Is Donald Trump’s Cabinet Anti-Woman?

Just In: Unlocking Abortion Coverage in the Keystone State

Info and link to a guide on abortion access under Pennsylvania’s Medicaid Program. As this shows, we need to have Congress repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Come Check out Our NEW Site!

unlocking

The Women’s Law Project, in collaboration with the National Health Law Program, just published Unlocking Abortion Coverage in the Keystone State, an initiative of the Reproductive Health Data and Accountability Project.

Unlocking Abortion Coverage in the Keystone State is a report and guide for abortion providers that addresses rules governing coverage of abortion under Pennsylvania Medical Assistance, Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program.

Pennsylvania Medical Assistance provides public health coverage to low-income people who meet certain eligibility criteria. Though coverage of abortion care under Medical Assistance is extremely limited, federal and state laws and policies require Medical Assistance to cover abortions in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment.

You can download or read the guide here.

Last week, Philadelphia became the 11th city to officially call on Congress to repeal the Hyde Amendment, the federal law that prohibits federal dollars from funding abortion through Medicaid except in these narrow…

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My 2015 annual blog report. Have a Happy New Year!

See the fireworks Civil Rights Advocacy created by blogging on WordPress.com. Check out my 2015 annual report.

Real quick summary for you:

Voting Rights button

Voting Rights

 

Map of where states stood on Medicaid Expansion as of Feb 5, 2015

Medicaid Expansion

 

Rosie the Rivater "We Can Do It!"

Feminism and Women’s Rights

 

Memorial to Helen Bechdel - picture and flowers

Memorials: This one was to Helen Bechdel

 

Picture of the stained glass windows in need of repair at St. Paul's AME church in Bellefonte, PA

Historic Preservation and Preserving Black History

 

NOW Keep Abortion Legal round

Reproductive Justice

 

Picture of a sign that says, "End Rape Culture"

End the Culture of Rape on Campuses

 

NOW "Stop Violence against Women" diamond sign

Stop Violence Against Women

 

Picture of a white pater onf cyberstalking and online threats created by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, NOW, and the Nationl Council of Women's Organizations

Cyber-stalking and Online Threats

 

Picture of fireworks associated with my 2015 blogging annual report

Fireworks for 2016. Happy New Year!

 

 

Thank you to all of my readers and have a very Happy, Peaceful, and Prosperous New Year

Source: See the #fireworks I created by blogging on #WordPressDotCom. My 2015 annual report.

The Federal State-Based Universal Health Care Waiver Act of 2015

banner picture of Universal Healthcare from http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org/

One Agenda: Universal Health Care.
Picture courtesy of Healthcare for All Colorado

As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states have been given the ability to innovate or create their own form of health care insurance or coverage starting on January 1, 2017 AS LONG AS “benefits are at least as comprehensive and affordable as those offered by Qualified Health Plans available on the Exchanges,” according to Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA-7).

As a result, at least 14 states—California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, , New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington—have community advocates and state legislators working towards implementing a state-level form of universal health care. They have been working for affordable healthcare access for all residents of their states before and since the Affordable Care Act – aka Obamacare – was passed in 2010.

Now that the US Supreme Court has basically settled the fact that the ACA is constitutional both on June 28, 2012 (Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services) and again on June 25, 2015 (King v. Burwell), we can consider ways to improve our healthcare system at both the state and federal level. As a medical doctor and a member of Congress, McDermott voted for the ACA. He also recognizes that “still more needs  to be done to control costs, improve care, and cover everyone.”

One way to further control these costs and improve health care while covering everyone is to create a universal health care system which I’ve previously blogged about (see here, here, here, here, and here). That means we either have the federal government create a federal single payer plan OR we use the waiver clause in the ACA to help states create their own universal single-payer health care program.

Yet even with the waiver currently allowed within the ACA for innovative state-based health care plans, creating a state-based universal care plan that saves funds for states and individuals while providing health care access to all has a big hurdle to overcome. Rep. McDermott explained this issue in a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on July 28:

One of the many achievements of the Affordable Care Act is its provisions that grant states the authority to innovate in their health care systems. Under Section 1332 of the law, a state may apply for a State Innovation Waiver that will provide it with control of federal dollars that otherwise would have been spent on premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for its residents. Through this waiver, a state may design a system to cover its residents, so long as benefits are at least as comprehensive and affordable as those offered by Qualified Health Plans available on the Exchanges.

However, even with this flexibility, numerous barriers limit states’ ability to design true single-payer systems. Existing waivers are narrow in scope, requiring states to seek out imperfect and convoluted solutions to circumvent federal limitations. A sweeping preemption provision in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) denies states authority to regulate employer-sponsored health plans. And, due to the complexities of our existing federal health programs, it is essentially impossible for a state to design a single benefit package that can be administered simply and efficiently on behalf of all of its residents.

This speech was McDermott’s announcement that he was introducing HR 3241, aka the “State-Based Universal Health Care Act of 2015:” If passed, this bill would allow states to apply for a universal health care waiver that would allow them to have access to and authority over federal health care dollars that would otherwise be spent on the residents of that state. More specifically, this additional waiver act goes beyond the ACA to deal with the hurdles mentioned above. The new provisions of this law, according to McDermott, would waive all of the following:

  • The rules governing premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions, as provided for in existing waiver authority under Section 1332 of the ACA.

  • Provisions necessary for states to pool funds that otherwise would be spent on behalf of residents enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.

  • ERISA’s preemption clause, which cur-rently forbids states from enacting legislation relating to employee health benefit program

After the introduction of HR 3241, the House referred this bill to five committees — the Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Committee on Ways and Means, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Committee on Armed Services, and the Committee on Education and the Workforce. I believe that the large number of committee referrals was done because of the need to review all of the different laws that this waiver would impact.

You can read the bill in its entirety here.

I am pleased that this bill has been introduced. It however needs many co-sponsors and advocates to pressure Congress to actually hear, review, and pass this legislation. Please contact your US Representative and ask her/him to co-sponsor Representative Jim McDermott, MD’s bill HR 3241. Here’s the lookup page to find your US. Representative by zip code.

As this is the summer, your Representative should be in the home district. Call, write, set up a meeting and tell her/him why you want to see a universal health care program in your state and why this bill is so necessary. If your Representative agrees to sign on, have him/her contact Mr. McDermott’s aides that are focusing on this issue. They are Jayme Shoun, located in Seattle at (206) 553-7170 and Daniel Foster, Health Counsel in the DC Office at (202) 225-3106.

Thanks.

My Part in the #StopTheCuts TwitterStorm

Today I participated in the Coalition on Human Needs Twitterstorm to help #StoptheCuts in support of President Obama’s proposed budget that lasted from 2 to 3 pm Eastern Standard Time. Here is my contribution to that storm. Results shown are as of 3:07 pm (seven minutes after the Twitterstorm ended):

 Original Tweets

Spot on! MT @kilby76 45.3 mil Americans live in #poverty. Shameful 4 richest country on earth #CutsHurt #StopTheCuts @SenToomey @SenBobCasey

0 replies 0 retweets 1 favorite

We need more investments, not less, in programs that keep even more people out of #poverty. #StoptheCuts

0 replies 1 retweet 0 favorites

FACT: Since FY2010, 136 important human needs programs were cut, 51 by > 15% #CutsHurt #FY2016 http://ow.ly/i/8uqP2  http://ow.ly/i/8uqPC 

Meme stating that 45.3 Million Americans Live in Poverty #StopTheCuts

45.3 Million Americans Live in Poverty #StopTheCuts

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

We need a #FY2016 budget that works for all, not just corporations and the wealthy #TalkPoverty http://ow.ly/i/8upzt 

Meme stating that 45.3 Million Americans Live in Poverty #StopTheCuts

45.3 Million Americans Live in Poverty #StopTheCuts

0 replies 0 retweets 1 favorite

Continued cuts to human needs programs are bad for America, our economy #TalkPoverty #CutsHurt Pass @presidentobama #FY2016 budget

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

Pass #FY2016 RT @BlueUpali @SenateDems #GOP thinks cuts to foodstamps SSA will help? They are bad at math as well as science. #StopTheCuts

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

Only 1 in 4 households eligible for federal rental assistance receive it due to lack of funding #Sequester #CutsHurt #FY2016 #Budget

0 replies 0 retweets 1 favorite

Want to know the ins and outs of the President’s Budget? Check out @MomsRising analysis: http://moms.ly/1Ct2VX7  #StoptheCuts #FY2016

0 replies 1 retweet 0 favorites

Federal rental assistance is effective, lifts millions out of #poverty. @RepTomPrice stop the cuts, stop sequestration #cutshurt #FY2016

0 replies 0 retweets 1 favorite

Housing instability limits opportunity. Restore voucher funding so those eligible are not left waiting! #cutshurt http://ow.ly/i/8uqCu 

meme re Join the #StopTheCuts TwitterStorm on February 3, 2015.

Join the #StopTheCuts TwitterStorm on February 3, 2015.

0 replies 1 retweet 0 favorites

3 million children were lifted out of poverty by #EITC and #CTC in 2012. #CutsHurt this progress. #TalkPoverty #FY2016

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

Research shows children of #EITC recipients do better in school, attend college & earn more as adults #TalkPoverty #cutshurt @RepTomPrice

0 replies 0 retweets 1 favorite

 1/4 people without a high school degree are living in poverty. Tell Congress to support job training in #FY2016 #TalkPoverty #JobsNotCuts

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

.@CoalitiononHN “.@BeaverValleyNOW @PA_NOW @NiTaNeeNOW Thank you for joining us and spreading the word! #StopTheCuts”

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

 Modified Tweets

MT @natpriorities Most Americans support spending in federal programs that help families in need. #StopTheCuts #CutsHurt http://ow.ly/i/8v627 

Picture of a woman holdin70% of Americans oppose cuts to the SNAP (food stamp) program g a toddler saying that 70% of Americans oppose cuts to the SNAP (food stamp) program

70% of Americans oppose cuts to the SNAP (food stamp) program

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

MT @MomsRising The earlier we invest in our littlest learners the better for our children & economy. Invest in #earlylearning! #StoptheCuts

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

MT @natpriorities Only 1 in 4 households eligible for federal rental assistance receive due to low funding #Sequester #CutsHurt

Meme stating that Every hour the US spends $5 million for housing assistance and $58 million for the Dept. of Defense

Every hour the US spends $5 million for housing assistance and $58 million for the Dept. of Defense

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

 .@CongressmanGT MT @ChildDefender 57,000 children lost their Head Start cause of sequestration. #CutsHurt #StoptheCuts #BeCarefulWhatYouCut

0 replies 2 retweets 0 favorites

MT @ChildDefender 57,000 children lost their Head Start cause of sequestration. #CutsHurt #StoptheCuts #BeCarefulWhatYouCut @SenBobCasey

0 replies 1 retweet 0 favorites

MT @ChildDefender: 57,000 children lost their Head Start cause of sequestration. #CutsHurt #StoptheCuts #BeCarefulWhatYouCut @SenToomey

0 replies 1 retweet 0 favorites

 MT @NAEYC: Kidsthrive & learn n society dedicated 2 ensuring they reach their full potential #investinkids n #FY2016 2 ensure their future

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

MT @RESULTS_Tweets: The #2016Budget is out! Time 2 #talkpoverty w policymakers & make ending poverty a top priority: http://bit.ly/16fyKVh 

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

MT @MomsRising: #Congress need 2 pass tax bills that help ALL families. Write @SenateDems: http://moms.ly/1zvIHrV  #StoptheCuts #CutsHurt

0 replies 1 retweet 1 favorite

MT @MomsRising: #Congress need 2 pass tax bills that help ALL families. Write @PAHouseGOP: http://moms.ly/1zvIHrV  #StoptheCuts #CutsHurt

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

MT @MomsRising: #Congress need 2 pass tax bills that help ALL families. Write @Senate_GOPs: http://moms.ly/1zvIHrV  #StoptheCuts #CutsHurt

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

MT @MomsRising #Congress need 2 pass tax bills that help ALL families. Write @HouseDemocrats: http://moms.ly/1zvIHrV  #StoptheCuts #CutsHurt

0 replies 0 retweets 0 favorites

Retweets

MedicareRightsCenter @medicarerights  ·

Read @josephrbaker‘s statement on the #FY2016 Obama budget: http://www.medicarerights.org/newsroom/press-releases/2315-2/ … #Medicare

0 replies 2 retweets 0 favorites

TalkPoverty.org @TalkPoverty

Stagnating wages & changing corporate practices decrease amt working families can save for retirement http://bit.ly/1yQBLqd  #talkpoverty

0 replies 4 retweets 3 favorites

CoalitiononHumanNeed @CoalitiononHN  ·

Fact: It would only take 2% of the federal #budget to reduce child #poverty by 60% http://ow.ly/InD58  #TalkPoverty @ChildDefender

0 replies 17 retweets 2 favorites

  PWN-USA @uspwn  ·

Continued cuts to human needs programs are bad for America, our economy #TalkPoverty #CutsHurt #StoptheCuts in #FY2016 #pwnspeaks

0 replies 1 retweet 0 favorites

Housing Alliance PA @PAHousing  ·

Starting NOW! Tell Congress to #StopTheCuts in #FY2016! Join the @CoalitiononHN twitterstorm & tweet at your Reps/Senators #TalkPoverty

0 replies 2 retweets 1 favorite

Asset Building @AssetsNAF  ·

Obama’s #FY2016 Budget requests additional funding for HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program. See our FSS work: http://ow.ly/Iqp0J 

0 replies 2 retweets 0 favorites

ChildrensDefenseFund @ChildDefender  ·

Tell Congress: #EndChildPoverty #StoptheCuts #TalkPoverty #BeCarefulWhatYouCut http://ow.ly/H1gcu 

Picture of a baby saying, "It's hard to tighten your belt when you are wearing diapers.

It’s hard to tighten your belt when you are wearing diapers.

0 replies 22 retweets 8 favorites

Leslie @love2laugh4ever  ·

#StopTheCuts raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 now and have it automatically raise thereafter. Keep people above #poverty

0 replies 3 retweets 0 favorites

CoalitiononHumanNeed @CoalitiononHN  ·

1/4 people w/o a high school degree are living in poverty. Tell Congress to support job training in #StopTheCuts #TalkPoverty #JobsNotCuts

0 replies 3 retweets 0 favorites

 Pennsylvania NOW @PA_NOW  ·

Housing instability limits opportunity. Restore voucher funding so those eligible are not left waiting! #CutsHurt @SenToomey @SenBobCasey

0 replies 1 retweet 1 favorite

MoveOn.org @MoveOn  ·

RT if OUTRAGED: 1st time in 50yrs, maj. US public school stdnts in #poverty @GOPHouse http://wapo.st/17NzFgO 

Meme stating that 45.3 Million Americans Live in Poverty #StopTheCuts

45.3 Million Americans Live in Poverty #StopTheCuts

0 replies 27 retweets 12 favorites

Am Sociological Assn @ASAnews  ·

Is Ending #Segregation the Key to Ending #Poverty? @Stefanie_DeLuca & other sociologists http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/02/is-ending-segregation-the-key-to-ending-poverty/385002/ …

View summary

0 replies 7 retweets 1 favorite

Parents of OMM @ParentsofOMM  ·

The truth about #singlemoms using #foodstamps and what you can do to help http://bit.ly/1zkIx9w  #family #poverty #welfare #womenleaders

0 replies 1 retweet 1 favorite

Join the #StopTheCuts TwitterStorm

Yesterday, I received a phone call from Paul Wommack, a Beaver Valley NOW member and activist. He alerted me to an online effort to influence Congress to support President Obama’s proposed budget.

This budget was officially released this morning. Part of the proposed budget would add new investments in child care programs and increase access to community colleges across the country. It also will, if passed, start to reverse the damage that has been made to social service programs due to, among other things, the sequestration mandate of the past several years.

As a result of this positive change that could come at the Federal level IF Congress listens and passes a budget to “Stop the Cuts” to our social network fabric, the Coalition on Human Needs has organized a “#StopTheCuts” Twitter Storm for Tuesday February 3, 2015 at 2 pm EST/11 am PST. Here’s their announcement with details in case you too would like to participate.

Twitterstorm 2/3: Tell Congress to #StopTheCuts

meme re Join the #StopTheCuts TwitterStorm on February 3, 2015.

Join the #StopTheCuts TwitterStorm on February 3, 2015.

This coming Monday the President will present his budget request to Congress for FY2016. We look forward to reviewing the President’s proposals, and we’ve already heard about important investments he’d make in child care and community college. We’ve heard he will start to reverse damaging cuts to human needs programs. Our next step: we need you to join us in telling Congress our request – stop the cuts.

On Tuesday, February 3rd at 2pm ET/11am PT, join the Coalition on Human Needs, MomsRising.orgMoveOn.org, and other national organizations [including the National Organization for Women] for a Twitterstorm (sample tweets and graphics below!). Tell Congress that their FY2016 budget must protect programs that promote shared prosperity and help our nation’s most vulnerable.

Strong, well-funded federal programs create jobs, grow the economy, reduce inequality, and keep millions out of poverty. In 2013, 3.7 million people were kept out of poverty by SNAP benefits. Similarly, unemployment insurance kept 1.2 million people out of poverty. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit lifted 10.1 million people, including 5.3 million children, out of poverty in 2012. And the list goes on

But if the new Congress drafts a budget anything like the one the House passed last year, these successful programs will be slashed, along with education, housing, nutrition, and other services young and old alike need to escape poverty.  These will be on top of years of cuts that are keeping us down.  It’s time to tell Congress to #StopTheCuts.  

Tell Congress real people are being harmed. On February 3rd raise your voice for human needs and share the real struggles people in your community face and the impact of cuts. Below are sample tweets – but we encourage you to tweet at your Senators and Reps with personal stories, too.

Who? You and/or your organization

What? A twitterstorm telling Congress to stop cuts to the programs that are most important to our nation’s future shared prosperity and ending poverty in America.
Where/When? Twitter, February 3, at 2pm ET / 11am PT

How? Post the tweets and graphics below telling Congress to #StopTheCuts because #CutsHurt. Have you or someone you know benefited from the programs facing cuts? Get personal!
Please spread the word and email your networks and this event. Here is the link to our blog post with this info. If your organization plans to participate, please RSVP to Joanna at jsandager@chn.org so that we can list you as a participant.
And make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @CoalitiononHN for the latest.

Sample Promotional Tweets:

  • Join @CoalitiononHN @MomsRising @MoveOn 4 a twitterstorm on 2/3 @ 2PM ET! Tell Congress to protect essential programs b/c #CutsHurt
  • Tell Congress to #StopTheCuts in #FY2016! Join the twitterstorm + tweet at your Reps/Senators 2/3 @ 2PM ET #TalkPoverty #EndPovertyNow
  • 3 mil Americans live in #poverty. On Feb 3, 2pmET Tell Congress cuts to human needs programs are bad for America, our economy  #CutsHurt

Sample Tweets

  • We need more investments, not less, in programs that keep even more people out of #poverty
  • We need a #FY2016 budget that works for all, not just corporations and the wealthy #TalkPoverty
  • Continued cuts to human needs programs are bad for America, our economy #TalkPoverty #CutsHurt
  • In 2013, 3.7 million were lifted out of poverty by #SNAP. #CutsHurt this progress. #TalkPoverty
  • Only 1 in 4 households eligible for federal rental assistance receive it due to lack of funding #Sequester #CutsHurt #FY2016 #Budget
  • Federal rental assistance is effective, lifts millions out of #poverty. @RepTomPrice stop the cuts, stop sequestration #cutshurt #FY2016
  • Housing instability limits opportunity. Restore voucher funding so those eligible are not left waiting! #cutshurt
  • 3 million children were lifted out of poverty by #EITC and #CTC in 2012. #CutsHurt this progress. #TalkPoverty  #FY2016
  • Research shows children of #EITC recipients do better in school, attend college & earn more as adults #TalkPoverty #cutshurt @RepTomPrice
  • 1/4 people without a high school degree are living in poverty. Tell Congress to support job training in #FY2016 #TalkPoverty #JobsNotCuts
  • FACT: Since FY2010, 136 important human needs programs have been cut, 51 by more than 15% #CutsHurt #FY2016

Sample Graphic

Meme with hands up to Stop the Cuts and support Obama's 2016 proposed budget.

We need a 2016 budget that works for all. #StoptheCuts

 

 

 

 

Why I Support Universal Health Care: A Right, Not a Privilege

Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) has reintroduced his National Health Care plan bill HR 676, “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.” I strongly support a universal national health care program such as HR 676. I also support any effort by any state to implement a state-based single-payer health care plan. Why?  For many reasons.

My life was threatened by the multi-company, private health insurance system we currently have.

I received a bone marrow transplant in 1989 from my identical twin sister. Although I had no problem finding a match, I had to jump through many hoops and barriers put up by the two health insurance companies covering my sister and myself. In the case of my insurance provider, I was refused coverage of the donor portion of the transplant because my twin sister wasn’t on my health insurance plan. In the case of my twin sister’s insurance provider, they refused to cover her portion of the transplant because she “wasn’t sick.” Then the hospital administration said that they would not perform the transplant until this conflict between the two insurance agencies was resolved with a guarantee of payment by either or both companies. And my doctors said that if the resolution did not occur rapidly, I would be dead within the year due to the seriousness of the form of leukemia that I had.

According to Health Care for America, health insurance companies profit by denying–not by providing–healthcare. Health insurance CEOs of the top 10 health insurance companies today typically enjoy an average of $10,000,000 in annual compensation–salary, bonuses, stock options, etc.

Back to my story. I went into battle mode against the insurance companies when I was told that they would let me die because of their bottom line and attempts to deny coverage. Because of the support and advocacy I had through the organization where I self-purchased my health insurance (the National Organization for Women), we were finally able to get me the life-saving transplant that I needed. And I am here today.

This experience is why I became an advocate for a single-payer health care system rather than the current system that allows private companies the ability to deny critical health care to “save” their bottom line for profit only.

Other Reasons why I support a Universal Health Care Plan at Either the National or State Level.

It is the ethical and moral to treat all people, regardless of economics or status when they are sick.

A 2009 article in the Journal of Public Health reports that approximately 45,000 people on average die each year due to lack of health insurance. One of the goals of The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to reduce the number of people without health insurance, so that premature deaths from lack of coverage would also be reduced.

People will continue to struggle to receive health care coverage and treatment with both passage of the ACA and the Supreme Court’s decision declaring the ACA as constitutional while allowing states to opt out of the expanded Medicaid program for low-income people.

The Centers for Disease Control acknowledges that access to coverage will improve under the ACA. But that acknowledgement holds a caveat; they state, “Even after ACA is implemented fully, some persons eligible for coverage might go uninsured.” The ACA will not fully resolve this ethical and moral threat to peoples’ lives. 

Some states are threatening people’s health care and lives based on decisions either by their legislature and/or their governors.

These states place people who could have been covered under the Expanded Medicaid program in continued jeopardy since they will neither be able to sign up for Medicaid nor be able to afford private health insurance through the ACA’s health care exchanges. The 13 states that have already threatened the healthcare of their citizens are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin. Five states – Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wyoming—are leaning towards opting out of coverage. Kentucky, New York and Oregon haven’t yet made their decision, but do appear to be leaning towards opting into full ACA with the expanded Medicaid coverage. All remaining 22 states plus the District of Columbia have opted into full ACA with the expanded Medicaid coverage.


Where the States Stand

Via: The Advisory Board Company

For the low-income people living in the 18 states that have either opted out of or are considering opting out of the expanded Medicaid coverage, nothing changes for them since most of these individuals will not be able to afford private health insurance in the new health care exchanges under the ACA.

A Single Payer, Universal Healthcare program would cover everyone.

According to predictions by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Commission on Taxation, we will we still have 30 million uninsured in 2023 under Obamacare. At the same time, health care costs for our nation, states, and families will continue to increase. A single-payer, universal healthcare program could cover everyone at lower cost. Everyone in and no one out regardless of income or health status.

The BETTER Alternatives: National and State-Based Single-Payer Plans

The plan introduced by Representative Conyers is basically an expansion of the efficient and cost-effective Medicare system currently used by the elderly and people with disabilities. Its overhead (all costs other than for healthcare) is much lower–and patient satisfaction is much higher–than under for-profit healthcare. And it would cover everyone regardless of their economic or health status without fear of an insurance company denying coverage to save their bottom line.

Similarly, legislation is being considered in about half of the states to create state-based single-payer healthcare programs. Some of these states’  legislatures have held hearings and/or had votes on universal healthcare. Vermont has already passed a law that sets in place the possibility of a single-payer healthcare program by 2017. 2017 is the year that the ACA—aka “Obamacare”—allows states to try other healthcare plans IF they cover at least the same number of people with at least the minimum coverage under the ACA.

Obamacare is now the law of the land. It is an improvement over what we had before 2009. It is also the basis from which we can work towards a comprehensive healthcare program. We could do it nationally, such as with HR 676. Or, like Canada, we can start at the state level.

So check out HR 676. See if your Representative is one of the 40 current co-sponsors. If not, meet with him/her, tell your personal story about why you support an expanded and improved Medicare for All, and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. If he/she is already a co-sponsor, ask your Representative to take the next step. They can hold a town-hall meeting on universal healthcare to hear from their constituents. They can also call on the chairs of the three committees reviewing HR 676 to hold Congressional hearings on HR 676. These three committees are the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the House Natural Resources Committee.

Also get active with your state-based single-payer organization. These local and state-based single-payer health care groups will let you know how can help with your state-based legislation. Healthcare NOW has a full listing of state- and local-based organizations. If your state does not have a single-payer chapter yet, contact Healthcare NOW at their national office in Philadelphia, PA; they can help you to organize a plan for your state.

All other “advanced” nations have already adopted comprehensive healthcare systems. All deliver better health outcomes at a lower per capita cost than the USA. Let’s get cracking. Let’s do it here in the US of A as well.