Elizabeth Warren’s single payer health care plan

She has released her plan to provide universal health care coverage through a single payer system that will save ordinary people money by producing savings and charging rich people and corporations to pay for it. Naturally, this has aroused opposition from all those who benefit from the current system (hospitals, doctors, health insurance and drug companies). But it is also being criticized by other Democratic candidates such as Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, and Pete Buttigieg, all of whom represent the corporate-friendly Democratic party establishment.
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Bernie Sanders and two economics professors explain the benefits of Medicare for All

Sanders keeps making very clear arguments about its benefits in order to counter the distortions.

Economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman explain how the Sanders’s plan for Medicare for All will result in reduced taxes, because what we now pay in health care premiums are in fact taxes, something that opponents of universal health care plans try to ignore.
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What do you get when two bad systems combine?

There are two terrible systems in the US that I have been highlighting: health care and criminal justice. The first is more focused on squeezing money out of people to provide profits for the health insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital industries, and for high salaries to executives and health care professionals than in serving the needs of people. The second is more focused on squeezing money out of taxpayers and the people caught in its web in order to provide revenue for the private prison industry and local police forces and government than in treating prisoners humanely in order to rehabilitate them. The investigative journalism outfit ProPublica reports on what happens when these two systems come together. As you might expect, the outcomes are not good.

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How Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All plan works

Bernie Sanders has had to have surgery to install two stents for a blocked artery. This is a pretty routine procedure now but needing medical treatment of any kind is not good for a candidate about whom questions have been raised about age.

In this clip, he cuts through all the distortions about his Medicare For All plan and lays out for Stephen Colbert how it will work.

Meanwhile Elizabeth Warren is making all the right enemies. After Wall Street executives warned the Democratic party that they would abandon he party if she ended up being the nominee, now Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says that he “will go the mat” to prevent her plan to break up the big tech companies because they have too much power.

Health insurance as a weapon to control workers

The cost of health insurance in the US has been steadily rising. Since most people get their health insurance through their workplace, employers have been passing on much of the increased costs to the employees in the form of high-deductible policies but it still represents a big cost for businesses. For a long time, I wondered why big business were not the biggest supporters of government-run, single-payer health care systems like Medicare For All since that would shed them of one of their biggest costs as well as rid them of all the cumbersome paperwork that accompanies it. You would think that this would be a good thing for them. So why were they not the biggest supporters? I had put it down to their ideological dislike of anything that smacks of socialism.
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With friends like these …

There is no question that affordable universal health care coverage is an idea that has caught on as the awfulness of the current system becomes increasingly apparent, and almost all the Democratic candidates have signed on to it. The most comprehensive plan, and in my view the simplest one to understand and implement, is the Medicare for All plan proposed back in the 2016 campaign by Bernie Sanders and endorsed by most progressives. So where does this leave those ‘centrist’ and ‘moderate’ Democrats (those being euphemisms for Democratic politicians like Joe Biden whose have strong allegiances to the business and financial world) who do not wish to alienate the health insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital lobbies whose profits feel threatened by this proposal? These groups come under the labels of Third Way and the Center for American Progress and are favored by the Democratic party establishment.
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Shaming hospitals to do the right thing

A ProPublica report from back in June exposed the fact that a nonprofit hospital system in Memphis, Tennessee that was affiliated with the Methodist church had been aggressively suing poor people who had not been able to pay their bills. It had created its own aggressive debt-collection agency that had gone to the extent of garnishing the wages (i.e., deducting money from paychecks) of those who owed money, even though the money they were earning was barely enough for them to live.
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Another way that the insane medical system in the US squeezes money from sick people

Here is another post about the insanity of the US health system, a post that will be utterly incomprehensible to people who live in civilized countries where you are not blindsided by huge bills just because you get sick. It involves the practice of people getting ‘surprise bills’ after treatment. For those of you not familiar with this insane system, in the US your insurance company contracts with a network of doctors and hospitals for your treatment. If you go to those when you are sick, your bill will be lower than if you go to an out-of-network doctor or medical facility (or if you do not have insurance at all) so you always have to check before going to see a doctor.
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Good answer to a health care question

I am not sure how many readers of this blog check out the website Quora. People post questions on a wide variety of topics and knowledgeable people reply. I usually check out the physics questions and have been impressed with the quality of many of the the answers. But occasionally my eye catches questions on other topics and such as this one since it is a topic I blog about a lot.
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The British NHS vs. US health system

Stephen Fry narrates a comparison of the two health care systems and shows clearly why the British National Health Service is vastly superior to the ghastly system that we have here that works only for those with tons of money.

It is clear that the likely new prime minister of the UK will be Boris Johnson and that he wants to take the UK out of the EU even with no Brexit deal. He will then be desperate to carve out new trade deals with other countries and the US will be the main target, since he seems to view Donald Trump as a soul mate even though Trump will treat him like a lackey.

But the US will demand that for any deal to be made, he must first set about dismantling the NHS, reducing price controls on drugs, and allowing private health insurance companies to play a much greater role. You can be sure that the medical-pharmaceutical-health insurance industries are salivating at the prospect of gouging an entirely new population of people.

(Via Cory Doctorow)