In this newsletter:
Health care hit the headlines in March, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for and against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The major question is whether the mandate that everyone must buy private insurance, with taxpayer-funded vouchers to help pay for those who can’t afford the ever-rising premiums (see below), is constitutional. A ruling is not expected until June. If the mandate is struck down, the next question is whether the PPACA, along with its positive effects, would remain viable. As a result of this uncertainty, speculation is rampant in the news media as to whether a Single Payer Universal Health Care program would become the logical solution for our dysfunctional health care system. Even one of the conservative lawyers arguing that the law is unconstitutional had to admit, in questioning by Justice Sotomayor, that “Congress can tax everybody and set up a public health care system.” That would be constitutional. And fair. And cheaper. And the right thing to do. But unlikely at the federal level. Action at the state level is a good deal more likely.
A New York Times/CBS News poll found a majority of Americans think the court should overturn the entire law, not just the individual mandate. Curiously, though, large majorities approve of several parts of the law, such as forcing insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions (85 percent); allowing children to stay on their parents’ policies longer (68 percent); and reducing the “donut hole” for seniors (77 percent).
Meanwhile: employees will pay an average $2,764 of health care costs in 2012, a 9.3 percent jump from 2011, according to the Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health survey. That's up 40 percent from just five years ago. The average total health care cost per employee, including the worker and company share of the health insurance premium, is expected to reach $11,664 this year, up 5.9 percent from 2011, according to Towers Watson.
Here are a few of the many sites offering interesting perspectives on these issues:
INNER CITY BLUES FESTIVAL REUNION!
HEALTH CARE REFORM AND OREGON
6:00 7:30 p.m., at the same location. Panelist/Audience Give and Take on Health Reform
Brought to you by Mad as Hell Doctors and Physicians for a National Health Program. Please reserve a place for either or both events. A $10 registration fee is required for each event. Register for the morning panel, register for the evening panel, and be sure to check out the panelists' recommended reading. Seating is limited and reservations are encouraged.
RALLY FOR HEALTH CARE FOR ALL OREGON
That evening, on Saturday, April 28, Drs. Angell and Relman will be featured guests at a dinner party at a private home in Portland. If you would like to learn more, please contact Terry Ann Rogers at (503) 756-4273.
Putting people before profits: The Healthcare Movie
A Question and Answer session following the 65-minute screening will include the film producers, Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg; Dr. Paul Hochfeld ,a member of Physicians for a National Health Program; and Richard Bruno, a medical student at OHSU, as well as other guest speakers TBA. View the trailer online and find additional event information on the Facebook event page.
Support Oregon Single Payer Campaign/Health Care for All
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