Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care is pleased to announce that discussions of single payer, improved Medicare for All, can be heard on Forward Radio on each Wednesday at 5 pm and Thursday at 9 am at 106.5 FM. The transmitter is atop the Heyburn Building and the station can be heard throughout the city and even further on your car radio.
FORward Radio is a community-based, low power FM radio start-up and media project operating as an educational arm of the Louisville chapter of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) in pursuit of peace and social justice.
On May 10, 2017, at First District Congressman James Comer’s Town Hall meeting in Benton, Kentucky, Judy Tuggle of Mayfield spoke up for single payer health care.
Judy Tuggle said, “I watched President Trump when the Australian Prime Minister was visiting last week, and I lived in Australia for over a decade. They have cradle to grave, single payer, medicare for all.” (Applause)
“President Trump touched the Australian prime minister on his knee and said “I know you have better health care than we do,” said Tuggle. (Applause)
“When are you and the rest of the 435 people not supporting what works in the rest of the industrialized world… You say you’re pro-business. It handicaps American employers to have to pay for healthcare for the employees. The German employers don’t have to. The English don’t have to. The Australians don’t have to. It handicaps our business people. Single payer works,” said Tuggle.
Rep. James Comer said he was for free enterprise, but if something is not done that is the direction we are headed in. (Loud cheers and applause.)
Jennifer Smith’s speech at Rep. James Comer’s May 10, 2017, Town Hall:
“On March 24, I introduced myself to you, on April 12, I told you about my experience with single payer health care, and why I believe we need HR 676, which would guarantee health care for every American. I had hoped you were listening. You stated your commitment to protecting those of us with pre-existing conditions our access to insurance and health care, but instead, on May 4, you reneged on that promise, and voted for the horrendous bill, the AHCA.
“In response to the outrage from your constituents, you stated on your Facebook page that the bill protected pre-existing conditions, and that those protesting and distorting the truth were far left liberals like the DNC, and Planned Parenthood. You either lied, or in trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, you are naive and have been grossly misled by your friends in Washington.
“I am a two time breast cancer survivor. I am a mother, and a grandmother. I am not being paid by any organization to be here. I am a pre-existing condition that disagrees with your vote, as the AHCA will probably be the death of me.
“The radical left wing organizations that you say are against you include the American Cancer Society, Komen, the National Patient Advocate Foundation, and over 25 other cancer and health advocacy groups. The American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association, and AARP have also come out strongly against the bill. All of the organizations have cited the catastrophic impact this will have on those of us with pre-existing conditions, and every other consumer of health care.
“You attempt to distort the impact of the bill, by saying that the high risk pools will protect us. That would have some truth, if the funding in the bill was anywhere near what would be required to have the high risk pools be functional. The funding would only cover approximately 110,000 individuals with pre-existing conditions. However, there are an estimated 2.1 million people in this country with pre-existing conditions, so what happens to us?
“You also neglect to mention that with the states right to opt out, that it is almost a certainty that Kentucky’s governor Bevin would take that option, just as Wisconsin’s Governor Walker has already stated his intent.
“The reality is that this bill with drive up costs for the poor and those with health issues to the point that there is no access, because we will not be able to afford to pay the premiums or out of pocket expenses. This is a simple grammar lesson, just because we may buy health insurance doesn’t mean we can.
“The AHCA repeals the protections of the ACA. Insurance no longer is required to cover:
Ambulatory care or outpatient care.
Mental health or substance abuse
rehab for injuries, disabilities, chronic mental or physical deficits.
Preventative screenings like mammograms or colonoscopies.
Maternity and newborn care,
“It also reduces payments for medicaid patient’s home health attendants.
“Many of these costs currently covered by insurance will now be out of pocket, and will certainly result in more bankruptcies, and in some cases, death, as people will skip getting their preventative screenings and care.
“The CBO has stated that with this bill, 14 million people will become uninsured, and that by 2026, 52 million people will be uninsured.
“All of this so that the wealthy can get tax cuts, when history proves that these tax cuts balloon the deficit. The estimate attached to the tax cuts in this bill are that the deficit will be 111 % of the GDP by 2027.
“At the meeting in Cadiz, you stated that perhaps we had to consider that we could not as a country provide what was needed for our citizens, and turn to churches and charities to provide these services. When I was diagnosed for second time in 2015, my bill at Vanderbilt was almost $600,000 by the end of my chemotherapy and surgeries. I had a Go Fund Me page, but what was interesting to me is that it was not people of wealth donating, but my friends who had also had cancer and were almost as financially challenged as we were. I can assure you, Go Fund Me is not a health care provider!”
The crowd applauded Jennifer.
Others spoke as well, many concerned about health care. The public radio report is here.
Exorbitant prescription costs, high deductibles and having to jump through hoops to get procedures covered.
Those were among the realities of today’s insurance landscape highlighted Saturday at a sidewalk town hall in downtown Louisville.
Dozens of people gathered outside U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office to show their support for single-payer national health insurance, which is sometimes referred to as “Medicare for all.”
A new system is needed because “we’re fed up. Enough is enough,” said Dr. Garrett Adams, a former Louisville pediatrician who served as president of Physicians for a National Health Program. “We’re sick and tired of our lives being run by greedy profiteers,” such as “the health insurance industry, for-profit hospitals, Big Pharma and medical device companies. It doesn’t have to be that way.”
About a dozen speakers, including U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, state Rep. Jim Wayne and Louisville physician Barbara Casper, spoke as a crowd held up signs emblazoned with statements like “Patients not profits” and “Hey, Mitch. Healthcare for all is a right!”
“It is shame to live in a country where people are expendable like pawns on a chessboard, a chessboard built for profiteers,” the Rev. Ron Robinson told the crowd. “It is a shame to live in a country where people have to use the emergency rooms as their primary care doctor. …Somehow, we need to raise our consciousness to a higher level and take back what is taken away from us.”
Similar events were held around the country to focus attention on U.S. Rep. John Conyers’ HR 676 Medicare for All bill, which the Michigan Democrat has introduced in Congress since 2003.
“This is an historic day,” Adams said. “All across the country we are demanding a health-care system that works for all of us.”
The national day of action was organized by Physicians for a National Health Program and several other organizations.
Support for single payer “is really growing,” said Kay Tillow, chairperson of Kentuckians for Single Payer Healthcare, a co-sponsor of the sidewalk town hall. Conyers’ plan “really would work to cover everyone, to rein in the costs” and , cover “everything medically necessary,” from eyeglasses and hearing aids to long-term care.
While some strides have been made due to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the nation needs a plan that would cover everyone and stop profit-making entities from siphoning funds that are needed for care, Tillow said.
“We are not doing a good job…so we are appealing to everyone to rise up and make this politically possible by seeing your Congress persons and contacting and talking to them,” she said. “ … We are seeking to appeal to McConnell and the entire Congress.”
The national day of action is being organized by Physicians for a National Health Program and several other organizations.
In a recent piece in the Detroit Free Press, Conyers argued that the time is ripe to support single payer now that a major effort to replace and repeal the Affordable Care Act has failed.
Conyers wrote, “Time and time again I’ve heard Democrats dodge questions about their support for universal healthcare by saying they’re focused right now on defending the ACA. Now that we have repelled Paul Ryan’s attack and Donald Trump has signaled that Republications will move on, the time for those excuses has passed.”
He went on to say, “I want my colleagues to join me in supporting single-payer not to save money or to win elections, but because it is the moral and just thing to do, if, like me, you believe health care is a right to everyone and not a privilege to those who can afford it.”
Reporter Darla Carter can be reached at (502) 582-7068 or email@example.com.
In front of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office, 601 W. Broadway, Louisville, KY
Saturday, April 8, 2017, 10:30 -11:30 am
Please join us to talk about the real solution to our nation’s health care problems.
The Senator has been invited.
Forward to Single Payer, Improved Medicare-for-All, HR 676
Barbara Casper, MD, Professor of Medicine
Ann Hagan-Grigsby, MBA, CEO, Park DuValle Community Health Center
Congressman John Yarmuth, 3rd CD, Kentucky
Devin McBride, Medical Student, Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP)
Jim Wayne, Kentucky State Representative, 35th District
Barbara Boyd, Chair, Kentucky Alliance against Racist and Political Repression
Professor Tom Lambert, Chair, Business Dept., Simmons College & Economics Dept., Univ. of Louisville
Garrett Adams, MD, Past President, Physicians for a National Health Program
The Rev. Ron Robinson
Tim Morris, Political Director, Greater Louisville Central Labor Council
James Moore, Small Business Owner
Carol Paris, MD, President, Physicians for a National Health Program
This is a part of nationwide events on this date designed to place the solution to the healthcare crisis, national single payer legislation, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, HR 676, on the nation’s agenda. The bill, introduced by Congressman John Conyers currently has 84 cosponsors. The bill and the cosponsors are here.
Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care kyhealthcare.org
Kentucky Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program pnhp.org
U of L Chapter, Students for a National Health Program (SNaHP)
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:
Thursday, March 16, 5:30 PM
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.
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
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?