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Fall 2020 Newsletter

Coming events. Mark your calendar!
Cleveland Rally
Improved and Expanded Medicare for All/Single Payer Universal Health Care
Saturday, October 17, 11:00 AM - Noon
Windermere Rapid Station, Euclid Ave.
East Cleveland
 
Check our Facebook Page and share this information with friends.

Co-sponsored by SPAN Ohio, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus. Our Revolution Ohio, West Shore FaCT (Faith Communities Together), and Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. Please wear your mask. We will be maintaining 6 – 10 ft. distance between people. In case of questionable weather and possible postponement, please check our Facebook Page. For more information, contact clevelandspan@spanohio.org.
SPAN Virtual Meeting: Post Election Analysis with Michael Lighty
Saturday, November 7, 10:30 am
You must pre-register for the meeting HERE.
Michael Lighty, a Fellow at the Sanders Institute, is a well-respected spokesperson for and expert on Medicare for All. For over 25 years, Lighty has organized, written and spoken on the subject. He is currently a lead policy analyst for the single-payer bill, SB 562, the Healthy California Act. From 1994 until 2018, Michael worked for the California Nurses Association/NNU where he coordinated campaigns for an HMO patients’ bill of rights, clean money elections, and nationally for a Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street.
Regional Reports
Region 1 - Northeast Ohio

April 7 - ZOOM event,  “Providing Fair Health Care” sponsored by the West Shore FACT (Faith Communities Together – part of a larger group – FACT Ohio: Faith Communities Together for a Sustainable Future.)  This was part of a monthly series on different aspects of the Green New Deal, of which Medicare for All is one.  Dena Magoulias, Ted Seuss, & Bob Parker represented us on the panel at the West Shore UU Church, which also included State Representative Mike Skindell.

April 23, The Cleveland Sunrise Movement had a Medicare for All event where Bob Parker and Ted were allotted 35 minutes to present. 

In May, annual Walk for Health Care Justice fundraiser was postponed. Instead, a Region 1 virtual social was held and was well received.

On June 3, we took part in a Local 310 Workers First Caravan.

Also in June we participated in three of seven Medicare for All rallies on State Route 42 with Our Revolution.  At the first of these, Ted was introduced to Dr. Gwen Jarvis who has a weekly talk radio show on national News Talk AM 1490 and he was a guest on that program on July 30.  The final Cleveland rally was converted to a virtual event,

Our Walk for Health Care Justice Fundraiser was rescheduled to Saturday, July 27 at Edgewater Park in Cleveland.  Despite the pandemic, approximately 25 people participated and we raised $4145.00!, our largest total ever.

SPAN Ohio Region 1 initiated two fall Medicare for All Actions, co-sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, Our Revolution, West Shore Faith Communities Together, and the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition.  The first was at the West Side Market in Cleveland on Sept 17  (See pictures).  The next one will be Saturday, October 17, 11:00 AM to Noon at the Windermere Rapid Station in East Cleveland.

Region 1 Coordinator Ted Seuss continues to represent SPAN on the Board of CLASH (Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing).  Ted and Debbie Silverstein have been representing SPAN with End Poverty Now.

Next Region 1 SPAN virtual meeting: Monday, October 26, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM   (If you are interested in attending, please contact Clevelandspan@spanohio.org to receive log-in information.)

Ted Seuss, Region 1 Coordinator, and Bob Parker
 

Region 2 - Northwest Ohio

A lobby committee has been established with four active people:  D. Slotnick, J Wienberg, T. Lane and C. Matthews.  A spreadsheet of legislators has been constructed and actions for assessment of each legislator’s position is being recorded.  Emails and Zoom meetings are planned. 
 
Dennis Slotnick. Region 2 Coordinator

Region 5 - Central Ohio

On 7 Saturdays from Memorial Day through July 4th, members of SPAN Ohio joined with people of Our Revolution "On the Road to Justice and Freedom" to hold Medicare for All signs at the intersection of North High Street and North Broadway in Columbus. We waved at people passing by, and received many honks, "thumbs up", and waves in return.  We joined them again on August 22nd as part of their Demand for Social Justice campaign to address many issues of injustice in the country, of which health care is at the "top of the pile." 
Brad Cotton has been hosting weekly Monday evening rush hour, "stand in front of the Pickaway County Courthouse" Medicare for All events during August and September. Brad thinks that doing this is much better than sitting at home wishing for something better to do. (Again, I put a picture of one of the events on the SPAN Ohio Facebook Page as well as my own. Contact Brad if you would like to receive the originals, roundtownquaker@hotmail.com.)

We had a Region 5 meeting on ZOOM on Wednesday, July 29th, at which we had a presentation by Dr. Alice Faryna on the "convoluted world" of Pharmacy Benefit Managers, PBM's, that the Ohio legislature is attempting to corral.  We acknowledged that Medicare for All would put an end to the need for people doing this function, because Medicare would negotiate drug prices directly with drug manufacturers.
 
We also shared information about the National Nurse's United 5-part webinar series on the crises that have been created in society as a result of COVID-19, and how Medicare for All would address all of them. It was a terrific series, especially the segment on  the magnification of disparities of health care for African Americans.
 
Bob Krasen, Region 5 Coordinator
Region 7 - Dayton area

The Organizing Meeting for Region 7 is Monday, November 16 at 7:30 pm via Zoom
. Anyone who is interested in attending can email mattnj78@gmail.com for more information.
 
Recommended Reading
SPAN Ohio’s Bob Krazen had a Letter to the Editor published in The Columbus Dispatch to mark the 55th anniversary of the passage of Medicare/Medicaid in 1965.
Medicare makes life better by improving health, welfare 

As the Franklin County commissioners are studying ways to reduce poverty, they should remember that in 1965 the federal poverty level for senior citizens stood at 30%. Many seniors could not afford to stay in their own homes, and had to move in with their adult children. They could not afford health insurance.

A hidden value of Medicare has been it has reduced poverty among seniors to 9% in 2017. Continue reading here. .
'One of Many Reasons Why Single Payer Matters': For-Profit Insurers Hitting People With 'Illegal' Bills for Covid Tests

"In Canada or the U.K., there are no cracks of this sort: billing the patient like this is simply not allowed," said Dr. Adam Gaffney, president of Physicians for a National Health Program.
 
In March, Congress passed legislation aimed at requiring for-profit health insurance companies to cover all FDA-approved coronavirus tests with no cost-sharing—but federal laws have not stopped insurers from hitting vulnerable Americans with large surprise bills during an ongoing pandemic and economic crisis that pushed millions to the brink of financial ruin.
 
"If I had to pay it off, it would clear out my savings," New York City resident Kelly Daisley told the New York Times after Anthem charged her $2,718 for a Covid-19 test that was advertised as free. Continue reading here..
How Canada got universal health care and what the U.S. could learn

Naresh Tinani loves his job as a perfusionist at a hospital in Saskatchewan’s capital. To him, monitoring patient blood levels, heart beat and body temperature during cardiac surgeries and intensive care is a “privilege” — “the ultimate interaction between human physiology and the mechanics of engineering.”

But Tinani has also been on the other side of the system, like when his now-15-year-old twin daughters were born 10 weeks early and battled infection on life support, or as his 78-year-old mother waits months for new knees amid the coronavirus pandemic. While stressful, those moments helped make him “very proud” of his nation’s health care system, a cornerstone of Canadian national identity. He’s proud because during times of true emergency, he said the system took care of his family without adding cost and affordability to his list of worries.

And on that point, few Americans can say the same.

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. full speed, fewer than half of Americans — 42 percent — considered their health care system to be above average, according to a PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted in late July. Roughly as many people — 49 percent — said the Canadian system was better than their own. Compared to people in most developed nations, including Canada, Americans have for years paid far more for health care while staying sicker and dying soonerContinue reading here.
US doctor in Canada: Medicare for All would have made America's COVID response much better

America needs a health care system that puts public health ahead of profits. I know we can do better. I see it every day in Canada amid the coronavirus.
Dr. Khati Hendry, Opinion contributor

I’m a family physician who moved to Canada from California 14 years ago, largely because of Canadian Medicare, the country's national health insurance program. I’ve been much happier practicing medicine where my patients have universal coverage. It frees up doctors like me to focus on patient care and frees patients to focus on their health, instead of worrying about how to pay for it.

But I have never felt more grateful to work in a universal health care system than during the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart aches for the millions of Americans who have fallen ill and then have had to worry about how they will pay for tests and treatment, who have gone to work while sick for fear of losing their health coverage or who have lost not only their jobs but their insurance, leaving them at risk for financial ruin. Continue reading here.

The ‘Public Option’ on Health Care Is a Poison Pill

Some Democratic candidates are pushing it as a free-choice version of Medicare for All. That’s good rhetoric but bad policy.


. . .the case for a public option rests on faulty economic logic and naive assumptions about how private insurance actually works. Private insurers have proved endlessly creative at gaming the system to avoid fair competition, and they have used their immense lobbying clout to undermine regulators’ efforts to rein in their abuses. That’s enabled them to siphon hundreds of billions of dollars out of the health care system each year for their own profits and overhead costs while forcing doctors and hospitals to waste billions more on billing-related paperwork. . . .
 
Private insurers employ a dizzying array of profit-​enhancing schemes that would be out of bounds for a public plan. These schemes, which continually evolve in response to regulators’ efforts to counter them, boil down to four strategies that are legal, in addition to occasional outright fraud.
    
     § Obstructing expensive care. Plans.  .  .  erect barriers to expensive services that threaten profits—for example, prior authorization requirements, high co-payments, narrow networks, and drug formulary restrictions that penalize the unprofitably ill.  .  .  .
    
      § Cherry-picking and lemon-dropping, or selectively enrolling people who need little care and disenrolling the 
unprofitably ill..  .  . 
 
Finally, Medicare Advantage plans cherry-pick through targeted marketing schemes. In the past, this has meant sign-up dinners in restaurants difficult to access for people who use wheelchairs or offering free fitness center memberships, a perk that appeals mainly to the healthiest seniors. .  .  .
Continue reading here. 
 
SPAN 2020 Conference Speaker, Yvonka Hall, Honored as Homegrown Hero
In July 2020, Yvonka Hall, Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition was one of the outstanding presenters for the SPAN Ohio State Conference, held virtually for the first time. She spoke on African American Health Disparities. Her conference presentation, Racism in Healthcare, can still be viewed here
 
One month later, the public crusader was chosen by Cleveland.com and the Cleveland Plain Dealer as the region’s first Homegrown Hero. Amid the pandemic, the media outlets are recognizing people in Northeast Ohio who are doing good and important work in their communities. Her most recent efforts reveal the interdependence of health issues, and are a wonderful example of moving belief into action. Congratulations Yvonka.
To read about the SPAN supporter’s heroic efforts during the pandemic, go to: Yvonka Hall brings food, necessities to Cleveland families during coronavirus pandemic: Homegrown Heroes 2020
Recommended Viewing
    “Healthcare in the Era of the Pandemic”
     A 16-minute video featuring Dr. Alice Faryna 
 
Building upon her career as a physician and medical administrator dedicated to providing quality patient care, Dr. Faryna:
  • presents forecast data on the Fall 2020 Twindemic
  • summarizes the 100-year history of health care reform in America which has left us underprepared to meet healthcare needs
  • explains concisely how a single-payer system can more effectively serve our nation
  • lays-out how Ohio can finance healthcare for everyone in the state, and
  • makes a case for why we can’t afford not to do the same as a nation. 
To understand the importance of creating Continuity in Care through simple design, it’s worth the time.
SPAN Ohio links

To send articles, events, letters, or comments to this newsletter, please email them to the Communications Committee (Bill Davis, Lynne Rustad, Tim Bruce, Matt Noordsij-Jones, Linda Brown, and Bob Parker [Chair])
 
Web site: SPAN Ohio
     
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SPAN Ohio is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.
Donations to SPAN Ohio are not tax deductible.
 
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