HealthCare for all

2 years ago, starting June 29, 2007, we leafleted the showing of "Sicko" at Kimballs for 2 weeks.

The leaflet has still valuable talking points to print and hand out

Download HCAC of leaflet to hand out at "Sicko" premier and other showings

Download CSAction leaflet to hand out at screenings

Healthcare-Now presents Congressman John Conyers on H.R. 676 - Expanded & Improved Medicare For All, The U.S. National Health Insurance Act.

Dennis Kucinich talks about his Universal Healthcare Plan at AFSCME FORUM on 2/21/07

Colorado Universal Access Delivery-Single Payer Financing System Presentation to the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved (CCMU)

Interviews and discussion of Single Payer Healthcare

Petition Congress to pass HR 676

The new Michael Moore movie, Sicko, a devastating indictment of our for the profit of the few national health care racket, will be released June 29th. And the most wonderful aspect of this movie is the activism of Michael himself in using his documentary as a vehicle for making real policy change happen.

Under H.R. 676 [Text of Bill], Medicare would be extended and improved so that all individuals residing in the United States would receive high quality and affordable health care services. They would receive all medically necessary services by the physicians of their choice, with no restrictions on what providers they could visit. If implemented, the United States National Health Insurance Act would cover primary care, dental, mental health, prescription drugs, and long term care.

The one click form will send your personal message to all your government representatives selected, with the subject "Pass H.R. 676." At the same time you can send your personal comments only as a letter to the editor of your nearest local daily newspaper if you like.

208 Commission for healthcare reform for Colorado website

The 4 proposals for healthcare reform are here. HCAC is supporting #4

Talk about healthcare reform on the HCAC blogs here

Brief overview of proposal 4 supported by HCAC:

Brief overview of Proposal 4:

The Colorado Health Services program represents systemic health care reform designed to ensure integration of financing, delivery and administration in order to provide quality health coverage for all in place of our current fragmented, chaotic, profit-centered multiple-insurance model. CHS is a comprehensive, public-payer (insurance), private provider (health facilities, providers) system that permits free choice of providers and hospitals. By eliminating wasteful administrative spending, the program is designed to provide quality, equitable health care access at greatly reduced cost by creating a single, statewide risk pool for all residents. Comprehensive benefits encompass a broader range of coverage than currently available through any single private insurance plan.

CHS administrative savings alone are projected at 15-20 percent of health spending. Additional savings result from elimination of insurance profit-taking, and negotiation of costs for pharmaceutical and durable medical goods. Providing universal access to primary, preventive care avoids resort to higher-cost delayed, crisis emergency room care. The elimination of multiple duplicative insurance paperwork reduces hospital and providers' costs. Treatment instead of imprisonment of many suffering substance abuse or mental illness would significantly reduce prison/jail expenditures. Universal access to continuous health care greatly reduces costs of malpractice premiums and awards.

Key to any successful systemic health care reform is a statewide fully integrated Information Technology network, permitting simultaneous tracking of expenditures, utilization and outcomes, with assessment of best practices and resource utilization to improve quality of care and expedite chronic disease management; and to reward hospitals and providers for excellence. Statewide coordination of public health and infrastructure prevents duplication of services and administrative waste. Accountability and transparency of data facilitates informed health care decisions by all.

Federal, state and local monies now earmarked for health care would be transferred to the CHS Trust, insulated from the general state budget. Waivers would be sought for federal programs (e.g., Medicaid and Medicare). The medical expense portion of liability, Workers' Compensation and automobile insurance would be folded into the program, eliminating administrative and adjudication costs for auto and job-related injuries. Exercising administrative oversight, a governing board representing five state regions would remain accountable to the people. CHS would be operated as a publicly-owned not-for-profit insurance company.

Employers and employees would contribute through payroll deduction or a progressive tax. Health costs for the vast majority will be substantially reduced below current premium and out-of-pocket health expenditures (currently averaging $11,000 per family annually). Divorcing health coverage from employment also frees businesses to better compete in the global marketplace. All institutions, including public education and the state, would realize savings when relieved of responsibility for inflationary health coverage costs. Coloradans will no longer experience threat of bankruptcy due to high medical bills (the cause of an estimated 50 percent of US personal bankruptcies), or denial of coverage due to "pre-existing" health conditions.

Equal access to health care across the state would be facilitated, as providers and hospitals receive the same reimbursement for the same level of care, negotiated annually. Education funding for health care providers and incentives for service in high-needs areas are key features, as is wellness education for the populace and job-retraining for displaced workers.

Complete proposal here

Advantages of the Single-Payer Health Coverage:

Citizens Can Prevail ! Join our Statewide Effort for Single-Payer / Private Provider National Health Insurance.

Health Care Myths
Myth - Single-Payer Means Socialized Medicine

With a Single-Payer system the health care delivery system remains private. As opposed to a national health service, where the government employs doctors, in a national health insurance system, the government is billed, but doctors remain in private practice.
Myth - Single-Payer / Private Provider National Health Insurance will be more expensive

A national health insurance program could save approximately $150 billion on paperwork alone. Because of the administrative complexities in our current system, over 25% of every health care dollar goes to marketing, billing, utilization review, and other forms of waste. A single-payer system could reduce administrative costs greatly.
Myth - We don't need to fix what's not broken

Myth - Everybody has access through the emergency room

Common Health Care Myths, summarized from  HEALTH CARE MELTDOWN: Confronting the Myths and Fixing our Failing System by Robert LeBow M..D., M.P.H.

Myth #1: Everybody Has Access to Care Through the Emergency Room
ERs are the most expensive and inefficient way to deliver primary care. The uninsured have a 10-15% higher mortality rate and earn 10-30% less due to poor health.

Myth #2: We Don't Need to Fix What's Not Broken
Major problems of US health care include poor access and lack of a preventive health care approach. Primarily, a failing system of health care finance drives the delivery system, which is failing the uninsured (15% of Americans), including the chronically ill and those with preexisting conditions, who seek care only when critically ill. An additional 50 million or so underinsured receive inadequate care.

Myth #3: "The Market" Is the Solution
Profit is a perverse incentive for health care. Rather than quality of care, US health care competition is based on cost and profits, resulting in coverage for the healthy and wealthy, and exclusion of the sick and high-risk. Since the '90s, there has been an increase of uninsured, a decrease in choice of health care providers, and diversion of resources to administrative costs (an estimated 25 to 50 percent), marketing and profits, with less left for patient care. An increasing number of for-profit HMOs has resulted in failure to deal with less profitable aspects of health care, (e.g., mental and public health).

Myth #4: Private Is Always Better Than Public
The private sector has manipulated regulations to maximize profits, e.g., the pharmaceutical and energy (Enron) industries. Overhead costs for private health insurance average 15 percent (global administrative costs 25 percent). Medicare, with overhead costs of 2 to 3 percent, cannot avoid the poor, the sick or expensive cases, like the private sector can. The bottom line: Money spent on administration, overhead, marketing, inflated CEO salaries and corporate profits is money subtracted from patient care.

Myth #5: Medicare Is Going Broke
Those with a political agenda of privatization or dismantling Medicare, perpetuate the myth of Medicare "crisis." Despite exploitation by fraudulent claims, Medicare costs actually decreased in 1999, extending its solvency to 2030. Privatized Medicare, in the form of HMOs, have decreased choices for many.

Myth #6: We Can't Afford Universal Coverage
The US spends almost twice as much per capita on health care as most industrialized countries, with worse health outcomes. Refundable tax credits, supplemental insurance for all, or medical savings accounts would add complexity and administrative wastefulness. Single risk pool coverage would permit over 50 percent administrative savings (an estimated $200 billion in 2002), permitting coverage of every person in America. Delayed emergency room care for the uninsured is much costlier. Congressional Budget Office and General Accounting Office studies consistently show savings for single-payer coverage. The perverse link between employment and health insurance makes US industry less competitive in the world market. General Motors spends nearly $3,000 for employee health for every car made - costs passed on to consumers, and a factor in jobs leaving the country.

Myth #7: Americans Don't Want "Rationing" of Health Care
"Rationing" is a code word, like "socialized medicine," meant to trigger negative responses. The US currently has "rationing" or "waiting times," with some waiting up to 3 to 6 months to see a doctor. Some uninsured have delayed needed surgery until they are old enough for Medicare coverage.

Myth #8: We Don't Want Socialized Medicine Like in Canada
Canadians don't worry about lacking needed care, or going bankrupt because of serious illness. The Canadian delivery system is made up overwhelmingly of private health care providers and hospitals.

Myth #9: The Insured Pay More To Help Cover the Costs of the Uninsured
This used to be true, but today's practice of cost shifting means that the uninsured and people with individual insurance now substantially subsidize (paying 4 to 5 times more) the care of those with group insurance plans. The largest subsidy to the insured occurs as tax-free insurance payments by employers, made up for by taxes paid by the uninsured (a $140 billion federal subsidy in 2001). The 2000 WHO report ranked the US health care system 54th in the world in "fairness."

Myth #10: Universal Coverage Will Overburden Our System
After an initial backlog of "catchup work," people would have access to primary care, resulting in more appropriate use of emergency rooms. Primary providers freed from administrative tasks would be more efficient. Solutions include shifting some specialists to primary care; utilization of mid-level clinicians, e.g., nurse practitioners; and rewards for primary care-givers in medically under-served areas.

Myth #11: Costs of "Research and Development" Drive Our Higher Drug Prices
Drug companies have the highest profit margin of all American corporations, with profits as a percent of sales about 19 percent, compared to a median of about 5 percent for all Fortune 500 companies. Drug companies benefit from taxpayer-funded drug research, and spend almost three times as much on marketing and administrative costs as on research and development. US drug prices average 60 percent higher than in Canada and the U.K. Most U.S.-produced drugs are not innovative, but varieties of old drugs, developed to extend patent protections. Patent laws have been manipulated to permit drug monopolies, exorbitant pricing, and to keep cheaper generic products off the market. The pharmaceutical industry operates without price controls, unprecedented among developed nations.

Myth #12: We Can Get to Universal Coverage Through Incremental Changes
Like "shoveling sand against the tide," incremental changes over the past decade resulted in increased uninsured (about 5 million). Recent years have witnessed annual double-digit health insurance inflation. Even with Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the number of uninsured children remains at about nine million. Costly, complex proposals include a mix of refundable tax credits, federal subsidies, medical savings accounts, vouchers, employer-defined contributions, supplemental insurance, etc. Complexity raises administrative costs and enlarges cracks in the system, through which the working poor too often fall, with only corporate profits insured. Proposals to leave high-risk people in Medicare, while placing the healthy and wealthy under private sector insurance, are a huge gift to the insurance industry, and further institutionalize multi-tiered health care.Myth # 13: Americans Won't Accept Single-

Myth #13:  Americans Won't Accept Single-Payer Universal Coverage
Vested interests have attempted to discredit a single-payer approach, invoking "hated government" and "socialized medicine." The pharmaceutical industry has fought efforts at group negotiation of bulk rate medicines. Drug and insurance industries have spent millions to lower people's expectations, and to oppose the formation of a single risk pool national health insurance. Americans have expressed overwhelming support for universal coverage. Consumers are enticed to pay higher costs, and lulled into complacency by phrases like "consumer-directed care" and "personal health accounts."

Contrasting Current US Health Care Crisis with Cost-Effective Single-Payer Coverage

Opponents of Single-Payer Health Coverage Confuse the Issue of Insurance and Health Care.
    "Socialized Medicine" is a purposefully confusing term. Insurance by nature is "socialism". Ideally, many pay into a large risk pool for the assurance of payments for necessary health care.
    Canada maintains private providers and hospitals for the most part. More accurately, single-payer health care like Canada's is "public payer, private provider."

Tying Inflationary Health Costs to Employment Reduces US Business Competitiveness in the World.
    In 1994, Jack Smith, former CEO of General Motors, said he "personally favored the Canadian system" of health coverage. Big-three auto executives wrote a letter to the Canadian government urging them to keep the single-payer system so car dealers could hold expenses down. Auto and other manufacturers are voting for single payer health care by moving plants to Canada (e.g., Toyota, Ford & General Motors).
    In 2005, it was reported that the cost of employee health care to manufacturers adds $1,500 to the cost of a U.S.-made car ("Critical Condition," James Steele).
    Most foreign competitors are in countries with universal health care, at 1/3 less cost.
    General Motors pays lifetime health costs for a huge group of retirees, making them less competitive with companies who pay subsistence wages, and have no health care benefits or costs for retired workers.
    Fewer employers are offering health care - of those who do, benefits are declining - a condition described by Uwe Reinhardt as "unsurance." Employee copays and expenses are increasing, decreasing take-home pay.
    The New York Times reported a 48% rise in health expenses to workers from 2000-03 (meaning less take-home pay)

Emergency Room Care is the Most Inefficient Provider of General Health Care.
    Emergency room care costs 3-5 times more than primary preventive care, reported by Consumer Health Reports, based on a 6-month investigation of US Health Care. ("Second Class," CHR, September 2000).
    The uninsured are dumped on the public system, forcing overloaded providers and hospitals to decide how much care to provide without pay. There is no preventive or follow-up care in ER.
    The Hospital Association of Southern California has reported a "system on the brink of absolute chaos," with six emergency rooms in Los Angeles forced to close due to increasing financial burdens of treating the uninsured.
    The American Hospital Association reports that 80% of Emergency Rooms are overcrowded, with an average wait of 4 hours. Even those who believe they have good coverage can be diverted to other hospitals. In busy public hospitals, ER waits of 4 days have been reported, and some have had to wait weeks for necessary surgeries.

More Problems of US Health Care
    Annually 18,000 uninsured die prematurely due to lack of preventive care and early diagnosis, reported a Study by the National Academy of Sciences (The Denver Post, 5/22/02) An uninsured woman diagnosed with breast CA is 49% more likely to die than the insured.
    Forty percent of personal bankruptcies in the US are due to medical bills.
    Even when they access health care, doctors note that many patients can’t afford to fill prescriptions.
    The uninsured delay care until they require emergency instead of preventive care.
    Families of the working poor make up 80 percent of uninsured.
    The American Hospital Association reports that 34% of the country's 5,000 nonspecialized hospitals, who care for a large percent of the uninsured, are operating in the red.

The marketplace is not a cure for health coverage.
    For-profit health care is a perverse incentive, leading to insuring the healthy and wealthy, and decreasing or eliminating benefits to the sick, in order to maximize shareholders' profits.
    Medicine and insurance are not ordinary commodities.
    Most private health plans market to consumers least likely to get sick, and limit the choices of doctors and hospitals.
    Tax Credits and Medical Savings Accounts benefit the healthy and wealthy with tax breaks; most uninsured don't earn enough to pay taxes or pay into a MSA.

For-profit insurance is not cost-effective.
    HMOs ration health care by limiting tests, drugs, procedures, denying coverage to higher risk consumers. Inadequate reimbursements drive some physicians out of business.
    The 24 percent of health dollars now going for management, marketing and profiteering in our fragmented health system could be cut in half and redirected toward health coverage.
    HMOs pay huge amounts for administrative, bureaucratic costs, advertising, skyrocketing drug costs, and create a blizzard of paperwork.
    Doctors are forced to consult dozens of drug lists or formularies before prescribing medicines, and hire extra office help just to deal with multiple insurance forms.

A Single Risk Pool (single payer) is the most cost-effective system of health coverage.
    The fact is it is more cost-effective to insure everyone. The more uninsured, the more cost-shifting occurs, with rising health costs for everyone.
    SP is the best way to achieve cost containment - overcoming problems of the current system, including insecurity, cost-shifting, waste and profiteering.
    Clinical waste is minimized through public health, prevention and strong primary care.
    Access to preventive primary care maximizes health, and reduces costs and burdens on ERs.
    Administrative costs are reduced - single-payer Medicare, with 2-3% overhead, contrasts with private insurances overhead costs of 9 to 30%.
    SP would curtail outsourcing of jobs and reduce administrative costs (estimated $286 billion annually - enough to cover uninsured, create prescription drug benefit, retrain laid-off employees & improve preventive care).

Public Support for Single Payer Health Care
    A Pew Research Center Survey published 7/24/03 revealed that 72% of Americans agree that government should provide national health coverage, even if it means repealing most tax cuts passed since George W. Bush took office.
    A 2004 Harvard Medical School survey indicated that 64% of doctors endorsed a national single-payer system. Frustrated by costs & cumbersome paperwork, doctors said they would cut fees if it would eliminate piles of insurance forms.

Single-Payer Information Packet

Additional Studies/Reports

Colorado State Health Care Legislative Summaries

Federal Health Care Legislation

Consumer Prescription Drug Survey

Answer Colorado Progressive Coalition Survey