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Fall 2021 Newsletter

Coming events. Mark your calendar!
Engaging with Diverse Communities
November13, 2021 -  9:00 AM

 
Yvonka Hall, Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, will conduct a workshop for SPAN Ohio on how to successfully engage with diverse communities, especially communities of color.  This training will be helpful for any social justice organization.  Registration is required.
 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  We hope to see all of you there!

Saturday, April 23, 2022 :  SPAN State Conference at Quest Center in Columbus
SPAN Ohio will be celebrating 20 years of activism next Spring.   We are planning an all-out gathering, hopefully in person, for that date.  We have reserved Quest Business and Conference Center in Columbus.  The Conference and Program committee is working on preparing a program for this event and we will be sending more information closer to the date.  Do plan to attend and celebrate with us.
Regional & Committee Reports
Region 1 - NE Ohio (Cleveland area)
 
Next Cleveland SPAN meeting -  Monday, December 6, 5:00 PM on Zoom.
Email clevelandspan@spanohio.org for the Zoom link
 
SPAN Ohio endorsed and participated in this Oct 24 Rally for Transit Justice.  It was sponsored by  several local Sunrise hubs.   The rally, at Senator Sherrod Brown's office in Cleveland demanded that he ensure that funding for Public Transit was maintained in the Budget Reconciliation bill.  Public Transit is a necessity for Public Health since many people rely on it to get to health care appointments.
Region 4 - SW Ohio (Cincinnati area)

Activists in Region 4 tabled at 3 rural county fairs, Clinton, Clermont, and Highland from July through September.

Since 2019 when we went out to these county fairs, we noticed an increased knowledge of, interest in and support for a single payer health care system.

We added 23 people to the database.

Several Region 4 activists have stepped up to join the newly formed statewide committees.

Levon Siler has started a Cincinnati Single Payer Action Club on Facebook.

 

Dee Chavez, Coordinator Region 4

Region 5 - Central Ohio (Columbus area)
Below is the text of a speech given by Connie Hammond, SPAN Ohio, at the Rally for Justice, August 28, 2021, Columbus Ohio
The Single-Payer Action Network Ohio (SPAN Ohio) are Ohio volunteers who advocate that everyone have guaranteed health care.  We support Medicare for All and expansion of Medicaid and Medicare.  We do this work because we believe that medical care is a fundamental human right. 

SPAN Ohio advocates for a state bill to provide medical care for all Ohioans and supports the national Medicare for All ensuring that every person is guaranteed necessary quality health care regardless of ability to pay.  

The U.S. health care non-system is outrageously expensive, yet completely inadequate. Expenditures for care in the U.S. are more than twice that of other nations, yet the U.S. does poorly on life expectancy, infant mortality, and chronic disease. 

Medicare for All would have no premiums, co-pays or deductibles. Patient billing ends.  Funding would primarily come from eliminating the administrative waste that accounts for 36% of our health care dollars. It is paid for by taxes based on ability to pay.  95% of households would save money.

The COVID pandemic has revealed the weakness of our current health care non-system!   Prior to the epidemic about 30% of Americans were without medical insurance. ANOTHER 40% WERE UNDERINSURED, ONE ACCIDENT AWAY FROM BANKRUPTCY.

Millions lost employment-sponsored insurance during the pandemic.  The pandemic exposed disparities in health care for minority populations that could be
eased by Medicare for All. In 1966, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King stated, “Of all forms of discrimination and inequalities, injustice in health is the most shocking and inhumane.”  Yet 55 years later, this remains to be addressed. 

Everyone  who has had a private health insurance claim tells a health insurance horror story.  Whether it is finding a provider in network, delaying medical care due cost, coverage limitations and denials, increasing premiums and co-pays, or surprise charges.  

Medicare has provided guaranteed health care for millions of seniors and people with disabilities for 56 years. It’s time we have Medicare for All. A health care system that would end health disparities, effectively control costs, and assure that everyone has equal access to an excellent standard of care.

I would invite every one of you to go to spanohio.org and sign up for emails and become a member.   I have a form that you can complete to join SPAN Ohio by mail.  Please Make the desire for Medicare for All  your own. Tell others "WE ALL NEED IT!"

Photo taken during August 16th Medicare for All Rally which accompanied Bob Krasen's letter to Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, reproduced below:

Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Ohio District 3

Dear Congresswoman Beatty,

Above is a photo of the group of us from SPAN Ohio and Our Revolution who gathered outside your Columbus Office yesterday. We came to ask you to become a cosponsor of Medicare for All, HR 1976, and to support the Medicare Expansion legislation that hopefully will be included in the reconciliation bill.

This gathering was prompted by the lack of a response to a meeting we had by ZOOM in May with Janay Eyo, a member of your staff, attended by 8 of us, including 6 constituents. We made the same ask of her at that meeting. We have had no response.

One focus of this gathering was the disparity of health in Franklin County found among people of color: 1) life expectancy disparity of 30 years between some ZIP codes; 2) infant mortality 3 times as high; and 3) maternal death rates 3 times as high. While Medicare, passed in 1965, ended segregation in American hospitals, starting the journey toward equality, it was just the beginning of a journey that still presents many barriers to healthy living among people of color. Medicare for All is a final step to create equality, woven into the American health care fabric. It can even be perceived as a "form of reparations" to Native Americans and African Americans for 400 years of racism.

Medicare Enhancement is an incremental approach to the problem of unequal access to health care in this country. But it will help!

I encourage you to make a statement of support and become a cosponsor of this legislation. Please do it NOW! Please contact me with your response to us.

Sincerely,

Bob Krasen, SPAN (Single Payer Action Network) Ohio Columbus Area Coordinator

Arlene Sheak (Region 5) and Dee Chavez (Region 4) tabled at the Ohio Nurse
Practitioner Conference held in Columbus October 21-23. They encouraged nurses
to support passage of Medicare for All, HR 1976 in the U.S. Congress, and
The Ohio Health Care Act, HB 446 and SB 253 in the Ohio Legislature.

Region 7 - West Central Ohio (Dayton area)
 
Meeting with Representative Willis Blackshear Jr. - Representatives from SPAN and Dayton area constituents met with Representative Blackshear to discuss the Ohio Healthcare Act. He expressed his support and we will continue to work with him to bring him onboard as a co-sponsor in the future.
 
Yard signs and bumper stickers - They are still available in the region. If you would like either please contact NJ at mattnj78@gmail.com.
 
Region 7 Organizing Meeting - Region 7 will be having an organizing zoom meeting on Sunday November 7th at 7 pm and everyone who is interested is invited. An email will be going out soon with more details and a link to the meeting.

Matt Noordsij-Jones, Region 7 Coordinator
Lobby Committee Report

Members of Lobby Committee and others have met with 3 more House representatives since June for a total of 15 meetings with reps. as well as 3 senators (or their legislative aides) since January.

In the first week of October Ohio House and Senate companion bills 'The Ohio Health Care Act' that would enact a single payer system were introduced.

Representative Mike Skindell (D-13) introduced HB 446 into the Ohio House

There are 12 co-sponsors including the following:  

From Region 1, Stephanie Howse (Cleveland), Joseph Miller (Amherst, Lorain County), Kent Smith (Euclid), and Jeff Crossman( Parma).   

From Region 2, Mike Sheehy (Oregon, near Toledo).  

From Region 4, Sedrick Denson (Cincinnati).  

From Region 5, Kristin Boggs (Columbus), Richard Brown (Canal Winchester), Adam Miller (Columbus), and David Leland (Columbus).  

From Region 6, Tavia Galonski (Akron) and Thomas West.

House Bill 446 Text
https://search-prod.lis.state.oh.us/solarapi/v1/general_assembly_134/bills/hb446/IN/00/hb446_00_IN?format=pdf


Sponsor testimony  by Rep  Skindell was given to the Committee on Oct 27.

Senators Teresa Fedor (D-11) and Nickie Antonio (D-23) jointly introduced SB 253 into the Ohio Senate.

There are 6 co-sponsors including the following:

From Region 1, Sandra Williams (Cleveland) and Kenny Yuko (Richmond Hts, near Cleveland)

From Region 4, Cecil Thomas  (Avondale)

From Region 5, Tina Maharoth  (Canal Winchester) and Hearcel Craig (Columbus

From Region 6, Vernon Sykes  (Akron)

This includes all of the 8 Democratic senators.

Senate Bill 253 Text

https://search-prod.lis.state.oh.us/solarapi/v1/general_assembly_134/bills/sb253/IN/00/sb253_00_IN?format=pdf

We are awaiting assignment of the bills to committees.
 

Dee Chavez, Chair Lobby Committee

From Senator Teresa Fedor's web site:

Fedor, Antonio Introduce Legislation to Create Universal Health Care System in Ohio

October 7, 2021

Today, state Senators Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) and Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) introduced Senate Bill 253, the Ohio Health Care Plan (OHCP). This legislation will provide universal, single-payer access to quality health care, dental care and vision services.

Uncertain deductibles, copays and other skyrocketing costs leave many Ohioans one health crisis away from financial ruin, especially those who are uninsured or underinsured,” Fedor said. “Everyone should have the freedom to receive quality, affordable care from a doctor or dentist of their choosing. Ohioans shouldn’t have to worry about whether they will be able to pay for life-saving treatments after an accident or diagnosis.”

Access to health care is a human right that should be available to all, not a privilege for the few who can afford it,” Antonio said. . . .

State Representative Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) also introduced a companion bill, House Bill 446, in the Ohio House of Representatives.

“Containing health care costs and getting people – particularly low-income workers – insured remains challenging. This is a burden on individuals and employers alike," Skindell said. “Even with the Affordable Care Act, we have not yet attained universal coverage in our country. This bill seeks to solve that problem at the state level.”

Read more.
 

Recommended Reading
Opinion by SPAN Ohio Contributors

CORPORATE BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE U.S. HEALTHCARE REFORM

By Lynne C. Rustad, PhD

. . .

Over decades, the private sector’s aggressive and effective push for dominance in the U.S. healthcare market has prioritized profit-making over provision of sound, equitable care. Some of these profits have then been used to cement private insurance hegemony and discourage competition from patient-centered initiatives. It’s worth a closer look at how corporations have influenced the direction of healthcare while seeking to convince the public that they are best qualified to decide how healthcare should be delivered.

Commodification of healthcare. Rather than viewing healthcare as provision of a common good, the industry sees it as another “commodity” (similar to oil, housing or groceries) which can be bought, sold and traded to increase profits and keep shareholders happy. An important facet of this change has been to restructure care delivery to make it “cheaper” and “more efficient.” Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO’s) implemented to control costs basically represent bargains struck with professionals and hospitals for their benefit.In fact, they have contributed to the rise in health care cost while limiting “consumer” freedom of choice by restricting the pool of “providers” from whom patient “consumers” might choose. (Note, too, the change over time in terminology from “doctors and patients” to “providers and consumers.” )
. . .

Read more.

Medicare for All is a matter of justice – and healthcare savings: Dr. Johnathon Ross
Published Oct 03, 2021

By Guest columnist, cleveland.com
Guest columnist Dr. Johnathon Ross is a past president of Physicians for a National Health Program. He has practiced and taught primary care in poor rural and urban communities, but it was his experience inside the health insurance industry that convinced him of the logic and need for a national health insurance program.

Many physicians and nurses have experienced the increasing complexity, waste and injustice of our current healthcare system. Many, including myself, have long worked for reform by supporting an improved and expanded Medicare for All.

For decades, the Commonwealth Fund has tracked U.S. healthcare system performance vs. other rich nations. In 2021, we are again ranked last in performance and highest in cost. With Medicare for All, we can do better.

In December 2020, after congressional hearings, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published a working paper that estimates that Medicare for all would save over $400 billion in administrative waste annually -- dollars that could be applied to universal coverage and care.

Even eliminating copayments for patients while maintaining current average payments for doctors and hospitals, national health expenditures would still fall by $40 billion annually. Compare this to our current system, which leaves 31 million uninsured and half of Americans fearful they cannot afford an unexpected medical bill.

Read more

.
Articles
Eye-opening article about hospital pricing
 
Hospitals don’t want you see the prices they charge for medical procedures and insurers don’t want you to see what they pay for them. This year the federal government has ordered hospitals to publish a complete list of the prices they negotiate with private insurers.
 
Many hospitals and insurers are fighting this tooth-and-nail.
 
In an investigative report for the NY Times, Sarah Kliff and Josh Katz have been able to show why, using data from those who have complied with the new law. The data indicates wildly differing pricing for the same procedure, highlighting what a dysfunctional mess our health care system is in.
 
Here are some examples:
 
At the University of Mississippi Medical Center, a colonoscopy costs…
$1,463 with a Cigna plan
$2,144 with an Aetna plan
$782 with no insurance at all
 
At the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, a pregnancy test costs…
                                                          $18 for Blue Cross patients in Pennsylvania
                                                          $58 for Blue Cross patients in New Jersey
                                                          $93 for Blue Cross PPO patients in New Jersey
                                                          $10 with no insurance at all
 
At Aurora St. Luke’s in Milwaukee, an MRI costs United enrollees ...
                                                          $1,093 if they have United’s HMO plan
                                                          $4,029 if they have United’s PPO plan
 
The full article is available online but you may have to subscribe to their online service.
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/08/22/upshot/hospital-prices.html
 
Tim Bruce
SPAN Ohio

 
Most European Countries Have Single Payer

Healthcare Now held a forum on European Health Care. The program cleared up some of the myths of European Health Care, and explained that essentially all European countries had single payer systems except one (Slovakia)

Media, pundits, and legislators claim we can "build on the current system" to achieve universal healthcare coverage, and that there are "multiple pathways" which don't require eliminating for-profit, employer-based insurance. Proponents often cite European countries like Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands as examples of countries that have achieved universal coverage without single payer.

The truth is that none of our peer countries have achieved universal healthcare through a private, for-profit insurance system. Most high-income countries run single payers; the ones that do not, rely on sickness funds or other quasi-public institutions rather than private insurers. This project looks more closely at those healthcare systems and examines how exactly they provide universal coverage for their residents. 

Most of the 35 countries in the European Union .  .  .  agreement have single payer healthcare systems. And in every country but Slovakia, primary coverage is provided by public or quasi-public entities.

27 countries run single payer systems

6 other countries, including Switzerland and Germany, allow sickness funds or quasi-public entities to provide primary health coverage

1 country allows for-profit insurers to provide primary coverage: Slovakia .  . 

"Medicare For Some": Neither Universal Nor Sustainable

"Medicare for some" bills tinker around the edges of for-profit multipayers and don't include strong national regulation on spending.

Several pieces of legislation have been introduced recently, all purporting to achieve universal healthcare. Almost all of them retain the current system of for-profit insurers, and only the Medicare for All bills actually institute nationwide regulation on spending.

If you missed it, and want to see the program, go to this link:

For a summary of the program, with the main points in print and in graphics, go here

 

This is a snapshot of how various EU healthcare systems are financed.
 
YARD SIGNS AVAILABLE
18" X 24"

We are asking for a donation of $5 to $15 for individual signs. 
At this point we are not mailing out signs.   If you would like a Medicare for All Lawn Sign, please contact the person closest to you.

Cincinnati:  Dee Chavez   (513-413-1178)   Dee49@fuse.net

Cleveland:  Thera Parks,    (440) 787-6517   tvparks8@gmail.com

Columbus:   Bob Krasen   (614-261-0754)   brkrasen@gmail.com

Dayton:    Matt Noordsij-Jones  (937-321-8698)  mattnj78@gmail.com

Medina:  Kristin Kranz  (330-635-6435)   kikikranz@gmail.com

Niles:  Julie Stout  (330-957-1490)    julieannstout@gmail.

Toledo:  John Ross   drjohnross@ameritech.net
 
Bumper Stickers are also Available
If you are interested in obtaining one or more bumper stickers, contact Kendall Mays at kendall.mays1@gmail.com
SPAN Ohio links

To send articles, events, letters, or comments to this newsletter, please email them to the Communications Committee (Lynne Rustad, Tim Bruce, Barb Walden, Matt Noordsij-Jones, Linda Brown, and Bob Parker [Chair])

This newsletter is posted under Resources on the SPAN Web Site.
 
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Single-Payer Action Network Ohio (SPAN Ohio) · 31100 Cedar Rd · Pepper Pike, OH 44124-4433 · USA