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PNHP RESOURCES

Articles of Interest Archives

These articles highlight many of the health care related stories in the news–ranging from single-payer op-eds by PNHP members to reports by newspapers on corporate health care.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2011
    Arnold S. Relman, M.D. | Tikkun
    There are two interrelated critical issues in health reform right now: how to extend and improve insurance coverage, and how to control the unsustainable rise in health care expenditures. Virtually all of the current legislative attention is focused on the first issue but, notwithstanding claims to the contrary, none of the proposals now on the table offers any credible solution for the control of rising costs. Without control of health cost inflation, the present system will not be viable much longer.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2011
    By Arnold S. Relman, M.D. | New England Journal of Medicine
    Experts agree that sustainable health care reform requires reining in rising costs, but few people understand that the control of medical expenditures is largely in the hands of the medical profession. Doctors, in consultation with their patients — not insurance companies, legislators, or government officials — make most of the decisions to use medical resources, thereby determining what the United States spends on medical care.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2011
    By Margaret Flowers | The Wichita Eagle
    When compared with health care in other advanced nations, the United States excels in only one area — the amount of money spent per capita annually. Despite our high spending, we leave about a third of our population either uncovered or underinsured and thus vulnerable to unneeded suffering and medical bankruptcy.

  • Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2011
    By JIM SPENCER | Minneapolis Star Tribune
    A coalition of U.S. health care businesses, including Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group and Medtronic, proposes to rebuild America's battered economy by selling the country's "health ecosystem" internationally.

  • Posted on Monday, September 26, 2011
    By Deb Gruver | The Wichita Eagle
    Margaret Flowers tired of insurance companies telling her how long her young patients could stay in the hospital or what she could prescribe to make them feel better. The Maryland pediatrician eventually left her private practice and is now the congressional fellow of Physicians for a National Health Program, which advocates a Medicare-like approach to health care for everyone.

  • Posted on Monday, September 26, 2011
    By Mark Moran | Psychiatric News
    A survey of mental health facilities in the Boston area by individuals posing as patients recently discharged from an emergency department with mental illness found a remarkably low rate of available follow-up appointments—a finding that may come as no surprise to psychiatrists in every area of the country.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2011
    By Wendell Potter | iWatchNews
    If you think Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to privatize Medicare is dead, think again. After Ryan unveiled his plan earlier this year, there was such widespread criticism that it briefly became a political liability for the Republicans.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011
    By Johanna W.H.van Wijk-Bos
    On Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted at its regular stated meeting, held in Glasgow, Ky., to send an overture to its 220th General Assembly. The overture requests of the General Assembly to instruct the committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) to report on the corporate practices of Cigna, Aetna, Humana, WellPoint, and UnitedHealthcare insurance companies to the General Assembly Mission Council.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011
    By Chelsea Conaboy | The Boston Globe
    A new study of Cambridge Health Alliance patients shows that many of the people who remain uninsured have jobs and don’t qualify for a state subsidy, but they cannot afford an insurance plan on their own or through their employers. For others, job loss and glitches in the enrollment process have caused them to lose coverage.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2011
    By John Nichols | The Nation
    President Obama has erected what is likely to be the left flank in the debates of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction—the so-called "super-committee" that will define so much of this fall's fiscal and economic discourse.

  • Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011
    By Diane Archer | Health Affairs Blog
    Contrary to claims made by John Goodman and Thomas Saving in an earlier Health Affairs Blog post, non-partisan data from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) demonstrate definitively that private insurance is increasingly less efficient than Medicare. The data show that Congress should examine and address the role that private insurance is playing in driving up overall health care costs.

  • Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2011
    By Carey Goldberg | CommonHealth, WBUR
    The reasons why people lacked insurance varied, from having recently lost coverage through a job to fear of giving their personal data.

  • Posted on Monday, September 19, 2011
    By Rob Stone | Tikkun Magazine
    I was the doctor on duty one night in August when the ambulance rushed a man into our Midwestern hospital ER. As I walked into the room, the scene was right out of TV. A nurse was trying to start an IV. Someone was running an EKG. A student had just put oxygen in the patient’s nose. The room seemed crowded. The paramedics were sweating and slightly out of breath.

  • Posted on Friday, September 16, 2011
    By Bram Kleppner | Burlington Free Press
    With single-payer, Vermonters get better health, lower costs, more privacy, more freedom, a better economy and more jobs. Vermont companies get healthier and more motivated workers, a more flexible labor market, a better economy, lower costs, and more sales.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 15, 2011
    By Bernie Sanders | CommonDreams.org
    The crisis of poverty in America is one of the great moral and economic issues facing our country. It is very rarely talked about in the mainstream media. It gets even less attention in Congress. Why should people care? Many poor people don't vote. They certainly don't make large campaign contributions, and they don't have powerful lobbyists representing their interests.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 14, 2011
    By John Gever | MedPage Today
    A record 49.9 million Americans were without health insurance during 2010, up almost 2% from the 49.0 million uninsured in 2009, the Census Bureau reported.

  • Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011
    By Fran Cronin | WBUR CommonHealth blog
    Medical students are a challenged lot — sleep-deprived, stressed and driven. With the constant cramming of facts into their overloaded heads, and the constant need to steel themselves against the daily rounds of disease and injury, many medical students are left mentally and emotionally drained. Like their patients, they need a doctor. But many don’t reach out for help.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 7, 2011
    By Elizabeth Murphy | Inside Higher Ed
    A study published Tuesday paints a grim picture of America’s increasingly stressed medical students, in what researchers say they hope will be a “wake-up call” to the nation’s medical schools and health care policy makers.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 7, 2011
    Robert W. Putsch, MD | Letter to the Editor | Helena (Mont.) Independent Record
    Health care reform could provide better care at less cost by replacing competing insurance companies with a single-payer health plan. An improved Medicare for All would reduce administrative costs leaving the state with enough funds to provide universal care. Vermont recently passed legislation to move in that direction and Montana would be wise to study this option.

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 7, 2011
    As a Canadian libertarian now serving as President and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, an organization advocating for free market solutions to America's problems, Sally Pipes is issuing a warning that "Medicare-for-All may become the new rallying cry for progressive luminaries." Further, "if President Obama wins a second term, he may look to heed that cry." Don't we wish!

  • Posted on Wednesday, September 7, 2011
    By Deborah Brauser | Medscape News Today
    Most medical schools in the United States do not offer health insurance plans that sufficiently cover mental health or substance abuse treatment, new research suggests.

  • Posted on Thursday, September 1, 2011
    By Rick Kvam, M.D. | Letters, Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin
    Guided by evidence, not ideology, one finds that in health care, the unbridled free market returns a very poor value. We boast the most market-driven health care in the developed world, and, not coincidentally, far and away the most expensive. Our per capita costs are double those of other industrialized nations (in spite of 50 million uninsured!), but our outcomes (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.) are nevertheless worse. Workers' inability to switch jobs for fear of losing health care coverage (“job lock”) is a major drag on our economy.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2011
    By Shamus Cooke | ZSpace
    The health care crisis in the United States is getting worse with no visible end. The popular anger over unattainable or unaffordable health care has been diverted away from corporations by crafty politicians, always seeking to exploit a social disaster for their benefactors. Instead of making health care more affordable for the average person, politicians have successfully switched the messaging. Now, the purpose behind "reform" is to make health care less costly for governments and employers, at the expense of patients and workers.

  • Posted on Monday, August 29, 2011
    By PAULINE W. CHEN, M.D. | The New York Times, Well blog
    A former colleague from Canada who practiced medicine with me here in the States never hesitated to make one thing clear to me: He couldn’t wait to get back.

  • Posted on Sunday, August 28, 2011
    By Scott Lilly | Center for American Progress
    The Medicaid changes in the Ryan budget plan would have extraordinary implications not only for the poor individuals who are normally thought of as the principal beneficiaries but for a very broad swath of middle-class families who are far more likely to become reliant on Medicaid benefits at some point in their life than most currently realize.

  • Posted on Friday, August 26, 2011
    By Jonathan D. Walker, M.D. | Frost Illustrated (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
    The term “infant mortality rate” is a measure of the number of babies that die under one year of age per 1,000 live births. It is a useful indicator of how effective a healthcare system is—the lower the number, the fewer babies die.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2011
    SAMUEL METZ | Letter to the Editor, New York Times
    Health care reform could provide better care at less cost by replacing individual mandates with a single-payer national health care plan financed by taxes. Congress’s power to mandate purchase of private products sold at a profit is disputable, but Congress’s power to tax is not.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011
    By Debra Walter, M.D. | Letters, Arizona Daily Star
    Re: the June 8 column by David Brooks "Medicare proposals reflect parties' worldviews": While I agree the debate really reflects broad philosophical differences, he is quite mistaken in assuming private insurance plans represent "local control." Blue Cross, United, Aetna and others are just as national and centralized as Medicare; they all have divisional levels of control.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011
    By Christen McCurdy | The Lund Report
    Oregon Health and Science University medical student Richard Bruno has taken his passions – healthier diets for kids, improved working conditions for medical students, preserving access to abortion training and investigating the feasibility of a single-payer healthcare system – to a national level.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011
    By Mark Liebow, M.D. | Rochester (Minn.) Post-Bulletin
    Well, Vermont beat us to it. The people of Vermont decided correctly that the advances of the Affordable Care Act weren’t enough. They looked at Massachusetts and found that with that state’s plan, which serves as the model for the Affordable Care Act, costs continue to rise and the rate of medical bankruptcies didn’t go down.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011
    By Brad Cotton, M.D. | Circleville (Ohio) Herald
    Rep. Hayes, Ohioans health is at risk not because of too much government, but of too little. We the people have failed to demand that our elected representatives appropriately oversee and regulate Wall-Street-traded health insurance giants that increase their bottom line by not keeping their word on the promise they offer: financial security in the face of illness.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011
    Editorial | Cape Cod Times
    Despite a recent setback at the federal appeals court level, health care reform still represents the nation's best solution to not only a broken health insurance system, but to our country's long-term deficit problems.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011
    By the Editorial Board | Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette
    Some federal courts are ruling that America's breakthrough 2010 medical reform is kaput because government cannot force people to pay for health insurance. If the historic reform eventually is killed, we hope it leads to a better alternative. We hope America finally joins other advanced democracies by adopting a government-run "single-payer" universal health plan covering every citizen.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2011
    By Robert Reich | Robert Reich's blog
    Two appellate judges in Atlanta -- one appointed by President Bill Clinton and one by George H.W. Bush -- have just decided the Constitution doesn't allow the federal government to require individuals to buy health insurance.

  • Posted on Monday, August 15, 2011
    By John Nichols | The Nation blogs
    The individual mandate was always a bad idea. Instead of recognizing that healthcare is a right, the members of Congress and the Obama administration who cobbled together the healthcare reform plan created a mandate that maintains the abuses and the expenses of for-profit insurance companies—and actually rewards those insurance companies with a guarantee of federal money.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011
    By Jonathan D. Walker, M.D. | The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
    Politicians and special interest groups are always trying to control the debate over health care. But there is one undeniable fact: we are paying more for health care than we ever have before.

  • Posted on Thursday, August 11, 2011
    By Gina Shaw | Neurology Today
    If a child needs a pediatric neurologist in Chicago, he’d better hope that he isn’t on Medicaid. An alarming “secret shopper” style study published in the June 16 New England Journal of Medicine found that children with Medicaid were far more likely to be declined an appointment with a pediatric neurologist (as well as eight other types of specialists) than those with private insurance.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
    By the Editorial Board | St. Louis Post Dispatch
    If America truly is serious about dealing with its deficit problems, there's a fairly simple solution. But you're probably not going to like it: Enact a single-payer health care plan.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
    By Patricia Downs Berger, M.D. | Letters, Boston Herald
    A single payer system would save money by eliminating the wasteful bureaucracy created by the insurance industry and would allow physicians and patients to make decisions together without the interference of insurance policy makers. People would pay a predictable amount through the tax system with no premiums, no co-pays, no deductibles and no other out-of-pocket charges. Almost everyone including small businesses would save and everyone would be covered for comprehensive care. Single payer is not a crazy socialistic idea; it works!

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
    News release
    NEW YORK – The New York Metro chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), an 18,000-member national organization, denounces the federal debt ceiling deal signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
    By J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD and Rachel Nardin, MD | KevinMD.com blog, MedPage Today
    Imagine you have severe depression and go to a Boston emergency room for treatment. You are told to follow up with a psychiatrist within two weeks. You have good health insurance, so this shouldn’t be a problem, right?

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
    By Ewell Scott, M.D. | Letters | The Lexington (Ky.) Herald
    As regards to the discussion and analysis of Lexington-Fayette government employees' health insurance, the casual observer might comment that the current coverage is quite good. In fact, better than most working Americans have today.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011
    By Lynn Chacko, M.D. | Letters, The Gainesville Sun
    Although I graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine just a few years ago, I have already seen countless numbers of patients suffer or die needlessly because they can't afford to see a specialist, pay their medication copay or have a necessary test. And these are the patients with insurance!

  • Posted on Friday, August 5, 2011
    By Melissa Stiles, M.D. | Letters, The Capital Times (Madison, Wis.)
    We should look to build on and expand Medicare, not weaken or dismantle it. By replacing our patchwork of private and public insurance programs with a single publicly financed system that handles all bills, we would save about $400 billion annually that’s currently spent on unnecessary paperwork and overhead — enough to provide comprehensive coverage to all the uninsured and to improve coverage for the rest of us.

  • Posted on Friday, August 5, 2011
    By Mark Crane | Medscape News
    Dealing with multiple health plans on claims, prior authorizations, and pharmaceutical formularies is estimated to cost at least $82,975 per physician annually in the United States, compared with $22,205 in Ontario, according to the study, partially supported by The Commonwealth Fund.

  • Posted on Friday, August 5, 2011
    By Bill Davidson, M.D. | Letters, Lebanon (Pa.) Daily News
    Expanding Medicare to include everyone has the potential to rein in the cost of health care -- something the private insurance industry has failed to do over the past 30 years. Those who would malign and destroy Medicare are simply ignoring the facts and have political agendas that are not in the best interests of most Americans.

  • Posted on Wednesday, August 3, 2011
    By Wendell Potter | PR Watch
    Three of the biggest health insurers have announced quarterly earnings in the past few days. If Americans were able to eavesdrop on what executives from those firms tell their Wall Street masters every three months, they would have a better understanding of why premiums keep going up while the number of people with medical coverage keeps going down.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2011
    By Michelle Andrews | Kaiser Health News
    As a health care writer, I talk with people all the time about their experiences navigating the system, whether in the United States or elsewhere. Writing about health care is different from writing about the arts, say, or sports, in one crucial way: When you write about health care, you're often left feeling profoundly grateful that you didn't have to experience firsthand the event that you're describing. But now my luck had turned, and I was about to get up close and personal with emergency care, Canadian style.

  • Posted on Tuesday, August 2, 2011
    By Elizabeth Frost, M.D. | Twin Cities Daily Planet
    Medicare is an efficient, effective way of health care financing. It is what we all want for our parents and ourselves as we get older and heck -- it probably is a good idea for the entire nation. If we had Medicare-For-All maybe it would be so popular that Michelle Bachmann would be forced to defend it, too.

  • Posted on Monday, August 1, 2011
    By James T. Binder, M.D. | Saturday Gazette-Mail (Charleston, W.Va.)
    In the fall of 1982, when I working as a pediatrician in upstate New York, a mother made an appointment to have her child seen on an urgent basis. The child did not really need to be seen quickly, but the mother didn't know better. She was just worried about her child. She arrived and checked into the clinic. The receptionist greeted her with, "I should have known -- Medicaid."

  • Posted on Monday, August 1, 2011
    By James C. Mitchiner, M.D. | AnnArbor.com
    In yet another attempt to bridge the debt ceiling impasse by reigning in entitlement spending, President Barack Obama recently proposed raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67. As we pass Medicare’s 46th anniversary on July 30, I propose that rather than raising the age for Medicare, we consider lowering it instead. In fact, let’s lower it to zero.

  • Posted on Monday, August 1, 2011
    By Ann Settgast, M.D. | Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
    Whether the debt ceiling is raised or not in the days ahead, Minnesotans and the nation have reason to celebrate this weekend. Saturday marked Medicare's 46th birthday.

  • Posted on Friday, July 29, 2011
    By Dr. Quentin Young | FireDogLake
    With media attention focused on the debt-ceiling drama in Washington, and with so many Americans rightly preoccupied with the frightening level of joblessness and bleak state of the economy, it might seem strange to urge a national celebration of Medicare’s 46th anniversary this Saturday, July 30.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011
    By Kay Tillow | Letters, The Lexington (Ky.) Herald
    The Commonwealth Fund has published a June 2011 study of Medicaid managed care plans. The news is not good, but it is not surprising.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 28, 2011
    By Milton Hirshberg, M.D. | Cape Cod Times
    In my town, my family doctor held office hours and made house calls. He seemed to be as happy working in this occupation as anyone could possibly be. The medical specialists in town were a surgeon and a radiologist. If certain other specialists were needed, they came from Boston to the community-owned hospital when called. The town doctor made rounds twice a day at the county home for the poor and was in his office the rest of the day. There were a school nurse and doctor. Everyone received necessary medical care.

  • Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011
    Healthcare-NOW!
    As Washington stalls over reaching a deal on the debt ceiling, residents across the country point to a solution to our health and fiscal crisis: “Improved Medicare-for-all.” The Medicare program will celebrate its 46th anniversary this Saturday, July 30, and events are planned from coast-to-coast to honor the nation’s most popular social insurance program, as well as call for its preservation and expansion.

  • Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011
    By Scott O'Connell | The MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.)
    Four members of a panel at Framingham State University last night gave their pitch for a single-payer health care system in the state, saying it would streamline administration, make care more widely available and potentially save billions of dollars.

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011
    By Johnathon Ross, M.D. | CommonDreams
    For 30 years I’ve been teaching young doctors how to practice primary care medicine at a center-city clinic in Toledo. Every day we witness heart-wrenching scenes right out of a Charles Dickens novel -- scenes that illustrate the cruelty, arbitrariness and absurdity of our health care “system.”

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011
    By Samuel Metz, M.D. | The Oregonian
    Medicare turns 46 this week and there is much to celebrate. Medicare assures health care for seniors who might otherwise find health care inaccessible. It saves our government money. It makes the lives of our seniors better.

  • Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011
    By PAUL KRUGMAN | New York Times
    At the time of writing, President Obama’s hoped-for “Grand Bargain” with Republicans is apparently dead. And I say good riddance. I’m no more eager than other rational people (a category that fails to include many Congressional Republicans) to see what happens if the debt limit isn’t raised. But what the president was offering to the G.O.P., especially on Medicare, was a very bad deal for America.

  • Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011
    By David Moynahan, M.D. | Letters | Tallahassee Democrat
    Single-payer systems around the world provide better (yes, better, by every measurable outcome) health care for half the cost. We need to wake up and demand true health care reform. Advocates of the status quo are like a ship's passengers who demand that the captain stay on course and that the band keep playing instead of repairing a bad leak in the sinking USS Health Care.

  • Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011
    By Robert Reich | Robert Reich's blog
    Not only is Social Security on the chopping block in order to respond to Republican extortion. So is Medicare. But Medicare isn’t the nation’s budgetary problems. It’s the solution. The real problem is the soaring costs of health care that lie beneath Medicare. They’re costs all of us are bearing in the form of soaring premiums, co-payments, and deductibles.

  • Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011
    By Robert B. Doherty | From the July/August ACP Internist
    Physicians have been paid according to the number of visits or procedures they bill for a very long time, almost half a century for Medicare. Fee-for-service might have made sense originally, when everything was done on an episodic, acute care basis, but medicine has changed, and the payment system needs to change with it.

  • Posted on Friday, July 22, 2011
    By Maia Szalavitz | Time magazine
    Massachusetts requires health insurance for all, is second in the nation in the number of doctors per capita, and mandates equal coverage for mental and physical illnesses. Yet when researchers there posed as well-insured patients seeking treatment for depression, only 6 percent of calls to mental health facilities resulted in an appointment within two weeks, according to a new study.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011
    By David W. Freeman | CBS News
    Just because you have health insurance doesn't mean you can get a doctor. That's the apparent take-away message of a shocking new study showing that even in Massachusetts - a model for the federal health legislation that President Obama signed into law in 2010 - access to medical care is severely limited.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011
    By Rachel Zimmerman | WBUR CommonHealth blog
    “The takeaway here is that having insurance is obviously important but it is not sufficient when it comes to access to psychiatric care,” says Dr. J. Wesley Boyd, an attending psychiatrist at the Harvard-affiliated Cambridge Health Alliance, and the study’s lead author. “What does it say when there’s a patient with a potentially life-threatening disorder, such as the severe depression portrayed in our callers’ scenario, who is is essentially abandoned at a time of great need?”

  • Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011
    By Chelsea Conaboy | The Boston Globe
    Massachusetts patients with top-flight medical insurance may still find it difficult to get the mental health services they need, according to research from Harvard doctors released today that provides fresh evidence of a crisis in psychiatric care.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011
    By Timothy Shaw, M.D. | Letters, The Capital Times (Madison, Wis.)
    Applying the “Eccles/Reich compass” to health care, we should EXPAND Medicare, not cut it. American business cannot compete globally because of health care costs. A Green Bay small business owner pays $215,000 in health care insurance costs for 14 employees. A Medicare-for-all health system would collectively bargain to reduce medical costs per person, improve consumer confidence, increase workers’ buying power to create more jobs, and thus grow the economy.

  • Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011
    By Anya Rader Wallack, Ph.D. | The New England Journal of Medicine
    Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont recently signed into law ambitious health care reform legislation that puts Vermont on course to implement a single-payer health care system. The law creates a Health Benefit Exchange, consistent with the federal Affordable Care Act, and anticipates using it as the administrative structure for a publicly funded program of health insurance coverage for all Vermonters.

  • Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011
    By Miles Mogulescu | Huffington Post
    With the August 2 deadline for increasing the debt ceiling fast approaching, the beltway media is quick to praise the "courage" of politicians who propose cutting Medicare, whether it's Paul Ryan for proposing to turn Medicare into a voucher program, or President Obama for proposing more modest cuts like increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67 or "means testing" benefits based on income. But there's nothing courageous about putting more of the burden of medical care onto the backs of seniors who have spent a lifetime paying Medicare taxes in order to guarantee their medical security when they get older.

  • Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011
    Richard Propp, M.D. | Letter, Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)
    I just returned from Connecticut, where I had a hip replacement without incident, followed by rehabilitation at my son's home. With Medicare on the cutting table, I fear the results of compromises. Traditional Medicare allows free choice of hospital and physician, not circumscribed by place of treatment. This is not true of Medicare Advantage, a privatized form of Medicare.

  • Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011
    By Hrayr Attarian, M.D. | Letters, Chicago Sun-Times
    Medicare, which will turn 46 on July 30, is far from a perfect program. However, having practiced in three states over the span of 12 years, I have spent countless hours pre-authorizing, appealing and trying to negotiate care for my patients with both Medicare and private insurers.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011
    By Wendell Potter | iWatch News
    The insurance industry made it abundantly clear this week that it is in the driver’s seat — in both Washington and state capitals — of one of the most important vehicles created by Congress to reform the U.S. health care system.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011
    By Susanne L. King, M.D. | The Berkshire Eagle (Lenox, Mass.)
    Celebrating 46 years this month, Medicare continues to pay for the health care of 47 million Americans. Medicare has improved the health of our seniors, reduced their risk of poverty, and improved the financial security of their families.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2011
    By Dave Zweifel | The Capital Times (Madison, Wis.)
    The American Medical Association, the organization that represents most of the nation’s doctors, claimed at its recent convention in Chicago that health insurance companies are inaccurately processing nearly one in five medical claims.

  • Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011
    By Wendell Potter | The Nation
    Days after President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, I arrived at the spring 2010 meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in Denver, where a fellow consumer representative introduced me to one of the hundreds of industry lobbyists swarming the convention center. “She’s somebody we can work with,” he said, clearly convinced that she would deal with us in good faith, even if we might disagree on certain policy issues. Over the next several months, other consumer reps agreed that she really did seem to want to do what was right for patients, even if the organization that paid her salary often seemed to care more about profits than people.

  • Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011
    By John Nichols | The Nation blog
    The word in Washington is that President Obama has, in negotiations with Congressional Republicans, offered to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.

  • Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2011
    By Wendell Potter | The Guardian (U.K.)
    Andrew Lansley's controversial National Health Service bill is premised on "choice and competition" and the creation of a market in health care. These three stories below from the U.S. show choice and competition at work on the ground. They also explain why 45,000 Americans die every year because they can't afford – and in many cases can't even obtain – health insurance.

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011
    From National Nurses United
    The nation’s leading nurses’ organization, National Nurses United, today called on the Obama administration and Congress to oppose cuts in Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, and instead increase national revenues with a tax on major Wall Street speculative activity.

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 12, 2011
    By Trudy Lieberman | Columbia Journalism Review
    Leave it to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman to speed along the process of making seniors on Medicare pay more for their care—the cost control method of choice at the moment, since it doesn’t disturb the profits of major stakeholders. After all, it was Lieberman who sealed the death warrant for the public option during the health reform debate. So the legislation he has proposed along with Senator Tom Coburn is consistent with his political MO. Lieberman’s proposal along with others like it may well slip into the bill, authorizing an increase in the debt ceiling with nary a word from the seniors who depend on the program. It would be grand if they knew what was afoot.

  • Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011
    By Jim Recht, M.D. | CommonDreams
    In honor of its 46th birthday this month, here is a brief history of Medicare: of the bitter controversy surrounding its creation, its subsequent achievements, and its current position at the center of congressional budget debates. I believe that once they understand the deep differences between this institution and our country’s more recent attempts at health care reform, most reasonable individuals will conclude that a national insurance system like Medicare offers a solution to the health care crisis, and that it should be fully funded and extended to cover all Americans from birth.

  • Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011
    By Chris Gibbar | Letters, The Coloradoan
    Medicare is less expensive to administer than private programs. Yet this wildly popular program is under attack. The Democratic Obama administration has offered to cut tens of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, and Republicans in Congress are making serious attempts to privatize not only Medicare but Social Security. Both parties are failing the American people.

  • Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011
    By Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva | Twin Cities Daily Planet
    Senator John Marty contacted the TC Daily Planet after he read our June coverage of health care, specifically a Q&A with Senator Dave Durenberger on his support for federal health care legislation. Senator Marty let us know that he respectfully disagreed with Senator Durenberger’s view of solutions for our health care system. This is to be expected, since he’s the chief author of the Minnesota Health Plan, the only proposal for universal, single-payer coverage in Minnesota.

  • Posted on Thursday, July 7, 2011
    By David Sirota | Salon.com
    While the contest for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is already revolving around conservative-themed attacks on "Obamacare," back when the health care bill was being legislated, the most important debate was within the Democratic Party, which held large majorities in both houses of Congress. On one side were the drug companies, the insurance companies and President Obama -- the latter who had not only disowned his prior support of single-payer health care but had also worked with his corporate allies to actively undermine a modest public insurance option. On the other side were progressives who opposed any bill which further cemented the private insurance industry as the primary mediator between doctors and patients.

  • Posted on Wednesday, July 6, 2011
    Timothy Shaw, M.D. | Letter to the Editor | Capital Times (Madison, Wis.)
    In 1991, Appleton and Green Bay had the lowest health care costs in the United States, but between 2000-2010, the physician/health insurance cartels have concentrated health care monopolies there, so that health care costs have risen 290 percent. While over 50 million Americans cannot afford health insurance, UnitedHealth Group pays CEO Dr. William McGuire a $124 million annual salary ($60,000 per hour).

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 5, 2011
    Ann Molison | Letters | The Coloradoan
    Rep. Cory Gardner wants us to have vouchers to pay for our health care. This would end Medicare as we know it and would decrease the quality of medicine for everyone. I propose we do something that would save money, provide health care for everyone and create a more competitive opportunity for all businesses, especially small businesses and those in the manufacturing sector.

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 5, 2011
    By Wally Retan, M.D. | The Birmingham News
    Begin with what everyone knows. Health care costs and health insurance costs are climbing more than twice as fast as the cost of living and have been for years. There is no need for numbers to prove that statement. Just ask anyone who buys health insurance on his own, any employer trying to take care of his employees, and any employee whose wages are flat because of the rising cost of insurance.

  • Posted on Tuesday, July 5, 2011
    ELIZABETH R. ROSENTHAL | Letters | The New York Times
    We do not have to reduce benefits or raise the age of eligibility to save Medicare. We need to expand and improve it so we have Medicare for all. This is what many other industrialized nations have done. They bring high-quality medical care to all their citizens at half the cost of what we spend.

  • Posted on Friday, July 1, 2011
    National Organization for Women | Press release
    The National Organization for Women wrapped up its 45th National Conference in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, June 26, setting NOW's policy and agenda for the coming year and looking toward the 2012 elections and beyond. Topping NOW's policy agenda are improved Social Security benefits for women and a "Medicare for All" single-payer health care system as the solution to our health and fiscal crisis, including supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders' American Health Security Act of 2011 (S 915).

  • Posted on Friday, July 1, 2011
    By Gerald Friedman | Dollars and Sense
    America’s broken health-care system suffers from what appear to be two separate problems. From the right, a chorus warns of the dangers of rising costs; we on the left focus on the growing number of people going without health care because they lack adequate insurance. This division of labor allows the right to dismiss attempts to extend coverage while crying crocodile tears for the 40 million uninsured. But the division between problem of cost and the problem of coverage is misguided.

  • Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011
    By Kay Campbell | The Huntsville (Ala.) Times
    Abston, a pediatrician who has been active with Physicians for a National Health Program, has written "Who is my neighbor? A Christian response to healthcare reform" to answer objections to government interference in the current patch-work system of health care coverage in the U.S.

  • Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011
    By Aaron Carroll | The Incidental Economist
    The story you’ve been hearing is that (1) doctors are fleeing Medicare and Medicaid in droves and that (2) doctors much prefer private insurance to either of these programs. That’s not the whole story. Doctors, especially primary care docs, seem more likely to accept new patients with Medicare than with private capitated plans and likely many private non-capitated plans

  • Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011
    By John Reichard | CQ Healthbeat
    Bruce Vladeck, who ran the Medicare and Medicaid programs in the Clinton administration, told a Senate Finance Committee hearing that the budget crisis facing the nation stems not from those two entitlements but from inadequate revenue and a flagging economy. Pump up revenues and get the economy growing and the financing challenges involved with the two government health care programs are manageable, he said.

  • Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011
    By Jean Ross, R.N. | Orlando Sentinel
    The view from the hospital floor where nurses give care 24/7 is quite a distance from the halls of Congress, which is consumed with debates on debt ceilings. Or from Labor Department cubicles, where monthly unemployment numbers are being crunched. Or from corporate boardrooms, which are signing off on executive bonuses.

  • Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011
    By Scott Hensley | NPR 'Shots' health blog
    There's a lot of chatter about how public policy can influence doctors' decisions about which new patients to see and which to turn away.

  • Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011
    ALICE POWELL | Letters | The Witchita Eagle
    Kudos to a Wichita physician for speaking out for the need and benefits of Medicare. His analysis of how "the current government-controlled, single-payer, 2 percent overhead system is preferable to a voucher system that turns seniors over to the vagaries of the private, for-profit insurance industry" helps us understand the improvements and the deficiencies of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

  • Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011
    By Leonard Pitts Jr. | The Baltimore Sun
    I pay my taxes because this is how we the people pay for things we deem to be in our communal interest. This is how our military is sustained. This is how our children are educated. This is how our potholes are filled. This is how our libraries are stocked. This is how our police officers are supplied. This is how we take care of us. So I pay my taxes.

  • Posted on Monday, June 27, 2011
    By James Fieseher, M.D. | Letters | Portsmouth (N.H.) Herald
    Recently, a patient told me he was against a government-run health care system because it meant he would be paying for "deadbeats" who sponge off of hard-working people to get free health care. He had a point. He had a difficult job, and worked hard to make ends meet and pay for his own health care. Why should he pay for someone "too lazy to work and take care of himself?"

  • Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2011
    By Carey Goldberg and Rachel Zimmerman | WBUR
    “Our examination found that paying providers on a global basis has not resulted in lower total medical expenses.” It’s just a short, no-frills sentence, but it amounts to a bombshell dropped on a central tenet of the Massachusetts governor’s plan for the next phase of health reform.

  • Posted on Wednesday, June 22, 2011
    From Mass-Care
    WBUR's online health care blog, "CommonHealth," has a flashy headline article today titled "Massachusetts Attorney General Drops Health Reform Bombshell." What's the bombshell? That the state's proposal to control health care costs by moving people into accountable care organizations (ACOs) is unlikely to work, because patients who are currently covered by similar arrangements receive care that as just as expensive as everyone else.