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Why the Demand for ‘Medicare for All’ Won’t Go Away


Why the Demand for ‘Medicare for All’ Won’t Go Away

Claudia Fegan

As the chief medical officer of Chicago’s historic public hospital, I confront on a daily basis the reality of our country’s failure to provide universal access to health care: the steady flow of patients turned away from other hospitals because they are uninsured or have Medicaid, which pays too little; and the legion of insured patients who come to us too late because they couldn’t afford $50 co-payments or $3,500 deductibles.


THANK YOU Claudia Fegan and Common Dreams for staying on top of this and speaking the TRUTH!

DNC Platform Committee Members Offended By Key Single-Payer Healthcare

“Early in the primary, Clinton suggested if a single-payer healthcare system was implemented Americans would lose their coverage under ACA. That is scaremongering for the benefit of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.”



Forget Hillary for the moment. Fegan is right, Medicare for all is the Gold Standard we should keep in front of us. But realistically, it can only come about when we have replaced enough members of Congress with progressive members. Ergo, continue to support Bernie.


Well said. I'd like to see some of the results from other states and cities, however, that indicate that where Medicaid has been expanded under the ACA, the demand on public-hospital emergency rooms for routine care, or for care that has become acute because routine care would have cost too much, has fallen dramatically.

Also, do not ever think to leave out the big Pharma and prescription-insurance concern. As just one example, the shingles vaccine remains unavailable to those too young for Medicare because, while it's offered without appointment at pharmacies, it's offered at pharmacies. That makes it a drug, not preventive care, and it's a name-brand drug, so prescription insurance can decline to cover it. Walking in for a shingles vaccine required me to have, not only a prescription (from 2 doctors), but filling out a 2-page form and paying more than $200. No wonder it's being advertised so heavily on TV.

It's the profit motive that has to be taken out of health. Health CARE, not insurance.


The Shingles vaccine is recommended for people 60 and over, and with good reason. As one gets older, the natural immunization that having chicken-pox as a kid wears off, but the virus itself remains dormant. Shingles is an adult form of chicken-pox, which can be quite dangerous to come down with. It's better to get the Shingles vaccine than to risk one's health and life.


Don't I know it. A doc at Cleveland Clinic recommended in 2013, when I was 60, shingles along with flu and pneumonia vaccines, but he could do only 2 while I was there (attempting to diagnose a neurological mystery). I'd heard I could get the shingles shot at my CVS, so chose to postpone that one. Should have investigated more deeply. I'm still going in fear of coming down with it.


It's not too late to get the Shingles vaccine. You probably should get the shingles vaccine if you're concerned about it.

As for the pneumonia vaccines, however, they're not generally administered to people under the age of 65 unless they have some sort of chronic immunocompromisory condition such as Diabetes or asthma, for example.


Nope, but for 2 more years, or until my disability is granted, It costs me $200+.


"Single-payer reform would be painful for insurance companies and Big Pharma, but a simple tonic for patients and doctors."

The above is the bottom line and has always been the bottom line.

However, Obama's original Presidential campaigns were heavily funded by FIRE: Finance, Insurance, Real Estate. And he owed... big time.

Hence the nonsensical "Obama Care" Romney redux system that guarantees massive profits to Big Pharma and Big Insurance and the American People (plus doctors) suffer the ridiculous consequences.


And that will never improve under a President Clinton and unlikely under a President Trump.

Go Green in 2016


Thank you, Claudia Fegan, for this superb report!

The duopoly has decided that obamacare is sufficient for our country. The Republican plan that the Democrats delivered into law.

The rest of us beg to differ!

Obamacare screwed me this past year with a large increase in cost, $204 per month to Medical Associates, Dubuque, while my insurance coverage actually worsened.

The 2017 increase in cost will be revealed sometime after Halloween, as it should, and it will be a fright. Just in time for the holiday season.


I work for a family-owned business in the Chicago Suburbs. they cancelled our company insurance for a couple of years until the threat of fines forced them to re-enter the insurance game. We began with an Aetna group policy which was expensive, but the company paid half. That lasted a year, and was replaced by Land of Lincoln, which is going out of business at the end of October. Aetna paid fully for my prescriptions, now I have co-pays. Fortunately, the cost is reasonable, but they always somehow make me wait for a refill on one of them. Real single payer would make it rough for companies like mine to play on the cheap, but it would be great for fellow employees who can't afford to live near where they work. The company is trying to keep as much for themselves as they can, while making it hard for people for whom they toss out raises like manhole covers.


A most admirable article.

How ironic it is that, in the UK, all governments since maggot Thatcher have been doing their damndest to dismantle the British National Health Service, initiated in July 1948 by the Atlee Labour government at a time when the UK was on the brink of bankruptcy through having fought WW2 for 5 1/2 years, the GDP/debt ratio stood at around 200% and the government had been forced to devalue the GB Pound by the USA in return for a loan to stave off bankruptcy.

The same is occurring in other countries that once had instituted the only sane and economic way of running health-care, that is taxpayer-funded health-care systems.

Once TPP and TPIP get established that will be end of public health-care systems the world over.


By making Obamacare (or worse) global, TPP and TTIP will give Obama the cred he needs with Wall Street to pull in the eight figure annual corporate speaking fee income that Bill Clinton has enjoyed since leaving the White House, not to mention the even larger Obama Foundation corporate "grants".


One thing that should be emphasized is that public health care saves public dollars. Case in point: at one point in my life, my husband's small business went under just as we discovered I was pregnant with twins. No way that we could pay for prenatal care, but since we live in Canada, we didn't need to. Got all the care needed, including a month in hospital to stave off premature labour. The result: both boys arrived safe and healthy, requiring only a few precautionary hours in the level 2 nursery. Both are now healthy, strong adults who work and pay taxes. Without this care there is a strong probability that they would have been born prematurely, requiring expensive intensive neonatal care and possibly even suffering lifelong disabilities, which would have cost the public a lot.

Public health care is an investment, not a cost.


Or not. It all depends on where it breaks out.
Last year, age 56, I came down with shingles, first time since my teens. Once I figured out what it was I cancelled my doctor's appointment since there wasn't really anything he could do that home remedy symptom relief can't do. It took 5 weeks to clear up. I won't get a shingles vaccine for a few years because the natural immune refreshment will be good for at least that long. Sources say that the shingles vaccine is only so-so effective at preventing shingles, and that it is rare for a person to get shingles more than two or three times in a life. Sources say that adults who are exposed to kids who have chicken pox get natural immune system refreshment and come down with shingles less often. Some sources popular with people on this forum say that you can do better than vaccines by working to keep your immune system in good health ...


My grandmother's first pregnancy resulted in twin boys, who died at about one month old. My grandmother never talked much about it, or so said my mom. One time when I spoke of regret over it, my dad said that if they had lived his parents would have stopped by #3, his older sister, and he wouldn't be here.

Sometimes letting it go, and trying again is more affordable...


The problem there is that vaccinating kids against chicken pox is the ultimate "herd immunity," and chicken pox can be very dangerous. And for those of us with herpes zoster already lurking in our nervous systems, a good immune system is no help. Mostly the immune system is about bacteria, and also about strong native flora. Viruses are pretty much a separate issue except for general health.


SOOOO much easier for you to say, David, and really an affront to a mother who's benefitted from prenatal care. When you've had your body possessed by another being or two for months on emotionally wrenching end, and your own life put at risk to "deliver" them, you might be able to say that you're glad your uncles died. Personally, I don't see much evidence that you and your dad are worth more than @elliemae's sons.


Wishes, to be contrasted with likely reality.
I saw several statements by Dr. Claudia Fegan that are worth questioning.

Fegan "A plan that enriches insurers with hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars – and empowers them to impose draconian restrictions on patients – is not OK."
-- Questions: the insurers aren't, in net, getting tax dollars. And the compelled premiums and the refusal or inability of so many to pay those compelled premiums compared to costs haven't been profitable. This is why United, Blue Cross/Shield, Humana, Anthem and more have pulled out of so many markets. They were losing money, not getting enriched.

-- Back when it was adopted someone I correspond with wrote that the Obama exchanges would "lower market barriers, large numbers of new insurers would compete for our business and premiums would go down." It hasn't worked out that way; instead the opposite.

Fegan "For what we’re now spending we could have Canada deluxe: a free choice of any doctor and any hospital, and no co-payments or deductibles, like they have; but without the waits for high-tech specialty care that some Canadians experience."
-- I have met a lot of veterans who like the nearby Veteran's Hospital, but that still doesn't explain the mysterious hidden VA wait lists that were all the scandal a few years back, and apparently haven't been fixed....

Fegan "Under the ACA, each year millions of patients must navigate a bureaucratic thicket of insurance exchanges that offer thousands of plans with opaque and varying coverage restrictions."
-- Potentially an incomplete comparison. How does now and prospective compare with private coverage health insurance shopping before PPACA?

Fegan "But the costs of that care would be fully offset by huge savings on bureaucracy and drugs."
-- The historic record runs the other way, as reported by Dr. Max Gammon regarding the British NHS and by others regarding the NHS and other systems. A key relevant question: Did switching to a Single Payer system lower the costs of any country from what they had been? Are those other countries lower cost than us because they price-fixed at an earlier point? Why should we think that an American single-payer system would lower reported costs of $10K / person here to the $5K reported in Europe?

Fegan "Cutting out the insurance company middlemen would save hundreds of billions on their overhead and profits, and even more on the paperwork they impose on doctors and hospitals."
-- Overhead is spent some on marketing and some on preventing fraud. Every business in almost every industry knows that overhead is a cost and seeks to reduce it. In contrast, historic experience is that governments don't control their own overhead. And it is documented that Medicare and Medicaid have serious waste fraud and abuse issues and money down the drain.

Enough. I could perhaps put more paragraphs here, but ... enough.
The first problem with Single Payer is that it is a 'one size for everyone' system, where there is a hierarchy of pleasing, with customers at the bottom, and the system more likely to please doctors, clinic operators, hospital administrators, system administrators appointed by the government and politicians and political hacks ahead of customers and patients. The first problem with the old system is the inequality obtained according to ability or inability to pay, that offended many people, some of whom weren't willing to pay for it themselves. The horns of a dilemma and hard to resolve. (We may have been better off when everyone was more equally impoverished :slight_smile: )