Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Birthday, Medicare! turns 49 today, and local papers around the country started to put up birthday wishes as early as midnight.   

Most of those wishes went something like this:
Happy birthday to the health program that should be expanded to the whole country.
Think that makes sense?  If you do, you're not alone. Two-thirds of Americans support Medicare for All, along with most of the American medical profession, most nurses, hundreds of business and labor groups, and all of the major women's rights organizations.  Dr. Ed Weisbart states in the Saint Louis Post Dispatch, "the need to expand it to all Americans has never been greater."  

The Post and Courier says,
With all we spend, we can afford to provide essential services to every American without imposing co-pays, deductions, caps or exclusions.
A bill in Congress, HR 676, would do just that. Titled the Improved Medicare for All Act, it would provide basic services, including preventative care, hospitalization, medications, mental health, and long-term care.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) determined it can be provided without raising taxes.
Universal health care would not only extend coverage to everyone below age 65, but it would improve coverage for seniors.

One letter writer to the editor of The Courant in Hartford, Connecticut also suggests this present to Medicare,
There are some in Congress who continue to call for benefit cuts for retirees and disabled Americans. For example, there continue to be calls to cut Medicare benefits by raising the age of eligibility, means-testing benefits, requiring home health co-pays and limiting Medigap coverage. These changes would do nothing to reduce the cost of health care, but instead, shift costs to beneficiaries.
July 30 is Medicare's 49th birthday. What better way to celebrate than by strengthening Medicare through a better alternative that will not harm beneficiaries? Congress should pass the Medicare Drug Savings Act introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Rep. Henry Waxman of California. This legislation will require drug companies to provide the government discounts for low-income Medicare beneficiaries, saving the government and taxpayers $141 billion over 10 years and all but eliminating the need to cut benefits or shift costs to beneficiaries.

In California, National Nurses United announced 15 cities events calling to protect, improve, and expand Medicare for All.

Healthcare-NOW! has information about other events throughout the country;  you can also email your representatives via their website;  or, phone at the Capital Switchboard today (202) 224-3121, National Call-In Day for H.R. 676 - ask them to sign on to cosponsor H.R. 676, Rep. John Conyers’ “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act,” as well as S. 1782, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “American Health Security Act,” to ensure that everyone, without exception, has access to all medically necessary care. Physicians For A National Health Program (PNHP) is joining with Public Citizen, Healthcare-Now! along with other groups in this effort.  PNHP reports that PNHP medical students are organizing a “Virtual Lobby Day” on Facebook and Twitter.

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