Sunday, May 31, 2009

Healthcare Meeting: Martha Livingston, Speaker

Green Ann, Martha, Kate Anne and students
Ann Eagan, Kate Kelley, speaker Dr. Martha Livingston, Nicole Thompson, Sherie Williams, and Kate Anne Brennan. Not pictured, DFNYC's Dan Jacoby.



THANKS TO ANN EAGAN of the WEST QUEENS GREENS for her help in organizing the program for the GREENS, WQIDC, and DFNYC Sunnyside.

Single Payer Meeting Wrap-Up

I came to Thursday night's meeting on Single Payer with a pretty good basic knowledge but I went away with much more information. Martha Livingston, Ph.D., was terrific and urged us all to get involved -- talk up the issue with friends, neighbors, politicians, the White House. The next several weeks are vital and President Obama himself said if Healthcare is going to happen it is going to happen this first year. We're bucking a very powerful health industry lobby. The insurance companies don't want single payer, don't want a public option (though if it is there they will do their best to see that it fails) because they want to make money on depriving people of health service.

Martha pointed out that of the 2 million who declare bankruptcy every year, over half of them did so because of illness. Of those, 3/4 of them had health insurance at the start of their illness. 700,000 insured Americans declare bankruptcy each year because they are under insured. She noted that its when you get sick that your healthcare insurance is tested. She mentioned how forensic investigators find ways to deny care to people and even retroactively uninsure people [find pre-existing conditions,etc.]

16% of our gross national product deals with the health care industry. We're talking money here. They want it. That means they need to deny claims.

Because of the healthcare industry, "up to 40% of our healthcare dollar is being pissed away." Meanwhile, Medicare operates on a 3% administrative budget. Current Medicare could be expanded to meet our healthcare needs. Single payer is NOT socialized medicine but socialized payment: the government would pay the bill -- everything else is privately run.

Martha mentioned that to just have a Public Plan option would not work as the insurance companies would see to it that those in the plan would be a pool of the sick people, and thus "an insurance death spiral" and therefore "prove" that the government-paid insurance doesn't work. Healthy people must be part of any Public Plan but what we really need is what the other western countries have, Single Payer Healthcare.

And forget the waiting line talk we hear from the media. Martha is knowledgeable about the Canadian system and they are happy with it. When the Canadian system was deprecated in the NY Times recently, their source was the Fraser Institute, a Canadian right wing think tank. Bottom line, Canadians much prefer their system to ours.

Martha also explained how when they talk about 50 million Americans being uninsured, it is really worse than that, given how it is counted. There were others uninsured for only part of the counted time. But besides the uninsured there is also the underinsured. And healthcare is something that is a RIGHT, not a commodity on which a few lucky people earn a profit by depriving healthcare to the sick and less fortunate. Our country must begin recognizing it as part of the basic rights of everyone: "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" -- you can't have life without good healthcare.

For more information, check out Physicians for a National Health Program NY Metro Chapter. Talk to your neighbors and friends. Make phone calls to your Congressmembers and Senators. Yes, you can even join PNHP as a health reform advocate (and at a reduced cost level). But let's talk about this issue and make our demands for Healthcare NOW!

FYI, Friday on Thom Hartmann, Senator Bernie Sanders mentioned he would be meeting with Senator Baucus and single payer physicians this next week to discuss this issue so make those calls SOON. (Dan Jacoby noted Thursday night that Senator Schumer is on Baucus's committee and that we should especially be calling him on the issue.)

Martha mentioned a candlelight vigil and Ann Egan and I were two of the several hundred people at the May 30th Union Square event. See photos from both events.

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3 Comments:

At 11:56 AM, July 05, 2009, Blogger sarah said...

I am a Canadian and definitely prefer our medical care system to the states. I feel for those who cannot afford good health care. It's horrible that one of the richest country does not look out for ALL it's citizens in this way. Sarah

 
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