My book review of Steven Brill’s “America’ s Bitter Pill” in this month’s issue of ITT, available here.
Has the tide of health care justice turned — in the wrong direction? Last month, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin announced that he could no longer “responsibly support” a funding plan for his long-awaited “single-payer” plan for the state. It wasn’t long before some on the Right claimed a historic victory … The article here, at Jacobin.
My state-by-state analysis of conservative-style Medicaid expansion in Truthout available here.
My article on “root causes” of immigration from Central America in Salon here.
In the latest New Politics, my thoughts on the politics of the Affordable Care Act – and of strategies to move forward. Available here.
I was back today with radio host Arnie Arnesan on her program “The Attitude” at WNHN 94.7 for a discussion of the problem of Medicaid “Private Option.” The podcast is available here (starting at 27:45).
My Op-Ed on privatized Medicaid will be in tomorrow’s USA TODAY, and is available tonight here.
Imagine you’re a conservative state politician ideologically opposed to government-provided health insurance for those with low incomes, but you nonetheless recognize the folly in forgoing billions of dollars in federal funds available to states that expand Medicaid simply to prove a Dickensian point (of questionable popularity) … Read the article at Salon here.
In a recent piece in the New York Times (“Can You Afford Your Medicine? Doctors Don’t Ask”), Allison Bond – a medical student in Boston – poignantly tells the heartbreaking stories of patients who lack the money to afford copayments for prescriptions or doctors visits. She describes, for instance, a mother and two daughters – recent immigrants from East Asia – who she meets at an appointment with their pediatrician. The children have signs of growth retardation from malnutrition, evidence of the family’s poverty. When the mother is told of the $20 copayment, she breaks into tears, knowing she will be unable to afford a return visit.
Increasingly, the problem of health care “prices” is replacing the problem of health care “costs.” That may sound like a meaningless distinction, but consider the opening sentence of the “Cost of Treatment May Influence Doctors,” an article in todays New York Times:
“Saying they can no longer ignore the rising prices of health care, some of the most influential medical groups in the nation are recommending that doctors weigh the costs, not just the effectiveness of treatments, as they make decisions about patient care.”
The focus, in other words, is not only society-wide health care costs as a percentage of GDP, but the price of particular interventions for particular patients. The very premise of this lead, however, is both entirely unremarkable and extraordinarily concerning.
This week I discussed the media coverage of Obamacare – and why Obamacare falls short of true universal health care – with Steve Randall from the media watch group FAIR on its radio show CounterSpin. Available here (at 10:15) and on 140 stations nationwide.
I joined progressive talk host Arnie Arnesan on her radio program “The Attitude” at WNHN 94.7 this afternoon to discuss Obamacare and why underinsurance is unfortunately set to continue … Available here (starting at 9:40).
Last year’s three-ring Congressional shutdown circus — for many little more than a desperate rearguard action by an isolated rightwing fringe to undo the fait accompli of Barack Obama’s health care reform — reinforced with each passing day the gaudy dysfunction of the American political system. But we miss something crucial if we construe the perseverance of Barack Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) as nothing more than the overdue victory of commonsense health care reform over an irrelevant and intransigent right, or, even more, as the glorious culmination of a progressive dream for American universal health care long deferred. In Jacobin here.
As a single-payer advocate who is also a doctor, I was concerned after the Affordable Care Act was passed that it didn’t do enough to combat rising underinsurance. A recent study by the Commonwealth Fund, which used new data to demonstrate that in 2012 some 31.7 million Americans were underinsured (i.e. insured, but still with heavy additional out-of-pocket health care expenses), argued that the burden of underinsurance will likely lessen as the ACA fully unfolds. But is there really reason for such optimism? See the article here in Salon.
Less than two years after the fall of Nazi Germany, a bankrupt Britain—reeling from the most destructive war in history and living under conditions of stark austerity—elected to create an extraordinary system of universal health care, the National Health Service (NHS) …
There has been much talk in recent weeks about the ability of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) not only to reduce uninsurance, but also underinsurance, which is the state of being inadequately insured, such that medical expenses remain a threat to one’s financial health.
The health care reform that Massachusetts launched in 2006 to no small degree provided the model on which the ACA is based. Therefore, the current state of affairs in the Commonwealth provides a good basis for predicting the impact of the ACA. Such an evaluation, unfortunately, gives grounds for pessimism on the issue of underinsurance.
There are many good reasons to impatiently anticipate the end of one’s medical training, which not infrequently lasts upwards of five years following medical school. But counterpoised to the oft-cited benefits – greater autonomy, reliably increased remuneration, less reliably improved hours, and so forth – there is also, unfortunately, an almost entirely unrecognized drawback: a largely unavoidable entanglement in the business of health care … Read the article at Truthout here.
Nowadays, it’s not only radicals who are recognizing the rising problem of inequality. Between Bill de Blasio’s mayoral inauguration, Obama’s pointed speech early last month, and Pope Francis’ critique of trickle down economics in November, the rhetoric of Occupy Wall Street seems to be going mainstream …
See the article on the Truthout website here.
The battle for universal healthcare is not over. This is not because of the reason you might suspect – that Republicans will obstinately endeavor to obstruct Obamacare in every way they can (though that seems to be the case). Instead, even after the smoke clears from the government shutdown (presumably with the law intact), the battle over universal healthcare will still not be over, but for a more fundamental reason: Obamacare, whatever its advantages (and despite the right’s worst fears), does not create a system of universal healthcare…
Read it on Salon here.
“The consumer-driven healthcare revolution,” trumpeted one conservative think tank a few years back, “has only just begun.” Now, for anyone who has ever been inconvenienced by an encounter with the healthcare system – or even worse, been on the receiving end of poor quality care, a medical error or a misdiagnosis – a greater focus on “consumer” satisfaction might sound like just the right medicine for American healthcare …
Read the article on Salon here.