Monday, August 11, 2008

Voices Needed for Health Care

This was posted today at The Seminal by Jason Rosenbaum, asking you to help us get the improvements in health care this country needs so badly.

82% of Americans think our health care system needs a “major overhaul.” On top of that, over 90% of Americans [pdf] think the next President and Congress should improve the quality, affordability and of health care.

With the worsening economy continuing to be the top issue for most Americans, this hope for change isn’t hard to understand. American health care spending is projected to reach a full 1/5th of our GDP by 2015, which means by then, we’ll be spending twenty cents of every dollar we make on health care. Health care premiums have risen 86% between 2000 and 2006 while wages only rose 20%, putting the strain on working families. Health care costs continue to be the #1 cause of bankruptcy in America.

Americans are paying $217 million for health care per hour. Meanwhile, insurance industry profits have risen 1,000% in the past five years.

According the to Government Accountability Office, health care reform is necessary to keep our country on the right track:

“Rapidly rising health care costs are not simply a federal budget problem,” the GAO report says. “Growth in health-related spending is the primary driver of the fiscal challenges facing state and local governments as well. Unsustainable growth in health care spending also threatens to erode the ability of employers to provide coverage to their workers and undercuts their ability to compete in a global marketplace.”

Quite simply, with rising health care costs (including $50 billion per year to pay for insurance industry advertising) being born out by working families and American businesses, health care is a top economic concern. To keep American workers at their best, and to keep American business competitive in the world, something has to change.

Nancy Pelosi has recently declared health care expansion to be #2 on her list of legislative priorities, right after ending the Iraq war. In the past month, tens of thousands of Americans have told us they want quality, affordable health care for all. Now it’s time to ask Congress.

So, Congress, which side are you on? Are you with us for quality, affordable health care for all? Or are you with the insurance companies, working to preserve our broken system?

We’ve set up a quick and easy way for you to contact your Members of Congress and ask them if they support our vision for health care reform. Just click here and enter in your phone number and address. Choose the elected official you want to talk to and in a few moments, we’ll call your phone and connect you automatically.

Over the next few weeks, we want to make 100,000 calls to Congress, asking every Member which side they are on. We need your help to do it, so please click here to call!

Once your done with your call, tell us what happened so we can keep track of where Congress stands. As of today, we’re proud to announce Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA), are with us. The rest, so far, are unknown. You can see the full list here.

Health care is a priority for the American people. It’s a priority for Nancy Pelosi. It’s up to us to make sure it’s a priority for Congress as well. Please take a moment, call your Members of Congress, and ask them which side they are on.

A contact system is at the article site, as well.



Blogger Ruth said...

indeed, our comments are working, and welcome to all. And hi, Willendorf Venus, who I was saying Hi to when the hollowscum comments went kablooey.

4:56 AM  
Blogger cosmic tumbler said...

The problem will not be solved until we have a national, single-payer system. Otherwise, you have a health care insurance system that will try to increase profits by limiting access.

5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It's well worth noting that insurance companies have promised, essentially, that, in return for their profits, the magic of the marketplace will rein in health care costs while providing quality care. They've utterly failed on both counts, while enriching themselves with dollars not spent on patient care.

Meanwhile, anyone who's ever dealt with an insurance company knows that their business model depends on providing as little benefit as possible, and restricting their risk. Neither impulse serves the most basic social purposes of a medical system in a civilized country.

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of working, I'm back in Columbus, vacation is over, and it's off to the office.


5:56 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

In TX we have found that we were charged more when the dot.coms went bust, altho insurance companies did not pay out increased benefits. The business has become making money despite their commitments. And welcome, all. Even working stiffs.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Penn Action said...

We're not going to get rid of the insurance industry in time to help the most people possible. I think the best we can hope for - and it won't be a small thing - is regulation of the insurance industry to the point that it functions more in consumers' favor. The right regulation, enforced, will work until we can get around to where we need to be.

6:18 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

In Canada, the insurance industry has been marginalized by actual health care, and I think it's working out. Of course, they never got the dominance they have managed here.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Avedon said...

Enforcement would be great, except that some state budgets are too small to prosecute big insurance companies, and individuals aren't usually going to be rich enough to sue - and even if they can and win, they won't get paid before they're dead.

The insurance companies actually need to be shrunk before they will be manageable, at this point.

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The insurance industry generally is marginal in Canada - not just the medical variety. For example, some provinces do not mandate automobile insurance, property insurance is an entirely separate thing and life insurance is not regarded as a customary item.

Of course, all of this is because the things that insurance tends to ensure are things that the Provincial and Federal governments supervise - at least since WWII (for most provinces.)


6:36 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

I suspect life insurance is pretty much an exception here, and more so since living expenses have mushroomed. Hopefully when the present government of industry reps has been overturned (2009) we can begin sloughing off the worst abuses, and get protections back - including ending the insurance industry's malfunctions.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Avedon said...

Yes, and private health insurance is mostly a non-issue here in Britain, as well (and they have to deliver - they can't compete with the NHS, and no one will give them money if there's a suggestion that they defraud patients the way US insurers do).

There's still an insurance industry here - mortgages routinely come with insurance for the property and a life policy on the owners to cover the insurance in the event that one of the mortgagees dies and leaves the other(s) unable to pay. But it's amazing how much less power they have when no one really needs them for healthcare or car insurance (in this case, because most people dont even need a car).

But in California, they already found that they can't afford to enforce the law against big ensurers - they don't have the budget for it. In California.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Iwonder said...

There is much much more wrong with healthcare in this country than the insurance issue, but if that problem is sovled responsibly and completely it would go a long way to helping get doctors back on track of being physicians instead of insurance-driven minions. As a victim of this country's health care system I have and will continue to voice this need to congress. Thanks for posting this.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Iwonder, all of us are a misstep away from disaster under the existing system.

7:39 AM  
Blogger Iwonder said...

Absolutely. If only people could understand that. This attitude of "if it doesn't affect me, I don't care" is really a problem. You don't know how bad it is until you need it. People do not realize that without health insurance you can die in an emergency room, or worse, live with the consequences of it. They have always had healthcare, or they think that working people all have health care and only welfare receipients are at risk, so they somehow deserve it. Not true.

8:56 AM  
Blogger JohnW said...

I don't know about the likelyhood of shrinking or otherwise dis-empowering the insurance industry here in the U.S., but I do wish that anyone who uses the phrase "affordable insurance" would at least remember ALWAYS to attach the phrase "FOR ALL." Because there are a lot of us, a lot of us, who are already a little bit sick with one thing and another. You know, like when you are suddenly over 55 years old.

10:10 AM  

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