What Did Bernie Sanders Learn in His Weekend in Canada? (New York Times)

By MARGOT SANGER-KATZ

New York Times, November 3, 2017

TORONTO — As he tells it, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont fell in love with the Canadian health system 20 years ago when he brought a busload of his constituents across the border to buy cheaper prescription drugs. Now he wants to make Americans fall in love with his proposal to make the United States system a lot more like Canada’s.

That’s one reason he took the equivalent of a busload of staffers, American health care providers and journalists to Toronto last weekend, in a two-day trip that was part immersion, part publicity tour. Canadian government officials and hospital executives showed him high-tech care, compassionate providers and satisfied patients, all as videographers recorded.

He ended the trip with a speech at the University of Toronto titled, “What the U.S. Can Learn From Canadian Health Care.”

But our question is this: What did Bernie Sanders learn from his weekend in Canada?

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Dan Geiger
SINGLE PAYER SUPPORTERS RALLY AT STATE CAPITOL WITH MESSAGE TO LEGISLATORS: STOP WASTING TIME WITH SHAM COMMITTEE HEARINGS!

Posted by HealthyCA | Oct 25, 2017 | California Nurses AssociationPolitical ActionSingle-Payer Healthcare

The California Nurses Association and the campaign for the Healthy California Act, a coalition comprised of 350 organizations representing over six million Californians, held high-energy, well-attended rallies at the state Capitol for two days, Oct. 23 and 24, in support of SB 562, legislation that would guarantee health coverage to all Californians and eliminate premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket health costs.

The rallies were scheduled to coincide with the first round of Assembly Select Committee Hearings on Health Care Delivery Systems and Universal Coverage. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon created the so-called Select Committee as a stalling tactic, rather than follow democratic process and allow SB 562 to move forward in the Assembly after it passed the Senate in June.

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Dan Geiger
Why business should demand single-payer health care (San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego Union-Tribune

October 17, 2017

By ERIC LEENSON & DAN GEIGER

The powerhouse of America’s economy — small business — is being sabotaged. Yes, sabotaged — not by taxes, but by our health care system.

Take it from Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, who referred to our health care system as “the tapeworm of American economic competitiveness.” He asserts that medical costs harm the economy much more than taxes, and he and Berkshire’s vice chairman Charlie Munger (a Republican) favor a single-payer solution, sometimes referred to as “Medicare-for-all.”

Small businesses are a huge sector of the California economy, representing more than 99 percent of all state businesses and providing jobs for 6.8 million, nearly half of all California’s private employees.

Yet small businesses are among the most negatively impacted by our nation’s health care system’s runaway costs and corporate insurance system. Private businesses spent $637 billion on private health insurance in 2015 and are projected to spend more than $1 trillion by 2025. Healthcare costs represent more than 17 percent of U.S. GDP, significantly higher than any country in the world.

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Dan Geiger
Opinion: Does the gig economy mean it’s time for Medicare-For-All? (East Bay Times)

East Bay Times

By CHARLIE SIMMONS |

PUBLISHED: October 7, 2017 at 9:00 am | UPDATED: October 8, 2017 at 7:26 am

Silicon Valley is the engine of the rapidly growing gig-economy. Consumers love the convenience of having goods and services delivered right to their door at the push of a button. Many workers are enjoying the benefits of making their own hours and minimal corporate oversight.

But there’s one big problem: many of these workers are classified as 1099 contractors, rather than employees.

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Dan Geiger
“Medicare for all” could be cheaper than you think

GERALD FRIEDMAN, THE CONVERSATION09.24.2017•4:29 AM

This piece originally appeared on The Conversation.

Public support for single-payer health care has been rising in recent months amid failed Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

That’s perhaps why Sen. Bernie Sanders on September 13 introduced a new version of his single-payer plan with the support of 16 Democratic colleagues, a sharp rise from 2013 when none signed on to a similar proposal. It would not only expand Medicare to all Americans but make it more comprehensive by covering more services like mental health, dental care and vision, all without copayments or deductibles.

But Sanders’s plan would come at a steep price: likely more than US$14 trillion over the first decade, based on an estimate I did of a previous version.

There is, however, a simpler and less costly path toward single-payer, and it may have a better chance of success: Simply strike the words “who are age 65 or over” from the 1965 amendments to the Social Security Act that created Medicare and, voila, everyone (who wants) would be covered by the existing Medicare program.

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Dan Geiger
In SF, Sanders praises McCain for taking stand against GOP health care bill

San Francisco Chronicle

By Joe Garofoli

September 22, 2017 Updated: September 22, 2017 8:17p

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during a nurses convention rally at Yerba Buena Gardens on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in San Francisco, Calif. Sanders promoted his Medicare for All 2017 plan.

Sen. Bernie Sanders barnstormed friendly progressive audiences Friday in San Francisco to build support for his Medicare-for-all proposal, saying it wasn’t enough just to play defense against “horrific” Republican health care plans.

“Maintaining the status quo is not enough,” Sanders said. “Our job is not just to prevent tens of millions of Americans from being thrown off the health insurance they currently have. Our job is to join every other major country on Earth and guarantee health care to all as a right, not a privilege.

“The time has come for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all program,” Sanders said at a downtown rally at Yerba Buena Gardens dominated by red-shirt wearing members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, which was holding its convention at a hotel across the street. The 185,000-member union, which is headquartered in Oakland, was one of the earliest and most vocal supporters of the Vermont

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Dan Geiger
Stalled universal health bill in California should pass, Gavin Newsom says

Sacramento BEE

BY CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO AND ANGELA HART

ccadelago@sacbee.com

SEPTEMBER 22, 2017 10:41 AM

SAN FRANCISCO 

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom challenged California’s Democratic-run Legislature to pass sweeping universal, government-run health care next year, pledging that if the bill stalls again, he will make it a priority regardless of what happens in Washington.

“There’s no reason to wait around on universal health care and single-payer in California,” Newsom said to thunderous applause from thousands of nurses who endorsed him in next year’s governor’s race. “It’s time to get move (Senate Bill) 562 along. It’s time to get it out of committee. It’s time to move it along the legislative track. It’s time to do that now. We don’t need to wait for the governor’s race. We don’t need even to wait another year.”

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Dan Geiger
Workers Covered By Smaller Firms Pay More Toward Family Premiums and in Cost Sharing Than Those in Larger Ones

Kaiser Family Foundation

September 19, 2017

Menlo Park, Calif. – Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose an average of 3 percent to $18,764 this year, continuing a six-year run of relatively modest increases, according to the benchmark Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey released today.

This year’s premium increase is similar to the rise in workers’ wages (2.3%) and inflation (2%) over the same period and continues a remarkable slowdown.  Since 2012, average family premiums have increased 19 percent, more slowly than the previous five years (30% increase from 2007 to 2012) and the five years before that (51% from 2002 to 2007).

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Dan Geiger
Democrats Bullish on Bernie Sanders and Single-Payer Health Care

September 14, 2017

NBC News, by ALEX SEITZ-WALD

WASHINGTON — The last time Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to put every American in the government-run Medicare system, exactly zero of his colleagues supported him.

When the Vermont independent did it again Wednesday, he turned a Senate hearing room into a premonition of a 2020 presidential primary debate as some of the party’s biggest stars lined up to declare their support for an idea that has moved from the fringe to the mainstream with stunning speed.

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Dan GeigerComment
Bernie Sanders: Why Medicare-for-All Is Good for Business

FORTUNE

By Bernie Sanders

August 21, 2017

Despite major improvements made by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), our health care system remains in crisis. Today, we have the most expensive, inefficient, and bureaucratic health care system in the world. We spend almost $10,000 per capita each year on health care, while the Canadians spend $4,644, the Germans $5,551, the French $4,600, and the British $4,192. Meanwhile, our life expectancy is lower than most other industrialized countries and our infant mortality rates are much higher.

Further, as of September 2016, 28 million Americans were uninsured and millions more underinsured with premiums, deductibles, and copayments that are too high. We also pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs.

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Dan Geiger