7 episodes

Benjamin Day and Stephanie Nakajima of Healthcare-NOW break down everything you need to know about the social movement to make healthcare a right in the United States. Medicare for All!

Medicare for All Benjamin Day and Stephanie Nakajima - Healthcare-NOW

    • Politics

Benjamin Day and Stephanie Nakajima of Healthcare-NOW break down everything you need to know about the social movement to make healthcare a right in the United States. Medicare for All!

    Super Tuesday, the “Electability” Argument, Workers’ Rights, Elizabeth Warren & the Tax Problem

    Super Tuesday, the “Electability” Argument, Workers’ Rights, Elizabeth Warren & the Tax Problem

    Medicare for All wins Super Tuesday, even if its most loyal candidates did not. The stock market - especially healthcare stocks - freaked over Sanders's rise, and then stabilized after Biden’s comeback. Profits safe! Gillian Mason, Director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, talks about giving power back to workers with Medicare for All. Elizabeth Warren’s descent in the polls is attributed to her support of Medicare for All, but really was it? We end with Warren’s eloquent takedown of Pete Buttigieg’s Medicare for All Who Want It.























    The pod is co-hosted this week by Gillian Mason, Co-Director of Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, who met Ben over a decade ago when they were arrested at a civil disobedience action outside of Cigna's offices! Gillian in a previous life was an adjunct Professor, but couldn't get access to healthcare through her job(s), and so became an activist to fight for workers' rights instead.







    A majority of Democratic voters supported Medicare for All in every single state that voted on Super Tuesday, including huge majorities in states like VT, ME, TX, and MN. However, the candidates championing M4A did not do nearly as well. Ben & Gillian discuss some explanations for the disconnect, including the media and the role of local gatekeepers, but are mostly confused. Ben suggests that Medicare for All should run for President.







    The day after Super Tuesday (post-traumatic stress Wednesday?), healthcare stocks also sky-rocketed based on the diminished chances of a M4A champion becoming the Democratic nominee for President. Most for-profit health insurance companies saw double-digit increases in their stock values. It's clear that Wall Street is afraid of the Medicare for All movement, but this also highlights what an unethical investment for-profit healthcare is - it is literally built on the denial of care.







    The Economic Policy Institute released a white paper outlining the many benefits that Medicare for All would have for workers and the labor market: increased wages and salaries; job growth, even in the healthcare sector; elimination of "job lock" where people are held hostage at jobs just to keep their health benefits; and would particularly help female workers, who disproportionately work at jobs that don't provide benefits.







    Gillian highlights the destruction our healthcare system has on the union and non-union workers she works with at Jobs with Justice: it is the number #1 issue that unions strike over.







    Finally, Elizabeth Warren drops out of the Presidential race. Pundits have started arguing that she fell in the polls after leaning-into Medicare for All by releasing a financing plan and a transition plan. Ben and Gillian feel the more compelling reason was her hesitancy to embrace taxes as a financing mechanism for Medicare for All, and distancing herself from the Senate bill.







    We end the podcast with a thank-you to Warren for her epic take-down of Pete Buttigieg's "Medicare for All Who Want It" proposal during the debates.







    Follow & Support the Pod!







    You can listen to Medicare for All on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or visit our website here.







    Please donate to the Healthcare-NOW Education Fund to support the podcast!

    • 41 min
    South Carolina, Coronavirus, Wonk Wars, and Organizing Victories

    South Carolina, Coronavirus, Wonk Wars, and Organizing Victories

    Joe Biden wins his first, and so far only, primary with the help of Medicare for All supporters. Trump’s team doesn’t believe in the coronavirus, but if it does exist, Medicare for All would make it worse (?!?). Centrist policy experts trash the Yale Medicare for All study and then trash the entire policy of Medicare for All for good measure. Stephanie birddogs Joe Kennedy at an event for the Patients over Profits Pledge, and Connecticut passes its first municipal resolution in favor of Medicare for All!























    Show Notes







    Pete Buttigieg drops out of the race. R.I.P. "Medicare for All Who Want It" - you were basically just a public option gift-wrapped with language to co-opt the Medicare for All movement.







    Exit polls show that 50% of primary voters in South Carolina back Medicare for All - marking the 4th straight primary where M4A has pulled out a majority. But surprisingly, a majority of M4A supporters in South Carolina backed Joe Biden! Our hot take: the M4A movement handed Joe Biden his first primary win ever, after 3 presidential runs. Show us some love, Joe!







    The Partnership for America's Health Care Future also spent $200,000 running an ad blitz in South Carolina opposing Medicare for All. They had to make two new ads so they'd have black people in them, and in the process added some brazen lies about M4A increasing your taxes AND your premiums.







    However, our ally the Debs-Jones-Douglass Institute organized an impressive "I'm a Medicare for All Voter" campaign in South Carolina. While we'll never outspend the healthcare industry, this campaign spoke with 10s of thousands of SC voters, and collected more than 10,000 pledges from SC residents to vote only for a candidate that supports Medicare for All. This is far more impactful than $200k in ads.







    Also, crucially important: Charles Brave, the President of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, published an op-ed in the Charleston Chronicle about how Medicare for All is good for union workers and is supported by the SC labor movement. This set a very different tone from Nevada, where the Culinary Union made waves by attacking M4A - even though the Nevada AFL-CIO has ALSO voted to support Medicare for All as their official position.







    Coronavirus! The House Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on the coronavirus threat, where Trump's Secretary of Health & Human Services, Alex Azar, weighed in on... how Medicare for All will ruin America, crying crocodile tears for union workers. When he was actually questioned about developing a vaccine for coronavirus, Azar incredibly replied that it may not be affordable for everyone because we need the private sector to invest in the vaccine, and they won't do it with price controls (!!!!!!!!).







    Many others made the connection between the coronavirus threat and Medicare for All. AOC weighed in from the perspective of restaurant workers - Stephanie adds her own horrifying story of being forced to continue working at her restaurant job while suffering from mono and strept throat! Helaine Olen made the basic case that it is impossible for a country to contain a pandemic if people are afraid to go to the doctor due to unaffordable costs.







    Sally Pipes, however, made the conservative argument that countries with Medicare for All are LESS prepared to contain pandemics, because they have so few hospital beds, doctors, and medical resources. This claim hits 100 on the b******t meter! The U.S. has among the fewest hospital beds, and among the fewest number of physicians per 1,000 residents of all the developed nations. We have 2.8 hospital beds per 1,000 people - Japan has 13.1 beds per 1,000 people; Germany has 8; etc. The U.S. has 2.6 physicians per 1,000 people,

    • 36 min
    The Culinary Union Upset: Nevada debate and primary results, Medicare for All studies, and GoFundMe

    The Culinary Union Upset: Nevada debate and primary results, Medicare for All studies, and GoFundMe

    Nevada’s largest and most influential union bucks leadership to support Medicare for All; new study from Yale economists is added to the extensive body of research arguing Medicare for All would save lives and billions of dollars; Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar’s healthcare plans finally receive some scrutiny, thanks to Elizabeth Warren























    Show Notes







    The Nevada Democratic debate turns into a blood bath! Elizabeth Warren goes after the healthcare plans of Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg - plans that have received almost zero scrutiny during the election cycle.







    Stephanie takes on the Klobuchar healthcare plan for a public option, which is one paragraph long and offers no details. In that paragraph she says she supports universal health - and links to a tweet of hers about rural hospital funding as evidence. Weird?! She also says that her public option would be based on Medicare... or Medicaid. Kind of an important difference!







    Ben critiques the Pete Buttigieg "Medicare for All Who Want It" proposal, which involves a public option and what's called "retroactive enrollment" - if you are uninsured and go to a hospital, you will be retroactively enrolled in the public option plan, even if you have to pay the premiums for it. Morning Consult just ran a poll that found only 24% of Americans support a public option when coupled with retroactive enrollment - far less than support for Medicare for All. This completely undermines Buttigieg's claim that Medicare for All is "divisive," and that there is broader support for his plan.







    Make sure to check out Healthcare-NOW's page on the Presidential candidates' healthcare positions if you haven't already!







    Also in the world of shocking new polls, NORC released a new survey finding that 8 million Americans have had to launch a crowdfunding campaign to pay for medical bills. Stephanie relates the story of her two friends fighting cancer - one in Denmark with comprehensive, coordinated care, and the other in the U.S. who had to launch a fundraising campaign to pay for the family's cancer care costs.







    The survey also asks "Who Should be Responsible for Providing Help When Medical Care is Unaffordable?” - although this precludes supporting Medicare for All in the answer, 60% of respondents picked "Government" first - over hospitals, clinics, charities, and doctors - and they picked family and friends last. Americans are not "anti-Government" when it comes to assuming responsibility for our healthcare security.







    A major new economic analysis of Medicare for All by Yale economists found that Medicare for All would cover everyone, save more than $450 billion per year, and prevent more than 68,000 unnecessary deaths from lacking health insurance.







    Ben points out that this is the latest in more than 4 decades of economic research on Medicare for All. While Joe Biden has been claiming we don't know how much M4A will cost, and don't have a plan to pay for it, there is far more research and certainty about paying for M4A than there is for his plan. The cost estimates for Biden's and Buttigieg's plans were created by their own consultants, without saying where their data is from or what assumptions they're making, whereas multiple peer-reviewed and credible economic analyses of Medicare for All have been published in the last three years alone.







    Finally we discuss the Nevada election outcomes! NBC entrance and exit polls found that 62% of Nevada caucus voters support Medicare for All - higher majorities than we saw in Iowa (57%) and New Hampshire (58%). Stephanie points out that this is in spite of the media frenzy over Nevada's Culinary Union attacking Medicare for All.

    • 28 min
    Launching “Patients over Profits”; Nevada’s Culinary Union attacks; John Oliver takes on the public option

    Launching “Patients over Profits”; Nevada’s Culinary Union attacks; John Oliver takes on the public option

    National Nurses United and partners launch a new campaign to expose and fight back against industry influence in the Medicare for All debate, inspired by the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge led by Sunrise and other climate change organizations. We’ll tell you how to get involved.







    The Nevada Culinary Union has come out hard against Medicare for All - but how does their plan stack up against M4A? Andrew Yang Drops out of the Presidential race, ending the most dramatic about-face on Medicare for All seen this year. And John Oliver’s segment on Medicare for All - what he got right, what he got wrong.























    Show Notes







    Ben and Stephanie talk about the massive new Medicare for All campaign launched this week by National Nurses United and a national coalition of organizations: the Patients Over Profits Pledge.







    The Pledge asks elected officials not to take campaign contributions from the corporations involved with the Partnership for America's Healthcare Future (PAHCF) - the coalition of Big Pharma, health insurers, and other corporate forces fighting Medicare for All.







    Why is this new campaign needed? As the Medicare for All movement has grown and racked up victories, the PAHCF has started spending millions to undermine healthcare as a right through ads and campaign donations. The campaign is based on the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, which the environmental rights movement has successfully run since 2017. Almost every Democratic candidate for President in 2020 has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, and our goal is to similarly make money from the healthcare industry politically toxic.







    Some details of the campaign: any elected officials can sign the pledge, including local elected officials, and state legislators, but we particularly want to target Members of Congress. The campaign will start off by collecting petition signatures from members of our communities, and we will then deliver petitions to our elected officials during a week of action in April.







    Ben & Stephanie dive deep on the Nevada Culinary Union's opposition to Medicare for All, and feud with Bernie Sanders. Although the Union has not endorsed a candidate in the elections, they put out an incredibly misleading flyer for their members claiming that Sanders's Medicare for All plan would "end" their Culinary Healthcare plan, while other candidates would "protect" Culinary Healthcare.







    The Culinary Union then released a press release claiming that they believe "healthcare should be a right, not a privilege," and that "We [the union] have already enacted a vision for what working people need." It turns out, however, that the Culinary Union's plan allows more than $6,000 in out-of-pocket costs, and borrows some shady policies from the for-profit insurance industry to leave patients with huge ER bills. Culinary workers also have to work more than 30 hours/week for 3 months, plus an additional 1 month waiting period, before qualifying for health benefits, which they can lose if they don't work enough hours permanently. This is not a just healthcare system for workers.







    In other news, Andrew Yang has withdrawn from the presidential race. Ben goes off on how horrified he was when Yang, after running moving ads about his son with autism and the need for Medicare for All, abandoned his support for M4A in the middle of his campaign and announced a healthcare plan that would change - as far as we can tell - nothing for American patients.







    Finally, we love, love, love John Oliver's new segment on Medicare for All and his characterization of the public option as a "s**t sandwich with guacamole." Ben & Stephanie take issue with Oliver's characterization of cost savings under...

    • 29 min
    It’s a socialist takeover: Trump’s SOTU, the Democratic debates, and Parasite!

    It’s a socialist takeover: Trump’s SOTU, the Democratic debates, and Parasite!

    Donald Trump’s State of the Union address includes some good old fashioned red-baiting re: Medicare for All. Centrist Democrats vying for the party’s nomination pile on, albeit from different angles, at the New Hampshire debate. Parasite wins big at the Oscars!!























    Show Notes







    Ben dedicates the show to everyone who needs healthcare. Stephanie would like to exempt the makers of the Iowa caucus reporting app, who have kicked off the primaries by undermining our national faith in democracy (and Democracy).







    Stephanie reacts to a Washington Post poll showing that 6 out of 10 Iowa caucus voters support Medicare for All, despite WaPo using extremely biased language.







    Trump uses his 2020 State of the Union address to attack Medicare for All as a “socialist takeover of healthcare.” But, Ben points out, he says he will defend Medicare to the death. Socialism for seniors, ruthless capitalism for younger people? Trump also borrows from Biden’s talking points against M4A.







    Trump’s second attack on Medicare for All is that it will cover “illegal” immigrants. Ben points out that this is false – immigrants actually subsidize our healthcare system for U.S.-born residents. It’s also important for us to make the moral case for covering everyone, regardless of documentation status.







    During the New Hampshire Democratic primary debates, a heated argument takes place between Sanders and Buttigieg over whether Medicare for All is politically divisive or politically unifying. Stephanie points out Buttigieg is actually trying to CREATE a division between those with health insurance, by fear mongering that they will somehow lose coverage, and those without, who desperately need universal coverage.







    Joe Biden goes after Medicare for all on a cost basis, and makes up a bunch of s**t about what happened in Vermont. You don’t have to be an economist to know that M4A costs less – just look at all of the countries who have it, who spend less. Also, Vermont never implemented Medicare for All, but Joe didn’t get the memo!







    Amy Klobuchar runs out of arguments against Medicare for All and decides to argue that the debate over M4A “isn’t real.”







    Finally, a side-note about the social determinants of health from the Oscars! Social status is the single-most important determinant of how long you live and how healthy your life will be – far more important than access to healthcare. This is true not just for low-income people, but even among the very wealthy and privileged. Researchers have found that Oscar winners live 4 years longer than actors and actresses nominated for an Oscar who don’t win! Our new campaign: Oscars for all!







    Follow & Support the Pod!







    You can listen to Medicare for All on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or visit our website here.







    Please donate to the Healthcare-NOW Education Fund to support the podcast!

    • 38 min
    Iowa: Medicare for All Battleground

    Iowa: Medicare for All Battleground

    PACs are advertising in Iowa not only for candidates - but also against Medicare for All. Listen in on some of the ads and break them down with us. Also - an update on where California is on establishing a state single payer healthcare system.























    Show Notes







    This week Stephanie would like to exempt Michael Bloomberg from our Medicare for All plan, after he was shoe-horned into the Democratic debates, because of... he's rich.







    The Iowa caucuses are underway as Ben & Stephanie are recording, and they take a look at the ads the Partnership for America's Healthcare Future (PAHCF) are running in Iowa and other primary states to attack Medicare for All.







    Listen here to the PAHCF ad called "Same Thing," which claims that a public option and Medicare for All are the SAME THING. Weird? What are the goals of the healthcare industry in conflating a public option and Medicare for All? Ben & Stephanie highlight how this undermines the claim that a public option is more politically feasible than Medicare for All.







    Things get even stranger in the world of Medicare for All campaign ads. We break down a campaign ad run by Kansas State Senator Susan Wagle attacking Barbara Bollier, who are both running for U.S. Senate in Kansas; as well as an ad by Better Future Michigan attacking Gary Peters for supporting Medicare for All. What makes these ads truly insane, beyond trying to paint a picture of a dystopian future under universal healthcare? Neither Barbara Bollier nor Gary Peters actually support Medicare for All!







    Finally, Ben & Stephanie briefly discuss the newly created "Healthy California for All Commission," which had its first meeting on January 27 to develop a plan for a single-payer healthcare system. You can see the Commission's mandate and all of its meetings here. A similar Commission is being created in Oregon - both are the results of organizing by the Medicare for All movement!







    Follow & Support the Pod!







    You can listen to Medicare for All on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or visit our website here.







    Please donate to the Healthcare-NOW Education Fund to support the podcast!

    • 28 min

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