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US Doctors Call for Universal Healthcare: "Abolish the Insurance Companies"

US Doctors Call for Universal Healthcare: "Abolish the Insurance Companies"
Mon, 5/9/2016 - by Olga Oksman
This article originally appeared on The Guardian

A group of more than 2,000 physicians is calling for the establishment of a universal government-run health system in the US, in a paper in the American Journal of Public Health.

According to the proposal released Thursday, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough in removing barriers to healthcare access. The physicians’ bold plan calls for implementing a single-payer system similar to Canada’s, called the National Health Program, that would guarantee all residents healthcare. 

The new single-payer system would be funded mostly by existing US government funding. The physicians point out that the US government already pays for two-thirds of all healthcare spending in the US, and a single-payer system would cut down on administrative costs, so a transition to a single-payer system would not require significant additional spending.

“Our patients can’t afford care and don’t have access to the care they need, while the system is ever more wasteful, throwing away money on bureaucratic expenses and absurd prices from the drug companies,” said David Himmelstein, a professor in the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College and lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Himmelstein, one of the authors of the plan, said the proposal is meant as a rallying cry for physicians and other healthcare professionals around the cause of a single-payer model. According to the paper, even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act many patients “face rising co-payments and deductibles that compromise access to care and leave them vulnerable to ruinous medical bills”. Despite the current high healthcare spending levels in the US, healthcare outcomes are worse than in comparable well-funded countries.

“There has been a conviction that we can approach this incrementally and get there in small steps and one of the advantages of having passed the ACA is that modest steps can’t do the job, and in a way make it easier to make arguments that we need more fundamental changes,” said Himmelstein.

Under the proposal, all US residents would be able to see any physician of their choosing in the country and be treated at any hospital. With guaranteed coverage and no co-pays, deductibles and premiums, patients would not have financial barriers to seeking care, which would lead to greater utilization of the system and improved health outcomes, Himmelstein argues.

The additional funds would be made up by modest tax increases in exchange for abolishing insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

“We would have to abolish the insurance companies, there is no way around that,” Himmelstein said. The employees at the private insurance companies would be retrained for other jobs, he explains, and receive job placement assistance. The insurance CEOs, who earn multimillion dollar salaries, would not get comparable job placement, Himmelstein said wryly.

Fees for medication would be negotiated with pharmaceutical companies the same way other countries with single-payer systems already negotiate for lower cost medications. Currently, US drug prices are some of the highest in the world. 

While Himmelstein acknowledges that the physicians’ proposal would meet with political and business interest opposition, and he can’t say when such a system would realistically have the political backing needed to be implemented, he is hopeful that as more Americans view a single-payer system favorably, pressure will continue to mount on the government.

Proposing a single-payer system in the US is not new. Vermont previously attempted to implement a single-payer system, which passed the legislature but was shut down by the once supportive governor when cost estimates increased beyond what the state was able to afford.

Coloradans will vote this November on whether to institute a single payer system statewide. One of the leaders of the movement in Colorado is state senator Irene Aguilar, who is also a physician. The Colorado proposal would be financed by a payroll tax increase of 7% for employers and 3% for employees. For the self-employed, that would translate into a 10% tax increase. 

But Himmelstein said this type of reform can’t be done state by state. The physicians’ plan depends in part on cost containment through having a single payer with the power to negotiate drug pricing with pharmaceutical companies as well as eliminating many levels of bureaucracy in billing and insurance registration.

The American Medical Association (AMA), which is the largest organization of physicians in the US, has opposed the idea of a single-payer model. When contacted, the AMA pointed to its policy regarding evaluating health reform proposals, which states in part that: “Unfair concentration of market power of payers is detrimental to patients and physicians, if patient freedom of choice or physician ability to select mode of practice is limited or denied. Single-payer systems clearly fall within such a definition and, consequently, should continue to be opposed by the AMA.”

But Himmelstein sees change around the corner. “I think the AMA and its member organizations are slowly starting to come around and I am confident that they will eventually come around.” He points to the passing of resolutions by a few of the state medical associations that make up the AMA membership to study the impact of a single-payer system as indicators of change.

For Himmelstein and the other writers of the editorial, the biggest indicator of change seems to be the talk of a single-payer system in the presidential primaries which has brought attention back to the issue. 

“Bernie Sanders showed you can do extraordinarily well campaigning on this issue,” said Himmelstein, who is confident that if enough American people demand a single-payer system, Congress will eventually have no choice but to change their minds and support it. But what the American people really think of a single-payer system is a lot murkier. While in some polls show majority supportfor a single-payer system, deeper digging by some polls finds that support dwindles when individuals are asked about giving up their private health insurance and paying additional taxes.

 

Comments

The AMA comment is an interesting hedge. "if patient freedom of choice or physician ability to select mode of practice is limited or denied" This already exists with insurance plans. Many working people have no say in the choice of insurance coverage and are limited by that choice to doctors in the system. My doctor has complained more than once when he has to change a prescription because my insurance has chosen not to cover it. Sorry but our health care choices are limited by our pocketbooks already. Single payer would decrease a lot of this.,

I live between two doctors. ~ 30 miles apart from me, Primary is East and other is West, big city- about 30 minutes...had both for over 15 years. everything in my life is"living on the 'head of a pin'". This constant need to get into a network is not available to me, I seem to have to rework my prescriptions every time I need a prescription. What was working together well is now Change this and hope. and oh yes I am the one that has to check the formulary almost weekly to see if there is an alternative drug, and its new cost. and do I go to the ER here because everything else left town? Well do I need a band aid or do I need urgent care. Wait
that left town too. and they have limited doctors and services here so don't get chocked on meat, no endoscopy here, and don't have a heart attack. or stroke, you have to go to the city for that service. It is endless....I am 76 not 21, this is getting too hard and I am in reasonably good health compared to many who live here.. It was Senior Independent living, but now they have to take anyone who is in rehab etc. life gets more complicated..I am so lucky to be able to read, drive and breath, do my own meals, laundry clean house-most of the time. Healthcare lookups seem to take about 2 to 5 hours a day. just trying to keep up with the changes....does not compute any longer

another new thing for me to learn, how to write , too long, should be more concise...tired frok doing a long long formulary session.

Like Voting.......WHY does this have to be SO Hard? Simple.......All the fingers in the pie that make a PROFIT from "Sick Care", that's why. Well, unlike $HilLIARy, Bernie Sanders doesn't have to obey any Corporate Masters like Big Pharma, or Big Ag with it's Monsanto Round Up Ready Poisoned "Food" supply, or Big Fracking using up Millions of Gallons a DAY of Precious Water, or Big Oil (anyone for a Koch?) that suppresses Alternative Energy Innovation that could have happened back in the '70's with 2 Oil Crises and Carter put Solar Panels on the White House, leading the Charge! and then Reagan took them down! and guess who DIDN'T put them back up? The Clintons! ELECT Bernie Sanders however he runs: Dem, Green, Independent. Urge your Undemocratic Super Delegates to vote for Bernie on the First Ballot and get Our Voting Rights back from The Bilderberg Group-Crime Families like the Clintons, who have both been attendees 5 Times between them (Bill was there in 1991 and then became President in spite of Gennifer Flowers and other assorted scandals....how?), plus Podesta in 2015, Hillbilly's Main Campaign Guy, and Institute Single Payer Health Care like the rest of the Civilized World instead of being the Third World Country we are now!

Obamacare is not socialized medical Healthcare, it is Capitalized Healthcare.

Obamacare will increase the profits of all healthcare corporations, with insurance companies being the biggest winner.

Every single person will become an unwilling consumer of health insurance.

This is a Capitalist's dream come true.

The simplest and best solution to the healthcare issue is a Nationalized, Single Payer Health Care system, NHS.

Instead of continuing a three party system (health care provider, consumer patient, and insurance company), simply eliminate the third part of the equation, the insurance company.

Why permit a middleman corporation (insurance company) to stand between the buyer and seller of healthcare goods and services? Why continue a corrupt system where people purchase health care products or services (doctor visits, tests, operations, hospital visits, rehab, drugs,etc...) and then the insurance company negotiates with the health care provider, and both sides realize enormous profits, as the costs keep skyrocketing.

A Nationalized, Single Payer Healthcare System, NHS, would simply eliminate the middleman, the insurance companies, and the health care providers would send the bill for the doctor visit, test, operation, rehab, and drug, to the government agency, and they would simply send the pre-priced amount to the health care provider.

Setting and controlling all health care costs is the key to a system that must benefit all people, not just the few elite businessmen who operate within all healthcare corporations.

Every single company and corporation that is directly or indirectly involved in the health care industry, from insurance, to hospitals, to labs, to drugs, etc,...

Every one, is a for profit corporation that has million of stockholders who are buying and selling their shares everyday to increase their personal wealth, and they demand that the people running theses health care companies, increase profits, and those people running those corporations, like all people running all corporations, reward themselves millions of dollars annually, in salary, bonuses, stock shares, and retirement benefits.

That is the biggest reason for our out of control health care costs in the USA.

A Nationalized or even Global healthcare system, a single payer system, will work for the benefit of all people, not just the few privileged ones.

"Where's the money going to come from?" Will say the opposers.

"The government is going to tax me even more!" Will say the resisters.

"This is socialism, communism! this is not free market capitalism! this is not American freedom!" Will say the Tea Partiers.

The solution is so obvious that you may be embarrassed that you were not aware of it for your whole life.

The money to fund the NHS, National Single Payer Healthcare System... will come from...

The money you have been paying to your insurance company, so you won't even miss it, and as for the rising costs of health care, there will be a reset and standard price control.

But, instead of having to work for a large corporation to be able to afford healthcare, each and every person will be taxed through paycheck deductions, as they are now, and if you don't work you receive all healthcare for free.

While this may seem extreme, this will encourage our representatives to actually create more jobs for the people, instead of creating more profits for the corporations on Wall Street.

They may actually force the corporations to hire people in their own towns to work and get paid a living wage, rather than outsource jobs or ship in workers for minimal pay.

The only other tax law change would be applied to everyone making over $50,000 a year and up.

An additional 5% tax on all income before any deductions or write offs, to be paid directly to the NHS, National Healthcare System.

Don't worry, the doctors and staff and all workers within the healthcare industry will continue to earn the same pay, but the investors and CEOs of all healthcare corporations will not be receiving any more compensation, for they will be no more.

Because Healthcare products and services from the provider to the patient will be paid directly to the provider from the government, the corporation will be obsolete and be eliminated.

No more lobbyists bribing our representatives in Washington DC, no more Big Pharma reps bribing our doctors to push their drugs, no more deaths due to undiagnosed diseases, or refusal of treatment.

Remove the temptation of bribery and excessive profiteering, and allow the system to function as a beneficial way to improve the well being of all people without the lure of profits to obscure and blind those within the healthcare industry and within our government.

People over profits.

This will work so well, the people will be demanding their representatives in Washington DC, to Nationalize other industries like Energy, Oil, and Banks.

Eliminate the Middleman.

Tony is so right on all these points.
I have been a healthcare professional for over 40 yrs. The hospitals are now run for profit. They don't care if a patient is well, or can take care of him/ herself at home. Just discharge. Nurses feel differently. Nurses are the patient advocate. Yet they are hired by the hospital, and so don't have the power to dictate. Doctors have given up and given in to the steam-roller of bureaucrats, "managers", and administrators who tell them (doctors) and everyone else what they can do, how to treat patients, when do send them home. Huge and small companies have been started to contract as 3rd party in negotiating drug prices ( somehow the savings rarely is passed on to the patient!), to "oversee" contractors of Medicare and make calls to clients, asking if they are getting good care. For the most part, the elderly refuse to speak to these 3rd party people because they don't know who they are! What's more, the callers are mere clerks, who perhaps have a high school diploma and NO medical knowledge... but they fill out ratings on healthcare providers based on Yes / No questsions over the Internet or phone. The worst part of this is that Medicare PAYS them to do it - even when they get no answers!!! This could be completely eliminated.
I've worked in the mail order pharmacy business as well. They are all about profit. The most shocking thing about large pharmaceutical providers is that they actually PAY LOBBYISTS and PAY healthcare companies - corporations that own clinics and doctor offices - SCORES of thousands of dollars to use or switch to certain drugs; usually these drugs are new and highly expensive. Conversely, they PAY doctors to write for, and insurance plans to use, cheaper versions of a type of medication, e.g. a different anti-cholesterol drug. These drugs are NOT interchangeable, but one could be substituted for another if there is no adverse reaction from the client. However, they may not be as effective, nor tolerated as well.
Now, the LARGE pharmacy companies push these drug changes and then BRAG about how much of that medication / drug they are selling as a result of the money (PAYOFF, Under the Table money) the manufacturer is giving the clinics, doctors, hospitals, any prescribers, to switch. They also pay the pharmacies to push for use of their medications, and pay huge bonuses (again, tens of thousands of dollars) when the pharmacy sells more. All of this money should be going to lower the cost of drugs for consumers!
The whole damn system is crooked.
People have cried and whined when I told them we need socialized medicine, one payer: "Oh I don't want the government running my health care!" Boo Hoo, I tell them. Do you know who's been running health care since 1970? The insurance companies, specifically the crooked high-paid CEO, the middle manager who has a B.S. from night school but knows nothing at ALL about health care, and a clerk who has (if you're lucky) graduated High School, who tell you that you cannot have what the doctor ordered and what you need.

I agree wholeheartedly. Our current system is neither about health or care. Insurance companies give us no choice of providers or facilities. They take our money and payout very little of it to the actual providers.

In your equation you just replace the middleman of the insurance company with the government. There's still a middleman.

With all the people not working getting FREE healthcare. Ehy work??? Who are these smart people who don't want power of course setting the prices. Sounds like the Poliburro in the Soviet Union..look how good that worked. People have to have incentive to achieve and better themselves. Everyone isn't the same. Why work if u can get housing, food, phones, cable,healthcare FREE. what is wrong with you are you a child.

It s my understanding your insurance premiums would be eliminated off setting the tax increases. Em I wrong?

A LOT less then paying the Medical premiums/dedutibles/copays

What about the huge amount of people who work for the insurance companies. I have been in favor of a national health care service for decades, but as a person who has worked in call centers I am very aware that there are lots of people, regular people of low and middle class, who work for the insurance companies. What do we do about them?

They contribute to the much higher administrative overhead that can be twice as high in the U.S. vs. other nations. That contributes to the high cost of healthcare here. Some are working in needless jobs. Keeping them employed just to keep them working is a bad allocation of labor, just as it's inefficient and bad to employ needless government workers.

The people you're talking about are those at the lower part of the food chain. Theses people voted Express Scripts the absolute worst business in America to work for. Every industry in America has experienced this kind of loss of jobs. THIS can't be a reason to stop single payer.

I know this is going to come as a shock to people, but CMS, (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) does NOT process Medicare or Medicaid claims. All of that work is contracted out to the insurance companies, who have billions invested in the software needed to perform that job, and spend hundreds of millions each year to keep that software up to date. It also takes many thousands of people. Eliminate the insurance companies, and it will take the government a minimum of ten years to replace that functionality. Oh, and by the way, there is no place to buy that software. It was all developed in house by those insurance companies, and it's not for sale.

There is no reason that processing cannot be simplified and new software developed Perhaps the insurance companies have a vested interest in making processing so difficult that only they can do it? Perhaps that is not in the best interests of anyone other than the insurance companies?

If National Health Care were implemented, there would be no reason that some of call centers or claims processing centers could not be brought into the system. Either as contracted sub contractors or run by government agencies. While going to National Health Care may reduce the number of people needed to support health care, it is not going to eliminate all these jobs. A lot of these jobs will more or less still be needed. But what it will eliminate is the MANY billions of dollars in profits, payouts to politicians and others, drug companies over charging, etc....

It is not surprising to read this. It was predicted that the ACA would be the reason that a single payer system would be introduced to the country. It was known, by those of us involved with medical industry, that the ACA would fail to produce any of the savings and advantages. One can't provide medical care, with no restrictions on previously existing costly medical conditions, to millions of patients, without paying out tons of money, compared to the paltry increase in premiums received. It was a big fat failure before it was started. For example, for a couple hundred dollars of premiums one could get $50,000 worth of needed back surgery. Then again, I am sure the government has figured out how to pay $10,000 for the same surgery. It is still a losing proposition when paying for all of the people who had previously existing conditions, at that rate! It will be a two tiered medical care system. It will be the haves, as compared to the have not-s, just like Canada! Why do you think we have so many Canadians coming here for medical care?! I no longer practice. So, the way I see it, the "good ole boys club" is about to get a big taste of karma! They are going to pay for running the competition out of business, with their cut-throat practices.

Canada's great system has been underfunded under the past administration. If they spent 2x as much everyone would be seen in timely manner. As to why they come to US, we have an over treatment problem and no way to controll it when all you need is money to get an MRI that won't increase ones overall health. Canada's outcome measures are very close to ours and they treat everyone at 1/2 the cost. They often don't have the customer satisfaction we do, but they are as healthy. Are we really getting a bargain?

While I love that more and more doctors are beginning to see that single payer is our only affordable, equitable solution, I am dismayed that this article does not mention how nurses have been advocating for this for years. Where's the love for the nurses?

Has anyone considered the size of this proposal? First off the computer network would be the largest ever built, likely costing tens of billions of dollars, if the new SSDI computer system is any measure. Next, this "retraining" so casually mention fails to identify what jobs would be available. All the training in the world is useless unless there is a job. Finally, what about the people who hold shares in these insurance companies? What happens to their IRA, 401k, mutual funds, or retirement funds? Since all these companies are being shuttered, who makes up for the likely trillions of dollars in stock values people are counting on for retirement? Who ponies up and makes them whole?

Every time I see this argument I can't help think it sounds like it's being made by a three year old. I think the ACA will work exactly like the auto insurance industry did when they mandated auto coverage. Today I pay less for auto insurance in real dollars (pristine driving record my entire life) than I did in 1985. But if you can explain how everyone is made whole while making these changes I will certainly listen.

So let's see the fact that someone's stock goes down because yet another industry closes it's doors something which happens repeatedly. Is more important than the millions of people that can't go to the dr even if they have insurance because of co-pays and deductibles or hey no insurance whatsoever. Try having a chronic condition that requires visits every couple months plus lab tests adds up fast way more than you are making in the goddamn stock market. I can buy my diabetes test strips cheaper on ebay than with any insurance I ever had. And why exactly is a $4 prescription with Walmart or the old target pharmacy damn near $12 with new CVS pharmacy that bought target. Put your money in an interest bearing saving account. A call center is a call center plenty of jobs. And computer system hey almost every other major country has national healthcare I bet they have a system we could learn from. Money is never more important than people's lives

This topic requires far more deliberation and discussion. But other things drive HC cost sky high. One example? Expensive medical education. Another? Providers being paid for service. I would suggest starting in the USA a limited government provider, such as found at British NHS facilities. Yes, believe it or not, USA government HC can be very very good. My idea would be to expand on the good. Actually considering these things and others will result in a very very long discussion. Is anyone up for it? I have not even stated on pharmaceuticals.

Oh, how I despise the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies who have us by the you-know-whats. Examples: 1) The insulin that keeps me alive has increased in price by more than 400% over the past 12 years. Because there's no such thing as generic insulin, my deductible is huge, only a few dollars less than the total cost of the item, because it's a "preferred" brand. 2) My dermatologist is associated with two clinics--one a couple of miles from my house and one about 22 miles across town. I can only see him at the far-away location because his other clinic is not "in network," even though he is. 3) While vacationing, an insulin vial was broken during travel. It took me 1-1/2 days of emergency room visits and phone calls back and forth to the insurance company to have it replaced because I'd already filled my prescription that month and they said I'd have to wait until the next month to replace it. Plus I was out of state. Instead of a simple transaction of the cost of one vial of insulin, it ended up being a several thousand dollar fiasco because of the emergency room expenses. Anything that would put common sense into American health care is a welcome change!

If we move to a single-payer system that is government run, then we have the issue of the government having the last say of what they will pay for and what they won't. They can say no, if they believe it costs too much.

Also, this only works for the working class because the money comes from your taxes to pay for it. If you are not of the working class (perhaps a girlfriend who stays at home...unmarried), then you will not be insured.

What part of healthcare for all don't you understand? Even if you're a girlfriend who stays at home...unmarried, you will be covered!!!

"we have the issue of the government having the last say of what they will pay for and what they won't."? You have the Insurance companies deciding what they will and will not pay for now, how's that working for you!

Insurance companies need to be regulated. Emergency care for all citizens. Buy the best insurance you can and public assistance for low income provided by each state.

If Canadian health care is so great, why do Canadians come to the US in droves for much needed health care? Get real!

I await your link with peer-reviewed data that shows that Canadians come to the US for needed health care.

NY State Assembly has passed a Single Pay plan that goes beyond the Sanders Medicare for All. Keep it simple and it will fulfill everyones right to health care; will reduce total costs to individuals and employers; and will put medical professionals back in charge of a patient, not profit centric health care delivery system .

Not anywhere near a majority of US physicians are in favor of such single payer systems. This article is EXTREMELY misleading. It involves a decided MINORITY of US physicians. This is clearly a case of be careful what you ask for. In Canada there are enormous delays and other related problems. It can take six months or more to see a neurosurgeon. If you have any kind of brain tumor, you DO NOT have six months! Women with high risk pregnancies come to the United States for obstetrical care, because there is no such thing in Canada and we have the record for survival of premature infants. There are other problems in the system. While many report that they like their health care in Canada, the fact is that unless you run headlong into these problems, you do not notice the many things that are wrong. Great Britain's system has gone bankrupt twice already, and it is likely that they could be headed for a third bankruptcy! The only reason that the Netherlands system "works" is the use of euthanasia and assisted suicide with many reported abuses. These practices simply remove those who might be more costly to the system! In Japan the system works primarily because of a very homogeneous population. We do not even come close to that. You can go right on down the list of such health care systems and find numerous similar problems. Germany has had their system the longest. The German people would like to get rid of their system, but that is easier said than done. We have a start on a system that can work with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. There are things that need fixing. But it DOES NOT need replacing. Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it! The Nobel prize winning economist Milton Friedman once said, "there is no such thing as a free lunch." Health care is NOT free either! Philip M. Kober, JD, MD, PhD

Dr. Korber, with all due respect, your comparison is spurious. Canada and almost all of the world for that matter, spends about half of what we do on health care. They have to ration things we take for granted. That isn't due to the superiority of insurance based care.
Every time we have this discussion, these same talking points come out: "Canadians come here for health care." Question: If the U.S. system is so superior why don't other countries, who are democracies, vote it in?
Canada's sytem by the way is not "free, and Canadians don't pretend it is. They pay taxes instead of insurance premiums.

Once something is considered an entitlement, it is nearly impossible to remove.

Part of the funding will come from the high overhead of insurance companies. The CEO of United Healthcare has a salary of 62 million dollars. Every health insurance co

During my twenty plus years in the Navy, we used the military clinics and hospitals. It was great. The doctors and nurses were naval officers and the staff were navy enlisted. They all got paid a flat military salary. There whole function was 100% in accordance with the Hippocratic Oath to simply make you well. They did not want you back to see them unless you really needed to come back. It cost nothing for my sons to be born in military hospitals. If that model were expanded nationwide on tax dollars and medical insurance was eliminated, each citizen would probably be spending less for health care than they do now. The entire medical insurance infrastructure would disappear. I am a conservative libertarian, but I believe that this would be a wonderful way to go.

What would happen to us Seniors on this type of plan ?
Would really like to know about Seniors that have to have a Secondary and Drug plan that helps pay what Medicare does not pay for. Right now Seniors are paying close to $300/350 per month for these.
I Believe this is really the ONLY way to go for ALL people of the USA. YES, you may be paying a little higher tax...BUT....do you really love paying the out of pocket costs you are already paying ? Hospitals are certainly NOT cheap.
And you people would rather pay a higher premium every month and co-pays etc.
You need to wake up...they are only going to increase every year.

This system of health care for everyone and abolishing the health insurance companies can never work in the USA beacause of the overpowering of the political system by the lobbying industry. Before ANY changes can be made, the corrupt system of bribing polititians has to be abolished. Maybe then we can talk about change.

It's the fair & efficient thing to do

I live in Canada where we have universal health care coverage, and even though we pay higher taxes, we don't have to worry about whether we can afford to go to the doctor or hospital when we are sick. I went through 20 months of cancer treatment - surgeries, chemotherapy, Herceptin, hospitalization, multiple doctor's visits with specialists - and walked away from it all with no bill. None. It did not bankrupt me and my family. We were able to keep our house and lifestyle. I did not have to worry about where I was going to get the money to pay for my treatment, so my stress over that was nil. The only thing I paid for was some medications, and I have a health plan that covers 80% of that. So, all told, I paid less than $200 for my medications. My wig cost $1200, and my plan covered $400 of that, and the rest I claimed on my taxes. I got back money for that, along with money that I had paid out for parking at the hospital for appointments and treatment, the co-pay on all my drugs, and other treatments, such as massage and physiotherapy. So, really, I paid nothing out of pocket. For 20 months of cancer treatment. Let that sink in, America, and think about supporting universal health care.

I have been in practice 30 years and was always in favor of a national health system until now. I believe a system of the haves and have not will develop. Right now some of the best doctors are going towards a self pay cash only system. If you have money you will be able to see them. I thought the ACA was a good idea but it has led to hospitals buying up practices, more and more administration, more and more rules and regulations, an EHR system which causes us to see fewer patients with less interacton with patients, and a lot of unhappy stressed out physicians. A culture change of valuing the primary care providers instead of the specialists also needs to happen. Good luck to whomever can figure this out.

Or maybe we could realize that healthcare is not in a doctor's office or a bottle of pills but in our choices every day. Hm.

The article has the headline US doctors Call For Universal Healthcare. Then notes' a group of more than 2000 doctors'. Total number of active doctors of medicine in the U.S. 854,698. How many more than 2000 doctors were part of this data?

Many of todays medical issues are highly preventable. From high blood pressure, high cholesterol, many cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes even in children, obesity related arthritis, obesity, liver disease, out of wedlock births and many STD's. How do you insist people do their part in preventing their high cost medical issues?

Americans demand constitutional guaranteed personal freedom to make their unhealthy choices, but then will demand the government via the taxpayer pay for their medical care. Unless this is dealt with, the cost of caring for those who refuse to take personal responsibility and care of themselves, will continue to soar.

I have always been for getting the insurance companies and their profit motive OUT of health care, but never until today did this particular lightbulb go on over my head--if health care becomes a "government program," what is to keep it from being gutted (underfunded) by Congress like so many other programs? This idea horrifies me.

I would be all for universal health care, as long as the government does NOT run it. We already see how well they run anything else. There management skills and practices are a disaster. If the government runs it or requires it, it can't be good.

Maybe those 2k should go spend a year at a VA Hospital to have a taste of what the real US "Universal Health Care System" would actually be like to work for. Then have them check back with you after that year. I guarantee you that no more than 10%, if even that, would feel the same way as they do now. I have been in the VA Health Care system for over 17 years since I retired and I have yet to see the same physician twice at the same dept. They all leave within a year of being there.... go figure. But then what do I know.

Yes! Let's turn the entire US health care system into the VA! That has worked so well!

Some people rather pay $200 to 800 in private insurance. Support dwindles when individuals are asked about giving up their private health insurance and paying additional taxes.The amount of additional taxes would not be near the amount of premium What's wrong with this picture.

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actout 197

First off, some GOOD NEWS! From the environmental justice front lines and the streets of Queens, here's some inspiration to fuel your activism.

refugee impacts, anti-refugee sentiment, anti-immigrant policies, Trump, xenophobia, refugee workers

While the influx of refugees to Europe and the U.S. is generally portrayed as a crisis, immigrants also bring many benefits as they settle down in new places and start their lives anew.

Venezuela crisis, Venezuela regime change, Nicolas Maduro, Donald Trump, Washington geopolitical aims, U.S. overseas intervention

Our country is so divided, on so many issues, yet intervening in foreign countries is a united addiction we just can’t tear ourselves away from.

Senegal protests, Y’en A Marre movement, New Type of Senegalese, African social protests, economic justice, ending corruption, African protest movements, Senegal democratic movement

The Y’en a Marre ("We Are Fed Up") movement, which traveled the country raising awareness about the need to vote, played a crucial role helping defeat Senegal's two-term president in 2012.

Pete Buttigieg, money in politics, Citizens United, Medicare for All, 2020 presidential field, progressive candidates

The 37-year-old Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is a graduate of Harvard, a Rhodes Scholar, a former Naval Intelligence officer and the first openly gay person to seek a major party’s presidential nomination.

Oakland teachers strike, national teacher strikes, teacher pay, teaching conditions, privatized education, public schools, charter schools, Oakland Education Association, teacher strikes

They’re also demanding more support staff, smaller class sizes, and more oversight of charter schools.

voting rights, voting restrictions, voter enfranchisement, get out the vote, student voters, youth vote

States that put unnecessary and unjustified barriers in the way of young people voting are violating the Constitution and doing a disservice to the democratic process.

actout 197

First off, some GOOD NEWS! From the environmental justice front lines and the streets of Queens, here's some inspiration to fuel your activism.

A recent “60 Minutes” segment featured venture capitalist and author Kai-Fu Lee predicting that advances in artificial intelligence would “in 15 years displace about 40 percent of the jobs in the world.” (Photo: Shutterstock)

Training for the jobs of the future keeps workers trapped as long as workers can't shape how technology is used and who profits from it.

voting rights, voting restrictions, voter enfranchisement, get out the vote, student voters, youth vote

States that put unnecessary and unjustified barriers in the way of young people voting are violating the Constitution and doing a disservice to the democratic process.

Posted 1 day 7 hours ago
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO, Mexican worker strikes, Border Committee of Women Workers

During the past month, between 30,000 and 40,000 maquiladora workers in Matamoros plants have walked off their jobs – and now Mexican workers elsewhere are considering following their example.

Posted 3 days 6 hours ago
actout 197

First off, some GOOD NEWS! From the environmental justice front lines and the streets of Queens, here's some inspiration to fuel your activism.

Posted 2 days 18 hours ago
A recent “60 Minutes” segment featured venture capitalist and author Kai-Fu Lee predicting that advances in artificial intelligence would “in 15 years displace about 40 percent of the jobs in the world.” (Photo: Shutterstock)

Training for the jobs of the future keeps workers trapped as long as workers can't shape how technology is used and who profits from it.

Posted 2 days 18 hours ago
refugee impacts, anti-refugee sentiment, anti-immigrant policies, Trump, xenophobia, refugee workers

While the influx of refugees to Europe and the U.S. is generally portrayed as a crisis, immigrants also bring many benefits as they settle down in new places and start their lives anew.

Posted 3 days 21 hours ago
A recent “60 Minutes” segment featured venture capitalist and author Kai-Fu Lee predicting that advances in artificial intelligence would “in 15 years displace about 40 percent of the jobs in the world.” (Photo: Shutterstock)

Training for the jobs of the future keeps workers trapped as long as workers can't shape how technology is used and who profits from it.

refugee impacts, anti-refugee sentiment, anti-immigrant policies, Trump, xenophobia, refugee workers

While the influx of refugees to Europe and the U.S. is generally portrayed as a crisis, immigrants also bring many benefits as they settle down in new places and start their lives anew.

Protesters signed thousands of petitions, called Congress and filed lawsuits. Then on Presidents’ Day, thousands converged at 277 events nationwide to stand up against the #FakeTrumpEmergency.

Oakland teachers strike, national teacher strikes, teacher pay, teaching conditions, privatized education, public schools, charter schools, Oakland Education Association, teacher strikes

They’re also demanding more support staff, smaller class sizes, and more oversight of charter schools.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO, Mexican worker strikes, Border Committee of Women Workers

During the past month, between 30,000 and 40,000 maquiladora workers in Matamoros plants have walked off their jobs – and now Mexican workers elsewhere are considering following their example.