News & Opinion

PBS Report Shows Universal Health Care Systems Working Abroad

A "Frontline" report on PBS examines the universal health care plans of five countries--Britain, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland--and shows that in each country "insurance premiums are significantly lower than those in America (in Britain there are none), and the waiting time to see a doctor is either tolerable (in Britain) or nonexistent," reports the New York Times.

Private Card Huge Deductible

Don't be fooled by all the politicians claiming to support "universal" health care. If you read the fine print, most of their proposals dictate that everyone should buy a private health care card. What good is your card if it commits you to a $5,000 deductible and 50 percent co-pay before you receive any of your (limited) benefits?

We should reject a mandate that everyone must contribute to the coffers of the big insurance corporations. No, thanks. That sort of "universal" plan could mainly bankrupt the middle class and further enrich the private insurance manipulators.

We need a universal plan that is compassionate and sustainable.

The clearest way is to eliminate the role of for-profit insurance companies.Having been practicing medicine for 35 years, after seeing "Sicko" I'm convinced we need (and will eventually demand) a single payer, universal, health insurance system.

Thanks, Michael Moore, for pointing the way.

HENRY S. KAHN
Kahn is emeritus professor of family and preventive medicine at Emory University School of Medicine

Photo Diary of Dave Pavlick's Walk for Healthcare Justice

Warm Welome Home
WELCOME HOME, DAVE!


In July of 2006, Dave Pavlick, a dedicated SPAN supporter based in Cleveland, decided to use his four weeks of vacation to hike across the state to call attention to the plight of the uninsured and underinsured and to publicize and win support for SPAN's campaign to put single-payer health care on the ballot in Ohio. Dave completed his grueling 23-day walk on July 27 at 7:00 p.m. on the steps of Cleveland City Hall, 601 Lakeside Avenue.  The Walk was a complete success, raising awareness of the issue and support from people across the state. Click here to see some of the press coverage Dave got.

Why we say that single-payer is good for business as well as the rest of us

Honeywell locks out USW Local in Illinois over health care — sister Local in Canada wins contract with no problem; everyone there Is covered under Canada’s single-payer plan

On June 28, 2010, Honeywell locked out the 230 union workers at its uranium hexafluoride plant in Metropolis, an Ohio River town of 6,500 at the tip of southern Illinois 400 miles south of Chicago. A working class town nestled amidst the corn, soybean and wheat fields, Metropolis is known for its Superman statue on the court house square where most Illinois candidates, including Barack Obama, have stopped by for a photo op.

Honeywell didn’t care if the workers liked their health care plan. This corporation said it was not going to let them keep it. The members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7-669 refused to accept the company proposal to increase workers’ out of pocket health care maximum to $8,500 a year and to end retiree health coverage. The union proposed to continue working as they bargained. Honeywell said no and locked the doors.

USW 7-669’s sister local in Canada signed their current contract in July 2010, and health care coverage did not present a problem. “Bargaining was not particularly difficult this time around,” said Chris Leavitt, President of USW Local 13173 in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, home of the Cameco plant, the only other one in North America to make the uranium hexafluoride used to produce nuclear energy. Canadian USW Local 13173 is about the same size as the Metropolis local and was a part of District 50 of the United Mine Workers which affiliated with the USW.

Everyone is covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan—automatically–as a part of Canada’s Medicare, a single payer plan, explains Leavitt. Members of Local 13173 and their families pay nothing—no premium, no co-pay, no co-insurance, no deductible–for hospital care plus medication, out patient services, doctor’s visits, and other doctors’ services such as surgery. Health care is publicly funded for everyone so unions can use their bargaining power to negotiate for wages and other benefits. Read full article.

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