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Live Blog Tonight at 5pm - Healthcare-NOW!

healthcarenowkatie's picture

[Welcome TalkLeft, Agonist, and Digby readers! --lambert]

Greetings! My name is Katie Robbins and I am the Assistant National Coordinator for Healthcare-NOW! and I will be "live blogging" right here on building the movement for single-payer national health care tonight, Sunday, November 23rd from 5pm -6pm! Please bring questions, ideas, and topics to discuss.

Healthcare-NOW! is an education and advocacy organization that addresses the health insurance crisis in the U.S by advocating for the passage of national, single-payer healthcare legislation. Right now, the National Health Insurance Act (HR 676) is the only legislation that will create a national, single-payer healthcare system. We see healthcare as a human right, not a privilege tied to the ability to pay.

Our Vision
Healthcare-NOW! is an all-volunteer, highly decentralized organization with over 400 activists all over the country. We firmly believe that bottom-up efforts are the only way to win single-payer, guaranteed, and universal healthcare. We aim to engage and empower leaders at the grassroots level who will understand the issue and implement a wide range of tactics to push support for HR 676 into National legislation. We have a decentralized network that depends on hundreds of local organizations to develop their own create ways to reach people and build the movement for national health insurance.

We also work closely with other national groups advocating for single-payer national health care such as the California Nurses Association, Physicians for a National Health Program, and Progressive Democrats of America to coordinate national initiatives and strategies for building the movement and impacting Congress.

Join the conversation and support single payer national health care!

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amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

hi! i was wondering if you could give us a rundown on the playing field as it stands now--inside and outside of DC. And of the levels of commitment as well.

and i'm especially interested in corporations, worker orgs like unions, and affiliated groups (like those you mention above of healthcare workers, etc), as well as business groups and others-- and whether there are ways we all can pressure companies especially to get on board and devote money to this just as some do for other causes. (CA's Prop 8 battle, for instance, saw Apple and many other companies donating money, as well as companies donating on the other side as well--and the election as well)

How can we get true single-payer valued as the vital thing it really is--with the goal being to get companies/business orgs with deep pockets to agitate and lobby for it -- like it is for the majority of Americans who need and want it? they have far more access and are listened to way way more than us, tragically.

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Thanks to amberglow for starting things off! These are two great questions.

HR 676 has been endorsed by over 20 medical organizations, six faith organizations, over 45 municipalities, and over 465 unions. A long list is found here: http://www.healthcare-now.org/petition/e... (if you know of others that should be on the list and are not, please let us know.)

While some of these are organizations with a national base, we have a great deal of support coming from the grassroots. Healthcare-NOW! activists can be found in almost every state: http://www.healthcare-now.org/action/loc...
The organizations with a national base actually make up something called the "Leadership Conference for Guaranteed Health Care" and are meeting every two weeks in DC with Congressman Conyers. This has been a very exciting development. The single-payer activists are back!

We are very excited that the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church endorsed 676 in 2008 and will be doing 10 regional "workshops" and education and advocacy for HR 676 this year. This is huge! The first will be in Pittsburg. We will keep you posted!

The majority of endorsements are coming in from the local level. The California Nurses Association is certainly leading the way for single-payer support for unions on the national level, but other unions with a national base who have endorsed HR 676 are not as strong. SEIU, AFSCME, and others are not in full force support of single-payer thought healthcare reform is at the top of their agenda. The movement would certainly look different if they were.

Physicans for a National Health Program has done an excellent job of organizing doctors. A recent poll shows 59% of doctors are now in support of an Expanded and Improved Medicare for All system. This is huge.

We have a group organizing small businesses, but your question about corporatiosn and big business poses a difficult problem for us because they are often tied to the insurance industry. You may see that the Boards of large corporations have members of the insurance industry sitting on them. This is the case for many media outlets’ boards as well. Corporations and big media are difficult places to break in to for many reasons. Supporting single-payer national health care is a way of challenging corporate power specifically over corporate for-profit interests in our health care system. We don’t see them as our allies right now, but maybe that will change as they recognize how much money they will save and the current for-profit health care system is not sustainable.

As you can see, the movement is really building up from the grassroots. We feel this is the only way to win single-payer national health care. If big corporations suddenly become brave enough to stand up to their friends in the private health insurance industry, then we welcome them to do so. They would certainly save a helluvalot of money on health care.

And another important aspect is that corporations have money, but they don't have votes. We do. Along with Progressive Democrats of America and other organizations supporting HR 676, we feel that pushing and agitating by congressional district is a critical piece of impacting reform in favor of single-payer NOW.

Not all of my answers are this long, but this helps set the stage for the work we are currently doing. Thanks amberglow!

Submitted by lambert on

... I'm interested in (a) connecting people together and (b) getting people to post, and both those interests come together when health care activists set up events and then blog about them. (Well, there is the matter of sound public policy as well).

Therefore, I encourage you all to use our spiffy or at least functional new Calendar to list events to this community, but also to follow through with reports of what happened! (Cross-posts are fine, but the closer to the grass roots, the better.) Doesn't matter where, who, how.... Just that somebody moved things forward on the ground.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by lambert on

Do you have contact forms by district?

(Even better, I wonder if Jeff could make them available via Web Services or, better, REST?

(That way, when we post, we could add a contact form right in the post. We'd get the hits ;-) but you wouldn't have to expose your database...)

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

Our votes haven't been working (at least in terms of getting our elected officials in DC to do something on this)--locally they're better tho, i find. Especially since 06 (and way before for many of us too)--on all issues. Congressional Democrats have explicitly ruled it out, in fact, even tho the majority of Americans really want and need it--more and more each year.

They do listen, tho, to corporations, lobbyists, and the media--which is why i see getting corporations onboard is so vital to progress. I also see the great strides companies have made in terms of equality and diversity as a hopeful sign that they can be brought onboard--but i don't see how we can get them onboard, even tho it'll help them enormously, profitwise. I'd be interested in hearing more about efforts to get them involved, if there are any. I think they're key precisely because we're not being listened to--and they are.

On Unions, i'm saddened they're not onboard -- but i know they use healthcare as a key bargaining tool, and are under siege all the time anyway. (I guess they see it as a conflict with their primary goal--to help those workers organized under their banner but solely in terms of their employers.) If they were onboard this Big 3 bailout would be a great opportunity towards progress, i think.

Have you been in contact with other religions/religious orgs? Mine--Reform Judaism--has a big Religous Action Center -- http://rac.org/index.cfm? -- and a healthcare for all part too -- http://urj.org/csa/projects/healthcare/

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

You make a lot of good points, and we shouldn't give up hope on the businesses because with the current economic state, there may not be much choice. We are hoping that business leaders will recognize that Single-Payer will be the ultimate bailout for business and the American people.

Indeed, it will save (depending on the cost analysis you look at) 70 billion to 350 billion dollars by simply cutting out the waste of the private insurance industry. The savings when you project to the future is untold because of the increased benefits of health people. More detailed analysis on savings by state can be found here: http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single_payer_s...

Other religious orgs include - the Unitarian Universalits, the United Methodist Women, and the United Church of Christ. I will certainly look up Reform Judaism. Thanks!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

would be easier, since they're not as focused on short-term/stock price stuff?

or--counterintuitively--companies that make health and medical products? like Johnson and Johnson, etc? or maybe even big pharmacy chains? wouldn't they be happy if they were guaranteed payment always? (maybe?)

also--Celebs--are Norman Lear and other very good and activist celebs onboard? can they be brought onboard? (at least you get guaranteed media airtime that way)

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Many of the big corporations you mention just are not going to get behiind single-payer. J&J has a foundation that would never support single-payer work. It just isn't a good track for us to gain more support.

We hope that Congressman Conyers can help us with more celebs. I have day dreams of Stevie Wonder and others getting behind this issue. Let's keep thinking big!

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

it was just a thought--i figured a J&J-type company (or vitamin company, etc) could get enormous pr benefit and consumer love (and profits) by loudly and publicly being for this, which consumers want--like all the greenwashing lately and the trumpeting of environmental stuff they do.

JeffHCN's picture
Submitted by JeffHCN on

Yeah. Unions see healthcare as the biggest way to recruit new members. That's why their leadership, despite their rank and file supporting HR 676, have decided to focus on different healthcare models. Plus, many union leaders, Andy Stern of SEIU comes to mind, think that single-payer is "fundamentally un-American." Meaning, it's not a free-market solution and should be avoided at all costs. They need to be woken up to the reality that most American's and doctors support single-payer healthcare.

I'll check out the Religious Action Center. Thanks.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

they're "unAmerican" too--they're socialist and collective, i'd say (which is fine with me, and good for the country).

SEIU especially should be onboard-- lowest-paid workers are most in need of this -- and SEIU is almost all lower-paid workers, lowest-benefited workers, no?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

have them go to companies they deal with--and just say, "look--you never want to give healthcare benefits, and we have to fight tooth and nail on every single contract, over and over and over--Why don't we get together and force Congress to do single-payer--you win, you save money, you get healthier employees, and we don't have to fight as much"

(i'm dreaming, i know)

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

Thank you for doing this. I will be back at 5 PM and look forward to what you have to say. Thank you!

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

I just want to say thank you to all of you at correnteWire who have been vigilant about posting the latest news in the single-payer movement. This is critical for getting the message out, and it is great to be here tonight for this discussion!

Also, Jeff Muckensturm, the Healthcare-NOW! web coordinator and fellow staffer will be joining us for the discussion. Welcome, Jeff!

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

If you could ask a person who is sympathetic to UHC but not able, inclined, etc., to do all sorts of activism, to do one thing to help, what would it be?

My apologies in advance for posting and running. I look forward to reading your response later on tonight, if you have some advice on this.

Thanks so much for visiting us here at Correntewire and for fighting for what's right!

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Thank you for your honesty! We all have issues we are passionate about and it is not humanly possible to devote all of our time to these issues. HC-NOW! tries to keep this in mind.

If you want to do one thing to help, I would recommend signing up with Healthcare-NOW! here http://www.healthcare-now.org/contact/si...

This will put you into our Action Alert Network and we will send posts to you about making an impact on legislators as we kick off coordinated call-in days and letter-writing campaigns. These are often actions that can be completed in under 10 minutes. Not bad!

JeffHCN's picture
Submitted by JeffHCN on

I agree with Katie. Because in the future, if you're in a district with a rep. that might be on the fence about single-payer, we might need you to give him or her a call to tell them that you support HR 676 and ask them to co-sponsor.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Now, I really do have to run.

I look forward to seeing you (and the rest of the country) in better healthcare!

Submitted by lambert on

to weave into posts?

1. Save $350 billion a year

2. Save _____ lives

and?

Good for both the uninsured -- and those who think they're covered?

Should be a right?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

"it kills more people than _____ every year" or something like that? (drunk driving, smoking, cancer, etc)

(or does that kind of comparison not work, and make it too much of a contest/competition?)

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Every year, the deaths of 18,000 people between the ages of 25 and 64 can be attributed to a lack of health insurance. This makes uninsurance the sixth leading cause of death, ahead of HIV/AIDS and diabetes.

http://familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/wrong...

A more striking number is that we would have 101,000 fewer deaths each year if we had a national health care system. These are poweful statistics, and I think they work in comparison or not.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

any calculation of the number of dead by denial of care? I think many voters think that we can keep our present system with some subsidies for the poor? How do we communicate that most people only think that they are insured?

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

This number - 18,000 to 22,000 - (depending on which report you cite) is what we use as the number for those who die because they simply do not have insurance.

Submitted by lambert on

... but 18,000 and 101,000 seem pretty far apart. Why the difference?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Good question, it is a huge difference.

The wording is critical: 18,000 deaths due to no insurance.

101,000 deaths if we had a national health care system - so these are deaths that are preventative (diabetes, etc.) highly treatable and people can't receive care because of the limitations of accessing health care.

Does that make more sense?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

every minute, ___ people die because America doesn't have single payer healthcare. ... ?

(most people don't know the figures at all--i didn't, and i try to be informed.)

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

We are hoping to do this as well. We have a project coming up soon that will highlight the problems Veterans experience accessing health care. There are so many marginalized people who don't have a voice in this issue that Healthcare-NOW! and all of us have a lot to do to get the word out. Thanks for the suggestion.

Check out this youtube video we did this year: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAvy9jew9dM

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

We have a group organizing small businesses

does it have a name? a website?

also, what effort are you making to coordinate your local groups with the committees in question, I am thinking along the lines of using your groups who have Senators on the Finance committee?

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

http://www.businesscoalition.net/, but the reality is that small business can be difficult. Right now, the coalition is a small group of concerned individuals.

Local groups will be working to have more coordinated lobbying efforts. We are hoping to put pressure on our representatives with some highly coordinated lobby days starting at the beginning of the next Congress to show the breadth and commitment of the movement. A lobby group consisting of doctors, nurses, constituents, and activists, victims of the insurance industry, etc. will make a powerful statement.

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

http://www.businesscoalition.net/, but the reality is that small business can be difficult. Right now, the coalition is a small group of concerned individuals.

Local groups will be working to have more coordinated lobbying efforts. We are hoping to put pressure on our representatives with some highly coordinated lobby days starting at the beginning of the next Congress to show the breadth and commitment of the movement. A lobby group consisting of doctors, nurses, constituents, and activists, victims of the insurance industry, etc. will make a powerful statement.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

what happens at the weekly strategy meetings and has Conyers offered any guidance as to handle HCAN?

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

The bi-weekly strategy meetings have been used to pull together the activists and coordinate a strategy up to this point. We are hoping to have Congressional Hearing starting in February that Conyers' office will help us coordinate. We may have some action no the hill in the Spring - probably a mix of lobbying and demonstrating, so stay posted for more details on that.

HCAN isn't something we actively try to work against. That is a larger discussion, and we feel that our work is to promote this amazing solution - single payer national health care. HCAN is not "opposed" to single-payer, but they are not actively supporting it. We feel we need to focus on what we do best: supporting single-payer as opposed to working against HCAN.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I didn't mean to suggest we should work against HCAN, only that our strategy had to take them into account.

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Oh, I see. Thanks for the clarification. We certainly encourage being a Single-Payer voice in any Health Care for America Now event. We had folks attend a rally in Nashville so that the HR 676 signs and support would be visible. This is important. The names of our organizations are similar, and it is not uncommon for people to be confused about this.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

(Hi, Katie, and thanks for doing this!)

I was at the rally at Times Square last week and I'm also a member of a union (PSC-CUNY) which has endorsed HR 676. Yet this endorsement doesn't seem to have translated into support (they scheduled a meeting for the same time as the rally) nor into educating the membership about the bill (it's a virtual nonentity in our union newspapers, etc.)

I don't want to be pouring cold water on the good news about getting union endorsements, but I do find this frustrating. [Also, I don't see the congressional endorsers doing anything to make sure the bill doesn't get marginalized.]

What role do you see unions playing in getting single-payer into the mainstream consciousness, and how can we as members push our unions to actually do these things?

(Unions are a really big deal here in NY and have a lot of political power. I realize this may not be the case everywhere.)

We can't afford not to have Improved and Enhanced Medicare For All!!

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

This is such an important point. I feel the same frustration...if endoresments aren't followed with activity then it isn't worth the paper it's written on. There is a meeting in St Louis in January with this specific point in mind. We hope to have more labor involvement coming out of this gathering.

If you are a member of a union, you should ask them what they are doing to support 676. If you aren't happy with the answer, you may want to start organizing the members to show the leadership you want them to support. This would be a very powerful statement.

We did reach out to the AFL-CIO, TWU, and others to get involved in NYC, and maybe it was bad timing, but the union support wasn't strong that night.

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Everybody wants Oprah to support us more! I wish she would too. She did have a great show with Michael Moore and the woman who heads the American Health Insurance Plans. But more specific single-payer conversations are needed.

Progressive Media has been supportive of course, and GritTV - The Laura Flanders show has featured us several times this year. We can always be out there more. Bill Moyers did a great show on the CalNurses. I am hopeful that the next year will be a fruitful media year.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I had forgotten her great work. I was thinking more along the lines of CNN or NewsHour.

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

We will certainly be trying. I also imagine that the book that was edited by PNHP doctors, Mary O'Brien and Martha Livingston "10 Excellent Reasons for National Health Care" should do a book tour hitting alot of the bigger networks. It is a great read! Pick it up on amazon or local bookstores!

Submitted by lambert on

That would be huge. Do I interpret your comment correctly?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

JeffHCN's picture
Submitted by JeffHCN on

Do you mean a form to contact your representative directly?

Submitted by lambert on

(Change your comment control to "Threaded list expanded" and the replies will thread.)

Yes -- with your information on the form, of course!

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by lambert on

There's a Drupal module for that (sponsored by a Union, interestingly enough) but for the last version. Shouldn't be too hard to update it if there was a requirement. Hmmm....

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

but what I was talking about is more of a grassroots thing. Analyzing the committees with jurisdiction and then coordinating with grassroots groups, such as the NY groups putting pressure on Schumer and Clinton (if she stays in the Senate). Or finding single payer activists in Waxman's district to help get HR 676 out of committee.

Submitted by hipparchia on

very republican parts of the country?

i can get individuals here to see the wisdom of converting to single payer, but my state [florida] legislature is 65% republican, my congressional rep is at least as far right as president bush, if not more so, and my senators are a republican and a not-really-liberal democrat.

Submitted by lambert on

It's a good idea for both left and right. Which is why both left and right in all other civilized countries accept the basic framework (true?).

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

JeffHCN's picture
Submitted by JeffHCN on

If you must convince a Republican to support single-payer, just say it's good for business and it keeps jobs in the US.

Look at GM. The open factories in Canada so they don't have to pay for employee health insurance. Our current system is getting so overpriced, that American companies would rather do business in places that they know have a healthier and already insured workforce. Healthier workers means more productivity. Cheaper, and higher quality, healthcare means more disposable income for people.

I really don't see any better way to keep jobs here and get us out of this terrible economic mess we're in now than to support single-payer healthcare.

JeffHCN's picture
Submitted by JeffHCN on

Yeah. We had an economist, Dr. Arthur MacEwan, speak at our conference about how the current economic crisis brings opportunities to advance single-payer healthcare.

A breakdown, and recording, of the talk is here: http://www.healthcare-now.org/2008/11/ho...

It's only about 30 minutes long. I highly suggest listening to it.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

that companies would have more money to donate to them--and would be able to grow their companies and create jobs and expand--in their districts!! -- if healthcare wasn't such a big operating cost.

(selfish always works--esp w/Repubs, no?)

Submitted by hipparchia on

[for which there may be no ready answer]

i'm seeing more articles and such from the left [or center] that insurance overhead isn't really costing us all that much after all. does anyone have any estimates, broken by industry or sector, of how much $$ the insurance companies cost us, how much $$ the denial management industry costs us, whether the pharmacy benefit and radiation benefit managers are costing more $$ than they are saving, etc... ?

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Medicare. The Medicare system has an overhead cost of 3-4% compared to the private insurance industry which can be as high as 30%. This is quite a difference and obvious that the overhead could be much less so that the money in the health care system could be used to pay for...health care.

I will look to see if we have anything more detailed for your question in the future. Thanks!

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

because it is so easily documented.

Submitted by hipparchia on

are arguing, and to good effect it seems to me, that this difference is attributable to americans' unique demands for more! more! more! healthcare, rather than administrative costs. i'd really like to have some numbers showing exactly where as much of this money is going, if possible.

Submitted by lambert on

... and accepted by Krugman, for example.

So this sounds to me like a "next line of defense" thing, since the mandate is now on the table, and no prior conditions is on the table, the next thing they need to do to justify themselves is "we're not that expensive."

So what's the response? IMNSHO, the $350 billion talking point is so pervasive that it's become divorced from its roots in evidence and from my perspective that is a bad thing.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

When California State was faced with a potential legislatino for the mandated purchase of health insurance, it failed during the hearing simply because the insurance reps could not respond to how much it would cost. We need to continue to drive at the idea that private insurance will never be affordable, comprehensive, or practical in the health care system.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Arguments on the basis of morality often fall short of convincing business people that UHC is "good" for the country. Do you have source material for an argument based on cost savings/benefit or social cost Return On Investment?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

lost productivity, increased long-term disability, reduced tax revenues due to lower business productivity and lost wages, educational underachievement from inadequate preventive care and failure to treat common diseases, and probably biggest if all the long term cost of inadequate perinatal care. I'm reasonably certain the argument can be made and powerfully, just haven't seen it all pulled together in one place.

Submitted by hipparchia on

and that's all useful for talking to congresscritters and possibly large corporations [and many voters], but i've found that your healthcare costs, as the owner of a small business, will be a predictable 4.75% of payroll to be a good talking point when talking to individual business owners. i'd hate to have been quoting wrong numbers.

Submitted by lambert on

1. Bottom layer is administration, comes first.

2. Next come reduced tax revenues

3. Next come advantages to business

4. And next social benefits like increased life span, prenatal care.

Or some such. It would be nice to have a dollar figure for each layer based on evidence.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

I like this layering system. We hope to have increased tools to help with this connection soon.

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

the funding package for HR 676 is not detailed in the bill, so there are different formulas at play. This can be confusing. One popular formula is the 4.75/4.75 split. Another would have the employer paying more in our Win-Win Campaign - a total of 5.95% - http://www.healthcare-now.org/wp-content...

Submitted by hipparchia on

unfortuantely, it means i'll have to be more circumspect when telling people how much single payer would cost them individually.

any idea on when, or if, there will be a number i can safely talk about?

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

Part of the challenge of this work is that we won't know a specific number until it is a) directly inserted in the legislation 2) the legislation is passed and becomes the law of the land. We do recommend that you use the Healthcare-NOW! formula.

Individuals will still pay less than they currently pay for health care...4.5% payroll tax, and businesses will likely save money as well.

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

We have a lot of information packed into HealthcareNOW!'s "Win-Win Campaign" - which features a formula that you can use to bread down the cost savings by local government entity. This has pulled in several of the recent endorsements from municipalities. http://www.healthcare-now.org/campaigns/...

According to this formula, NYC would save $1.55 billion in the first year of implementation of a national single-payer system.

PNHP also has some great resources - www.pnhp.org

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

I'm asking for numbers on a national basis, incorporating all costs and all benefits. Plenty of uncertainty and a fair amount of projection involved, but still it should be doable for someone with better economics skills and database management than I have.

If the argument is sound on an economic basis, then the numbers should be obtainable - shouldn't they?

JeffHCN's picture
Submitted by JeffHCN on

We're working on getting an economic impact study done. There are, I've heard, some in the works at the state level. But I haven't been able to find anything yet. The good news is that as single-payer becomes more popular, and politicians want to know more about it, studies will come out.

We have done some savings calculations for our Win-Win Campaign (where we try to get municipalities to pass resolutions to support HR 676) to show how much cities can save if HR 676 were passed. Philadelphia, for example, could save $539 million a year.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

been poking at this for some time and haven't found a comprehensive economic analysis, feel slightly better to know that it is because there isn't one.

For what it is worth, I am convinced that the economic argument is the one that will win the day. Our Corporate masters will make the switch if they think it is in their economic interests to do so. "Save the poor" gets as much attention as "save the polar bears", many clucking sounds and then complete indifference. Show them how they can make an additional buck with single-payer UHC, however, and they will ram it through for us.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

The City of New York, as a corporate body, should be behind this.

Right now the City must pay for health insurance for City employees. (This includes a majority of CUNY employees, for example.) There are hundreds of thousands of people covered this way, and it must be paid out of local tax dollars (so far as I know).

I would imagine a similar calculus applies to other large cities.

We can't afford not to have Improved and Enhanced Medicare For All!!

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

The local single-payer group, Private Health Insurance Must Go! is launching a petition drive to get City Council of NYC to endorse 676 especially with the the Win-Win analysis.

We are announcing more details about this project at the City-Wide Teach-In on December 6th at Murphy Institute - 25 West 43rd St 18th Floor. 11am-3pm. I hope all New Yorkers can join us for this event.

Submitted by lambert on

... a little longer? The questions seem to be coming fast and furious.

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by lambert on

Shannon Brownlee and Ezekiel Emanuel:

[Myth #3.] We would save a lot if we could cut the administrative waste of private insurance.

The idea that we could wring billions of dollars in savings this way is seductive, but it wouldn't really accomplish that much. For one thing, some administrative costs are not only necessary but beneficial. Following heart-attack or cancer patients to see which interventions work best is an administrative cost, but it's also invaluable if you want to improve care. Tracking the rate of heart attacks from drugs such as Avandia is key to ensuring safe pharmaceuticals.

Let's just say that we could wave a magic wand and cut private insurers' overhead by half, to what the Canadian government spends on administering its health-care system -- 15 percent. How much would we save? Not as much as you may think. Private insurers pay a little more than a third of what we spend on health care, which means that we'd cut a little more than 5 percent from our total budget, or about $124 billion. That's not peanuts, but it's not even enough to cover everybody who's currently uninsured.

More to the point, we only get to save it once. That's because administrative waste isn't what's driving health-care costs up faster than inflation. Most of the relentless rise can be attributed to the expansion of hospitals and other health-care sectors and the rapid adoption of expensive new technologies -- new drugs, devices, tests and procedures. Unfortunately, only a fraction of all that new stuff offers dramatically better outcomes. If we're worried about costs, we have to ask whether a $55,000 drug that prolongs the lives of lung cancer patients for an average of a few weeks is really worth it. Unless we find a cure for our addiction to the new but not necessarily improved, our national medical bill will continue to skyrocket, regardless of how efficient insurance companies become.

What's the answer?

First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win. -- Mahatma Gandhi

Submitted by hipparchia on

that i was talking about in my earlier comment.

also, i looked her up. she's affiliated with some think tank[?] that has names like fareed zakariah [sp?] and some of them co-author papers and op-eds with people from the very right-wing think tanks.

Submitted by hipparchia on

shannon brownlee

but that's why i wanted more detailed numbers, to try to counter her [and ezekiel is rahm's brother, btw, so he's got the ear of the president-to-be]

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

it would be great if Health Care Now had a point by point rebuttal of that, but in any case it is a good sign that they even felt the need to oppose single payer, it means we are making progress.

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

We currently spend 16% of the GDP on health care. Now, the benefits of a single-payer system is that we can provide health care for everyone while spending a lot less. We could decide to implement a program that maintains a program that operates at 11% of the GDP resulting in 4% of savings compared to what we currently have. Or we could decide to say, everyone will live 10 years longer if we operate our health care system at 17% so while our health care outcomes are improved, we are spending more money. This is something that will be worked out after it passes. It will depend on our goals as a nation. Do we want healthy people and how much will we pay for that?

Let's stay focused on the solution to the problem - we need to include everyone in our health care system so that they can actually access health care, something that is not guaranteed in our current system because of for-profit interests.

JeffHCN's picture
Submitted by JeffHCN on

Well, they organize any service workers, including nurses, who aren't really low paid. And sadly, they dealt with red baiting and being called communistic by drifting towards the center. That's why they end up with corporatist leaders like Stern.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

thanks to you and Katie!

come back and post here and keep us updated, ok?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

the struggles so many who are insured have with insurance companies--that's a big deal to many too.

are there stats on all that, and how many get denied coverage/approval bec of "pre-existing conditions" etc?

(and of course--that they make more profit the more they deny)

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

great job, keep up the good work, much appreciated.

(oops, and to DC Blogger for setting it up and to Lambert & Fellows for hosting)

healthcarenowkatie's picture
Submitted by healthcarenowkatie on

This has been an excellent conversation. Thank you for having me here to answer questions.

In conclusion, I just want to say thank you for your support and energy! Let's pass HR 676!

I am always available for more questions/comments at info@healthcare-now.org

Good night and health care for all,

Katie