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  • To save lives and money, choose single-payer health care

    By Morolake Amole

    The problem with health care in the United States is not that we suffer from inadequate medical resources. Quite the contrary.

    We have thousands of highly skilled and dedicated doctors and nurses. We have many top-notch hospitals possessing state-of-the-art equipment and medications. We have significant patient protection laws.

    So then how do we explain our country’s poor health outcomes, e.g. that we ranked 19th out of 19 wealthy nations in 2010 on preventing deaths that could have been avoided with medical care?

    Here’s a clue: If you compare the U.S. system with those of other industrialized nations, you’ll see that no other country relies so heavily on multiple private insurance plans and has such high financial barriers to care.

    Does the Affordable Care Act change this picture? The ACA will, within a few years, increase coverage for about 20 million people through a combination of subsidies for private insurance and an expansion of the Medicaid program (in those states that have agreed to accept it). This increased coverage will likely save many thousands of lives each year.

    Yet even when the ACA is fully implemented, 30 million Americans will remain uninsured. Some won’t be able afford a ...

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  • AMSA Lobby Day Expanding Health Care Coverage for All

    Brandon Sandine
    Health Care For All Coordinator
    American Medical Student Association 

    On Wednesday May 21st and Thursday May 22nd members of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Public Citizen and National Nurses United (NNU) gathered together in solidarity to support expanding health care coverage to all people in America. For myself, the events began with AMSA’s Lobby Day Training hosted at George Washington University on May 21st. This was an opportunity for premedical and medical students to learn the basics of political advocacy from health care and community advocacy leaders such as Robert Zarr M.D. (PNHP), Rachel Degolia (Universal Health Care Action Network), and Nick Unger (AFL-CIO).

    I found particularly inspiring the presentation “Organizing and Communicating; Medical Student Advocates” given by Nick Unger. The focus of this discussion style lecture was effective communication strategies. These included active listening/responding, narrative development, and focusing on context rather than content.

    According to Mr. Unger, effective communicators avoid listing facts and instead relate to their audience’s concerns. By doing this you can appeal to the context that your opposition adheres to and gain influence. As someone who has spent a lot of time developing my argument for single-payer, ...

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  • The Physicians’ Proposal

    By Brandon Sandine
    AMSA Health Policy State and Local Policy Coordinator

    It’s a simple proposal! And amidst the growing financial and human burden that our current healthcare system induces, it’s the most equitable and economically sensible proposal of all. Everybody in, nobody out. This was the idea that two emphatic physicians concluded some 25 years ago would help alleviate the growing health insurance disparity, and the problems that are associated with lack of insurance, in our country.

    Today the ranks of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) are significantly larger than it was 25 years ago. Yet their realization is still the same. Our country desperately needs to improve access to medical care, for all of its residents, by implementing a universal health insurance program. While national healthcare reform has recently occurred, primarily through The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), approximately 30 million Americans will still remain uninsured. As such, it is imperative that the single-payer agenda passes into legislation.

    At the recent PNHP annual convention this was exactly the focu of discussion. Content at the convention introduced new and old members to changes that the ACA will have on their clinical practice, to how would the ...

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  • Is Healthcare a Right Yet?

    By Vanessa Obas
    AMSA Health Policy Committee - National Policy Coordinator

    Beneath the haze of the government shutdown, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) finally began its open enrollment for government-subsidized health insurance, and the implementation of the law has proven as difficult a road as its passage. In recent weeks, low and middle-income individuals and families experienced technical difficulties and outages with the federally-organized website that has hindered many from enrolling in insurance plans. What’s more, many states, like my home state of Florida, have tried their hand at impeding plan enrollment in their opposition to the ACA. For instance, personnel have been trained to help Americans understand the health care law and navigate the marketplaces. However, in Florida, these navigators have been banned from working on the grounds of county health departments, restricting access to the already-limited number of navigators in the state.

    The passage of the ACA demonstrated that the U.S. accepted what many developed countries had recognized long before: health care as a right not a privilege. Yet, the obstacles created by states like Florida, and the shortfalls of the federally-run website, serve as reminders of the still-existing difficulty in achieving healthcare access for all. ...

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  • Government Shutdown

    Katie Ni
    Health Policy Education and Outreach Coordinator

    On October 1st, the debt ceiling crisis and the federal government shutdown took center stage in a showdown between members of Congress. Unable to agree on the budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, Congress initially used the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as ransom. Up to the last hours of the fiscal year, the Democrat-dominated Senate repeatedly rejected proposals from the Republican-dominated House that would in any way defund or change the ACA’s funding. Ultimately no agreement was reached culminating in the current shutdown.

    AMSA supports the Affordable Care Act, health care reform that includes comprehensive coverage, and improved access for the uninsured in the United States. We applauded the Supreme Court decision to uphold the law over a year ago and believe that the ACA is officially law. Continuous efforts by the Republican party to derail the ACA are fruitless, and serve only to disrupt the economy and the daily life of Americans. The shutdown has furloughed millions of federal employees, disrupted government operations, and has threatened to damage the recovering economy. Congress’ failure to decide on a budget is harming the very constituency these legislators are employed to serve.

    The government ...

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