Welcome to the
Health Care Reform Advocacy Group
of LWV of Washtenaw County.
Our urgent need for equitable access to health care has never been more powerful than it is right now. As you read this, crises in health care due to the Covid-19 pandemic continue to spread.
Long-standing disparities in access to health care are made much, much worse by the Supreme Court Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
In response, we commit ourselves to educate other LWV members and the public about the health care crisis in the U.S. and advocate for concrete options for change.
To ask a question or to volunteer with our group, please send an email to advocacy [at] lwvwashtenaw.org.
League of Women Voters health care positions and actions
LWV of the United States believes that “every US resident should have access to a basic level of care that includes the prevention of disease, health promotion and education, primary care (including prenatal and reproductive health), acute care, long-term care, and mental health care. Every US resident should have access to affordable, quality in-and out-patient behavioral health care, including needed medications and supportive service that is integrated with, and achieves parity with, physical health care.”
Financing: “The League favors a national health insurance plan financed through general taxes in place of individual insurance premiums . . . [and] supports the single-payer concept as a viable and desirable approach to implementing League positions on equitable access, affordability, and financial feasibility. In any proposed health care financing system, the League favors health insurance access independent of employment status. (p. 137, Impact on Issues, 2022-2024)
- Lack of insurance:
One study published in March 2021 estimates that about 1/3 of Covid-19 deaths and 40% of infections were tied to lack of insurance. How for-profit healthcare worsened the pandemic. From Citizen.org. A year later, a PNAS study estimated that "338,594 COVID deaths are attributable to incomplete insurance coverage in the United States." From Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Another study estimates that “each 10% increase in the proportion of a county's residents who lacked health insurance was associated with a 70% increase in Covid-19 cases and a 48% increase in Covid-19 deaths.” The catastrophic cost of uninsurance. COVID-10 cases and deaths closely tied to Americas health coverage gaps. From FamiliesUSA.org
The economic catastrophe of unexpected, rapid job loss meant that an unprecedented number of people suddenly also lost their health insurance, which in the U.S. is typically tied to employment. In June of 2022, an extraordinary 100 million people, often sick, were struggling to cope with an often hidden burden of medical debt in the U.S., according to an NPR story.
- Excessive costs, poor results:
A recent effort to privatize Medicare (beyond Medicare Advantage) is an additional cause for concern. Privatization is threatening Medicare via two pathways. “Medicare Advantage” plans, run by private insurers who charge the tax-funded Medicare fund, are expected to exceed half of Medicare enrollees in the next several months. Many of the biggest insurers have been credibly accused of fraud on a scale of billions of dollars (see the November issue of The Voter, in Private Health Insurers Overcharge Medicare, Costing Taxpayers Billions and an October 8, 2022 New York Times article, "The Cash Monster Was Insatiable: How Insurers Exploited Medicare for Billions.")
An additional threat comes from a program started in the Trump administrations but continued in the Biden administration. ACO:REACH (formerly Direct Contracting Entities) would allow private companies with minimal connection to health care to take over Medicare in a local area. This threat is described in our June 2022 issue of The Voter, in "Medicare Privatization - It's Here and Moving Faster." A video of an interview with the head of PeaceHealth about their DCE can be viewed on the the Bellingham-Whatcom County (WA) LWV website. See Healthcare Issue Team: PeaceHealth DCE program. From LWV Bellingham-Whatcom.org
Concrete Options for Change
On May 17, 2023, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI-6) in the House and Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Senate introduced improved Medicare for All Acts (they differ in timetables for implementation). The House bill can be accessed here and an executive summary of the Senate version here.
In Michigan, state Rep. Carrie Rheingans introduced the single payer bill MiCare (HB 4893) on June 30, 2023. Rep. Rheingans will be holding Town Halls around the state in the coming months to get citizen responses in order to improve the bill. Please look for announcements of a Town Hall in your local area to learn more!
The CBO has issued a report on the costs of Medicare for All (2020 version) under varying assumptions: Universal healthcare for less! CBO scores Medicare for All. From Commondreams.org
Future doctors support a single-payer system: On June 8, 2023, the AMA’s Medical
Student Section, held just prior to the annual AMA meeting in Chicago, unanimously
passed a resolution calling on the AMA to remove all anti-single payer language from its
stances and drop its decades-long opposition to Medicare for All. Watch on Facebook (login not required)
Past and Upcoming Programs
LWV-Washtenaw Newsletter articles, Action alerts, emails, or posts
See "Medicare Privatization - It's Here and Moving Faster" on page 6 of the June 2022 issue of The Voter.
LWV Health Care Resources
LWV Arizona has put together a list of information and resources that can be accessed here: https://lwvhealthcarereform.org
The resources include documentaries and movies, books, templates for handouts, powerpoints, and a list of allies who offer further resources.
LWVNYS (New York State) has recently adopted updated positions on health care reform and health care financing, both of which are supported by LWVMI, and can be accessed at: https://lwvny.org/programs-studies/