect your wisdom, your humanity and concern for others.


You said:

“My commitment today is … to begin an effort to cover 100 percent of individuals in our … African American communities, everybody…We are going to be putting dollars behind it and we’re going to have a multi-faceted campaign to do it… it’s important because COVID-19 has shown what can happen when you don’t have coverage…This is just a first commitment and making up for that inequality that Dr. King said was the most severe, inequality in health care…I want to eventually make sure there’s coverage for everybody out there, but this is the time and this is our commitment and we’re going to make it happen.” 6/9/20.


We honor your commitment and we’re here today to help us move forward together to achieve that goal. Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you and to open this dialog. We believe the only way to accomplish your vision of 100% health insurance coverage of individuals in … African-American communities is with a single payer national health insurance plan.


I have often thought about the similarity between your daily Covid-19 encouragement to Kentuckians, “We’ll get through this. We’ll get through this together.” and the Single Payer mantra, which is, “Everybody in, Nobody out.”


Seventeen years ago this month, at my desk at the Louisville Jefferson County Metro Health Department I read an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, entitled, The Physician’s Proposal for a National Health Plan. Here is an abbreviated version of the proposal.


A PhysiciansProposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform



  1. The plan removes all financial barriers to medical care.


  1. Saves enough on administrative overhead to provide comprehensive coverage to the uninsured and to upgrade coverage for everyone else, thus requiring no increase in total health spending.


  1. Puts in place effective mechanisms to control costs, lowering the rate of medical inflation and making the health system sustainable for future generations.


  1. Restores free choice of clinician and hospital to all Americans.


  1. Every resident of the U.S., including all immigrants, is covered for all necessary medical care.


  1. National Health Program (NHP) card entitles patients to care at any hospital or doctor’s office.


  1. Provides coverage for outpatient and inpatient medical care as well as rehabilitation, mental health and long-term care, dental services, and prescription drugs.


  1. Improves on traditional Medicare’s benefits and expands coverage to all Americans.


  1. Eliminates premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance.


  1. Is federally financed (like Medicare) and administered by federal, state and regional boards. Private insurance that duplicates NHP coverage is prohibited.


  1. The Initial increase in government costs is fully offset by savings in premiums and out-of-pocket costs.


  1. Hospitals and other health facilities will be on a budget. Most remain privately owned and operated, receiving an annual “global” lump sum budget from the NHP to cover all operating costs.


  1. Physicians are paid based on a simple fee schedule covering all patients or by salary


  1. Medications purchased wholesale.


  1. It is paid for by combining current government health spending into a single fund with modest new progressive taxes fully offset by reductions in premiums and out-of-pocket spending


( – Am. J. Public Health, June, 2018)


At the end of the article there was an online option to endorse the plan and join PNHP, a data-driven organization of physicians and health professionals who educate and advocate for Single Payer national health insurance. I joined 8,000 fellow physicians. Today there are 23,000 and the majority of American doctors support Single Payer as well as leading physician specialty organizations.


Recently the AMA cut ties with an anti-single payer lobbying group as did the American College of Radiology.


In January the nation’s largest medical specialty society, the American College of Physicians (ACP), announced its endorsement of Medicare for All. On Aug. 12, 2020 the Society of General Internal Medicine officially endorsed that support and committed to advocate for universal health care coverage.


The majority of Americans favor Medicare for All. Although there are no specific Kentucky polls, evidence is building that Kentuckians favor the reform: City Council resolutions, and Democratic Club endorsements, a Resolution in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2007. Recently two Kentucky candidates for US Senate ran on single payer platforms. One of the candidates was endorsed by both leading newspapers in the state and came close to winning the Primary.


Single Payer is the only plan that will cut through the wasteful bureaucracy of our current system and actually provide health care for all. A single payer health plan will do exactly what you want it to do. It will level the playing field for all Kentuckians and put us on the road to equality and dignity for all. We are hoping that you and your administration will commit to a period of study and hopefully, support of a national single payer health care plan.



Tell Andy: Fulfill the promise to cover everyone; Endorse Improved Medicare for All

Health Care advocates challenge Governor Beshear to make good on his promise to cover his Black constituents and all Kentuckians and to endorse the only proposal that will make that happen–Improved Medicare for All.

To accomplish his goal of covering everyone will require legislation as set forth in the Physicians’ proposal, a national single-payer, improved Medicare for All.*  Ask him to endorse this proposal– Improved Medicare for All. Without such action many more lives will be lost.  
You can email Governor Andy Beshear here:
Or mail a letter:
Governor Andy Beshear
700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Main Line: (502) 564-2611
Fax: (502) 564-2517
Our letter made national news at here.
The KSPH letter is below.


Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care

An affiliate of the Kentucky chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program

P. O. Box 17595, Louisville, KY 40217,, (502) 636 1551

July 10, 2020

Governor Andy Beshear

700 Capitol Avenue, Suite 100

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601


Dear Governor Beshear,

We join our fellow Kentuckians in praising your strong and wise leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, the worst natural crisis most of us will ever see. We applaud your science-based actions and your sincere compassion for the people of the Commonwealth. Thank you!


Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare is a nonpartisan grassroots organization with a statewide following. We are affiliated with Physicians for a National Health Program ( and share their mission to educate and advocate for single payer national health insurance—Improved Medicare for All.


Recently, shocked by the horrifying rate at which Black Kentuckians are dying from COVID-19, you committed publicly to covering every single African American and, furthermore, every Kentuckian. We are profoundly moved by your courageous commitment, and we welcome this initiative wholeheartedly. Yes, it must be done. There can be no excuse for our wealthy country, with its vast medical and professional resources, to leave anyone without high quality care.


We are grateful that you opposed the ill-advised Medicaid waiver proposals of your predecessor. Expansion of publicly-funded Medicaid was the major achievement of the ACA in Kentucky, but thousands still lacked coverage. Many fall into the gap with income too high for Medicaid yet too low to buy private plans or afford their deductibles and copays.  In 2018 Kentucky still had 7% of the non-elderly uninsured—a total of 238,400, close to a quarter of a million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.


Today, as you well know, we are in crisis. With the arrival of the pandemic, the rising unemployment rate plays havoc with employment-based health insurance. Over 900,000 Kentuckians could lose their employer-based health coverage due to layoffs and furloughs. Many of these individuals may never be called back to their old jobs, which will create an enormous lack of health coverage in Kentucky. There is no way that the ACA can begin to meet the challenge with the newly unemployed numbers at over 40 million nationwide and a pandemic raging. Prior to the layoffs of 2020, there remained over 27 million uninsured, and nearly 62 million underinsured individuals in this country. We already have distressing health care outcomes lagging behind other wealthy countries in maternal mortality, life expectancy, and infant mortality, to name but a few. As coverage grew under the ACA, so did underinsurance—the number of people nominally covered who still could not afford their care.


We believe it is essential to look to a more far-reaching and cost-effective solution to covering all our people and eliminating health disparities. The solution is Improved Medicare for All, a publicly-funded single payer plan. The current state of healthcare in the midst of Covid-19 cries out for a low-cost, universal expansion of coverage that only a Medicare for All plan can provide, a truly best-case solution to insure that everyone receives equal and unparalleled access to the best medical care available. There will be no distinction in coverage based on race, ethnicity, health status, or ability to pay. All necessary medical procedures, hospitalization, dental, eye care, hearing aids, mental health, prescriptions, and long-term care would be available to all. To remove all financial barriers to care, there will be no copays and no deductibles. And the cost for better than 95% of our citizens would be significantly lowered.


Our nation’s health care system is structured to be dependent upon private health insurers and profits, making it the most expensive system in the world, yet millions are still deprived of coverage and care. About a third of the nearly $4 trillion per year that our country spends goes, unnecessarily, to administrative costs. We call for universal coverage that does not depend on private health insurance companies whose overhead and profit consume over 30% of total health care costs and will eventually bankrupt our healthcare system.


To accomplish the goals you have so courageously expressed, to which you are committed, will require national single payer legislation, an improved Medicare for All system as set forth in the proposal of the Physicians for a National Health Program.* We urge you to publicly endorse that proposal. You will have a world of impact in advancing your goals if you call on Kentucky’s congressional representatives to pass such legislation. Your endorsement can move the whole nation forward.


There is momentum now for a permanent solution to the ongoing health care crisis in our state and in our nation. Polls show majority support Medicare for All. In the recent Kentucky Democratic Primary senatorial election, the combined vote totals for the two candidates who supported Medicare for All were greater than the candidate who did not. In 2007, the Kentucky House of Representatives passed House Resolution No. 81, urging the US Congress to enact H.R. 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act.


Improved Medicare for All is the solution to solving this moral issue.


We would be pleased to provide more information on the advantages of Improved Medicare for All, either by teleconference or, hopefully soon, a face to face meeting. Please consider our request on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth. We look forward to future discussion, to answering your questions.


And again, thank you for your continued efforts tackling the heartrending problem plaguing the most vulnerable in our State.



Sincerely yours,


Garrett Adams, MD, MPH

Past President

Physicians for a National Health Program


Kay Tillow


Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care


Edgar Lopez, MD, FACS, Vice Chair

Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care


Harriette Seiler, Secretary

Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care


Charles Casper, Treasurer

Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care




cc:  local and national news media

Schedule and/or Links to all of the new Single Payer Radio shows

Mark J. McKinley, the dynamic force behind Single Payer Radio
Mark J. McKinley, the power behind Single Payer Radio

Single Payer Radio Shows.  Link

Listen live at 106.5 FM or online at and tap ‘listen live.’

1.  Harriette Seiler and Kay Tillow discuss Medicare Advantage, the privatized Medicare plans:

Wed., July 22 at 2 PM;  Thur. July 23 at 11AM;  Fri., July 24 at 1PM  Link

2.  Dr. Barbara Casper and Charlie Casper discuss Unemployment and Health Care:

Wed. July 29, 2020, at 2PM;  Thur. July 30 at 11AM;  Fri. July 31 at 1PM

3.  Dr. Eugene Shively, Dr. Mike Flynn, Mark McKinley, and Kay Tillow discuss “Where does the money go in our health care system?”:

Wed. Aug. 12 at 2PM;  Thur., Aug. 13 at 11AM;  Fri. Aug. 14 at 1PM  Link

4.  Dr. Eugene Shively, Dr. Mike Flynn, Mark McKinley, and Dr. Jesse Wright discuss mental health and health care reform.  Wed. Aug. 26 at 2PM;  Thur., Aug. 27 at 11AM;  Fri. Aug. 28 at 1PM  Link

Or you can hear these programs at the designated links.
A.  Bob Cunningham, Antonio Wickliffe, and Dr. Garrett Adams discuss racial inequality and health care on Single Payer Radio.  The show was broadcast on June 24, 25, and 26. 2020.  You can listen to it at this link.


B.  Dr. Mike Flynn and Dr. Eugene Shively discuss the Covid 19 virus in an interview by Mark McKinley.  Aired May 27-29, 2020.  It is archived at this link.

C.  Dr. Mike Flynn and Dr. Eugene Shively discuss healthcare in rural settings.  Aired June 10-12, 2020.  Here’s the link.


D.  Dr. Flynn and Dr. Shively radio show aired on April 22, 23, and 24.  It is archived here.

E.  Dr. Ed Weisbart of PNHP Missouri interviewed by Kay Tillow.  Show is archived here.

F.  Kay Tillow interview on single payer by Hart Hagan and Justine Mog on Truth to Power radio show.  Archived here.

G.  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.

For future shows check our website and our Facebook page.


We are recording some shows in our homes using the open source program Audacity.  If you are interested in recording for single payer radio, let us know 502 636 1551.

Letter in the Courier-Journal by a U of L medical student

It’s time for Medicare for All

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.

(L to R) Dr. Malika Sabharwal, former president of Students for a National Health Program at UofL, and Sarah Riley Parker, second year medical student and current president
(L to R) Dr. Malika Sabharwal, former president of Students for a National Health Program at UofL, and Sarah Riley Parker, second year medical student and current president

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.

Jerome Soldo

Louisville, 40217

In the Courier-Journal 5-12-2020

The global budgeting of a single payer plan would save our rural hospitals

Closing of rural hospitals

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.

Kay Tillow

Louisville, 40208

Printed in the Courier-Journal on April 28, 2020

Louisville physician Barbara Casper speaks for change in the US healthcare system

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.

Dr. Barbara Casper with Dr. Peter Esch
Dr. Barbara Casper with Dr. Peter Esch

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.

You can subscribe to our podcasts and please join the Forward Radio Community at

You can listen to this program at the link below.

Dr. Eugene Shively and Dr. Mike Flynn speak on Single Payer Radio, 106.5 FM

Michael Flynn, MD
Michael B. Flynn, MD
Eugene Shively, MD
Eugene Shively, MD

Single Payer Radio is back on the air!  The show, sponsored by Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care, will be broadcast on Forward Radio 106.5 FM and live streamed the 4th week of each month:

4th Wed. at 2:00 pm,
4th Thur. at 11 am,
4th Fri. at 1 pm.

If you can’t pick it up on your radio, you can listen on line.  Go to and tap “Listen live.”


The April program on profit driven healthcare is archived here.

The May program features Mark McKinley interviewing retired physicians Eugene Shively, MD, of Campbellsville, KY, and Mike Flynn, MD, of Louisville.  The topic is the Covid 19 virus.

This show can be heard on 106.5 FM on:

Wednesday, May 27, 2pm;

Thursday, May 28, 11am;

Friday, May 29, 1pm.

The program is archived at this link:

Our program that aired in March was an interview with Dr. Ed Weisbart, President of the Missouri Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program.  You can listen to it here.