Resisting the Trump/Ryan Health Plan

The complex Obamacare system struggled to gain popularity, but now that Republicans are moving to replace it with a less generous program, many medical professionals are irate, reports Dennis J Bernstein.

By Dennis J Bernstein

President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan are twisting congressional arms to get enough votes to push through repeal of the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a scheme that relies heavily on tax credits and would, according to the Congressional Budget Office, leave 24 million more uninsured Americans in 10 years. But there is also an army of activists and progressive healthcare workers who are opposing repeal without a real plan for providing broad-based health insurance.

President Donald Trump giving his weekly address on Feb. 25, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

On the front lines of this information battle is Dr. Carol Paris, president of Physicians for a National Health Program and a member of the steering committee for Health Over Profit for Everyone. She confronted Trump in Nashville, at a recent campaign style rally for “Repeal and Replace.”

“I meant no disrespect to the President or his supporters,” said Dr. Paris, after she was “rather roughly” taken out of the mostly pro-Trump gathering. “I simply did what I felt I had to do as a physician and American. Tens of thousands of people are dying needlessly due to lack of health insurance, and millions are suffering with financial burdens due to unaffordable health insurance and unaffordable health care. I know that a simple solution has already been introduced into the House of Representatives called H.R. 676 — Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.”

I spoke with Dr. Paris about her actions at the Trump rally and her concerns about what is in store for the 24 million additional people who will end up outside the America’s profit-oriented heath insurance system.

Dennis Bernstein: You’re from Nashville, tell us why you decided to go there and actually make a scene in public.

Carol Paris: Well, I want to acknowledge first that there were 2,500, approximately, 2,500 protesters outside of the rally. And these are hard working people who stood out in the cold, and took time at the end of their day to protest. I happen to be 64 and retired, so I have the freedom to get in line at 9:30 in the morning, and stand in the cold all day to make sure that I get a seat upfront. And I made that decision partly because I have the freedom to do that, and mostly because I really felt from a strategic standpoint, that this was the time to take a direct action.

DB: And, you were definitely a strong critic of Obamacare. And you were vocal with the groups that you work with, in terms of the failures of Obamacare. And so this is just a continuum, a resistance to, I guess, Obamacare on steroids. But, tell us about the confrontation. What exactly happened, and how did it feel to stand up? Were you afraid? Tell us about that.

CP: Well, of course, I was afraid. I wasn’t raised to be confrontational, and so standing up to the President of the United States, and interrupting him was frankly, terrifying. But, it also was overshadowed, that fear was overshadowed by just an abiding conviction, we have people dying in this country because they can’t get health insurance, and health care. I’m a physician, and I can’t abide that. I really felt compelled to do this.

DB: And what did you do?

CP: Well, I knew that I was not going to be able to say very much, because I was really just waiting for him to take a breather, and find a quiet, relatively quiet moment in-between people cheering for every other word he said. So, when I thought that that moment had arrived I just stood up, held my sign as high as I could, and what I said was “Put your name on a plan that works, Medicare for all.” And I just kept chanting that. There was so much more I would have liked to have said. But I knew that I wasn’t going to get the opportunity at that point.

DB: I watched the video. … You repeated it a number of times and then you were approached by security. How did they treat you?

CP: The police officers were polite. One of them kind of pushed me a bit, because I was trying to exit past the press table, and he was not inclined to allow me to do that. So, he did sort of forcibly move me into an exit aisle. But, beyond that it was fine.

DB: And what did the people around you… did they start… they started to boo right? There was a lot of discontent with your expression. And how did the President react?

CP: Well, at that point I was distracted, and didn’t actually… had stopped looking at the President. When I began, I looked right at him. He wasn’t looking at me at that point. And, then I really just focused on saying what I was saying, as loudly as I could, and was more interested in trying to direct some attention to the press table because I wanted the press to see that I was protesting. So, I don’t really know, it’s only in watching the video afterwards that I see that he actually acknowledged that someone was protesting, and made a comment, I guess.

DB: I think he said that that will be the lead on the 6… he was probably right too. And that’s, of course, your point. And we want to speak a lot more with you about your experience, your background, and your response to Trumpcare. Take us… you’re somebody who’s paid a lot of attention to all these plans, and been in the struggle for quite a bit. So, take us through what you see now in terms of where we are right now, this so-called transformation we’re hearing about. What do you see the dangers? Will we go from bad to worse? We saw the report coming out of the Congressional Budget Office investigation. Give us a sense of what you think will happen here if Trump has his way?

President Obama in the Oval Office.

CP: I think that if Paul Ryan and Tom Price have their way, because frankly, Donald Trump, I don’t think, based on what he said … when I reviewed it, he really didn’t elaborate much on what the American Health Care Act would actually entail. He just talked about stage one, stage two, and stage three. So, I think he is just sort of telling thing, what he’s able to understand. This is really Ryan and Price’s…

DB: Right. So what do you think the implications are here, the break down?

CP: I think that they have, from the day that Obamacare was passed, they have had both Obamacare, and Medicaid and Medicare on the chopping block, and to privatize Medicare as much as possible. So, they now have the opportunity to do that. And that’s what they’re doing. But they’re not changing… to call Trumpcare anything other than just Obamacare made leaner and meaner, is to elevate it beyond what it deserves. It really is just Obamacare, only made even more skimpy and lean. And giving even more money, our tax dollars, to the wealthy. It’s another gift to the rich, and… at the expense of poor, working class people, and especially the 50 – 64 year old age group. They’re really going to suffer financially from this piece of legislation.

DB: And, could you talk a little bit about what the possibilities are here. People say this is impossible. We hear about socialized medicine, but we have sort of one of the worst systems in the modern world. How possible is it for us… how affordable is it, for us to move into a system where everybody really is cared for in a way that’s respectful and guarantees the fact that it is a human right?

CP: I won’t argue that point with you. But I don’t have to argue that point with you, if I can argue the point from a strictly cost effective, fiscal responsibility framework. We already spend in this country more per capita for health care than any other country in the world. And we’re not getting the health care we’re paying for.

We still have 28 million people uninsured, in spite of the fact that even just in our public dollars, we’re spending more than any other country in the world, not to mention the private money on top of that. So, we’re spending the money we’re just not getting our money’s worth. And, if we were to eliminate the profit and the bureaucratic waste, in the for-profit insurance industry… the most recent study that came out estimates somewhere around $506 billion a year would be saved and could be used to actually provide health care.

So, it is feasible to do this. This is not an outrageous idea. However, I think expecting that either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party are going to champion this and take it forward is unlikely. I mean, we had a Democratic president with a majority in both houses of Congress in 2009, and he wouldn’t even let single-payer have a seat at the table. It wasn’t even allowed to be discussed.

So, I don’t have big hopes that the Democratic Party is going to champion this, in the future, unless we make it toxic for them not to. And we can do the same thing with the Republicans. Make it toxic for them not to support the national health program.

DB: Dr. Carol Paris … is the current president of the national organization, Physicians for a National Health Program. She’s on the steering committee of Health over Profit for Everyone. Interesting name for a group, Health over Profit for Everyone. That really is at the heart of the matter, whether the profit motive or humanity is going to motivate us as we go forward and try and express a real care for our people, for our children, for the future that way, right? This is the big one.

CP: This is the big one. And what the Health over Profit campaign is, is it’s a grassroots based, building movement to… because we know that it’s going… to build a movement takes time. And we’re looking at as much as 3 – 5 years, but that’s what it’s going to take to make this issue such common place knowledge for everyday Americans, and to make it toxic for their legislators not to support it. That’s what it’s going to take. So, that’s what the Health over Profit campaign is all about. It’s a grassroots movement. And right now it is base building and educating.

We know that any active, and the active, sustained support of only 3.5% of the population is always successful, in a campaign. There’s research that shows… we don’t need 51% of the American people to support this. Even though polls show that the vast majority of Americans do support it. What we do need is 3.5% of the population to make an active, sustained effort to influence their members of Congress, and make it toxic for them not to do the right thing. If we don’t do that then our members of Congress will continue to do what their donors tell them to do. And their lobbyists and donors are the very wealthy insurance industry, and pharmaceutical industry.

DB: How would you characterize the situation now? It’s sort of deeply confusing for anybody trying to follow it. People are still signing up on the registries but everything is going towards a closing. Are people signing up in vain? This is serious confusion that’s being created by this process that’s going on in Washington.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior staff celebrating the passage of the Affordable Care Act on March 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

CP: It’s serious confusion, and it started when Barack Obama refused to allow a national health program to be considered in 2009. Because it just created more opportunity for the for-profit insurance industry to profit from the suffering of the American people. So I don’t think this is just the fault of the Republicans, they’re just who happen to be in charge right now.

DB: You’ve been protesting on this one for quite a while, haven’t you?

CP: Yes. I have. I joined Physicians for a National Health Program in 2009, when I really became convinced that it was impossible to try to legislate the insurance industry to behave in an ethical way. And so I gave up on that, and said “We really just need to have a national health program.

DB: So, you know the system. You have an idea of the suffering to come. What’s it going to look like? Are we going to have crowded emergency rooms? Are we going to have people out in the street? What’s medical going to look like if they go… if they’re hell-bent on going forward, without anything as a replacement? You know just to get that squeeze, move the money up again, another shift of what’s left, of the wealth, of the working class, and the middle class. You know, take their houses, take their medical plans now. But this is profound. This is where we see the implications of the mass, unequal distribution of wealth.

CP: And that’s what we’re going to see more of. The estimate from the CBO is that beginning in 2018, 14 million more people will be uninsured. And that’s mostly due to removing the mandate. So, young people, for the most part, will just stop purchasing insurance. And then over 5 years it will go to 21 million, and over 10 years to 24 million. So… and add that to the 28 million that are already uninsured, we’ll have 52 million uninsured people, in this country. And the way that that’s going to translate is that even with the tax credit, that is a much skimpier credit than the subsidies. And while they… the Republican plan may be to in phase 2 or phase 3, create the mechanism for insurance companies to write policies to have lower premiums, the only way you can reduce the cost of a premium, is to reduce what it actually covers. And so, right now Obamacare has certain regulations, that you can’t call this insurance if it doesn’t have an actuarial value of at least 60%. Which means that 60% of the cost is paid by the insurance company, and 40% is paid by the enrollee.

What we’re going to see are plans that have an actuarial value as low as 50%, and that barely even qualifies to be called insurance. So, that may be what they’re selling. And that may be affordable for younger people, but for people who are older, and are only getting until they’re 60, I think what is it… $2,000.00 tax credit? And, we’ve now given the insurance companies the permission to do age rating up to 5 times the cost that a young person would be charged. They can now increase it 5 times for an older person.

That’s going to create a premium that’s unaffordable, even with the tax credits that they’re offering. I saw one estimate that said a person making $26,000 a year at age 64 would have a premium… that would have insurance that would be costing them over $13,000 a year, just about half of their income. That’s if we pass the American Health Care Act as it is written today.

Brandishing guns became a feature of many Tea Party rallies opposing President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

DB: Well, as you say there is a bit of resistance. It’s coming from all sides, I guess. But it’s certainly not heading in the direction that you believe is correct, and that you’ve been fighting for, doctor, for so many years. But it does, in a strange way it seems inevitable. And it may be this, as people organize, this will burst through the other side of this… what’s really heading towards a massive failure and a great deal of suffering. I guess as a medical doctor, this is in a way very personal, you see this up close.

CP: I did. I’m retired now, but I certainly did see it up close for many, many years. And it’s a tragedy, and people have to decide whether to purchase their medication, or pay their rent, or buy food. No one should have to make that kind of a decision, in a country where we’re… as I said before, we’re already spending more money per capita than any other country, in the world that’s providing universal health care for their citizens. So, no, this is not something that I find acceptable.

DB: And, it’s dramatic in the sense that those most deeply affected are children. Children, and then what goes along with that. The inability to participate in a full way in school, because the health is not there. So, this is… this reverberates, doesn’t it?

CP: It reverberates. Racial disparities certainly play into this. There’s so many aspects of social justice that play into this problem that could be improved if we simply did what we have the ability to do. But there is not the political will to do that, yet. And that’s what we will continue to work on.

DB: Well, it’s shocking. I travel on public transportation, take the underground. There are a lot of people who are out on the street, who are wandering around , who deserve to be cared for. So many veterans, so many people who have done so much in their own lives, seeing more and more families out on the street. So, this is a reflection of the health of the society. And we appreciate all the time that you have taken onto this. If people want to learn more about your work, or want to be a part of this movement, this vision towards a health care system that is humane and treats us all the same, how do people follow your work, or what do you recommend?

CP: I would recommend two websites, pnhp.org which stands for Physicians for a National Health Program. I would also recommend healthoverprofit.org. For people who would like to become active or to learn more about this. And I really especially encourage people who have questions, who aren’t sure that they understand what this is, or would like to know more… Dr. Flowers and I will be doing a webinar on March 27th on the healthoverprofit.org web site. You can sign up for the webinar. And it’s going to be a call in. People who have questions can just call us and we’ll do the best we can to answer their questions.

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

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26 comments for “Resisting the Trump/Ryan Health Plan

  1. monih
    March 30, 2017 at 19:21
  2. rosemerry
    March 24, 2017 at 17:19

    It is an insult to call any of these “plans” healthcare. They are not about health or care. Americans eat far too much fatty processed food with additives which are not even permitted in most other countries. Decent eating, fair pay for their jobs (preferably one job per person), access to housing would reduce the need for so much medication and for operations for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

    • Realist
      March 24, 2017 at 19:18

      Moreover, many of these Obamacare insurance plans are just as “fake” as most other social programs since, with the high co-pays and deductibles attached to these plans, many of the subscribers cannot afford to actually use them. They pay a stiff premium to avoid a tax penalty, then when they get sick they have to pay thousands of dollars more in co-pays and deductibles before the plan actually starts benefitting them. If they can’t write that check for thousands more at the hospital, they can’t use their plan. Or they get sued into bankruptcy later. It’s a scam mainly for the benefit of the private insurance companies.

      Moreover, what most people forget is that not too many years ago most insurance plans in the United States were offered by non-profit entities and therefore affordable to purchase and utilise. Read Wendell Potter’s history of the American health care system to learn the facts. As with everything else in this country, like the broadcasting industry beginning in the Reagan era, big investors saw an opportunity to exploit another niche in America’s economy by buying all the insurance companies, hospitals, and related services in sight, and turn them into a strict profit-making de-facto monopoly. Even doctors could not thrive as free agents hanging out their own shingle and had to become partners in large corporate practices. Medicine writ large was thoroughly corporatised in the process, just as higher education has been in more recent days. It is the corporatisation of America that has destroyed all the “Joie de vivre” (joy of life) in this country.

      You see and speak the truth, Rosemerry.

  3. Wm. Boyce
    March 24, 2017 at 11:32

    Single-payer is the only way to go. There are various versions in other countries, all of who pay less per capita than us. A system can be built from the present law; the ACA needs modification, not repeal. It’s not rocket science, it’s being delayed by money polluting politics, Big Pharma, giant insurance companies and other moneyed bloodsuckers who love the present system, which makes them rich.

    The Social Security system operates with about a 3 percent overhead cost. The present health care “system” operates with a 15-25 percent overhead cost, depending on who is doing the analysis. Which is the better system? Not too hard to figure out.

  4. Peter Loeb
    March 24, 2017 at 07:20

    THE GROUCH

    I used to live in a tenement where there was a lady dragging
    her groceries and oxygen behind her. We lived on the same
    floor only doors away. I would help her carry up the groceries. Never
    a smille. Never a “thank you”. Nothing. So I called her
    “the grouch”..

    [I met the same “grouch” on lthe street one day after
    she had moved. She was all smiles as we alked along
    together…]

    Many Americans object strongly that they should be taxed,
    i.e. should be accountable for anyone else’s health but
    their own. “Let them eat cake?”

    Single payer will come to the US when and only when
    we all realize that we ALL have the obligation to bear
    the responsablilty (and cost) for everyone whether
    we “like” them or not. Why should this “grouch” lady
    suffer from cancer or any other health problems
    because I don’ like her???

    Since I have no children attending school, should I
    then refuse to pay any taxes (state or federal) for
    the education of other kids whose parents were
    uneducated enough (!!!!) to make love?
    Perhaps they are the “wrong” color. Perhaps they
    speak Spanish. Perhaps those kids are dirty…

    They still have a RIGHT to a good education.

    I don’t drive a car. Why should I pay anything at
    all for roads, water etc. to anywhere else in my
    state. Isn’t that..their problem?..

    I was a strong advocate for what was once known
    as the “Conyers bill”, I think it was HR 672.

    Instead we got ACA because the medical-industrial
    complex and “Big Pharma” (big pharmaceutical corps)
    ware major donors to so many Obama campaigns.

    Obama’s “point man” on health care at that time
    was Rahm Emmanuel (present Mayor of Chicago).
    “You don’t have to worry about the liberals”, quoth
    Mr. Emmanuel. “They have no other place to go.”

    So the strategy all along was to force liberal-progressives
    to support a measure based in Republicanism which
    gave primary control (prices of insurance, prices of
    medicine, access etc.) to giant private corporations.

    HOWEVER..it is debatable whether a “single payer
    bill” should be offered at this time. To do so would
    certainly make it much easier for the Trump-Ryan
    bill to pass as it would divide opponents.

    Furthermore, I think a review of health care in
    Scandinavia and elsewhere is due. Much of
    healthcare in Sweden, for example, has been
    privatized over the last decades. ( I lived
    in Sweden for 7 years in the 70’s but it is
    no longer the 70’s! )

    ACA (aka “Obamacare”) was and is a bad bill.
    It is what Barack Obama wanted, demanded and got.

    It represents the only crumbs we now have left and following
    the Obama-Rahm Emmanuel strategy with precision,
    liberals and progressives are left with fighting over
    these crumbs which make the wealthy
    wealthier and which are far from providing decent
    healthcare for all in the US.

    —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Bill Bodden
      March 24, 2017 at 12:34

      Peter: Your comment reminded me of a scene from a maritime novel I read, probably in the 1960s. This event took place on a sailing ship when a storm was approaching. The crew was called out to secure the rigging. Among the crew were an old-timer and a greenhorn (rookie). The former told the younger man, “Remember, one hand for the ship and one hand for yourself.” The logic is impeccable. You don’t take care of the ship, we’re all done for. You don’t take care of yourself you’re no help to the ship. The same logic applies to the ship of state. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the author’s name or the book’s title.

    • rosemerry
      March 24, 2017 at 17:25

      I observe that many Americans do have this lack of solidarity and are concerned more with individual rights. Gated communities are a case in point-why pay for education, parks, childcare areas etc- “I no longer need them”?

      • Realist
        March 24, 2017 at 18:54

        They are simply greedy and selfish. They justify their ego-centrism by claiming adherence to “noble” philosophies like those of the mediocre novelist Ayn Rand or the sensational Hollywood movie “Wall Street” which proclaims that “greed is good.” The irony is that the quote was supposed to symbolize what is wrong with the conscience of American big business, instead it was embraced as a mantra justifying personal excess. America lost its way long before the depredations of the 20th century. How morally grounded can a country be that was built on theft of the land from and genocide of the native peoples and slave labor by kidnapped Africans? Anyone who thinks such evil ceased long ago in our nation’s history needs to be reminded that most of the industrial barons, including Henry Ford and Dubya’s grandfather Prescott Bush, supported and armed Hitler before and even during World War II. And they tried to overthrow President Roosevelt by recruiting General Smedley Butler to lead the coup. Fortunately for the country, Butler had integrity and outed them rather than serving them. If the congress also had integrity and did its patriotic duty, the coup plotters would have spent their final days in irons, rather than suffering absolutely no consequences. That’s the real “solidarity” we find in America, nothing genuine beyond the USA! USA! chants at international sporting events.

  5. Bill Bodden
    March 23, 2017 at 20:26

    Medicare For All is the way to go. The basic system is already in place. The only problems are 1) the people in opposition for reasons that don’t make sense or because they are following the money, AND 2) how to phase in people who are not yet eligible.

    With regard to the second point, here are steps we could consider:

    Funding: Cancel Trump’s raise for the department of war, and cut 20 percent from the existing budget.

    All young people who are 21 years or younger signed up automatically.

    All people with chronic health problems signed up automatically.

    Next phase after the above are incorporated into the system reduce the eligibility age to 55.

    After the above are in the system, reduce the eligibility age to 45, and so on until Medicare For All is a reality.

    • Eric Downey
      March 24, 2017 at 04:48

      Yes Bill, Medicare for all is a good start, and your rollout’s a good idea. Pay for it by closing 25% of foreign military bases (still leaves us about 600 bases). The health care will be basic, somewhat poor like in most single payer countries. Then open up a private insurance “supplemental” market to offer cadillac plans. Allow HSA’s with tax incentives. Maybe some states could experiment with “voucher” systems to test the effects of competition. Repeal the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945 that protects insurance companies. It will take a thousand changes to bend the cost curve down. Let’s get started.

  6. clarioncaller
    March 23, 2017 at 19:23

    There can be no rational discussion of healthcare in America until we end chemtrails, GMO’s, toxic vaccines, herbicides and pesticides that alter body chemistry, and water that is NOT fit to drink.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    March 23, 2017 at 16:12

    How can we Americans invade other nations over the premise we are going to liberate them and provide them with freedom, when we can’t even take care of our own. None of this healthcare debate is over good health as much as it is about maximizing health care providers with profit. This whole conversation is an embarrassment, and quite insulting in fact, to the good citizens who live in this country. I also finding it most interesting that we have an acceptable way of insuring our cars, and our houses, but we struggle to provide healthcare for our human bodies. This whole healthcare debate is a suitable symbol $$$ for all that ails us in our troubled American society of today.

  8. Richo
    March 23, 2017 at 15:12

    The less number of people that have health insurance, and participate in conventional medicine, the better. The American medical system is the leading cause of death.

    Stay away from doctors, and never go near a hospital. Start educating yourself about nutrition and supplementation.

    The documentation is here. http://www.webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf

    In 2001, the total number of deaths caused by conventional medicine is an astounding 783,936 per year. It is now evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the US. (By contrast, the number of deaths attributable to heart disease in 2001 was 699,697, while the number of deaths attributable to cancer was 553,251) “

    • Bill Bodden
      March 23, 2017 at 16:17

      Stay away from doctors, and never go near a hospital.

      Three doctors operated on me in a hospital nearly 20 years ago. If they hadn’t I wouldn’t be around today. My problem had nothing to do with diet as far as I know. Another doctor is keeping tabs on me to make sure I don’t become another heart statistic.

      • Realist
        March 24, 2017 at 02:08

        Indeed, that remark is totally glib. If I didn’t have an operation in 1962 I would have been maimed for life. If I didn’t have an operation in 1995 I would be long since dead. If I didn’t have an operation in 2007 I would be seriously incapacitated today. If I didn’t have an operation in 2015 I would have been dead within days. If I didn’t have good insurance, I wouldn’t be breathing or sitting at this keyboard right now. I shudder to think how many Americans simply cannot afford to have their cancer removed or their heart repaired so they just die, or their family is pauperized for a generation or more.

    • Zachary Smith
      March 23, 2017 at 17:12

      Sir, if you understand the nature of your link then you ought to be ashamed of yourself. First three authors listed on the “paper”

      Gary Null, PhD has a nice write-up at the quackatch site.
      http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/null.html

      Carolyn Dean, M.D. – “In 1995, after reviewing her care of 36 patients, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (Canada) concluded that Carolyn Dean, M.D. was unfit to practice and revoked her registration certificate.”

      Dr. Martin Feldman, MD –

      Many doctors know the truth about HIV/AIDS. They know that HIV has never been proven to exist, that it has never been proven to be transmissible or to cause any disease, and that the so-called “HIV tests” have never been validated and therefore are used inappropriately, if not fraudulently.

      But they are afraid to challenge their controllers, The American Medical Association, and the Pharmaceutical companies that provide funding for just about everything that will advance their agenda and boost their bottom line, and pull the plug on anything and anyone who threatens their multi-billion dollar profits.

      Dr. Feldman dared to speak the truth publicly. More doctors need to find the strength to follow his example. RIP.

      One an HIV denier, another removed from practice in Canada, and the third is very much worth reading if you imagine your cancer can be cured with his magic nutrition pills.

      I’ve known of some doctor-caused deaths, but even more of my friends and family died because they followed the horrible practices you advocate of staying away from doctors, and never going near a hospital.

      If you’re “practicing what you preach”, I strongly advise you to wise up and start looking for a doctor who cares about your health. Yes, you’ve got to watch them, but totally avoiding modern medicine is verging on voluntary suicide.

    • Skip Scott
      March 24, 2017 at 07:51

      I would say that bad diet and lack of exercise are the leading cause of death in America. They contribute to cancer and heart disease, which are causes 1 and 2. The info I have says hospitals (infections and mistakes) are number 3.
      That’s not to say that I don’t think you should ever go to a doctor, but you should take responsibility for your own health first. If everybody did that health care expenditures would drop dramatically.

      • Wm. Boyce
        March 24, 2017 at 11:26

        The latest mortality/life expectancy study of industrialized nations points to one difference that brings America down in the ratings: Obesity.

  9. Bart in Virginia
    March 23, 2017 at 15:11

    Dr Paris stated that we spend much more per capita than other countries. Actually we spend twice what the Eurpoean countries spend and three times what Japan pays.

    The rough figures are about $4500 per person for countries like France, the U.K., Italy, etc., and $9400 in the U.S.

    • Joe Wallace
      March 24, 2017 at 23:50

      Bart in Virginia:

      When the Republicans pulled their health bill today, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), a Freedom Caucus member, was quoted as saying:
      “You know what? I came here to do health care right,” said Gosar, a dentist. “This is one chance we that can get one-sixth of our GDP done right. It starts with here.”

      Someone should inform Rep. Gosar that if health care is truly done right, it will not take up one-sixth of our GDP (16.67%), but closer to half that amount.

  10. backwardsevolution
    March 23, 2017 at 14:05

    A poster mentioned how he was standing at a stoplight in Germany, torrential rain coming down, late at night, no traffic. This poster, if he was back in the States, would have just run across the road, ignoring the traffic signal, but he looked around, and not one German was going to disobey the law and make a run for it.

    Another poster said that during a union riot years ago in Germany, people were getting very angry and pushing and shoving each other. During this fight, not one of these people stepped onto the newly-seeded lawn displaying a “Keep Off the Grass” sign. During all this chaos, no one disobeyed the sign.

    It takes a lot for people to stand up for themselves, go against the grain. The elite know this. Unless you fight for something, you won’t be getting it, not from these bought-and-paid-for politicians.

    The U.S. has $20 trillion in national debt. The federal budget deficit is half a trillion per year. 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every single day for the next decade, all expecting affordable healthcare and Social Security. Good luck with that. Something like 50 million on food stamps. People have been getting by using their credit cards – $3.8 trillion of debt there.

    25% of all student loans are in default (Obama backed $700 million in student loans – keep them in school in order to make unemployment figures look better than they are). Six million people aren’t paying their auto loans. 125 million full-time workers among a working age population of 254 million, or 49.2%. Not sustainable!

    The country is circling the drain. The people in flyover country are aware of this, but not the folks in Washington, D.C., New York or Progressiveville (California).

    Trump wanted to end the wars (think of the money that could be saved), but – no – let’s protest him. Trump wanted to bring back jobs, stop globalization, but – no – let’s protest him.
    Trump wanted to make healthcare affordable, but – no – let’s protest him.

    More than that, they want to impeach him. Where do these people think money comes from? Do they have any idea? Are they even living in reality?

    Get rid of the insurance companies and bring in single-payer.

    • Joe Wallace
      March 24, 2017 at 23:35

      backwardsevolution:

      Agree with everything you said except “Trump wanted to end the wars (think of the money that could be saved), but – no – let’s protest him.” I’m all for ending the wars we’re waging, but if Trump is so interested in ending wars and saving money, why is he increasing the defense budget by 10% (or $54 billion)?

    • Joe Wallace
      March 24, 2017 at 23:55

      backwardsevolution:

      Agree with everything you say except “Trump wanted to end the wars (think of the money that could be saved), but – no – let’s protest him. Trump wanted to bring back jobs, stop globalization, but – no – let’s protest him.” If Trump truly wants to end the wars we’re engaged in and save money, why has the defense budget been increased by 10% (or $54 billion).

  11. Bill Bodden
    March 23, 2017 at 13:14

    The Commonwealth Fund – http://www.commonwealthfund.org/ – is another good resource for health care information.

    Ali Velshi on MSDNC this morning revealed a list of nine (?) items Ryan and Trump would be willing to cut from Trumpcare to make it worse but more appealing to “conservatives” who say they will vote “no” on its passage. How much more vile and evil can these people become? They voted to wage war on the people of Iraq – another crime against humanity. Now they are inflicting their penchant for merciless inhumanity against the American people not in the highest strata of wealth.

    Obamacare, like much of Obamaspeak, is a sham and does need to be replaced – not by this contemptible plan proposed by Trump, Ryan and Price but by single-payer or Medicare for All.

  12. backwardsevolution
    March 23, 2017 at 13:13

    “What we do need is 3.5% of the population to make an active, sustained effort to influence their members of Congress, and make it toxic for them not to do the right thing. If we don’t do that then our members of Congress will continue to do what their donors tell them to do. And their lobbyists and donors are the very wealthy insurance industry, and pharmaceutical industry.”

    It’s very hard to get people out to protest, unless you have people like George Soros (and others like him) behind the scenes providing the money, the advertising and the organization. Notice how Soros is NOT silently behind things like health care or stopping the costly wars? All he cares about is dividing the country more, impeaching Trump, so that globalization is not stopped, but expanded (no borders, no nation states, no culture, just a multinational free-for-all).

    If you want single-payer healthcare, then you must take it, and take it now! There has never been a better chance, not since the likes of JFK. And if you want it, then Trump is the man to get it for you. Trump’s presidency was a shock to the elite, and they will make sure it doesn’t ever happen again. Trump is surrounded by seasoned politicians who are falling all over themselves to kiss up to the insurance/pharmaceutical industries. Trump can’t fight these guys all on his own. Heck, most of them want him impeached.

    All I see are people who are more interested in fighting for an illegal from Central America than fighting for their neighbor with cancer, more interested in a particular bathroom stall or knitting a pussy hat than protesting to stop the costly wars. Unbelievable!

    Get in the real world, people. Take to the streets. If you are out in numbers, then Trump will seize upon this strength. He can’t do it alone. Get out and help him.

  13. Sally Snyder
    March 23, 2017 at 11:20

    Here is an article that looks at a health care issue that clearly needs to be dealt with by Washington:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2017/03/the-failure-of-big-pharma.html

    Unfortunately for cancer patients, lobbying by Big Pharma has protected the industry from outside interference.

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