Jodi Jacobson on Stupak, abortion, and health reform

November 11, 2009

Lindsay Beyerstein of The Media Consortium interviews Jodi Jacobson political director of Reproductive Health Reality Check about what's been called the greatest threat to abortion access in a generation: the Stupak amendment to the House health care bill. Jacobson explains how the language this amendment could effectively destroy public and private insurance coverage for abortion, if it finds its way into the final health care bill.

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Korten Exposes Rick Scott of Conservatives for Patients’ Rights

October 2, 2009

Health care entrepreneur Rick Scott is personally bankrolling a multimillion dollar campaign against health care reform. Scott used to run the largest hospital chain in the country, until the firm was found to have defrauded Medicare out of $2 billion. Scott was never charged, but he was sent packing in the wake of the scandal. He has since founded Solantic, a Florida chain of bare-bones walk-in clinics that profit by offering the uninsured lower rates than they'd get at the ER. Why are their rates lower? Because hospitals currently jack up the price of ER visits to compensate for the fact that so many uninsured patients don't pay their bills at all. If we had universal health insurance, everyone would pay the same price and Solantic wouldn't seem like such a good deal.

As Korten and I discuss in our interview, Scott has been accused of discriminating against employees who don't meet his marketing-driven image of an attractive, "clean cut," young staff. Solantic recently settled out of court with several staffers who said they were fired for refusing to enforce the company's biased hiring policies.

Korten's in-depth investigation of Rick Scott, his checkered business history, and his advocacy group Conservatives for Patients' Rights was published as a two-part series in Salon this week. His work was supported by a grant from the Nation Institute.

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Jennifer Nix Loves Her “Socialist” Kidney

October 1, 2009

To most Americans, single-payer health care seems like political science fiction, a bold idea that could never happen here. Most people don't realize that we already have single-payer in the U.S. for certain groups of people. The familiar examples are Medicare (for the aged) and Medicaid (for the poor). My guest Jennifer Nix knows first hand about another group of Americans who get single payer health care: patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who need dialysis or kidney transplants. In 2008, Nix learned that she had inherited the same cystic kidney disease that nearly killed her father in the early seventies. In 1972, Wayne Nix was a young schoolteacher with two small children, a new mortgage, and renal failure. Dialysis was astronomically expensive and private insurers refused to cover patients with ESRD. Luckily for the Nix family, activists successfully lobbied to create Medicare ESRD, a program that has since helped over 1 million Americans survive with ESRD regardless of their ability to pay. Amazingly, the program enjoyed strong bipartisan support. It was assumed that covering ESRD patients was just a stop-gap to tide them over until universal health care covered everyone. Even Republican president Richard Nixon was on board with the idea. As we all know, we're still waiting for universal healthcare. Luckily, when Jennifer Nix found out she needed a kidney transplant, the Medicare ESRD was still there for her. If single-payer works for one disease, Nix argues, why shouldn't all Americans enjoy the same health security?

Jennifer Nix is a journalist and the publisher of Guernica Magazine. She published an essay in Salon this week about her personal and political history with single payer entitled, I Love My Socialist Kidney.

Lindsay Beyerstein is the Media Consortium's health care blogger. She writes the Daily Pulse, a compendium of TMC's best health and health care policy writing.

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Adele Stan Talks Tea Parties (Audio)

September 18, 2009

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium Blogger

Last Saturday, veteran right wing watcher Adele Stan of AlterNet covered the Tax Payers' March on Washington (aka the 912 March or the DC Tea Party). About 70,000 conservative protesters converged on Washington to air their grievances, including opposition to President Obama's health care reform agenda. Protesters carried signs warning of death panels, tax-funded abortions, and healthcare for "illegals."

In this interview, Stan explains that while the event was billed as a grassroots convergence, it was in fact orchestrated by Dick Armey's FreedomWorks and the right wing Americans for Prosperity. The rally also received massive amounts of free publicity from Fox News host Glenn Beck, coordinator of the 9-12 project. Stan describes how all the abortion-, immigration- and death panel-talk binds social conservatives, nativists, and big business interests into a cohesive rightwing coalition.

Stan says that ,while the tea baggers have cropped up recently, the leaders of the movement have been at this game since LBJ trounced Barry Goldwater in 1964.

To learn more, check out Addie's recent writing on the Tea Parties at AlterNet. The Wing Nut Code explains the significance of those creepy yellow snake flags and other right wing symbology; and The Same Old Faces explains how old guard Goldwater partisans are still pulling the strings for the right wing. This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care and is free to reprint. Visit Healthcare.newsladder.net for a complete list of articles on health care affordability, health care laws, and health care controversy. For the best progressive reporting on the Economy, and Immigration, check out Economy.Newsladder.net and Immigration.Newsladder.net. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of 50 leading independent media outlets, and created by NewsLadder.

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