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Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men.
President John Adams – from The Human Face of Obamacare by John Geyman MD

Editor's note: The following article documents how privatizing public services can produce unhealthy results. The solution, a publicly funded universal health care system that is accessible to everyone. Please support MaineAllCare: Subscribe to our mailing list, Donate, share our brochures and Benefits to Business flyers

When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers

By Danielle Ivory, Ben Protess and Kitty Bennett
From The New York Times, June 25, 2016

A Tennessee woman slipped into a coma and died after an ambulance company took so long to assemble a crew that one worker had time for a cigarette break.

Paramedics in New York had to covertly swipe medical supplies from a hospital to restock their depleted ambulances after emergency runs.

A man in the suburban South watched a chimney fire burn his house to the ground as he waited for the fire department, which billed him anyway and then sued him for $15,000 when he did not pay.

In each of these cases, someone dialed 911 and Wall Street answered.

The business of driving ambulances and operating fire brigades represents just one facet of a profound shift on Wall Street and Main Street alike, a New York Times investigation has found. Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms, the “corporate raiders” of an earlier era, have increasingly taken over a wide array of civic and financial services that are central to American life.

Today, people interact with private equity when they dial 911, pay their mortgage, play a round of golf or turn on the kitchen tap for a glass of water.

Private equity put a unique stamp on these businesses. Unlike other for-profit companies, which often have years of experience making a product or offering a service, private equity is primarily skilled in making money. And in many of these businesses, The Times found, private equity firms applied a sophisticated moneymaking playbook: a mix of cost cuts, price increases, lobbying and litigation.

In emergency care and firefighting, this approach creates a fundamental tension: the push to turn a profit while caring for people in their most vulnerable moments.

For governments and their citizens, the effects have often been dire. Under private equity ownership, some ambulance response times worsened, heart monitors failed and companies slid into bankruptcy, according to a Times examination of thousands of pages of internal documents and government records, as well as interviews with dozens of former employees. In at least two cases, lawsuits contend, poor service led to patient deaths. (Read entire story)

 

'Maine' reasons for universal health care

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What Can Maine Doctors Do?

Return medicine to its healing roots — help educate and advocate for universal, single-payer health care that covers every Maine resident

  • Join Maine AllCare mailing list, and volunteer to help, including supporting financially
  • Join PNHP — www.pnhp.org
  • Visit our websites regularly — www.maineallcare.org & www.philcaper.net for more information
  • Organize and make your voices heard through the Maine Medical Association
    • Doctors have lost influence during the past 30 years or so, but we are far from powerless – they don’t have much of a business without us!
    • Doctors are still influential – make your views known
  • Write op-eds and letters to the Editor of your local paper
  • Testify in person and in writing before the relevant legislative committees when legislation affecting health care is being considered. MAC can help organize these efforts
  • Organize speaking events directed at professions and lay audiences for Maine AllCare speakers
    • Grand rounds
    • Local and specialty medical societies
    • Community forums, church groups, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Chambers of Commerce

If you have ideas about how else we might advance the cause of universal health care here in Maine, please write to us at info@maineallcare.org and and put "Idea" in the Subject line. Thank you.

Cooking the books on single payer

The Urban Institute’s Hatchet Job on Medicare for All

By Steffie Woolhandler and David U. Himmelstein
Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 17, 2016

The latest attack on Bernie Sanders’ single-payer health reform proposal comes from John Holahan and his colleagues at the Urban Institute. They claim that under Sen. Sanders’ plan medical spending would shoot up by $518.9 billion in 2017 alone, and by $6.6 trillion over the next decade.

Mr. Holahan’s analysis couldn’t pass a laugh test — it’s based on absurd assumptions, ignores a raft of real-life evidence from both the United States and abroad, and directly contradicts itself — but serious people seem to be taking it seriously. So we’ll recite a few of its most egregious gaffes.

Mr. Holahan insists we can’t get more than piddling savings on insurance overhead and the vast costs for billing and bureaucracy that insurers inflict on doctors and hospitals.

Traditional Medicare runs for less than 3 percent overhead, and insurance overhead in Canada’s single-payer system is 1.8 percent. But Mr. Holahan proclaims that a single-payer system here couldn’t get below 6 percent. That drives his spending estimate up by $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years.

While the Urban Institute crew low-balled single-payer savings on insurance overhead, they no-balled the huge bureaucratic savings for hospitals and doctors’ offices under a streamlined single-payer system.

Every serious analyst of single-payer reform has acknowledged these savings, including the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and even a consulting firm owned by the nation’s largest private insurer, UnitedHealth Group. And they’ve all found that the provider savings on paperwork are even larger than the savings on insurance overhead.

Today our hospitals spend one-quarter of their total revenues on billing and administration. That’s more than twice as much as hospitals in Canada or Scotland, where hospitals get paid a lump-sum budget and don’t have to bill separately for each bandage and aspirin tablet.

And America’s doctors spend at least one-fifth of every working day (and tens of billions of dollars) on bureaucracy and billing hassles that would mostly disappear under single-payer. Read More

 

FIX IT – Healthcare at the Tipping Point a must see documentary for all Americans

FIX IT – Healthcare at the Tipping Point a must see documentary for all Americans

This documentary takes an in-depth look into how our dysfunctional health care system is damaging our economy, suffocating our businesses, discouraging physicians and negatively impacting on the nation's health, while remaining un-affordable for a third of our citizens. Produced by Richard Master, owner and CEO of MCS Industries, an Easton PA company.

My company now has to pay $1.5 million a year to provide access to health care for our workers and their dependents. When I investigated where all that money goes, I was shocked. I found that the first three cents of every premium dollar goes to the insurance agent who helps MCS select an insurance plan and negotiate rates with our insurer. The next 20 cents goes to the insurance company to help pay for its sales and marketing and other administrative functions, which includes the work of a huge staff that does nothing more than approve or deny care. Another 10 cents (at least) goes to cover what it costs doctors and hospitals to handle the massive amount of paper work and phone time made necessary by my insurance company’s pre-­approval demands, denials and other payment issues. That’s 33 cents of every premium dollar, 33 cents that has nothing to do with the delivery of health care.

Excerpt from a introductory letter by Richard Master

For arranging a FREE screening of this one hour documentary please email us.