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Vermont House passes Single-Payer Legislation!

On March 24, the Vermont House voted 89-47 to pass their single-payer bill, “Road map to a universal and unified health system.” The bill now moves to the Senate for public hearings and a vote due in mid-April. Excellent updates on progress in Vermont posted here.

Senator Marty introduces bill (SF 1054) to simplify administration of State Health programs

Senator John Marty, Chief Senate Author of The Minnesota Health Plan, has introduced legislation requiring the state to contract directly with health care providers, rather than HMOs, in delivering health care for low income Minnesotans. MUHCC, long a proponent of “direct contracting” (bypassing the insurance middleman to pay providers directly for services) endorses this bill. The administrative savings of such an approach allows more money to be spent on health care, thereby increasing health care without increasing health care spending.

Lessons from Saskatchewan and the Greatest Canadian

A special thanks to Dane Smith and Politics in Minnesota for allowing us to use this piece.

When our unfailingly nice neighbors to the north were asked a few years ago in a national contest to choose the “Greatest Canadian’’ of all time, the inventor of the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell) and the sensational and beloved hockey player known as “The Great One” (Wayne Gretzky) finished far behind the top choice, Tommy Douglas.

You likely ask, Tommy who?

The story of Thomas Clement Douglas is amazing and inspirational enough, even if he had not become a political leader. Born in 1904 to parents of humble means, he was a scrappy and smart kid who overcame a serious injury to become a lightweight boxer. He learned the printing trade but also excelled as a scholar and academic, eventually earning a master’s degree in sociology and studying for a doctorate. He also served for a time as a Baptist minister, preaching a social gospel of justice and reform. And finally, Douglas excelled as a gifted and honest politician, an inspirational speaker, and one of Canada’s most beloved leaders over several decades. He was widely celebrated before his death in 1986.

Vermont Gov. Shumlin signs single-payer into State law!

It was an historic end to the Vermont legislative session that had Governor Peter Shumlin signing a single-payer system into state law.  This positions Vermont to become the first state with a publicly funded health care law.  The process involves a number of checkpoints that must be met over the next 5 years, but if all goes well and no court challenges prevent otherwise, Vermont will have a single-payer system called Green Mountain Care around 2017.

Read the article here.

And check out some of our own coverage.

Workers Paying a Greater Share of Health Insurance Coverage

St. Paul Pioneer Press
Christopher Snowbeck
September 3, 2010

Workers are struggling to pick up a larger share of the nation's expanding health care tab, and the burden now includes a bigger chunk of health insurance premium costs, too...

Beyond paying more in premiums, the survey found that workers are paying more out of pocket for care by way of co-pays and deductibles. The results show how the growing cost of health care continues to outstrip wage increases...

Read Article

For Candidates, No Easy Fixes on Health Care

Gubernatorial candidates agree health care is a top priority, but they differ on how to provide care while facing a $6 billion budget deficit.

By Warren Wolfe
Star Tribune
August 8, 2010

Six leading candidates for governor say a top priority next year will be wrestling with the cost and shape of health care in Minnesota. No wonder: Medical spending accounts for roughly one-fifth of the state budget -- a share that is growing and is sure to be battered by a $6 billion projected deficit, just as state and federal laws start shifting health care into uncharted waters. Read More

U.S. Scores Dead last Again in Healthcare

June 23, 2010

Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system...

..."We rank last on safety and do poorly on several dimensions of quality," [the researcher] told reporters. "We do particularly poorly on going without care because of cost. And we also do surprisingly poorly on access to primary care and after-hours care."

...When a country fails to meet the needs of the most vulnerable, it also fails to meet the needs of the average citizen," the report reads.

Read more

Download comparison table

Download full report

Single-Payer Takes Center Stage in Race for Governor

Kelliher weighs in on single-payer health care pledge

by Tom Scheck,
Minnesota Public Radio
June 21, 2010

The new national health care law is expected to be a big issue this year's election, but the DFL's endorsed candidate for governor has been promising to go one step further.

Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher pledged to DFL delegates this spring that she would enact a single-payer health plan in Minnesota, but now she says she wants to study the cost first...

The article addresses each Gubernatorial candidate's position- read it in full

U.S. Health & Human Services Funding Increase in Primary Care Providers

In an attempt to address a national shortage of health-care workers, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that the federal government will spend $250 million in programs to increase the number of doctors, nurses and other care providers... Without action, HHS said, the nation would face a shortage of 21,000 primary-care clinicians...
Read in Full

League of Women Voters Passes Resolution Renewing Support for Single-Payer

Presented and Adopted at the League of Women Voters 2010 Convention
Atlanta, Georgia, June 11-15, 2010

Whereas the League of Women Voters of the United States believes quality health care at an affordable cost should be available to all U.S. residents; and

Whereas the current and proposed systems do not achieve the League goals of affordability and access to everyone; and

Whereas an improved Medicare for all, a publicly funded and privately delivered national health care plan, is consistent with this goal;

Therefore, be it resolved that we, the representatives of local and state Leagues assembled at the 2010 LWVUS Convention, call upon the LWVUS Board to advocate strongly for bills that legislate for improved Medicare for all.

Motion #549-473,

The League's action is believed to be the first national endorsement of its type since Congress passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March.