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What NYers need to but don’t know about this year’s NYC elections

September 25, 2013

http://archive.wbai.org/files/mp3/wbai_130921_110001otcount.mp3

Grassroots Opposition to War Funding Reaches Boiling Point! National Call-In Days July 26-28

July 27, 2010

Grassroots Opposition to War Funding Reaches Boiling Point!
National Call-In Days
July 26-28

The House of Representatives will be voting again this week on the White House request for $33.5 billion of new funding for the war in Afghanistan.
Troops in AfghanistanUnited for Peace and Justice is joining together with Peace Action, CODEPINK, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Peace and Justice Resource Center, Campaign for Peace and Democracy, Historians Against the War, Just Foreign Policy, Progressive Democrats of America and US Labor Against the War in calling upon Congressional Representatives to vote against  the White House request for $33.5 billion in new  funds for the war in Afghanistan.
Congressional Switchboard: 1-888-493-5443 toll-free (We are counting calls)
Three weeks ago, 162 members of the House supported an Amendment calling for a time-table for withdrawal.   100 members of the House supported an amendment offered by Rep. Barbara Lee limiting the use of the funds for security and to actually begin the withdrawal of troops.
Now the House is being asked to approve funding without a time-table or any plan for withdrawal.  Nine years into the war, the Administration lacks clear goals, a coherent strategy or any “exit plan.” Meanwhile soldiers and civilians keep dying and so far $321 billion dollars have been being squandered in an irrational enterprise.  We need to insist that elected officials act responsibly by refusing to fund this war without end.
Most commonly asked question: “Why should I bother? They don’t listen anyway?” Members of Congress are listening. That’s why these amendments received so many votes. That’s the reason growing numbers are willing to speak out in opposition. The more “No” votes we achieve this week–the closer we come to bringing this tragic war to a close…
Phone
Call the Congressional Switchboard:1-888-493-5443 early this week and after you hang up please forward this message to your friends.
Members of Congress will be back in their districts during August. Many will be campaigning for re-election. This is a valuable time to partner with local domestic needs groups fighting against cut-backs.  Conduct vigils, send delegations or engage in direct action around a shared desire to fund our communities, not endless war. In the Fall Congress will be asked to approve another $160 billion war funding for FY2011. Let’s make them feel the heat NOW!

UNITED FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE
www.unitedforpeace.org | 212-868-5545
PO Box 607; Times Square Station; New York, NY 10108

To subscribe, visit www.unitedforpeace.org/email

6.27.10, NYC: Private Health Insurance Must Go! in Gay Pride Parade

June 21, 2010

Now organizers can publicize their own actions!
This entry
http://nycal.mayfirst.org/node/752
is on New York Activist Calendar (http://nycal.mayfirst.org)

`Private Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover Your Ass` Pride Contingent
Sunday, June 27, 2010 – 1:00pm
37th Street btw. Park & Madison: Section 12, Group 3. [updated location]
Trains: #6 to 33 St. (at Park Av.); #4, 5, 7 or S “Shuttle” to Grand
Central-42 St. (at Park & Lex); D, F, N, Q, R to 34 St.-Herald Sq.
(at 6th Av. & Broadway); map: http://bit.ly/9pAOYX
Please RSVP to jeanmaryfox@yahoo.com
Background: Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition
http://www.phimg.org/V2/

[Come march and leaflet in Pride wearing a giant plastic “ass” that
pokes out from the back of your hospital gown. -t.]

SUNDAY JUNE 27
MANHATTAN GAY PRIDE MARCH
Join the Private Health Insurance Must Go! Coalition (phimg.org) in a
Single Payer, Medicare for All! contingent at the parade. We will
line up at 1:00 on 37th Street between Park and Madison. We are
Section 12, Group 3.

To join us, please RSVP to jeanmaryfox@yahoo.com [1]

Watch the fabulous video http://bit.ly/b3RI8p of the
PHIMG/ACT-UP/PNHP contingent from last year’s march.

We will carry our beautiful new PHIMG banner, as well as our giant
“not covered” banner. Costumes for the day, and PHIMG T-shirts (to
buy), (and maybe the Mobilization T-shirts), will be available.

Milliman Medical Index proves that PPACA (Obamacare) is already a failure‏

May 12, 2010
Milliman, Inc.
May 2010
2010 Milliman Medical Index
The annual Milliman Medical Index (MMI) reports total annual medical spending for a typical American family of four covered by an employer-sponsored preferred provider organization (PPO) program. The MMI represents the total cost of payments to healthcare providers, and excludes the non-medical administrative component of health plan premiums.
The total 2010 medical cost for a typical American family of four is $18,074.
This is an increase of 7.8%. This is the third year in a row that the annual rate of increase has been below 8%; however, the dollar increase of $1,303 is still the highest we have seen in the last 10 years and since the inception of this index.
Cost Implications of Healthcare Reform on Family of Four
While employers are making the immediate changes required to their benefit plans and adapting their longer-term benefit strategy to the new regulatory environment, healthcare costs continue to increase at rates exceeding most other costs of doing business. Debate continues on the extent to which the changes from healthcare reform have potential to bend the long-term cost curve; however, for the near term, the underlying drivers of increasing healthcare costs are not expected to immediately change.
Efforts to enforce insurance rate controls may have indirect impact on the growth in healthcare costs but still do not address the underlying cost of care. For now, the onus of control remains with insurers, who will attempt to put pressure of providers to lower costs to a level that approved premium rates can support. There may be more extensive shift in market dynamics in 2014, when the government takes on an even larger proportion of payment responsibility due to expansion in Medicaid, the creation of exchanges, and the availability of subsidies for certain lower-income individuals.
While underlying cost drivers as yet remain relatively unchanged, there are some changes that will have a predictable effect on cost. The most immediate changes, such as increasing dependent coverage up to age 26 and elimination of lifetime and annual benefit maximums, will cause a direct shift in costs from employees to employers. Other options that will be implemented later, such as federally-mandated state health exchange plans, require much deeper analysis before an employer can make an informed decision. Because the practical implementation of this new legislation has not yet been defined, many employers are choosing to delay changes to their benefit plans for future annual benefit cycles, although it is very possible that those changes could be dramatic.
Looking into the future for the “typical family of four” represented by this analysis, the cost implications of reform are unclear. Much depends on the underlying medical cost that is dissected in this report. When it comes to cost control, the status quo is not encouraging. If reform or some other factors can motivate a reduction in the underlying cost of care, it will have important implications for the future cost of care for American families.
http://www.milliman.com/expertise/healthcare/publications/mmi/pdfs/milliman-medical-index-2010.pdf
Comment:  The Milliman Medical Index (MMI) is especially significant this year because it proves that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is already a miserable failure even before the provisions of the act take place. The MMI for 2010 is $18,074. Let’s look at what that means under the PPACA.
It’s important to understand precisely what the MMI is. It is the average amount that is already being spent on actual health care for a typical family of four enrolled in an employer-sponsored Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan. It does not include any of the administrative expenses or profits of the private insurers.
Already there’s a problem. Since the MMI represents the amounts being paid by PPOs, the discounts for network physicians and hospitals and other products and services are already built in. The MMI represents a lower level of spending made possible by contracting payment rates with the physicians and hospitals that are included in the networks. That means that families for whom the spending is at MMI levels have lost their right of free choice of physicians and hospitals unless they are willing and able to pay significant financial penalties for obtaining care outside of the networks. The plans that will be available in the state insurance exchanges will be network-restricted managed care plans – mostly PPOs with some HMOs. Health care reform that takes away choice is not the reform that we wanted.
One of the most important measures in PPACA attempts to address the problem of high costs and the poor coverage of the plans currently available in the individual and small group markets. Individuals and small employers who are having problems finding adequate affordable plans will be able to buy plans in the insurance exchanges that theoretically have the same benefits and cost efficiencies of the large group market currently available to larger employers. If these exchanges actually work as intended, then the MMI will represent the average cost of health care for a family of four enrolled through the exchanges. This assumes that the insurers will cooperate and not continue to use deceptive innovations that have resulted in lower-value products in the individual insurance markets.
Assuming that the exchanges work as intended, keep in mind that the insurers offering individual and small group plans within the exchanges will be required to maintain a medical loss ratio of 80 percent. That is the amount that must be spent on actual health care – the amount that is represented by the MMI, minus the out-of-pocket expenses. They will keep 20 percent for their own administrative costs and profits (or even more if they are successful in their current efforts to shove some of their administrative costs into the medical loss ratio by reclassifying these administrative costs as “health care).
So let’s look at the numbers. The standard Silver plans offered by the exchanges will have an actuarial value of 70 percent. That means that the plans will pay an average of 70 percent of the costs and the other 30 percent will be paid out-of-pocket by individuals and families, partially offset by subsidies for those who qualify. Using the 2010 MMI, the plans will pay for a family of four an average of $12,652 (70 percent of $18,074). The twenty percent for administrative costs and profits will add another $3,163 ($12,652 is 80 percent of the premium) which means that the premium that the insurer will have to charge will be $15,815 ($12,652 plus $3,163). The out-of-pocket portion for the family will be $5,422 (30 percent of $18,074). The the total average cost for the family for both the premium and out-of-pocket expenses combined will be $21,237 ($15,815 plus $5,422).
These are averages. To determine what each family actually would pay is more difficult because of several variables, including sliding scale subsidies for the premiums, sliding scale subsidies for the out-of-pocket expenses, opt-out eligibility based on the level of household income, and out-of-pocket spending, especially for those whose incomes exceed the eligibility thresholds for the subsidies.
Nevertheless, let’s look at a family of four with an income at 400 percent of the federal poverty level – the threshold at which they qualify for neither the subsidies for premiums nor the subsidies for out-of-pocket costs. That income level is $88,200. That family would pay an average of $21,237, or 24 percent of their income, for health care, leaving them $66,963 for all of their other expenses. But since that is average, those with greater health care needs would face even larger out-of-pocket costs, which could be staggering. Even if the plan is promoted as having a stop-loss, private insurers are infamous for leaving patients stuck with charges for non-covered services and out-of-network providers. The bottom line is that PPACA has not ensured that the hard-working American family is protected from financial hardship or even personal bankruptcy should significant medical needs arise.
There are those who say that health care reform is done; we now have PPACA. They say that although it will likely require some adjustments along the way, our task now is to make it work. To those individuals I can only say, step back and look at the confounded mess! It will never insure everyone. It will never make health care affordable for each and every individual and family. It will never control administrative waste as it continues to add on more and more administrative complexity.
We need to keep and build on some of the health system reforms in PPACA, such as the reinforcement of our primary care infrastructure. But we desperately need to dump the sick, fragmented financing system that wastes so much in resources and perpetuates the profound inequities and physical and financial suffering experienced in our system. We need to enact an improved Medicare for all, and do it ASAP!

Socialized healthcare: The ‘untouchable’ of UK politics

May 7, 2010

More such info available at
http://www.pnhp.org/news/quote_of_the_day.php

CNN
May 5, 2010
Socialized healthcare: The ‘untouchable’ of UK politics
By Paul Armstrong

After weeks of feverish election campaigning, Britain’s political parties have fought over every issue, from the economy to the country’s nuclear deterrent, with one exception: the National Health Service.

To many Republican politicians in the United States, a publicly-funded national health system like the NHS is the embodiment of austere, Soviet-era style medical care, but in the UK it is viewed as sacrosanct.

Centrally-funded through taxation, pressure to respond to growing demand has seen record levels of investment in the past decade.

Ruth Thorlby, a research fellow at the King’s Fund, told CNN that all the major parties appreciate the NHS strikes an emotive chord with the public and that it is a price worth paying. She said: “We have this extraordinary political consensus now that the funding structure of the NHS is sound.”

Conservative leader David Cameron seems as committed to the NHS as Labour, despite his party’s ideological disposition to the private sector.

He recently acknowledged its value on his party’s Web site. “Millions of people are grateful for the care they have received from the NHS — including my own family,” he said.

“One of the wonderful things about living in this country is that the moment you’re injured or fall ill — no matter who you are, where you are from, or how much money you’ve got — you know that the NHS will look after you.”

Cameron’s words were reinforced by the party’s election manifesto, in which it calls itself “the party of the NHS” and pledges “never to change at the idea at its heart that healthcare in this country is free at the point of use and available to everyone based on need and not ability to pay.”

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/04/23/britain.nhs/?hpt=C2

Comment from Physicians for a National Health Program Senior Health Policy Fellow Don McCanne, M.D.: The United Kingdom has the ultimate system of socialized medicine: a government-owned and government-administered National Health Service (NHS). Though their system is much less expensive than ours in the United States, it is viewed as sacrosanct by the British citizens.

The system was launched in 1948 [that’s right, u.s. inhabitants, 1948! And Churchill opposed it!] by a left-wing Labour government, but its appeal has become so universal that the right-wing Conservative party now claims to be “the party of the NHS.”

In the United States we have chosen a right-wing solution over which we remain politically divided because of its serious flaws. Since we spend far more on health care than any other nation, we should be able to use those funds to craft a system with such intense universal support that we would consider ours sacrosanct as well.

Of course we can. Try to convince senior Tea Baggers to relinquish their Medicare, even though it is a government program. Medicare is a right that they have earned merely by being American taxpayers. Just imagine improving Medicare and providing it to everyone. After people experienced the benefits of an improved Medicare for all, can you imagine a major political party campaigning against the program? In fact, it’s the Republicans who are now expressing outrage over the fact that PPACA includes some reductions in Medicare funding.

Now that the Republican party seems to be presenting itself as “the party of Medicare,” wouldn’t you think that the Democrats would want to trump them by becoming “the party of an improved Medicare for all”?

FACEBOOK THREATENS CENSORSHIP

March 22, 2010

Just received this message from Facebook:

“Block! You are engaging in behavior that may be considered annoying or abusive by other users.

You have been blocked from commenting on public posts because you repeatedly misused this feature. This block will last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. When you are allowed to reuse this feature, please proceed with caution. Further misuse may result in your account being permanently disabled. For further information, please visit our FAQ page,”  for posting the following warning:

OBAMACARE SUPPORTERS, REMEMBER YOUR ELATION TODAY WHEN YOU ARE DENIED (& YOU *WILL* BE DENIED) NECESSARY HEALTH CARE BY THE COMPANY THAT ADMINISTERS THE UNAFFORDABLE, DEFECTIVELY INADEQUATE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE THAT YOU WILL BE FORCED TO BUY, & WHEN YOU WILL HAVE MUCH LESS MEDICARE COVERAGE BEYOND AGE 65 BECAUSE AS MUCH AS $500 BILLION HAS BEEN CUT FROM IT ALONG WITH TRILLIONS IN RAISED TAXES IN ORDER TO PAY FOR THIS CORPORATE WELFARE TO THE HEALTH INSURANCE RACKET WHO CAUSED THIS CRISIS, & REMEMBER THAT YOU WILL HAVE NO ONE TO BLAME FOR THE DISASTROUS LEGISLATION THAT WILL DENY THE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE THAT YOU NEED BUT THIS CRIMINAL CONGRESS, THE CRIMINAL PRES. OBAMA, & *YOURSELVES* FOR SUPPORTING THIS DESTRUCTIVE TRANSFER OF WEALTH FROM THE PEOPLE TO THE CRIMINAL HEALTH INSURANCE RACKET!!!!!!!!
IT IS NOW TIME FOR YOU OBAMACARE OPERATIVES WHO FRONT THAT OBAMACARE “CAN BE FIXED LATER” TO PUT UP OR SHUT UP BY MAKING YOUR CRIMINAL PRESIDENT OBAMA & YOUR CRIMINAL CONGRESS ENACT MEDICARE FOR ALL!!! http://www.healthcare-now.org/

The above warning contains no racist, misogynist, classist, homophobic, bigoted, “violence-inciting,” or hate language, concepts, or references, nor is it in any way “profane,” as Facebook permits posts reflecting all types of anti-social thinking, but obviously prohibits expression it deems to be a threat to regimes to which it pledges its allegiance.

Facebook has issued this threat to anyone who dare speak the truth that the regime that controls this barbaric society perceives as a challenge to itself, and it is necessary to convey this threat to all Facebook account holders, including those who receive my posts. Therefore, any one who has received my posts who no longer receives them in the future and has not “de-friended” me needs to understand that it will be because Facebook has committed censorship against me, and that it is doing the bidding of the criminal corporate regime that continues to destroy an already criminal society.

Thurs 2/25/10 NYC: Protest Obama’s Health Summit with Aetna 17 at Manhattan Criminal Court

February 24, 2010
Thurs 2/25/10 NYC: Protest Obama's Health Summit with Aetna 17 at Manhattan Criminal Court
List-Subscribe: <http://mail.phimg.org/mailman/listinfo/news_phimg.org>,
	 <mailto:news-request@phimg.org?subject=subscribe>
 
PHIMG General Member List Serv (News) 
 
Hi All,
 
Just a reminder! This is one of at least 10 single-payer actions 
happening across the country on Thursday.
 
It'll be a quick action--8:45 to 9:15am--photo ops, quick interviews, 
then we have our hearing.
 
See you all there,
Laurie
 
Join Aetna 17* on Thursday, February 25, as we return to court on the 
day of Obama's healthcare reform summit:
 
* Aetna 17 are single-payer activists who sat-in at the insurance 
giant Aetna last September to expose their deadly profiteering and to 
push for Medicare for All
 
What:  Protest Obama's Health Summit with Aetna 17
 
When: Thursday, February 25, 8:45am-9:15am
 
Where: Criminal Court of New York City, 100 Centre St. (below Franklin)
 
On the same day President Obama convenes a "make-or-break" bipartisan 
summit on healthcare reform, the 17 protesters who sat-in at Aetna 
are returning to court to continue our legal battle.
 
While we're there at the court house, we figure we'd use the 
opportunity to answer a question Obama asked during his State of the 
Union address:
 
"If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring 
down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, 
strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, 
let me know."
 
OK. "Obama, Letting You Know: Medicare for All"
(that's the message on our giant banner, plus we'll be wearing 
Medicare for All shirts)
 
We need your support, so please show up and bring a lot of people 
with you! Photographers from the wire services (Getty and others) 
will be there, and we have gotten into the New York Times and USA 
Today before, so let's make it big and give the reporters an 
alternative angle to report on the Obama summit story!
 
See you there.
 
Aetna 17