Wall Street Doesn’t Believe Elizabeth Warren Is Serious About Medicare for All

Is Elizabeth Warren’s Medicare-for-All phase-in plan a shrewd, realistic tactical move to win a public health system — or a bait and switch to play to M4A’s popularity without actually fighting for it? Wall Street thinks it’s the latter.

Source: Wall Street Doesn’t Believe Elizabeth Warren Is Serious About Medicare for All

People on the Left have been debating Elizabeth Warren’s health plan since it was released a couple of weeks ago — “realistic” or a ruse? I vote ruse, but I don’t want to make that argument myself right now. Instead, I’ll allow a research note from Barclays, which found its way into my inbox, do that work.

Here’s the opening paragraph of the report, by Barclays analyst Steven Valiquette:

Compared to her previous hardline stance on M4A, the new plan represents a significant change in tone, in our view. Not only does the transition plan push out the legislative agenda for M4A (potentially to year 3), but it also tacitly acknowledges the practical and political resistance of pushing too much change too quickly. In fact, we think Warren’s plan was carefully crafted to appease both progressive and moderate Democrats, and may afford her flexibility to pivot on health care issues throughout the Democratic primaries. All said, her near-term plan seems much closer to more moderate proposals endorsed by Biden and Buttigieg; and as such the “pivot” catalyzed HC

Services stocks on Fri with MCOs [managed care organizations] leading the way (+5% vs S&P 500 up 0.8%).

Health-care stocks rallied on the release of Warren’s plan, meaning that Wall Street — which isn’t always right, but does have some skill in decoding political bullshit — sees her plan as political bullshit.

Warren’s defenders say the scheme, to start with a “moderate” Dem plan and wait three years to push for the full program, is politically realistic, given congressional and other political constraints on ambitious social programs. That argument never made sense to me. If the success of the Right over the last few decades has taught us anything, it’s that going for maximalist demands gets results. You might have to make some concessions along the way, but you get some wins and also push the political center of gravity in your direction. If you start out already compromised, you won’t get anywhere.

Campaign for New York Health

Metro Justice Healthcare Committee, which is the Rochester branch of the Campaign for New York Health, held their December meeting at Equal Grounds Cafe to welcome new members into the fight for single-payer healthcare in New York! They learned about the New York Health Act, and the next steps to achieve universal health care in our state. Happy holidays are even happier knowing that we have a fighting chance to get the New York Health Act up for a vote next year!
Here is an email exchange sparked by the meeting.
If you care about universal health care in NY, then this a group that you should support and join if you able and willing. We have a successful promotion on social media thanks to the cooperation with the professionals from themarketingheaven.com. There you will find us easy!
Jim Bearden

Hi all,

It was great to see everyone last night! For those of you who are new, here are the answers to some of the questions that came up:

The New York Health Campaign is the statewide group supporting the bill, and their site iswww.nyhcampaign.org. You can find the text of the bill, an economic analysis from 2015 that gives a sense of some of the ramifications, and a lot of information about the organization and events coming up.

Governor Cuomo’s office phone number is 1-518-474-8390. Feel free to contact him any time, but please do call this week and let him know that you support the New York Health Act.

I had mentioned a phone tree – that’s the set-up where any one person only needs to call 2-3 others, whom you can get to know a bit and have in your contacts list, so that no one needs to call 40 people. If you would be willing to pass on messages about occasional (no more than 1/month) important or time-sensitive events, and you did not sign up last night, send me your phone number and I will put together the tree and get back to you with your phone tree buddies.

We do have a google group, which is the other major way that the Rochester group (we call ourselves RocCNYH) keeps in contact. I think that it should be possible to find and join it by signing into groups.google.com, searching for “RocCNYH” and then clicking “join” or “apply to join”. But having already done so myself, when I do that search it just gives me a  bunch of messages. So let me know if that works or not!

That’s where we’ll be posting the specific information about the January post-state-of-state-speech event.

I’d say that’s enough for one e-mail! We’ll stay in touch.

Alice Carli
Alice,
I’ve been looking into the New York Health Bill but I can’t seem to find the financial details. Yes, there seem to be savings over what exists now but where is the info of:
1. How will it be funded?
2. Will there be additional taxes to fund it?
3. I understand the savings from elimination of private insurance, but will companies have to provide coverage or will all coverage be provided by State monies?

Basically, my concern is: can the State Treasury cover the costs.? The Feds, thy can always print more money, but joy NY State.
Don Fischman

Great questions!

First, the bill does not in fact include financial details, since those will in turn depend on many details that can really only be addressed when the bill actually comes up for debate. It does broadly require that the funding (besides the large components from Medicare, Medicaid and a few other federal and state programs) come from two sources, both based on individual income. First, the funding that is currently provided through employers and employees by means of employer-based insurance policies will be replaced by a single similarly shared (80% employer, 20% employee, same as the current requirement) payroll tax. This means that every company, rather than just those who feel it worth their while, could be on the hook. One of the details needing to be worked out will be whether small family companies might have different requirements than large companies that tend to hire lots of minimum wage employees (who will likely have very small or zero premiums). The other new insurance-premium-replacement tax would be on dividends and capital gains for those people whose income (typically fairly large) comes from those sources. The exact rules for both of those funding sources were left up to state congress and to the committee that will be tasked with designing the precise funding stream (the first year’s work when the bill is passed).

There are now several analyses that flesh out some of those possible details, one done by an economics professor at Amherst in 2015 (http://www.infoshare.org/main/Economic_Analysis_New_York_Health_Act_-_GFriedman_-_April_2015.pdf), which recommends having companies and employees pay nothing for the first $25,000 of employee income, and then a gradually increasing proportion rising to 16% of whatever income is in excess of $200,000. Another analysis was presented by a right-leaning think tank in 2017 (which naturally disagreed with Friedman on whether there would be savings) and a third done by the Rand Corporation last year. That third one is the least partisan of the three, and it concludes that roughly 98% of New York state residents would likely pay less than they do now for health care, the top 2% paying more and for a few very wealthy people considerably more.

In any case, the money that everyone would pay would be taken out of paychecks or charged against capital gains like taxes, and are usually referred to as taxes (especially by conservatives!) though in fact they are replacements for the premiums, deductibles and copays we currently pay.

And all coverage (including for lawmakers) will be provided by the single program, into which all employers will pay on whatever basis is finally agreed on. Having only one system will not only save on duplication of effort, it will also make it much easier to focus on specific problems like the opioid crisis, where each coverage rule only needs to be made once, instead of having to work through multiple insurance companies.

The bill also requires that overage will need to at least equal current civil service coverage (i.e. match whatever government employees currently receive).

Hope that helps!

Alice

New York Health Act

New York Health Act could be a lifeboat if Obamacare repealed (Updated)

Hopefully by now all of you have heard about the proposed New York Health Act. It just passed the Assembly for the third time and is one cosponsor short of introduction in the (NY) Senate. Here is a link to a piece I did on the Act and updated by a video presentation on some of the details at the end.

What we are thinking about doing is putting together some video testimony of people who have stories about how the current system is failing. For the most effect this needs to be done before the NY Legislature takes off for the summer on June 20. We’re thinking about the Flying Squirrel as a venue.

Please have a look at the article, links and video especially if you are unfamiliar with the Act. I think we can all agree that this needs to happen!

Paul Ryan’s Health Care Plan 2016

 

Link to Paul Ryan’s plan on his U.S. House of Representatives website.

“Paul Ryan’s Promised Obamacare Replacement Plan Shockingly Turns Out Not to Exist Again” New York Magazine, Daily Intelligencer, June 16, 2016

“GOP health insurance plan would make workers pay tax on benefits” USA Today, June 22, 2016

“Paul Ryan’s ‘Better Way’ points in a worse direction” MSNBC, June 16, 2016

“What Paul Ryan’s Latest Health Proposal Would Mean For Seniors” Forbes Magazine, June 22, 2016

“Paul Ryan’s flimsy health plan” Washington Post, June 26, 2016

“Sorry, Paul Ryan: Obamacare’s Not Hurting Doctors But Making Them Rich” Forbes Magazine, June 26, 2016

 

 

Band of Rebels Signs

We have a number of old signs from the days we met on the street every Monday at noon. Anyone who wants to have some or all of these signs to use, reuse, or repurpose. The signs were donated to Metro Justice.

About 8 printed signs and 5 hand made signs defending Medicare

Medicare Signs

20 or so hand made signs and 7 Tax the 1% signs

Tax Fairness Signs

25 or so hand made Anti Chase Bank signs

Anti Chase Bank Signs

Anti-war

Human Needs over War

Miscellaneous signs

Miscellaneous signs

Social Security

Hands off Social Security

Rochester Social Welfare Action Alliance

HUMAN RIGHTS DENIED!
Flint’s water crisis as a microcosm of the nation’s politics of inequality
Thursday, April 14, 2016
6 pm
The College at Brockport Metro Center
Grand Hallway
55 St Paul Street
Rochester, NY
(across from RTS terminal)
CONNECT, MOVE, ACT!
A Regional Summit – Standing Together for Human Rights
Friday, April 15, 2016
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Downtown United Presbyterian Church
121 N. Fitzhugh Street
Rochester, NY
Details and registration information are contained on the attached flyers.

SWAA Human Rights Conference 04.14.16

SWAA Human Rights Conference 04.15.16

Sponsor – The Social Work Department at the College at Brockport Co-Sponsors – The Student Social Work Organization At the College at Brockport; The Office of the Dean of the School of Education and Human Service at a the College at Brockport, Justice Ministry Team of Downtown United Presbyterian Church, National Social Welfare Action Alliance Additional Sponsors – The Women and Gender Studies Program at The College at Brockport; Department of Human Services at Monroe Community College, House of Mercy, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Poverty Initiative a the Kairos Center, Take Back the Land

Letter to Morelle about New York Health Act

PNHP

Health Care is a Human Right…
Single Payer Health Care for All!

 

Morelle District Office

1945 East Ridge Road
Rochester, NY 14622
585-467-0410

[email protected]

Dear Assemblyman Morelle,

As representatives of PNHP who provided testimony in support of A05062 at the Public Hearing in December 2014, we were delighted that the New York Health Act was passed by an overwhelming majority in the New York State Assembly on May 27, 2015.

We fully expected that few, if any, Republicans would support the “Gottfried Health bill”. However, we were extremely disappointed to learn that you were one of only 11 Democrats who voted against A05062. We will not hesitate to share our dissatisfaction and disapproval of your vote with as many of our friends and neighbors who live in the towns of Irondequoit and Brighton as we possibly can. We expect our democratically elected legislators to reflect the wishes of those whom they represent, not the interests of the insurance industry and other corporate entities. Your vote does not speak for us.

With deep disappointment,

Physicians for a National Health Program , Finger Lakes Area Chapter

Susan Ladwig, MPH, Chapter Secretary   [email protected]

Dr. Theodore Brown, Chapter Steering Committee [email protected]

 

 

 

Single Payer Organizer and Activist Training

This weekend there is an exciting opportunity to build the Single Payer movement in New York State coming to Rochester. The Everybody INstitute is a day long organizer and activist training led by the nationally renowned Ben Day of Healthcare NOW!

WHEN: Saturday, May 24th 10am-4pm.
WHERE: School Without Walls, 480 Broadway
WHO: Ben Day, Deb Richter, Metro Justice, and Single Payer advocates from across New York State
Get your tickets here.

In recent months, many in labor, the Working Families Party, and our partners in Citizen Action of New York have all announced their support for Single Payer, or genuinely universal health care, in New York State.

On May 6th, hundreds from across the state rallied in Albany in a mass statewide day of action for Single Payer health care.

The momentum is building to win this vital legislation for our state. Now is the perfect time to join us to learn from some of the best in the movement, and help to develop a strategy for winning in New York State.

Join us for this powerful community event: get your tickets here!

In Solidarity,

Metro Justice
http://metrojustice.nationbuilder.com/

Health Care and the National Will The Curse of Privatization

by Norman Pollack CounterPunch

“Obamacare,” the felicitous handle to disguise corporate pre-emption of the ideological-political-structural ground which deals with what should be viewed as a justifiable, humane entitlement affecting all people: health insurance as a basic, non-negotiable right integral to the constitutional foundation of the State. I capitalize “State,” not as an appeal to isms at either pole of the spectrum, but to signify “All-of-us,” the nation as its people, not as, and in contrast to the supposed legitimacy of, its ruling class. By firmly endowing health care, i.e., institutionalizing it, with privatization as the antecedent condition, we place our lives at the mercy of the centers of profit and the structure reinforcing them.

Serves us right. Capitalism, especially as it historically developed in America, in which alternatives to its puristic organization were steadily ruled out (the Lockean primacy of property as be-all and end-all of society almost by definition—all else a variety of communism), has resulted in a systemic cohesion wherein strengthening the private sector in one area, here, health care, redounds to the further benefit of property-concentration in all other sectors. Think of it. Could the single-payer system, proven quite compatible with extant capitalisms (plural, because few other capitalist nations are as rigidly organized and ideologically defended so unmercifully as ours) elsewhere, be absorbed into the American system without affecting its whole ethos and structure of power?

“Obamacare” is at one with every other recognizable facet of contemporary US policy, domestic and foreign. Capitalism as successfully consolidated in America over now going on four centuries (even the New Deal constituted a series of emergency measures for the purpose of saving capitalism, its success allowing for systemic continuities in further wealth-concentration, despite efforts to introduce a genuine and lasting public realm truly crediting welfare entitlements) makes little allowance for what appear as dysfunctional elements in the formation (successively, I fear) of a Class-State, then National-Security State, and now, closing in through massive surveillance and the disregard for civil liberties, an emerging Police State. How, therefore, expect or anticipate an authentic health-care framework, when the social order is prior-systematized to bring together in common purpose industry, finance, military, service, educational, media, indeed, every dimension of elite centralized control defining and promoting its functional operation?

A nation does not dedicate itself to global hegemony for the specific purpose of advancing the capitalist interests of its elites, and at the same time find within its governing structure the will and desire to serve its people free from ulterior profit-considerations, itself habituating them to the glories of capitalism as the only way to address their needs. In this way, the continued privatization of health care provides the means for ideological social-control, an insurance policy, so to speak, to keep the US on course in which the very concept of “public” is dishonored and humiliated. “Public” is seditious, not only because it is associated with socialist, but also, conveys respect for the people and people’s power to reorder society along lines avowing community, peace, fundamental rights—all anathema to the present-day political culture and its bipartisan consensus on intervention and war abroad, tightening limits on social change at home.

A capitalist-centric societal formation has a well-defined core, obviously, pertaining to property, yet even more basic, that which informs capitalism with its well-known traits of competitive dissociation of human beings (not simply as a means of preventing the rise of class consciousness, but the ideological formation of individualism to preclude sharing with and caring for others), the conversion of use value into pecuniary value, and good old-fashioned, obnoxious greed, selfishness, self-indulgence, in which fellow persons become objectified, from subject to object itself erasing human identity and the respect for the rights of the individual which follow. This may appear pedantic, but to know “Obamacare” and the forces and personalities producing it, start with Marx’s Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 for understanding how the health-care system is embedded in the commodity-structure of US capitalism.

Instinctively, the Republican attack (a lucky hit, for prime facie political-sociological idiocy) on Obama’s health plan is in one respect absolutely on target: namely, health care, like civil liberties, is an excellent indicator of the democratic character of a society, especially with advances in medicine and technology in the last 150 years. When such a system reeks with duplicity, and bestows on intermediaries and the providers of services disproportionate rewards (compounded through tapping the public till) for what they render by way of the public good, we begin to recognize how important it is to see the centrality of this sector for shaping, coloring, giving tone to, the overall nature of a nation’s institutional framework and the many sectors defining its existence.

Parenthetically, for those who know or otherwise have studied Cuba, one finds the total inversion of the Republican (and here I must include a large majority of Democrats, given their cowardice in refusing to stare Obama down on single-payer, as well as their wholly uncritical acceptance of capitalism, including its perceived requirements of war, intervention, wealth-concentration, etc.) position on health care, so that instead of singling it out as dangerous because of its implied welfare dimension, Cuba, and I start here with Fidel, treats health care as the very pride and flowering of socialism, a vast potentiality for life-enhancement and the actualization of freedom which society proudly wears in its crown. Cuba, with far less resources at its disposal than America has, has made of health in all its forms (I recall the youngsters lining the walls of a mid-size clinic, in Santa Clara, waiting their turn for orthodontia), life-threatening to trivial, a true national priority, with the result that prevention, significant research into disease, medical education, all prosper, as though a tonic to, and floor underpinning, how people view one another and their society.

This is out-of-reach to America, the endeavor to transcend the commodity-structure both of social relations and, just as important, how the individual conceives himself/herself. There are several basic criteria for societal evaluation (in passing I have implied that of class relations, income distribution, the individual’s privacy and freedom from manipulation, to which one could add, among others, behavioral and cultural patterns affecting the environment and climate change, and active, constant, agitation for, discussion about, and implementation of, social justice), but I come to this newly-awakened thought: Health care, as shorthand, beyond itself, for a vital comprehensive social safety net, thrust upward as a fixed entitlement to which society must honor and respect, provides the analytical wedge determining claims of democracy and freedom. “Obamacare” hardly passes muster, nor does POTUS for disguising its evisceration at the hands of interested parties eager to preserve their own profit-edge as well as the ideological advantage of not conceding an inch to the modification of capitalism.

As for his party, the members’ essentially unified support and a largely bovine political base reflecting the same, it, too, fails to pass muster as even remotely constituting a democratic social force—only a thin line separating it from critics to the Right, who are fast dropping off the scale (dragging petrifying Democrats with them) into the ideological zone of nascent fascism. If Obama is not yet there, his wider militarization of the American political economy indicates his own willingness to be swept along, using the more vocal Republican opposition as cover for executing a decisive Rightist course without seeming to have done so. Why the masquerade? The liberal façade has got him to where he is; occupying overt right-wing ground, he would be one of many, and lack the accolades and stature conferred by race on him through a constituency long on political correctness and short on political consciousness.

Rather than declare health care a natural right as voiced in classical political-philosophical discourse, I simply call attention to its significance—in addition to being a measure of society’s general well-being—in revealing the established priorities set by its ruling groups via implementing the structure of power. When imperialism, global hegemony, surveillance, assassination and paramilitary operations geared to regime change or, on behalf of “partners,” the stabilization of despotic government, are of paramount concern, that is a tip-off that health-care propositions cannot be qualitatively different from them, i.e., favoring capitalist measures exclusively as solutions to societal problems. No surprises here, yet the idea of interrelatedness as the systemic attribute of policy-making and execution, meets with dulled eyes and ideological resistance. Health care has to be progressive, those nasty Republicans prove it so.

The militarization of capitalism drives a further nail into the coffin of a meaningful democratic structural agenda. “Obamacare” goes only so far—single payer and public option deliberately cast as subversive elements in the American cosmology, as meanwhile space is opened for widening class-differentials of wealth and power in America which, on its current trajectory, will ensure a substantial underclass that will be underserved from the standpoint of health needs—and everything else. When I say, America deserves its fate, here a health-care system riddled with privileges above, runarounds below, I recognize the harshness of the thought, but WHAT will it take to arouse people, make them into an active citizenry who will stand up for their rights, dignity, welfare? Societal breakdown, increased misery, still greater class-differentiation—possibly none of the foregoing, so long as the human being remains a commodity and is gulled by the trappings of liberalism.

My New York Times Comment on the editorial, ”What G.O.P.-Style Reform Looks Like,” Feb. 2, wherein Republicans become the scapegoat for the deficiencies of “Obamacare,” follows, same date:

If equal energy were expended on Obama’s plan, in which both the single-payer system and the public option had been eliminated, one could then see how neither the Republican proposal nor the current legislation was responsive to America’s needs–in both cases, privatization trumps effective, comprehensive health care. Both programs have more in common with each other than either has with a genuine standard of the social welfare. Obama, too, has favored the insurers, pharmaceutical industry, indeed all who profit from sickness and disease. As much as the Republican senators named, he has betrayed the American people, putting a liberal stamp on a retrograde policy to hide its structural limitations.

Public policy is a charade, in which we see the magnification of differences over less than essential elements. Not surprising, since Democrats have shown contempt for basic rights (of which health should be considered one, as in other industrial countries), given their acceptance of massive domestic surveillance and targeted assassination. Policy is a unitary phenomenon–rejection of universal health care and affirmation of intervention and a huge military budget go hand-in-hand. There is bipartisan consensus on savaging the social safety net, only the respective rhetorical justifications differ.

Norman Pollack has written on Populism.  His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism.

CounterPunch

Socialized Health Care in a Red State

Today Montana, Tomorrow… The Nation?

by JEFF NYGAARD

Most people in the United States don’t really know what the Canadian health care system is all about.  And they certainly don’t know that the Canadian national health care system—called Medicare in that country—began not as a national system, but as a provincial experiment. (A Canadian “province” is like a U.S. state.)

Back in 1961 the socialist governor (premier) in the province of Saskatchewan proposed that the province adopt a “universal, publicly funded medical care—known as medicare.”  The law was passed in November of 1961 and took effect the following July 1st.  Doctors fought it tooth and nail.  According to “Canada: A People’s History” by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or CBC, “The day medicare was born, about 90 per cent of the provinces doctors went on strike.”  The strike only lasted three weeks, and within a few years the wildly-popular and effective system was adopted on the national level.

As of 2011, the U.S. spends 88 percent more on health care, per capita, than does Canada.  Meanwhile, Canada has a higher life expectancy and a lower infant and maternal mortality than the United States.  Or, for a more general indicator of what Canadians are getting for their health care money, the amenable mortality rate is about 40 percent higher in the U.S. than in Canada.  “Amenable mortality” is defined as “premature deaths that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective health care.”

Now, 50 years later, Montana has implemented a remarkable program to provide socialized health care to state employees.  They don’t call it “socialized health care,” but just put two and two together as you consider the following remarks from a story on National Public Radio from last July:

“Montana opened the first government-run medical clinic for state employees last fall. A year later, the state says the clinic is already saving money.”

Note that Montana’s experiment is not a “single-payer” insurance plan.  It’s actually socialized medicine, as the NPR report makes clear without stooping so low as to use the “S” word:

“The state contracts with a private company to run the facility and pays for everything—wages of the staff, total costs of all the visits. Those are all new expenses, and they all come from the budget for state employee healthcare.  Even so, division manager Russ Hill says it’s actually costing the state $1,500,000 less for healthcare than before the clinic opened.”

“Physicians are paid by the hour, not by the number of procedures they prescribe like many in the private sector. The state is able to buy supplies at lower prices.  ‘Because there’s no markup, our cost per visit is lower than in a private fee-for-service environment,’ Hill says.”

“Bottom line: a patient’s visit to the employee health clinic costs the state about half what it would cost if that patient went to a private doctor. And because it’s free to patients, hundreds of people have come in who had not seen a doctor for at least two years.”

“Montana recently opened a second state employee health clinic in Billings, the state’s largest city. Others are in the works.”

And, in a telling comment about what can happen when life experience contrasts with the “free market” ideology with which we are constantly propagandized, we have this comment:
“Pamela Weitz, a 61-year-old state library technician, was skeptical about the place at first.  ‘I thought it was just the goofiest idea, but you know, it’s really good,’ she says. In the last year, she’s been there for checkups, blood tests and flu shots. She doesn’t have to go; she still has her normal health insurance provided by the state. But at the clinic, she has no co-pays, no deductibles. It’s free.”

Had Obamacare included a “public option” that looked anything like Montana, we might be hearing comments like those of Ms. Weitz from every corner of the USA.  Could Montana be our health-care Saskatchewan?

Jeff Nygaard is a writer and activist in Minneapolis, Minnesota who publishes a free email newsletter called Nygaard Notes, found atwww.nygaardnotes.org 

 

Recommended Book: The Healing of America

Author: T.R. Reid

Recommended by Gerry Minard
“I rarely recommend a book. Each one of you are busy reading & digesting your own stuff.

But, recently at the York PA library, I came across a book they were highlighting and I can’t rave about it enough
The author travels the world with a two prong quest: exploring options for his personal health problem and exploring the various health care systems. He relates his finds in an engrossing and non-wonky manner. The book explains the 4 basic types of health care systems and adds much knowledge to our already known facts. I was drawn in by the first sentence in the book!”

Facebook Page for the book

Author interview on Daily Kos

Private Equity Stalks Hospitals

Aside

Labor Notes June 20, 2013 by Alexandra Bradbury

In a war over the future of a Brooklyn hospital, health care workers rushed to Long Island College Hospital today for an emergency rally—after administrators began diverting patients to other sites.

Until today, health care workers had succeeded in keeping LICH “Open for Care,” but they are battling last-minute legislative maneuvers and a threatened Wall Street takeover.

Beginning at 6 a.m. today, ambulances were instructed to divert patients to other facilities, and physicians were to begin transferring their patients away.

The hospital’s actions flew in the face of a judge’s temporary restraining order directing it to maintain staffing levels.

Today’s was the second emergency rally this week. The hospital’s defenders rallied yesterday against state legislators’ revived efforts to allow private equity investors to take over certain hospitals, including LICH. It’s not currently legal for for-profit companies to own hospitals in New York.

One bill would create five “pilot programs” for private equity to invest in New York hospitals. Another would open the door to for-profit ownership of Brooklyn hospitals specifically.

“For-profit health care kills,” said nurse Jill Furillo, executive director of the New York State Nurses Association. “I’ve seen it in other states.”

Long Island College Hospital sits on prime real estate in a gentrifying part of Brooklyn. That’s why its owner, the State University of New York, tried to close it down, nurses charge. To developers—who’d like to put condos there—the hospital would be worth more dead than alive.

Read More

Part of the “Grand Bargain” is on the table.

A story in the NYT March 29, 2013 suggest that Obama & the Democratic leadership are talking with Republicans about cuts to Medicare in exchange for “additional revenue.”  It is complicated but may include the following.

  1. Medicare Part A (hospital care $1,184 deductible in 2013), which has a high deductible would be merged with Medicare Part B (doctor care $147 deductible in 2013). This would have the effect of raising the deductible for people who become eligible for Medicare after 2016.
  2. Establish a cap on total expenses that would set an upper limit on hospitalization costs and eliminate the need for Medigap supplementary insurance.

“The goal is to discourage people from seeking unneeded treatments, shrink health spending and offset the costs of a cap on beneficiaries’ total out-of-pocket costs. Such a cap would reduce beneficiaries’ need for extra insurance. About 90 percent of beneficiaries in the traditional Medicare program have supplemental coverage through Medigap policies, employers’ retiree plans or Medicaid for low-income people.”

Talk of Medicare Changes Could Open Way to Budget Pact