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Despite the fact that 45,000 die each year from lack of healthcare, both single payer and a real public option have been swept from the table, and "health reform" has morphed into the medical equivalent of Obama's financial recovery plan: huge and sustained profits for insurance, drug, and hospital companies, health expenses shifted from business and government onto us, and we are forced to buy private insurance that will cost more and more and cover less and less. Undocumented immigrants get nothing but cuts to the public hospitals and clinics they use. For women, particularly poor women, abortions will be even more out of reach as Insurance companies are pressured not to cover them. And at least half of all this will be funded from cuts in Medicare.

This not the result of recalcitrant Republicans or Blue Dog Democrats.   This is  in accordance with the four cornerstones of healthcare reform specified by Obama and his leading economic advisors: (1) a Medicare cost-containment Commission, (2) taxing high-cost private insurance, (3) reform of medical payment incentives, and (4) deficit reduction.  Each of these cornerstones represent policies that will reduce our health care.

As it becomes clear there will be no national health reform, focus will probably shift to two areas:

(1) Passing SB-810, single-payer healthcare in California. The need for single-payer will become increasingly urgent as California’s $20 billion budget deficit leads to crippling cuts in health and human services, yet billions are wasted on health insurance companies.

(2) Fighting off the clamor from Republicans and Democrats, particularly Dianne Feinstein, for powerful, unelected Commissions to gut the so-called “entitlement” programs, Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.

Come discuss these developments, and help set our course for this year's health advocacy work.

See the SF Gray Panther web page on Commissions

Also see:

Commissions and Feinstein: The Next Threats to Medicare and Social Security

Senate Democrats propose a Task Force or Commission to massively cut Social Security and Medicare

FLASH!  Gray Panthers writes Obama on his paying MIT economist Jonathan Gruber $780,000 to write articles supporting Obama's private-insurance-based health reform. Read the letter below:

Jonathan Gruber is an MIT economist, who has written many articles supporting ObamaCare, particularly articles supporting taxation of so-called "Cadillac" insurance plans in the NY Times and Wash Post. This taxation, supported by Obama, is intended shift healthcare expenses from business and government by discouraging insurers from offering insurance with low, affordable co-pays and deductables, and discouraging employers from buying such policies for their employees. This will hurt both workers who have fought to win such policies, and older, sicker people who need such policies.  Gruber was "a key architect" (his words) of the Massachusetts "health reform" plan forcing individuals to buy private insurance with government subsidies to (barely) help poor people pay premiums. His website continues "During the 2008 he was a consultant to the Clinton, Edwards and Obama Presidential campaigns and was called by the Washington Post, “possibly the [Democratic] party's most influential health-care expert.”  

It now turns out Gruger was being paid by Health and Human Services to promote ObamaCare. As Firedoglake revealed on Friday, the Obama Administration has failed to disclose that it paid the same economist more than $780,000.

Gray Panthers wrote:

Dear President Obama,  

Gray Panthers is an intergenerational organization working for social and economic justice and peace. Health care is our top priority and we are single payer advocates, believing as the rest of the developed world, that single payer is the best system for delivering high quality health care to ALL  people in a cost effective way.   

We are dismayed to learn just today that while the health care reform debate has been taking place, your Administration has paid an economist, Jonathan Gruber, $780,000 to make the public case for reform. This reeks of conflict of interest.  During your presidential campaign, you wisely stressed the need for the federal government to be transparent in its dealings with the American people. Putting Gruber on the public payroll during the health care debate further diminishes the health care reform effort. 

The Gray Panthers commits to working for REAL health care reform that puts aside large special interests, back-room deals and opaqueness in communicating with the American people.   

Thank you.


SF Gray Panthers,  1182 Market St,  Room 203,  San Francisco CA 94102
Phone: 415-552-8800, fax: 415-552-8801
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Location: Market Street, at Hyde and 8th Streets,
One door downtown from Orpheum Theater box office. Map
Surface transit: MUNI 5, 6, 7, 9, and 21 buses, and F streetcar
Underground transit: Civic Center Station for BART and MUNI Metro lines J, K, L, M, and N
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