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HEALTH POLICIES, ANALYSIS, AND RESOURCES

The Health Policy Domain tracks and reports on policies that deal with women’s health, the Affordable Care Act, Head Start, child care and child support services, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and federal food and drug policy. This domain tracks policies emanating from the White House, the department of Health and Human Services, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Our Principal Analyst is Ann Furbush, who can be reached at ann@usresistnews.org.

Latest Health Posts

 

The Supreme Court Stands Tall for Reproductive Rights

Brief #50—Health Policy Last week, the Supreme Court took a stand against limiting reproductive rights in a recent ruling. The Court blocked a Louisiana law, in a 5-4 vote, that would have limited access to abortions in the state by only allowing one doctor in one...

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Say Goodbye to Surprise Medical Bills! Well, Not Entirely

Brief #48—Health Policy Summary Donald Trump and his administration have taken proactive steps to solve the nationwide issue of surprise hospital fees. Starting this month, Trump has mandated that hospitals publicly reveal prices for their services. These online...

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Threats to the Affordable Care Act Amid Midterm Medicaid Success

Throughout the Trump Administration’s tenure, there has been an underlying campaign promise: dismantling and destroying the Affordable Care Act. Translation: cutting off healthcare to millions of families. The key policies in the administration have been to expand access to junk plans offered by insurance companies often out of the ACA marketplace, keep preexisting condition exclusion principles in place, and limit the reach of Medicare and Medicaid.

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2020 Budget Proposal Slashes Funding for Medicaid and Medicare

2020 Budget Proposal Slashes Funding for Medicaid and Medicare

Policy
In early March, the Trump administration announced its 2020 budget proposal with controversial cuts. The proposal included a $1.5 trillion cut to Medicaid and a $845 billion cut to Medicare over the next 10 years. The main reason for cutting Medicaid is due to its connection to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, which Trump and the Republicans abhor. Proposed budget cuts to the program  eliminate extra Medicaid funding for states that have expanded the program under the ACA. Additionally, the budget proposal would give states the power to design their own Medicaid programs, including, controversially, allowing states to get a block grant or to introduce a per-person cap for Medicaid recipients. The proposed changes  to Medicare are supposedly  aimed to address and combat waste and abuse in the healthcare system, therefore making Medicare more efficient.

Analysis
This is a rollback of the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, which allowed states to offer Medicaid coverage to a larger share of low-income people. Trump’s budget proposal would cut federal funding for the expansion, forcing states to either drop it or foot the bill themselves, in addition to cutting payments to hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Lower rates proposed for Medicare services would force providers to charge the government less for services. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget,  Overall, nearly all premiums, deductibles and copays would be left unaffected, but states would have the option of opting out of providing some services  due to the lack of federal subsidies. However Trump’s proposed budget  also could result in raising raise-out of pocket drug prices charged  under Medicare Part D.

While the plan proposed by the Administration must still go through Congress, where it likely won’t survive, the initiation of this proposal, highlights the Administration’s disregard towards the American people’s health,  and will surly leave those in the proposal’s crosshairs with negative feelings. The proposed cuts would dramatically increase the number of people without  health insurance. While this proposal is being presented as a method to correct systematic errors, millions would be negatively impacted by this ego driven proposal.

Engagement Resources:

Photo by unsplash-logoKendal James

EPA Finally Vows to Regulate Cancer Causing Toxins

EPA Finally Vows to Regulate Cancer Causing Toxins

Policy Summary
After persistent national outcry, the EPA has announced it will regulate a group of long-lasting chemicals, called polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects. The action plan creates a “maximum contaminate level” for PFAS, therefore lowering the ratio between drinking water and the substances that have also been found to contribute to low birth weights, thyroid problems and some cancers. The widespread contamination of these compounds has been felt across America, as they are used in nonstick cookware, water-repellant fabrics, grease-resistant paper products, and firefighting foams. The acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler stated in a news conference in Philadelphia that the EPA would set a limit for the chemicals under the Safe Drinking Act by the end of this year. This action plan’s key components are: nationwide drinking water monitoring of PFAS,  expand research on managing the risks and effects of PFAS, and continue and develop groundwater cleanup strategies.

Analysis
The unregulated contamination of drinking water has left communities and military bases fearful and scrambling upon the revelation of high PFAS in drinking water. Military bases and areas around them are exponentially affected due to the use of fire fighting foams that are knowingly riddled with PFAS during training exercises. The presence of PFAS are not new and the implementation of this act is coming at a time when lives have already been affected. Critics finds that the EPA and administration are making grandiose claims implying  stark changes, but recalling past approaches and responses to such outcry, little optimism exists. Last year, the Trump administration also tried to block the publication of a  health study(cite) by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry that suggested the current regulations were inadequate and urged a much lower threshold of exposure to these compounds. In response to the EPA’s ineptitude, many states have already taken steps in limiting or banning such PFAS and addressing their threat to public safety*.

While this is a step in the right direction, the process of getting a handle on such toxins will take months, if not years, due to their widespread use and presence. Additionally, there is reasonable concern about  this action plan being successfully executed due to Trump’s recent proposal to reduce the EPA’s funding by 31% ; Reduced spending reduces resources, which reduces the efficacy of this plan in cleaning up communities saturated with PFAS. Finally, this plan of action is exactly what the name suggests, a plan, but not definitive policy or mandates that are enforced and causing concrete change.

*States that took action are Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Vermont.

  • Resistance Resources:
  • Comment directly on EPA proposed regulations, make your voice heard – Note: Commenting privileges are available for 60-90 days after a proposed regulation is announced.
  • Clean water for all campaign : An organization promoting water access as a human right.
  • National Drinking Water Alliance : A network of organizations and individuals across America working to ensure all children have access to safe drinking water.

Contact: This brief was authored by Taylor J Smith Contact: Taylor@usresistnews.org

  • Learn More
  • EPA official statement announcing plan
  • EPA Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan – Full
  • EPA Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan – Fact sheet
  • Community in Michigan drastically impacted by PFAS.
  • Additional criticism of “action” plan.
  • Announcement by Andrew Wheeler and America’s history with PFAS:
  • Proposed budget cuts, EPA is severely impacted.
  • Additional article on regulation of PFAS
Judge Rules HIV Status is Not an Exclusionary Factor in the Ability to Serve

Judge Rules HIV Status is Not an Exclusionary Factor in the Ability to Serve

Brief #51—Health

Policy
A federal judge put a stop to the recent attacks on military members, referred to as  the “Deploy or Get Out” ;policy. This policy , sponsored by the former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, effectively mandated that any military personnel who were not deployable worldwide be cut. This policy affects personnel deemed non-deployable due to medical reasons, directly affected two HIV positive airmen, who recently sued the Department of Defense. In this case, U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of Alexandria, Virginia, ordered that the US Air Force stop discharging service members who are HIV positive. The Judge found the policy to be “irrational” and “outdated”, and noted that because of the advances in treatment and medicine, the disease “does not impose unreasonable burdens on the military when compared with similar conditions” nor does HIV “seriously jeopardize the health or safety of the service members or his companions in service. “These justifications were central in the judge’s ruling that the military cannot claim HIV status to be an exclusionary factor in ability to serve.

Analysis
According to the “Deploy or Get Out” policy. the HIV status of these airmen meant that they could not be deployed around the world and therefore must be discharged from military service, Not only is this a direct attack on those with medical conditions that do not impair their ability to serve but this also reduces the readiness of the Airforce and other military branches by reducing their enlistment numbers. This policy additionally affects those most effected by HIV, gay males, continuing the administration’s attack on the LGBTQ community, like the transgender ban.

The original policy, according to Mattis, was put in place to ensure fairness in deployment rates. Specific articles within this policy state that military members who have been non-deployable for the past twelve months or more will be separated from the military, with the expectation of having only deployable personnel and reducing individuals from avoiding deployments. However, service members in the Air Force claim they are being discharged despite the recommendations and influence of their doctors and commanding officers who claim they are fit to serve and are being removed due to their HIV status. While this policy looks to “trim the fat”, it simply reduces the number of available military personnel by arbitrarily choosing individuals to remove from service.

By focusing on the nonexistent impact that HIV has on military abilities and acknowledging that the military cannot make the decision to remove individuals according to outdated biases, the court ruling protects the liberties of U.S. military personnel globally.

  • Resistance Resources:
  • Outserve SLDN : Organization providing legal defense for LGBTQ service members.
  • Human Rights Campaign : LGBT civil rights advocacy group who works toward equal rights.
  • Lambda Legal : A  nonprofit, national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

Contact: This Brief was authored by Taylor J Smith Contact: Taylor@usresistnews.org 

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The Trump Administration Tries to Further Limit Women’s Reproductive Rights

The Trump Administration Tries to Further Limit Women’s Reproductive Rights

Brief #52—Health

Policy
The Trump administration made another calculated move in the war on Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights late last month. Under this new policy provided by Trump and Pence, massive changes to Title X, the federal program that provides birth control and other reproductive health services to an estimated four million low-income Americans, have been finalized. This rule effectively changes what kinds of family planning clinics can receive federal funding, specifically stating that any organizations that provide or refer patients for abortions are ineligible for Title X funding ( covering STD prevention, cancer screenings and contraception). Additionally, the rule says any group or clinician receiving Title X funding must be physically and financially separate from any group that provides abortions, specifically targeting Planned Parenthood and its clinicians where that separation is practically not possible.

Analysis
Singling out providers like Planned Parenthood would then put the communities and individuals that they serve at risk, due to the lack of replacement services and providers to fill in should this order nullify their effective aid to the 2.4 million patients provided for just last year. This policy states “a Title X project may not perform, promote, refer or support abortion as a method of family planning”, actively targeting more liberal organizations and promoting conservative services like abstinence counseling. While this rule does not prevent providers from discussing abortions all together, clinicians are essentially bound by a gag order when discussing anything leaning towards a patient opting for an abortion. Health care providers are forced to either provide patients with cumulative and accurate information, or forgo Title X funding, which will likely result in a sacrifice to the detriment of the patient.

Essentially, this rule requires Planned Parenthood to drastically change its operations or relinquish an estimated $60 million in annual funding, in an attempt to reduce access to abortions nationwide. While Title X changes specifically focus on ensuring clinics do not use the funding to provide abortion care, no federal funds from Title X havde ever been used to pay for abortions, as mandated in Title X’s creation. In support of analysis like this, a coalition of twenty states* and California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced multiple lawsuits earlier this week to prevent the changes from going into effect in 60 days. This policy by the Trump Administration pushes conservative views and limits access to comprehensive healthcare for vulnerable populations at risk by reinforcing the power of the purse.

*States include : Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, in addition to the District of Columbia, California AG and civil liberties unions.

Resistance Resources

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist : An organization dedicated to the improvement of women’s health. Click here to help #SaveTitleX and click here for additional resources.
  • Planned Parenthood: A nonprofit organization that provides reproductive healthcare. Click here to take a stand against Title X.
  • Contact your representatives here : call, email or send a letter to your local representative stating you oppose the changes to Title X.
  • Contact: This Brief was authored by Taylor J Smith Contact: Taylor@usresistnews.org

Learn More:

unsplash-logoAndrej Lišakov

The Supreme Court Stands Tall for Reproductive Rights

The Supreme Court Stands Tall for Reproductive Rights

Brief #50—Health

Policy
Last week, the Supreme Court took a stand against limiting reproductive rights in a recent ruling. The Court blocked a Louisiana law, in a 5-4 vote, that would have limited access to abortions in the state by only allowing one doctor in one clinic, in the entire state, to legally provide abortions. Liberal Judges – Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Kagan and Breyer were joined by Chief Justice Roberts in the opposition vote, while Justices Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Alito were in favor of this law. The Louisiana law specifically mandates that all doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, as enacted in 2014 but was then struck down in 2017 by Baton Rouge Federal Court. This stipulation thus reduces accessibility to abortions in the state of Louisiana.

Analysis
One of the key reasons for challenging and blocking this law is to protect and promote both women’s health and their reproductive rights. This law would mandate the admitting privileges by the doctors, or they cannot practice, which has been highlighted as restrictive due to reasons unrelated to their competencies. Additionally, the law would then construct obstacles and burdens on the legal and constitutional right to an abortion. Obstacles include: reducing available clinics from three to one for the over 52,000 sq/mi of the state and requiring a single doctor to administer abortion services to approximately 10,000 women annually in Louisiana. By dismissing such a law reaffirms the constitutional protections of abortion, which were established through Roe v. Wade in 1973.

While this ruling is a step in the right direction, the ruling will likely be challenged in the coming term and many more abortion cases like this will make its way to the Court. The fate of later cases are still unknown, especially with Chief Justice Roberts’ unexpectedly liberal vote, compared to his last dissent on a similar case in 2016, and the recent appointment of conservative Justice Kavanaugh has shifted the court to the right, directly threatening Roe v. Wade and future reproductive rights’ cases.

  • Resistance Resources:
  • Planned Parenthood : Reproductive rights advocacy group that provided affordable and accessible health services to women across the US.
  • National Abortion Federation : Advocacy group which respects women’s ability to make informed decisions about her reproductive health.
  • Center for Reproductive Rights : Legal group ensuring the protection of reproductive rights for every woman around the world.

Contact:

This Brief was authored by Taylor J Smith Contact: Taylor@usresistnews.org

Learn More:

Photo by Monica Melton

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Say Goodbye to Surprise Medical Bills! Well, Not Entirely

Say Goodbye to Surprise Medical Bills! Well, Not Entirely

Brief #48—Health

Policy Summary
Donald Trump and his administration have taken proactive steps to solve the nationwide issue of surprise hospital fees. Starting this month, Trump has mandated that hospitals publicly reveal prices for their services. These online master lists of services are called “chargemasters” and are the administration’s central component in reducing shock over medical bills and promoting transparency in healthcare. Within each list is an exorbitant amount of procedures and services that are provided in an a-la carte fashion, where patients must know every element to a procedure in order to have an accurate pricing expectation. Alternatively, a singular procedure like a vitamin D blood test can easily be found and compared across providers.

Analysis
While it is beneficial to the patients to be provided with the resources describing their hospital fees, it isn’t likely that the average hospital-goer will be able to decipher the medical codes. “Chargemasters” are often hundreds of pages long with an overwhelming amount of abbreviations, codes and medical jargon. Additionally, prices are often found to be inflated and inconsistent, rendering their transparency useless. Another issue with the provided prices is they do not account for  the different insurance policies of patients and hospitals, again being rendered impractical. Finally, with individual hospitals producing their own list, there is little consistency among procedure or service descriptions, thus negating any consistency needed for comparing and finding the right price for consumers. Proponent for this mandate will note the issues with the “Chargemasters”, but will also state how they promotes transparency and allow patients to effectively advocate for themselves with factual information. On the contrary, while revealing pricing is key in medical reform, this does not address the larger issue of the high-priced American medical system, which can cripple patients after hospital visits. Overall, the attempt by the administration is well intended, but inefficient.

Resistance Resources:

  • Vox Media – Follow Senior Policy Correspondent Sarah Kliff, who has spent the past year exposing ER/hospital billing in the US.
  • National Assosciation of Healthcare Advocacy – When making important health decisions, having someone who is familiar with the health sector can help you make the best decision for both your health and your wallet. Use this association to find a healthcare advocate near you.
  • Change happens through the patients: To report inconsistencies, concerns or issues with Chargemasters, contact and notify your desired hospital.

Contact: This Brief was authored by Taylor J Smith Contact: Taylor@usresistnews.org

Photo by Olga DeLawrence

Threats to the Affordable Care Act Amid Midterm Medicaid Success

Threats to the Affordable Care Act Amid Midterm Medicaid Success

Brief #48—Health

Policy Summary
Throughout the Trump Administration’s tenure, there has been an underlying campaign promise: dismantling and destroying the Affordable Care Act. Translation: cutting off healthcare to millions of families. The key policies in the administration have been to expand access to junk plans offered by insurance companies often out of the ACA marketplace, keep preexisting condition exclusion principles in place, and limit the reach of Medicare and Medicaid. Early in November, there was movement to continue to kick people off of Medicare to lower drug costs, which mainly affects the most vulnerable in American society. This movement directly contradicted the majority of people’s opinions on healthcare. Even extremely Republican states (e.g. Idaho) passed by a popular vote increasing access to Medicaid.

Analysis
Ultimately, the midterm success of Democrats supporting more universal healthcare has indicated the slowing of these policies meant to destroy access to healthcare. The Trump Administration and Director of Medicare and Medicaid, Seema Verma, are attempting to reform healthcare to offer more choice of private and public plans to the public. However, this is a terrible method to try to encourage those that can’t afford to sign up for healthcare to sign up. The free market approach to healthcare just ensures that the richest and most privileged in our society have access to adequate healthcare. This is why so many democrats (especially those from Republican majority states) that will be taking office support universal healthcare and ran heavily on that platform.  While less people are signing up for the ACA plans, the popular approval for expanding public healthcare could indicate long term success for the ACA. This would hopefully hold true for the 2020 general elections. Ideally, the Trump Administration’s attacks on Medicaid and Medicare will be limited because of their unpopularity, however, there is no question that the effects have already been felt and have hindered the effectiveness of Obama-era healthcare reform.

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Resistance Resources:

  • National Patient Advocate Foundation-Advocates for and promotes action for supporting Medicare/Medicaid for underserved populations. Volunteer with a center near you help clarify the healthcare process and get people covered.

This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Healthcare Policy Analyst-Sophia Adams Name: Contact Sophia.lorene30@gmail.com

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New Trump Administration Attacks on LGBTQIA+ Community

New Trump Administration Attacks on LGBTQIA+ Community

Brief #45—Health

Policy Summary
Last month, Axios published an interview with Trump in which he suggested that there would be steps taken to ensure that gender identification from the federal government would be purely binary. Earlier this month, the Trump Administration advanced further attacks on LGBTQIA+ community by halting visas for same sex partners of diplomats, a severe hit on both our foreign policy agenda and on the legitimacy of the identity of LGBTQIA+. Additionally, language has been repeatedly used in the Department of Education to try to create more restrictive definitions for gender that would essentially create a binary rather than a spectrum of genders. Bathroom investigations to make them more gender inclusive has been halted under the leadership of Betsy DeVos.

Analysis
These blatant policy attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community have been secluded to the Department of Education and the State Department as of late. However, there will likely be a ripple effect of other policy changes throughout the federal departments if policy changes like this become common under the Trump Administration. Celebrity activists and other non-profits have been vocal about their opposition to these policies, but there is still momentum within the Trump Administration to continue to oppress and strip transgender individuals of their right to their identity. If these individual policy changes continue, there will most likely be momentum for more permanent and far reaching policy changes to take place through legislation.

LEARN MORE

Resistance Resources:

  • Outright International– An organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQIA+ people and providing trainings to local communities and schools to be more inclusive.
  • This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Healthcare Policy Analyst-Sophia Adams Name: Contact Sophia.lorene30@gmail.com
  • Keywords: LGBTQIA+, transgender rights, human rights, betsy devos, state department, united nations, bathroom

Photo by Peter Hershey

Bipartisanship Response on Opioid Crisis isn’t Bold Enough

Bipartisanship Response on Opioid Crisis isn’t Bold Enough

Brief #43—Health

Policy Summary
This week, the Senate is poised to vote on the Opioid Crisis Response Act (OCRA)  of 2018. This bill would increase access to addiction treatment centers, increase opportunities for research on non opioid painkillers, and make it harder to get fentanyl and other synthetic drugs across borders. It would do this with 7.9 billion dollars of federal funding, although this is coming from similar already allocated funds and isn’t much of an increase in spending on this issue. There is a crisis of epidemic proportions occurring in the U.S. with regards to opioid related deaths and lives spiraling out of control. Almost 80% of heroin users first became addicted through prescription painkillers and yet, the OCRA does little to attempt to regulate the pharmaceutical industries and doctors that over prescribe opioids. Little funding, and a relatively lax bill does not help curb a crisis that took almost 43,000 lives last year alone.

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Policy Analysis

OCRA doesn’t seem to attack the overarching causes for the opioid crisis in the U.S.: the pharmaceutical industry’s involvement in proliferating the prescription of opioid painkillers. This rate has nearly tripled in the past twenty years, and due to consistent strong lobbying from “Big Pharma,” there has been little attempts by way of legislation to curb their influence. Congress is willing to tamp down on border crossings of illicit drugs but has not attempted to further legislate on the proliferation of  prescriptions and continues to be influenced by campaign funds from PACs supporting Big Pharma. A solid 39% of users say they get drugs from friends and family with opioid prescriptions versus a cartel or the Chinese dark web. This bill is simply not bold enough to legislate on issues that could seriously impede the accessibility of opioids. While OCRA will aid in accessibility to treatment resources and impede access to foreign opioids, it avoids attacking the real cause, which is incidentally funding a lot of campaigns in the upcoming midterm election cycle.

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Resistance Resources

  • To help aid your community that has most likely been affected by the opioid crisis, please consider taking action today in steps outlined by the Partnership for Drug Free Kids.
  • As always, contact your state’s elected officials and voice your concerns or support. Regularly check social media to see how you can get involved in local protests and rallies.
  • Contact
    This brief was compiled by Sophia Adams. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact sophia@USResistnews.org
  • Keywords: opioid crisis act 2018, big pharma, fentanyl, illicit drug trafficking, big pharma lobbying
  • Photo credit: Driving forces

Editorial Cartoon by Walt Handelsman, The Advocate, 2017. Image source theadvocate and @Walt_Handelsman.

Time Out: Let’s Talk Health Care Rhetoric

Time Out: Let’s Talk Health Care Rhetoric

We interrupt a regularly scheduled brief to bring you a dissection of healthcare rhetoric. If you’ve been paying any attention to the midterm elections, or just watching/reading/absorbing by osmosis the news in the last few months, you know that healthcare reform is a hot button issue. Pretty much every candidate in the game is talking about it, be it Beto O’Rourke in Texas promising universal healthcare or Bernie Sanders promising medicare for all. Healthcare in general is quite confusing, but I find the terminology around it to be quite muddled. So, I’ve attempted to research and create a cheat sheet of definitions and diagrams to help our readers understand the discussion around healthcare reform in the US.

Healthcare: In general, this is the system that provides mental and physical health services. The United States does not have any universal healthcare system, rather it is called a “hybrid” system which is both public (owned and operated by the government) and private (typically for-profit companies owned and operated by a board of directors). These medical care companies (like hospitals or private practices owned by physicians) vary immensely, but most work with insurance companies to assist with medical billing and offsetting the upfront cost of care and government programs to help with financially offsetting the cost of those services to people that cannot afford them. There’s also two federal government programs that currently provide healthcare for older and poor people, which are known as medicare and medicaid.

 

Okay, so know that we have somewhat simplified the phrase healthcare, let’s talk about the problems.

The biggest issues in the United States with the current healthcare system boil down to the exorbitant cost.

The cost is so prohibitive in fact, that a lot of people are not getting any healthcare and so more people are dying of totally preventable illnesses and are just generally more uncomfortable because they do not have access to affordable, reliable medical care. Democrats have proposed changing the hybrid system to a completely public system that is funded through tax dollars. However, not all democrats are created equally and disagree about how public to make the system. This is how we arrived at where we are now, throwing a bunch of different terms around to talk about different degrees of the same type of healthcare reform.

Universal Healthcare

 

a health care system that ensures basic medical coverage for every citizen of the country

 

Medicare for All

 

This system was actually a bill proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, and has become known as the main Democrat stump speech phrase (which only deepens the ambiguity). It is a national system (federal level) ensures total physical and mental medical coverage for every single person regardless of employment status, class, pre existing conditions, or geography. It would ensure that patients would pay into the system directly, not through an alternative private insurance company. The funding from this would come from various tax increases on upper classes.
National Health Plan

 

This is technically a hybrid healthcare system (orginally based on an insurance system) organized by the government that uses public agencies, private companies, or a combination of both that would provide healthcare to all citizens regardless of class, geography, employment status, preexisting conditions, etc. The term is also used to refer to a single payer, universal system, so it’s important to understand the context of this phrase.
Single Payer This is probably the most technically accurate and specific term, but is used interchangeably with “medicare for all.” It is a federal system that will cover any citizen that pays into the program. There are no premiums, co-pays, or deductibles. However, the government does not own the healthcare facilities or directly employ workers. It merely pays the bills and sets the price for consumers.

 

“Under a single-payer system, all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs.”

Socialized Medicine A healthcare system that provides physical and mental health services to citizens. All services are completely owned and operated by the government.

 

 

 

You may be wondering how the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) fits into this. Well, the ACA was a stepping stone to get to the Democratic Party’s (or at least the more progressive democrats) goal of universal healthcare. It established a system so that everyone had to prove access to affordable care in a government regulated marketplace, known as the individual mandate. Additionally, there were many tax changes and benefit subsidies that alleviated the cost of this new burden, and expansions to Medicaid and Medicare. The ACA also prohibited the use of pre-existing conditions as a reason to deny people health insurance. But, it was not completely public, the healthcare system set up by the ACA just ensured that the premiums (payment for health insurance) would be kept minimal for people that had trouble affording healthcare, but it did not legislate very substantial insurance industry reform or much of the private healthcare industry (especially large pharmaceutical companies). Ultimately, it is still very much reliant on a hybrid system of healthcare.

Hopefully this clarifies what candidates, news outlets, and elected officials mean when they use a variety of buzzwords to discuss healthcare. Please keep your eyes and ears open to these terms and how they are used to indicate certain healthcare reform, and learn more accurate definitions as these terms change and include or exclude certain key features.

This Brief was posted by USRESIST NEWS Analyat Sophia Adams;  Contact Sophie@usresistnews.org

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