Hospitals

A physician "comes out"

What appears below is crossposted from Daily Kos, where it stimulated very lively discussion. I appreciate the invitation to post it here as well.

I was inspired yesterday by a diary on Daily Kos written by nyceve, an articulate and powerful advocate for single payer health care, to crystallize my thinking about health system reform in a direction that many other factors in my life have pushed me away from.

You see, I'm a physician, and a very close family member is a physician. I am a delegate to the AMA -- which, as you know, remains steadfastly opposed to a single-payer solution, although it has developed an extensive reform proposal based upon providing insurance to everyone via tax credits -- subsidized health insurance.

But I have come to the conclusion that our insurance based system is simply not reparable.

I've decided it was time to come out.

House Republicans Maneuver Behind the Scenes to End Single Payer Hopes

originally posted 2008-06-11 18:24:22, bumped -- cho

Is Compassionate Conservatism Right for America?

In an ongoing effort to make their colleagues unelectable, and to provide Democrats with an unassailable platform in November, House Republicans are dismantling and blocking some of the most popular provisions of the Iraq spending bill. Today they blocked passage of extended unemployment benefits despite rising unemployment. And, as we speak, they are working to remove a moratorium on seven Medicaid Rules changes proposed by Bush.

How to Beat McCain and Win the Senate

originally posted 2008-05-21 13:27:55 -- bumped, cho

George W. Bush appears to desire the complete destruction of the Republican Party for the next forty years even more ardently than he wants to fund his war in Iraq. Or so I am lead to believe by a recent spate of incomprehensible policy decisions. He has given the Democratic Party an arsenal of tools to use against both John McCain, and nearly every Republican incumbent up for re-election in the Senate. It is July 4 in May!

Democrats in the Senate have been unable to pass a series of extremely popular and necessary programs due to stiff opposition from the Bush Administration and Senate Republican leadership. Instead of giving up, Democratic Leadership has attached the programs to the Supplemental Appropriations Bill which funds the War in Iraq. The President, who has suddenly discovered "fiscal responsibility," is threatening to veto the bill unless the offensive amendments are removed. His water carriers, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) are working hard behind the scenes to insure that Republicans uphold the President's veto.

Senate Republicans who are up for re-election in November (or ever) face an unsettling dilemma.

Action Needed: Senate to Vote to Save Hospitals!

Over the past several months, I have diaried attempts by the Bush administration to gut our public health safety net through a proposed set of arcane rules changes. If implemented May 25 as planned, the rules changes will limit federal subsidies to public hospitals, indigent hospital care, emergency rooms, outpatient clinics, school-based health care, graduate medical education, case management, rehabilitation services, and children'a Medicaid enrollment. I have also diaried the efforts of health care activists to prevent these rules from going into effect. It is coming down to the wire now. The moratorium on the rules goes before the full Senate this week, probably as an attachment to the Iraq spending bill. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Charles Grassley (R-IA), and administration officials have vowed to kill the moratorium. Find out how you can help below the break.

Video Diary: Fighting to Save Public Hospitals, Clinics

Are we witnessing a hostile corporate takeover of the United States of America? The Bush Administration has been quietly and incrementally liquidating our public health safety net in a manner reminiscent of the hostile takeovers so prevalent among corporations in the 1980s and 1990s.

A proposed set of arcane regulation changes unilaterally imposed by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) will go into effect between now and May 25, if not stopped by Congress. CMS estimates that the new rules will result in a "cost savings" of $15 billion dollars over five years. But who will benefit from these "savings"?

The rules changes will cause widespread cutbacks and closures of the emergency rooms, hospitals, and outpatient and school-based clinics currently serving most Americans. The cash raised by liquidating America's public health safety net is, according to the Washington Post, equivqalent to five weeks of war in Iraq. It represents just 3% of the $500 billion dollar bail-out the president has promised to financiers. It is money and effort taken from the American people and redistributed to wealthy corporate interests.

Update: Stop Bush from Closing Our Public Hospitals

The Bush Administration has published a list of twelve proposed Medicaid Rules changes which will cut at least $15 billion over five years from our public health budget. If the rules changes go into effect in March and May as scheduled, they will result in closures or scaling back of Emergency Rooms, outpatient clinics, teaching hospitals, school based clinics, public hospitals, services to the disabled and case management. I have previously diaried the rules changes in detail.

Action Diary: Bush Destroying Public Hospitals & Clinics Thru New Regs

While most of us are focused on universal care, the Bush Administration has been incrementally shredding our existing public health safety net in ways that have yet to become apparent. The most recent assault on our public health care infrastructure is escaping the notice of mainstream media and citizen journalists alike, probably because it is not easily explained. I am referring to a proposed set of arcane regulation changes by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) which, if enacted, will result in $15 billion dollars in cuts over five years to service providers.

My Covert Media Op to Save Public Hospitals

In early December, I diaried a proposed Medicaid Rules change, which, if it goes into effect in May as scheduled, will result in draconian cuts to public and teaching hospitals. This is a non-partisan issue: the US v. the Bush Administration. Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Sue Myrick (R-NC) have introduced HR 3533, the Preserve Our Public and Teaching Hospitals Act into the house to block the odious rules change. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)have attemtped to introduce a moratorium on the rule in the senate.

Unfortunately, the good guys have not been able to muster the votes to extend an existing moratorium on the rules change, which would spare our frayed public health care infrastructure a possibly mortal blow for at least another year.

Bush Tries to Eliminate Public and Teaching Hospitals: Action Needed

While people are focused on universal care, the Bush Administration is incrementally chipping away at our existing public health safety net. The most recent assault on our public health care infrastructure is escaping the notice of mainstream media and citizen journalists alike, probably because it is not easily explained. I am referring to a proposed arcane regulations change by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) which, if enacted, will result in $4 to $5 billion dollars over 5 years in cuts to public hospitals and other hospitals that serve indigent patients. In addition, CMS is proposing other rules changes that will result in billions of dollars of reductions to teaching hospitals.

These hospitals serve as the backbone of our public health safety net, train the next generation of physicians and health care professionals, and are essential to any kind of response to disaster, terrorist attack or pandemic outbreak. Without them, our already frayed public health infrastructure may disintegrate.