Wednesday, September 14, 2022

American Life Expectancy Drops Below Most Advanced Nations as Opposition to Medicare for All is Killing us - and the UFT is helping

Here is where I just about accuse our UFT/AFT leadership of assisting the increasing death rate in this country. Not quite accusing them of murder - but - After another bout of listening to UFT leaders splain away their support for damaging Medicare at Monday's
UFT First Exec Board of the Year, a publicly managed system that private health insurers are dying to get their hands on and our own union is helping them do it. 

Today I am going to the UFT Chapter Leader meeting to hand out a leaflet on healthcare for Retiree Advocate (see it at the end of this post.)

A shame we have to lobby our own union members to support something so fundamental - not just for us but for the entire population. Use the QR code to sign our petition.

Tomorrow I have my 6 month appointment with my cardiologist - he is doing a carotid artery sonogram which takes 10 minutes and yet lets him know the state of the arteries in my heart. Preventive medicine saves money - which is what I pointed out when I blogged this: 

Our Life Expectancy Falls: Lack of Medicare for All a Factor ignored in mainstream press

The choice on healthcare is bogus propaganda
On Saturday, a guy approached me when I was getting signatures on a petition supporting the NY Health Act and accused me of being a socialist and anti-American and a traitor to this country. He was joking - sort of -- and we actually walked a few blocks together where he seriously gave me the line that government screws everything up and how we never want a government monopoly and we need choice and competition. I thought I was talking to Mulgrew and other Unity apologists for privatizers. I didn't have time to give him the full monty on why I believe he is totally wrong -- that I want a non-profit entity dictating prices. We both agreed that the best way to settle disagreements like this would be over a beer but we both had things to do and bumped fists and went our own ways.

The key takeaways in my blob were:
  • Our lowered longevity rate is due to our mostly privatized healthcare system.
  • Medicare recipients who take advantage of it are probably the best cared for population and a reason for rising life expectancy in the over 65 - the drop is connected to the younger population.. especially due to drugs. Regular visits to a doctor are crucial and not everyone makes it a habit.
  • A medicare for all system with control of drug prices would reverse things and lead to a rise in overall health and life expectancy. In areas with sparse medical coverage, privatized Medicare Advantage plans are often the only option - and some report decent care - if you don't get real sick.
  • In the current political climate only a state by state approach will bring us a universal system. The blue states are the most likely. California was close to passing a bill and so has NYS - but the unions are an obstacle. They shouldn't be.
  • The UFT and other unions should stop opposing the NY Health Act which would bring such a system to our state. Our union claims to support the concept but says only in a national system, which the chances of happening are nil.
  • Medicare for all costs too much both parties say but billions for Ukraine, useless visits to the moon and defense -- no one says a peep except those on the left.
So it was gratifying to hear Krystal Ball do her monologue on Breaking Points the other day on the same subject and this is really worth watching.
  • If we had universal healthcare about one third of covid deaths would have been prevented - $110 billion would have been saved in covid casts alone --- hear that Mulgrew?
  • When Americans don't have access to health care they put off going to doctors until there is an emergency.
  • US GP/capita - 66k and we perform healthwise at the level of 8KGP. We are outpaced by Costa Rica, Chile, Slovenia

In other bad news for our healthcare system -- CVS owns Aetna, who is slated to become our new Medicare dis-Advantage Master.

Nurses' Campaign To Win Medicare For All 

It’s been four months since we crashed the CVS Health annual shareholder meeting, and CVS still hasn’t said they will permanently cut ties with the Partnership for America's Health Care Future, a dark money lobbying group funding anti-Medicare for All efforts.

So we’re hosting a call on Monday, September 26, to share a huge announcement about what comes next. Will you join us?

CVS Update Call: Stop Gambling with our Lives!

We’ve put a lot of pressure on CVS in the past year — organizing together across the country, orchestrating petitions and panel discussions, and making hundreds of phone calls to CVS executives.

We organized multiple national days of action at hundreds of CVS stores across the country, and we showed up at their annual shareholder meeting, where NNU President Jean Ross, RN asked why they’ve spent millions to block Medicare for All by funding the largest dark money lobbying group.1 CVS responded that they are not “currently” funding the Partnership; yet they say they agree with everything the Partnership stands for. Their response was wholly inadequate, and we’re not backing down until CVS tells us: Which side are you on?

We can’t let up the pressure now, and we won’t until CVS publicly cuts ties with the Partnership and commits to supporting what’s best for patients, not their bottom line. It’s been a few months since CVS heard from us — now is the time to pick up the momentum again and make sure they know where we stand.

We have a lot of big actions planned for the coming month, and we want you to be a part of them, Norman. Join the call on Monday, September 26, to learn more.


Thank you,

Nurses’ Campaign to Win Medicare for All


Anonymous said...

This is the sort of hyperbole -- a term which doesn't even begin to capture a line like "I'm not excusing you of murder, but..." which would one would think has to be a caricature if you hadn't read it in black and white -- that marks it as beyond the bounds of any reasonable debate about what a union should do. It is a reprise of similar accusations of murder when schools were being re-opened. All it does is tell everyone that there is no meaningful conversation that can be had with the folks wielding it.

ed notes online said...

What exactly would you debate? Actually some people did die when schools were reopned, but why quibble. Look at the stats. I can get that we fight for a better system and lose but when you all actually help back the worse system where clearly more people die - well -- where's the conversation?

Jonathan Halabi said...

I think the commenter is correct. You did not frame this piece to allow for debate.

Instead, you chose to make the point - Mulgrew's leadership works against single payer, which is a factor in driving down life-expectancy.

I guess I could frame a debate - but need to be careful. Life Expectancy fell dramatically due to COVID, but it was already in decline before then.

So what other factors could be driving the declines? (treating 2015 - 2019 and 2019 - 2021 as distinct events)

Lack of single payer
Lack of unified health policy
Lack of preventative care
Bad primary care
Too many drugs - not enough emphasis on diet/exercise.
Getting diet completely wrong (I am reading a book now, Metabolical, that makes the case that we don't need more health care, we need better food)

I don't know - but something like one of those. You could debate which one actually contributes the most (or at all) to each of the declines.

ed notes online said...

Jonathan - I didn't intend to post this as a debate point. All the factors you list are related to the way health care is managed. Not enough easy access to healthcare. And the chaos where you see a covid testing tent on every corner in Manhattan. Or urgent care next door to each other. It's about making a profit out of healthcare not delivering services effectively or rationally. So it comes down to that issue and when our own union throws roadblocks and supports the system, well there needs to be accountability. I'd be glad to debate the issue if the commenters want to do it in person.

Jonathan Halabi said...

And so that's what the commenter complained about - you accused Unity of contributing to the decline in the health of this country, and didn't frame it so they could wriggle out. Tough.

It's not "hyperbole" on your part. It's bad politics on theirs. Of course they don't like reading about it.

ed notes online said...

It's my contention that their mis-actions are not solely confined to health care but to most of the neo-liberal doctrine espoused by the people in control of the dem party. From Jimmy Carter de-regs through Reagan -- remember how much Shanker bonded with him - thru Clinton and Obama. The dereg or railroads and stock by backs etc. Thus support for proft making health care is no surprise but fits their free market pattern - even back to not opposing charters from day 1.

Anonymous said...

When you have Jonathan Halabi defending you with the argument that "working against single payer" (i.e., having a path to universal health insurance which doesn't think you can transform 20% of GDP in one instant) is tantamount to killing people, who needs enemies?