Butte County Health Care Coalition
Keeping Single-Payer "On The Table"


Medicare-for-all has value – The Spokesman-Review


There is one excellent reason for single-payer, government-subsidized Medicare-for-all in America today: the fact that you would actually, tangibly, get something back from paying taxes.

Oh, there’s lots of stuff our taxes go to – supporting girls in Red states who get pregnant because their particular part of the country doesn’t believe in sharing the facts of life with their youth. Or subsidizing criminals on Wall Street who knowingly and obviously broke all kinds of laws and harmed all kinds of people, but still aren’t in jail.

Or buying the Navy a couple new aircraft carriers, so I can then pay for a bunch of aircraft to put on them and sail around intimidating other countries.

Wonderful as these expenditures might be, in mysterious ways that are distant from my personal experience, I just don’t feel that if I had a choice, I would spend my money propping up those causes.

However, health care for all? What a stress reliever. Citizens would be happier, mellower, calmer, more relaxed. And I would get something, too: health care, right there, any day I needed it, without having to count change for a co-pay or take out a bank loan for a procedure. Beautiful!

Nancy Runyan Spokane Valley

From: Lisa Sun
Sent: Friday, January 27, 2012 8:35 AM
To: 'Michael.Rubio@sen.ca.gov'
Subject: Please support my need for healthcare and support SB 810

Dear Honorable Senator Michael Rubio:

I am currently undergoing extensive antibiotic treatments for my long-term Lyme
Disease and CFS. The costs associated with treatment and office visits are expensive
as well as the 90 mile travel I make every month to see my specialist.  It is
imperative that SB810 passes for me to have the health care I need along with
millions of other Californians who are in my same situation.

I’m sadly disappointed that you did not cast a vote for SB 810 on the Senate Floor.
Senator Leno plans to bring it up again on Reconsideration and I ask that you
support SB 810 then. It’s the only real solution to our current healthcare crisis-
SB 810 will save the state billions of dollars, guarantee healthcare for all
Californians, and control costs - while eliminating the denials of care and
restrictions of provider choice imposed by private insurance companies.

As our representative, I am confident that you will do the right thing for the
PEOPLE of California. The insurance companies are already well represented at the
Capitol and now I ask that you represent me and the millions of other Californians
in supporting SB 810.


Lisa Sun
Service Coordinator
Independent Living Services of Northern California
1161 East Avenue
Chico, Ca 95926

Sacramento Bee: January 20, 2012
Government care works well
Re:"Key hearing for health care bill" (Capitol & California, Jan. 17): A Chamber of Commerce lobbyist is quoted as disagreeing with the premise that government systems are more efficient and less costly than a private system. Why do people continue to buy this argument, which is clearly not supported by fact? Medicare, the government- financed health insurance program for the elderly, runs very efficiently; people on Medicare are quite happy with it. On the other hand, people with private insurance pay horrendously high premiums and get little for their money.I lived in Europe for 15 years, and their single-payer health care systems were superior to our private system in every way. I had the best, and cheapest, health care of my life. When I came back to the United States, it was like coming to a Third World country. It's time for California to join the 21st century and the rest of the developed world.
– Lindy Tillement, Rio Linda
A Rocky Road

Published in the Chico News and Review

Re: “The road to reform” (Healthlines, by Jeff vonKaenel, Sept. 15): Published in the Chico News & Review, Sept. 22, 2011. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is going to “enforce the medical-loss ratio” here in California? About 80 percent is already what the industry wants. (Medicare pays 97 percent.) One day after the passage of the Obama plan, Cigna simply transferred some administration costs over to the “medical loss” column so they could meet the law’s new guidelines. (See Wendell Potter, Deadly Spin.) Claim denials and Wall Street-traded medical-loss ratios equal profits for shareholders. Bottom line: Profits are based on not delivering health care. Profits also stem from increased administration (marketing, advertising, CEO pay), which has gone up 3,000 percent since 1970. The Obama plan is based on the failed Romney plan for Massachusetts, and similar failed for-profit plans in six other states. Howard Dean believes the mandate [to purchase insurance] is doomed, “whether it gets thrown out in court or thrown out in the legislature or just ignored.” Before it fails, we’ll need a single-payer plan similar to what all major industrialized nations provide their citizens. Wall Street profits should not be based on sickness, death and denied claims. That’s not health care. We need full care for all for less cost. Go to http://www.buttesinglepayer.org to find out more and to get involved. Ed Schilling Magalia
Published in the Chico News & Review

There is a great misconception being foisted upon the American people  by
politicians and the media that Medicare is very costly and  contributes to our
nation’s budgetary problems. The truth is that  Medicare is not the problem but
is the solution. The real problem is the  costs that lie beneath Medicare in the
form of rising deductibles and  premiums.

Doctors prescribing unnecessary tests, MRI’s, drugs, and surgeries also
contribute enormously to the costs of health care.
The solution is to extend improved Medicare to everyone that promotes high quality health care while discouraging the unnecessary items I mentioned. SB810 by State Senator Mark Leno will provide an improved “Medicare for all” system in California. Medicare and Social Security are not “entitlement” programs. They are social-insurance programs and do not contribute to the deficit. Walter Ballin Chico
                                                                                                                July 25, 2011

Chico News and Review
353 E. 2nd St.
Chico, CA  95928


 America still needs universal health care.

 In the current debates on the budget and deficit a major issue is what to do about Medicare.  Republicans propose to move toward its privatization. This is a good idea if your goal is to promote the profits and power of the insurance industry. It is complete madness though for anyone genuinely concerned with the health and financial solvency of the American people.

Most Democrats want to preserve Medicare in pretty much its present form, but fail to really come to grips with the fact that the Republicans are right about one thing: Medicare, in its present form is financially unsustainable in the mid to long term.

The solution is neither to ignore Medicare’s real financial crisis, nor to pursue some lunatic fantasy that “unleashing market forces” will result in a viable and equitable system of health care financing and delivery.

The real solution is to expand Medicare to cover all Americans, removing private insurers from the loop and thereby saving hundreds of billions of dollars and ensuring us all.

Legislation to establish a system of “Medicare For All” (HR 676) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by John Conyers (D-Mich.). That legislation will control health care costs while ensuring all Americans. It deserves the support of all of us. For more information, go to www.pnhp.org.

                                                                                         Tom Reed
                                                                                         Chico, CA 95926

Letter: Don't let insurance companies dictate

Chico Enterprise-Record

I am writing concerning Tom Reed's letter on Medicare. I agree that a single-payer system, where the government pays all medical bills for all those who choose to use the system, is the best option available. No system is perfect, but single-payer is the only one that will continue to support private physicians while containing costs.

The health insurance companies have proven that the need for profits will inevitably overwhelm the medical needs of those who cannot pay, or cannot pay enough, for care. A single-payer system would be paid for by taxes. There is no free lunch. But the government would not make a profit, saving something like 30 percent right there. The government could also seek out the least expensive drugs, as well as produce generic drugs if the private companies refused to lower their prices to something closer to their production costs. Much of the basic research in medicine now is done or paid for by the federal government as it is.

In response to those who feel physicians and other health care workers would not negotiate with the government over fees and workloads, I would point out that Canada has successfully used this system. Many of their doctors prefer it because it takes money out of the patient/physician relationship. We, too, can cooperate through progressive taxes to provide health care for all. We should not allow insurance companies to compete to see who will die or live in misery.

— Bill Stewart, Chico

Forget about 'market forces'
Chico Enterprise-Record
Posted: 06/08/2011

The May 23 Enterprise-Record editorial regarding unjustified rate hikes by health insurers was right on the money in concluding that health insurers can't be trusted "to offer reasonable rates to consumers." Unfortunately your prescription for increased competition is way off the mark. "Market forces" work remarkably well in some sectors of our economy, reasonably well in others, and are abysmal failures in still others. Health care falls in this latter category.

The insurance companies whose behavior you rightly deplore are not Mom and Pop operations. They are multibillion-dollar financial behemoths with enormous economic and political power to "game" the system, to manipulate and distort markets and to defy efforts at regulation. They want to avoid real competition at all costs and have demonstrated their ability to do so. The health insurance industry is in effect an oligopoly, and as the late economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, "Oligopolies don't compete, they collude."

There is a real alternative, one that will actually work. The experience of
other nations and extensive research in this country has shown that a
single-payer system of publicly financed, universal health care can control
costs while providing quality health care for all Californians. Legislation to
establish such a system (Senate Bill 810) has been introduced into the state
Senate by Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). That legislation deserves the support of all Californians. It will actually work.

Utopian fantasies about using "market forces" to rein in insurer malfeasance
will not.

— Tom Reed, Chico

GOP shows true colors
Published in Sacramento Bee, June 7, 2011

Re: "Assembly OKs curb on health insurance rates" (Business, June 3): I don't see how a bill that imposes rate regulations on health insurance premiums could be deemed controversial. After all, the health insurance industry adds zero value to America's health care system, as it is full of just middlemen. All they do is deposit your premiums and pay providers.

This article points out the stark differences between Democrats and Republicans. When Democrats walked out of the Wisconsin Legislature, it was to preserve the rights of workers. When Republicans walked out of our Legislature, it was to preserve the greed and profits of health insurers.

– Mark Mihevc, Graeagle

Letter: Seniors in trouble
Chico Enterprise-Record
Posted: 04/30/2011

Have Republicans crunched through the numbers for Paul Ryan's proposal for the Medicare replacement? Am I correct in that everyone now receiving Medicare will get a voucher from the government with which to pay for a private plan? The amount of the voucher will be the mean monthly amount per person now spent by Medicare.

If that is actually the amount of the voucher, there are severe problems for seniors. First of all, Medicare is getting bottom dollar for medical services, with some doctors not accepting it because it is too low for them to maintain a profitable practice. Private insurance companies won't get those rates and will charge back the difference on their premiums.

Second of all, Medicare is nonprofit, so it is not concerned with shareholders.

Third, I have heard nothing about regulation of medical insurance companies to keep them from taking huge advantage of seniors, the population that has the greatest need for medical insurance. Of course, regulation is anti-American and our new standards in this country are high profits for large corporations, not health for seniors. Obama predicts it will cost seniors an additional $6,000 a year for insurance. I predict that is a pitifully low estimate. That is only $500 a month. That is not an unusual amount to pay for a child, not a senior with health problems.

Of course, there is always a good side. Social Security will become solvent because the senior population will be greatly reduced. Is that the Republican plan?

— Mary Ellen Dias, Magalia



Letter: Hypocrisy shows on health care
Chico Enterprise-Record
Posted: 04/29/2011 11:00:00 PM PDT

Republicans have to be capable of some strange mental gyrations these days. The party has spent two years demonizing the president's health care plan, the core of which is a requirement that people who don't get insurance on the job buy private health insurance with premium support for lower income people. I think that's a poor way to do the job, but it's hardly a socialist nightmare.

A few days ago virtually every Republican in the House voted for a plan that would end the Medicare as we know it and replace it with a plan that has seniors buy private insurance with some premium support from the government. Notice a similarity? In the first year, the government support would pay most of the cost, but it's designed to gradually shift more of the cost to seniors' own pockets every year.

So for those who have been screaming about the evils of "Obamacare" and voting for Republicans, here's Speaker John Boehner defending that vote: it "transforms Medicare into something that's very similar to the president's own health care bill." There is truth in that, with one big caveat: For those without insurance, it's a change for the better. For seniors who currently count on have Medicare, it would be a big change for the worse. Fortunately for those who rely on Medicare, it's unlikely the Senate would pass this or the president sign it, but now you know what the Republicans stand for — privatize Medicare and shift the cost to you.

— David Welch, Chico

Costs to small businesses
Letter to the Editor
San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 2011

All of last Sunday's opinion pieces on health care reform came from  health care
industry executives and academics - none were from those of  us in the small
business community.
As a member of the small business community, here is my story of  health care
reform. I wanted to hire three new employees this year, but a  huge health care
premium increase made it unaffordable. I hired one.

Runaway premiums are making it impossible for small businesses to  project
annual budgets for hiring. While your authors recommended  accountable care
organizations (something we should have had all along)  and better education as remedies to exploding health care costs, these  will not go far enough to bring costs under control for small  businesses. We need a system where uncontrolled premiums are replaced by  a fixed payroll contribution - a single-payer system such as the one  being proposed by Sen. Mark Leno.

Richard Fertell, Walnut Creek
Letter to the Editor from Ruth Schafer

Posted February 10, 2011

In my lifetime, I have required various means to cover my medical needs.  In my experiences, the more coverage I had for myself and my children, the less anxiety I felt when care was needed. Financial stress exacerbates the problems of dealing with illness. I was lucky that when critical care was needed, insurance was a part of my income. Without it, I would have gone the route of bankruptcy.
I like the comparison between public financing of health care and public financing of the fire department. When a house is burning down, it isn’t prudent to determine first who will finance the search for people inside or the source of the water or if the fire truck is available, etc. Even our fire safety financing receives challenges, but the comparison works for me.

Paying various privately-owned companies makes no practical sense when we are working on ways to cut back on expenses being borne on the backs of ordinary Americans.  Health company CEO’s are receiving huge salaries and stipends. This is a blatant example of waste, fraud and abuse.

I am learning that the Massachusetts system of individually-mandated health care is not working, but that Vermont might be first with a single payer program. I hope that our legislative representatives will take seriously what Massachusetts and Vermont have learned and give California its own health care system that will work for everyone. Let’s get behind an Improved Medicare for All system and really cover everyone.

Sincerely yours,                                                                                  
Ruth Schafer                                                                                       
294 Rio Lindo Ave. #37                                                                       
Chico, CA 95926

Letter to the Enterprise Record from Carol Eberling
Use tax money for the public good

Chico Enterprise-Record
Posted: 12/27/2010 12:03:32 AM PST

It was good to have letter writer Carl Peterson remind us that however good our Constitution, it is still necessary to use it intelligently.

Aspects of the long-debated health care bill — Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama — will eventually end up with Supreme Court decisions.

In his letter, Peterson refers to "a universal health system based on private insurance (which Americans want)." Last November, several voting districts in Massachusetts and Vermont had successful single payer initiatives with stipulations for publicly funded, privately delivered health care.

It's predicted that in a few years health care will absorb 25 percent of our country's wealth. The health care insurance industry has for years insured the young and healthy and been very profitable to stockholders and corporation executives. At times that profit has been at the expense of the insured. We have all read horror stories of treatment denied. Elders are happy with Medicare: publicly funded, privately delivered.

Taxes that are good for the commonweal are what keep our nation strong. In the 30 years of tax vilification it's very disturbing that we've dropped to No. 42 in education and No. 38 in health care.

I'm happy to pay taxes that help my neighbor (fire and police), my community and public schools. Sanitary sewers are nice, too.

Single-payer is a money saver. If SB 810, single payer health care (publicly funded, privately delivered), had been signed instead of vetoed by the governor, the city of Chico would not be threatening layoffs.

— Carol Eberling, Chico

Letter from Georgina Summers to the Enterprise Record

Allow Medicare for all

Chico Enterprise-Record
Posted: 01/28/2011 12:14:33 AM PST

I  found the AP article in the Jan. 19 E-R about the Medicare float  interesting

and disturbing. It seems that private Medicare Advantage  plans can invest the
funds they collect from the government in advance  and keep the cash. Auditors
estimate that in 2007 Medicare lost $450  million in interest income. Who knows
how much since then.

Medicare is the best health care plan seniors have, and for many it  is the only plan they have. It is not a handout but is paid for through  taxes during one's working years. It seems to me that to allow  for-profit insurers to take from it and then keep the interest they earn  on it is an example of the rich stealing from the poor and middle-class  American citizen.

What we should be doing is put everyone into Medicare, which  would save it and

enable it to expand its benefits to include dental,  hearing, psychological land  other health care needs at a cost everyone  can afford — improved Medicare for all. The Butte County Health Care  Coalition is working for this. To learn more,
log on to http://www.singlepayered.org

From Walter Ballin to the Enterprise Record

I absolutely agree with Georgianna Summers letter where she said that we must
put everyone into an improved Medicare system that will include dental, hearing,
psychological, vision and other health care needs.

Recently a group of us had to raise funds for a friend to pay for some medical  tests prescribed by her doctor. This person lacks health insurance because it's
not affordable. Unfortunately she doesn't have Medi-Cal because it doesn't cover some medications that she needs. It is utterly criminal that in this wealthy country we don't provide health care which is a basic human right to everyone like every other industrialized country in the world does, and that a group of  us had to raise funds so that a person could get medical care. President Obama  could have fought harder for a better  health bill that would have taken effect early in 2010 but unfortunately he did not.

Walter Ballin

251 Rio Lindo Ave. #7
Chico, CA 95926
Tel. 345-4354

Site Updated:
July 22, 2012

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