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Medicare for All Means Healthcare for All

Medicare for All Means Healthcare for All

By Eve Shapiro, M.D. and Richard Wiebe*

As paychecks disappear for millions of Americans, so does their health insurance — at the worst possible time.  

The COVID-19 pandemic exposes the most fundamental flaw of the for-profit health insurance system:  Lose your job, lose your healthcare. Over 44 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits; the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 27 million will lose their health insurance.

Medicare for All means healthcare for all – with or without a job.  It operates under the principle that healthcare is a right, not a privilege reserved for those who can afford it.  When you get sick, you go to the doctor with no worries about deductibles and co-payments. 

Dental, vision, prenatal and mental health care, women’s health and long-term care are included.  Patients would have greater access to mental health and addiction treatment. Hospitals would be paid under a global budgeting system, which would prevent the closure of many rural hospitals — a critical challenge faced in communities across the nation. 

Recent polling shows that most Americans now support Medicare for All, including a growing number of conservatives who recognize the gross inefficiencies of the for-profit system.

Twenty million more Americans have healthcare coverage because of Obamacare, but millions are still unable to afford basic preventive care and treatment for illnesses and injuries. Americans pay $1 trillion more for healthcare than the Swiss, who have the second most expensive healthcare system. This equates to $8,000 in costs for the average U.S. household, according to Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton.

The $8,000 can be viewed as a tax, the economists say, which is imposed on everyone regardless of their ability to pay.  We don’t get much for that $8,000; life expectancy is lower in the U.S. than in Europe.

Although more people have health insurance, a growing number of Americans are avoiding medical treatment because it’s still too expensive.  Dr. Laura Hawks of the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School found that even those with chronic conditions skip doctor visits because of co-payments, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Much of America’s medical cost burden is consumed by waste.  A study published last year by the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates 20-25 percent of total healthcare costs – $760 billion — are wasted.  This is comparable to what the federal government spends annually on Medicare.

Administrative costs – time and money spent billing and reporting to insurers and public agencies – are blamed for $266 billion in waste.  Removing that cost would be enough to insure 20 million people, or three of every four people uninsured before the pandemic. Traditional Medicare operates with administrative costs of about 1.1 percent, which increases to seven percent when private Medicare plans are included.  Both compare favorably to the 13 percent private insurers now spend on administrative costs.

It’s not that Trump has a better idea.  Republicans have never offered a viable alternative to Obamacare.  Let the free market determine what we pay, they argue.  Insurance and pharmaceutical companies can charge anything they want. The less fortunate can fend for themselves. 

Although we spend far more on health care than any other nation, the World Health Organization ranks the United States only 37th for affordable health-care availability and quality. Healthcare costs are the leading cause of personal bankruptcies in the United States.  This reality is costly and morally unacceptable. We don’t need to spend more on medical care; we need to spend smarter. The COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to do the right thing and implement Medicare for All.

*Dr. Shapiro and Richard Wiebe are PC’s in LD 9. 

Free Hat With Donation

Free Hat With Donation

Call us old-fashioned, but Pima County Democratic Party still believes lying is wrong. We are working day and night to elect Democrats. We must replace the Liar-In-Chief; but we won’t stop there. Turning our state legislature blue is also a priority and we need a new Sheriff!

We need your help to do it!

Please donate $30 or more today and we will send you a high-quality baseball cap embroidered with the message
“Make Lying Wrong Again.”
Available in a variety of colors!
Only while they last.

DNC Convention Delegate Selection Workshops

DNC Convention Delegate Selection Workshops

Would you like to run to be a delegate to the July Democratic Convention in Milwaukee, or are you just wondering how delegates are selected?   Here is your chance to find out why we have Presidential Preference Elections and what they have to do with being a delegate as well as learn about The Arizona Democratic Party’s commitment to diversity in the delegation.   

RSVP for the workshop most convenient for you    

Saturday Jan. 18.  Martha Cooper Library, 1377 N Catalina Ave, Tucson  3:15 – 4:45 p.m.

Sunday Feb.  2. Woods Library 3455 N First Ave, Tucson. 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday Feb.  12. Eckstrom-Columbus Library  4350 E 22nd St.,  Tucson. 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

PCDP Adopts First Platform

PCDP Adopts First Platform

By Richard Wiebe

“The county party needs a platform,” Tucson attorney Bill Reisner told his friend, Phil Lopes.  “Let’s make it happen.”

The challenge was a perfect fit for Phil, a, longtime party activist and four-term state representative.  From joining the first Peace Corps class in 1961 to joining Pima Community College’s first faculty in 1969, Phil knows how to create something from nothing.

PCDP Chair Alison Jones said, “I first heard of the plans to propose building a platform at the LD3 monthly meeting in November 2018. Bill said we need to stand for more than just electing Democrats. It was time to articulate our values to energize Democrats, and let voters know where we stand.”

A few weeks later, Bill made a motion at the PCDP Reorganization Meeting that PCDP form a platform committee to do just that. The County Committee passed the motion, and Alison appointed Phil and Paul Taylor as co-chairs. 

By March, the two had recruited 15 volunteers who met at least bimonthly for eight months.  Experts in the community contributed valuable information on issues like education and housing. Focus groups provided additional insights from typical voters.

“We started with a blank slate,” Phil said. The platform committee represents the diverse constituencies that make up PCDP. It was a lot of work, but the committee produced a platform PCDP will be proud of.”

PCs unanimously approved the platform on December 7 at the County Committee Meeting.  It covers 16 subject areas:

  • Access to and Participation in Our Democracy
  • Anti-Racism
  • Criminal Justice
  • Economic Justice
  • Education
  • Energy and Environment
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Human Rights
  • Immigration and our Borderland Community
  • Native American Rights and Tribal Sovereignty
  • Peace
  • Public Health
  • Security and Safety
  • Taxes, Revenue and Spending
  • Technology

Positions on specific proposals, or “planks,” are listed for each subject.

To improve access to democracy, for example, PCDP supports strengthening Arizona’s Clean Elections system, the Outlaw Dark and Dirty Money ballot initiative, and reversing the Citizens United decision.

PCDP also supports increasing teachers’ salaries, expanding the low-income housing credit, overhauling immigration and customs enforcement, and removing English-only standards.

“I hope PCs will see the platform as a way of identifying ourselves,” Phil said. “The platform is intended to be a living document that will evolve as circumstances and viewpoints evolve.”

The platform can be found HERE.

Delegate Selection for the DNC 2020 Convention

Delegate Selection for the DNC 2020 Convention

in Milwaukee July 13-16

If you would like to try to be a delegate or if you are just interested in how delegates are chosen, this workshop is for you.

Summer may seem far away, but now is the time to start finding about how delegates are picked and how to be part of the process.   Competition for seats on the Arizona delegation is pretty stiff, so the earlier you start planning the better your chances.

The delegate selection plan is complex and involves goals for equal numbers of males and females; as well as goals for groups such as Native Americans, LGBT, young people, disabled, etc.   Arizona is committed to diversity.   

You are welcome at any of the following places/dates:

  • Oct. 18.   1:00 p.m.   Sierra Vista Democratic HQ, Sierra Vista
  • Nov. 13.   6:00 p.m. Nanini Library, 7300 N. Shannon Rd. Tucson
  • NOV. 16  2:30 p.m. .  Kirk-Bear Canyon Library, 8959 E Tanque Verde Rd., Tucson
  • Nov. 17.   1;30 p.m. Valencia Library, 202 W. Valencia Rd., Tucson
  • Nov. 19.   Nogales. TBA
  • Nov. 23.  2:30 p.m.   Pima County Democratic Headquarters, 4639 E First St.  
  • Dec. 8.  1:30 p.m.      CANCELLED: Miller-Golf Links Library.  9640 E Golf Links Rd. Tucson
  • Dec. 9.  6:00 p.m.      Pima County Housing Office.  800 W Congress, Tucson

Dates and times are subject to change.  If you RSVP you will be notified of any changes of date or time that may happen.     BARBTEE2@COX.NET   Please indicate date or place for which you are replying.   

Local Opinion: Now is the time for ‘Medicare for All’

Local Opinion: Now is the time for ‘Medicare for All’

  • By Alison Jones Special to the Arizona Daily Star Sept 6, 2019

The following column is the opinion and analysis of the writer.

My Republican counterpart’s letter regarding “Medicare for All” is filled with misinformation and fear-mongering. By reading HR 1384, the Medicare for All (M4A) bill, his points can be easily refuted. But first, let me be clear, M4A will not undermine our entire health-care system. The same doctors and hospitals will continue to practice and operate. M4A makes health care more accessible and addresses the very basic conflict of interest that patients must battle every day: every claim that an insurance company refuses to pay increases their bottom line.

David Eppihimer poses the question of who will decide what is covered? The answer is simple: doctors. Read the bill. It says M4A will “cover items and services that are medically necessary or appropriate to maintain health or to diagnose, treat, or rehabilitate a health condition, including hospital services, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse treatment, dental and vision services, and long-term care.”

Regarding the tax burden concern, federal expenses would increase since all costs are borne through taxes, but there would be no additional costs, so global payments for health care will significantly decrease and most families will pay much less than they do now. If you pay $2,000 more in taxes and save $6,000 in health-care costs, you’re $4,000 ahead.

Fears of rationing have always been the go-to argument for the GOP. Under M4A, care is based on whether it is medically necessary and appropriate. That’s not rationing. That’s good medical care. The current method of rationing based on one’s ability to pay is bad medicine. It is stunning that we are the only developed nation that denies care on this basis, and we see the repercussions in our substandard longevity statistics and health-care outcomes.

Republicans continue their fearmongering by saying hospitals will be forced to close because they won’t get paid enough. In truth, in those states where Medicaid wasn’t expanded, hospitals are closing because so many patients have no insurance. Under M4A, hospitals will be paid a global budget that takes into account many factors so that hospitals will be paid appropriately and can stay in business. It’s all explained in the text of the bill — read it.

Finally, Eppihimer’s concern about limited choices is a red herring. Choices of what? Insurance companies? In the bills before Congress, all doctors and hospitals would be included. Current Medicare plans include all physicians. Only private Medicare Advantage Plans limit choice, and those would be eliminated.

When Americans are able to reject the propaganda of fear and examine the facts, the solution becomes clear: single-payer health care is humane, proven, and cost-effective. Now is the time for Medicare for All.

Arizona Democratic Party SUPPORTS HR134 – read the resolution here.

read HR134 here

See what doctors say here.

Speaker Series – August 2019

Speaker Series – August 2019

by Greer Warren

PCDP’s new speaker series, Civics 2.0: What They Didn’t Teach in Middle School, kicked off on July 21 with Ward 6 Councilman Steve Kozachik addressing the question: Tucson City Council: What is it and why do I care?

Civics 2.0 is a free series open to and aimed at the general public, offering topics of interest and relevance to Pima County residents. These are not fund-raising or campaign events.

Steve talked for an hour about the council’s structure and function, and important issues with which the council is dealing, including the 3M water contamination litigation, Broadway Boulevard widening, and asylum seekers then at the Benedictine Monastery. Steve answered questions about how Tucson residents can get involved in city government through boards, committees and commissions. He stressed the importance of voting in the upcoming city primary and general elections, this year by mail-in ballot through the U.S. mail, not at your usual polling place. 

The Civics 2.0 series continues from 2 pm-3 pm on Sunday, August 25, when Arizona House Rep. Kirsten Engel (D-LD10), and Arizona State Sen. David Bradley (D-LD10), will discuss the recently-completed 2019 Arizona legislative session: what worked, what didn’t, why it was so weird, and why you should care, at the Murphy-Wilmot Library, 530 N. Wilmot Rd. Get free tickets at Eventbrite:

Please join us, and bring your friends and neighbors.

Looking for Artists

Looking for Artists

Tamar Rala Kreiswirth

We are a group of local artists inviting you to help establish a gift shop at PCDP headquarters.   We need your activist artistry to get started!

We hope you will join us by donating one or more of your pieces or help stock the shelves along with the work of others: Cards (every leader needs nice ‘Thank You’ cards), pottery (Volunteers drink lots of coffee!), jewelry (Hmmm…we see a lot of women activists in Tucson), notepads, bumper stickers (Maybe buy a few to donate to the HQ Gift shop!), pins, posters, t-shirts, music CDs.

Wouldn’t it be nice when people come to HQ, they find the perfect gift for their super-volunteer friends? A lovely way to support PCDP efforts: helping elect leaders who support the causes we care about.

For more info, please email Tamar Rala Kreiswirth at