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Galindez writes: "'Medicare for All' is picking up steam throughout the country. In Iowa, a health care crisis is looming. No insurance companies plan to offer coverage on the exchange in 2018, and the three current providers have announced they are pulling out of the state."

Rally for Medicare for All. (photo: AP)
Rally for Medicare for All. (photo: AP)

Momentum for Single Payer Reaches Iowa

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

19 May 17


edicare for All” is picking up steam throughout the country. In Iowa, a health care crisis is looming. No insurance companies plan to offer coverage on the exchange in 2018, and the three current providers have announced they are pulling out of the state.

Activists in Iowa are concerned about the GOP move to repeal Obamacare and will resist those efforts, but don’t see Obamacare as a long-term solution to our country’s health care needs.

According to Physicians for a National Health Program: “The reason we spend more and get less than the rest of the world is that we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers necessarily waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales, and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. As a result, administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars, most of which is a waste.”

I completely agree with them on that. My story shows the problem with the current system. I need a kidney. I currently can’t get on the kidney transplant list because my insurance won’t cover the operation. It did last year, but without notice, Aetna will not cover it this year. I can get on Medicare early but would need a supplemental to cover a transplant. I may be able to get additional coverage before the enrollment period, but if not I have to wait until January to get on the transplant list. Dialysis will keep me going until I get on the list, but if we had universal coverage like most of the world, I wouldn’t have to wait. I am working, I have insurance, and the system still fails me. TrumpCare would even be worse.

Insurance companies are only middlemen, and they profit without providing anything that couldn’t be provided cheaper and more efficiently by the government. This is already happening in the form of Medicare and Medicaid, but some doctors don’t accept them because they don't pay as much as private insurers pay. What we need to keep costs down is a single payer system that doesn’t have a profit motive or a marketing budget to raise.

Single payer is the ultimate goal; I think the path to single payer is a public option. Here in Iowa, there will be a need for a public option if no private insurers come in. The government will have to provide an opportunity to Iowans, or the hospitals will be full of people with no insurance.

I agree with Republicans who say a public option is a back door to single payer. Insurance companies will not be able to compete, and that is a good thing. Many single payer advocates oppose a public option, fearing it would set up a system where the elderly and sick end up in the public system and the healthy stay on private insurance. The only way that would happen is if private insurers offered coverage that was competitive with the public option. While not ideal, that would still be an improvement over what we have now.

As Bernie Sanders has always said: “Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman, and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America’s health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program.”

This weekend’s events will happen throughout Iowa, calling for “Medicare for All!” The events will serve as a launch for Our Revolution in Iowa. Speakers will include candidates for Congress in Iowa who supported Bernie Sanders in 2016, including Pete D’Alessandro, who was the Iowa director for Bernie’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Events will take place at the following times and locations:

May 20th at noon
Waterloo / Public Library, 415 Commercial St.
Our Revolution Iowa
Americans for Democratic Action Iowa

May 20th at noon
Cedar Rapids / Greene Square Park, 5th St. SE
Our Revolution Cedar Rapids

May 20th at 4 p.m.
Des Moines / Neil Smith Federal Building, 210 Walnut St.
Our Revolution Central Iowa
Our Revolution Story County Iowa
Central Iowa Democratic Socialists of America

May 20th at 4 p.m.
Sioux City / Rep. Steve King’s office, 526 Nebraska St.
Northwest Iowa for Our Revolution

May 20th at 4 p.m.
Iowa City / Iowa City Pedestrian Mall, 201 Dubuque St.
Our Revolution – Johnson County
Iowa City Democratic Socialists of America

May 21st at noon
Dubuque / Town Clock Plaza, 890 Main St.
Our Revolution: Dubuque
Americans for Democratic Action Iowa
Dubuque Democratic Socialists

May 20th at 1PM
East Davenport, Village Theater, 2113 E 11th St
Sponsored by Our Revolution Scott County

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+26 # swimdoc 2017-05-19 18:05
Go for it, Iowans! Demand Improved and Expanded Medicare for All! Don't prematurely "compromise" by accepting the promise of a public option before you even get started. Insist that your elected members of Congress sign on to HR 676 while still opposing dismantling of the ACA. It's time to move beyond the ACA to real national health coverage for everyone living in the U.S.
+3 # JCM 2017-05-19 18:56
"states that fully embraced Obamacare will see increases of 18.2%. Those that fully resist will see increases of 29.8%.

“Fully embracing the ACA (expanding Medicaid, running your own full exchange, sticking with the original timeline, etc.),” Gaba observes, “is a pretty good way to help keep rate hikes down.”

A few caveats are in order. Figures for the resisting group may be skewed by Oklahoma, which will experience an off-the-chart premium increase of 76%, in part because it has only one insurance provider, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The effect, however, is marginal, since Oklahoma has only about 164,000 enrollees in ACA plans; Gaba calculates that the total rate increase would fall to 28.4% from 29.8% if Oklahoma is excluded. California, which has embraced Obamacare and where rates will rise an average 13.2% for next year, has about 2.2 million individual market enrollees.

The pro-ACA grouping is similarly skewed by Minnesota, where the weighted rate increase is more than 55%, in part because the state’s basic health plan appears to have siphoned off a large number of people who would otherwise be in the Obamacare pool, driving up costs for the latter."

If Obamacare does fail it will be a republican self fulfilling prophecy.
+10 # Charles3000 2017-05-19 19:27
I wish everyone could learn that Medicare is NOT single payer; it is either two or three payers involved. We need "single payer" NOT Medicare for All!"
+13 # Scott Galindez 2017-05-19 22:18
You are right Charles...Medic are for All is a slogan but Conyers bill and Bernie's that is coming expand Medicaid to a single payer system. Medicare is popular with the American people so we are using that to sell universal healthcare.
+18 # diamondmarge7 2017-05-19 19:32
This is SUCH exciting news! I had heard of NY & CA moving towards single psayer; I have also contributed & fotwarded emails to contacts regarding the heavy efforts in CO. How fabulous that IA is moving in this marvelous direction, too. Mebbe we "exxceptional" Americans might finally join the rest of the industrial world & stop being gouged and screwed by for-profit
BigMed and BigPharma. I AM SO THRILLED.
+3 # elkingo 2017-05-19 23:07
Socialized Medicine Goddammit!
+15 # lamancha 2017-05-20 00:28
I find it almost criminal that the network pundits - CNN, MSNBC and others - are not taking up the cause of single payer. Even the so-called liberal network hosts & pundits ( no progressives in sight ), are not taking up the cause. All they report on is what the Republicans are proposing. What a waste!
0 # RNLDaWy 2017-05-20 10:28
Correct they make their money on whining about losing the election and mislead you with that. Also elected officials who work for our government have the best healthcare and salaries and guaranteed income of any person in the country same as high earners in the private sector. They don't want you to know the facts Medicare is not single payer .. at least a two tier system would be better .. Medicare for All .. unless you are a high earner then you can choose your plan .. because not a problem for those with the dough .. or WORKING IN GOVERNMENT .. wink wink wink!
+5 # virtualaudio 2017-05-20 16:45
Kudos to Bernie for planting the seed of Single Payer in the minds of most Americans. Though I'd prefer he had won the election, this profound shift of public sentiment justifies the time & money I put into his primary bid. If only the Dems in Congress and the 'progressive' news & opinion outlets would take up the cause.. Before the presidential race, I'd occasionally hear people like Chris Hayes talk about single payer. He also did a lot of segments on climate change. Since the election season started, I haven't heard a peep about these issues from him or others. There seems to be a an attitude of disdain toward Bernie from these guys.. During the primary, Maddow interviewed Sanders & Clinton on the same day, while Matthews did Trump; Trump made a stupid comment about punishing women for getting abortions, which Maddow used to ambush Sanders.. when asked, Sanders reiterated his commitment to women's rights, then dismissed Trumps comment as more B.S. Maddow then tracked down Clinton and told her only the 2nd half of what Sanders said, which gave Clinton the opportunity to slam Sanders for not being sufficiently pro-choice. Maddow had this smirk on her face when she talked to Clinton, like a little kid who knew they were doing something bad and getting away with it. What's wrong with these people? If you want the public's trust, be consistent! Otherwise Trump's assault on the media will continue to resonate. (sorry to digress, but it is annoying)
0 # futhark 2017-05-20 10:12
The government has no more business in providing medical insurance than it does providing fire protection and police services, educational opportunities for minors, roads and highways, or protection from foreign invasion. It seems that an increasing number of people are waking up to the fact that there is little justification to have any of these without the others.
+7 # Wise woman 2017-05-20 10:41
State by state looks like the only way single payer will be accomplished. If that's the way it has to happen, so be it. All the more reason we have to get on top of our elected officials to do the right thing for America. Here in CT, where I live, big med and big pharma rule. Blumenthal and Murphy have to get on the ball and change that. That and legalizing mj which is presently under the control of the state and the price gaugers as well as the criminal element.
-3 # Rain17 2017-05-21 20:00
The biggest obstacle to single-payer:

"I don't want my tax dollars going to pay for other people's healthcare ( i.e. illegal immigrants, minorities on welfare, or any other umpopular group) at my expense."

Too many Americans maintain that position. Until artitudes toward socisl programs chanfe for the better single-payer will remain politically a nonstarter in this country.

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