DC Working families to sponsor a ballot initiative for a $15/hr minimum wage

Campaign to begin for a $15 minimum wage in D.C.

“This will be historic, the first East Coast city – and our nation’s capital – moving forward with a living wage,” said Meg Fosque, national policy director for the New York-based Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which has joined the D.C. coalition. “This would show a real shift toward the people … fair pay and livable wages disproportionately affect women and people of color.”

And families too, said Delvone Michael, Director of D.C. Working Families, a group backed by a range of labor unions and social justice advocates that is helping to lead the ballot measure fight.

“D.C. is among the richest cities in the country, and we have an opportunity to make things right,” Michael said. “People who work 40 hours a week shouldn’t be on public assistance, they should be able to take their kids out to ice cream and not live paycheck to paycheck.”

The D.C. ballot measure would mirror Seattle in phasing in a flat, $15-per-hour minimum wage by 2019. That would be 30 percent higher than the $11.50-per-hour rate that the D.C. Council and mayor backed last year.

The ballot measure would also for the first time force D.C. restaurants to pay workers a minimum wage plus tips, as in San Francisco. Currently, restaurants in D.C. are required only to pay $2.77 per hour, so long as tips bring waiters up to the equivalent of minimum wage or more.

This blog strongly endorses this effort and I will be volunteeing my efforts to help collect signatures for it.

DC Council blocks Corizon proposed contract to provide health services for DC Jail

First some backgound -
Will Sommer:

Corizon Health Inc., the Tennessee-based company that won the contract, doesn’t exactly have a sterling reputation with prison advocates. Corizon’s care in other prisons has inspired a long line of lawsuits, raising the threat of more lawsuits against the District, according to critics. In December, the ACLU’s District chapter urged councilmembers to oppose the contract.

“Their reputation in the field of people who care about prisoner’s health and prisoner’s well-being is pretty abysmal,” says Alex Friedmann, the managing editor of Prison Legal News.

So what we have is a company with a business model of accepting money and then failing to provide service, generating the inevitable lawsuits. Shame on whoever approved this contract and shame on former Mayor Gray and Mayor Bowser for supporting a contract with such an obviously sleazy company.

It seems that reason has prevailed, DC City Council voted to block the contract.

After a motion to change an approval resolution from backer Vincent Orange was amended by six councilmembers to become a disapproval (a majority on the temporarily eleven-member Council), the contract’s fate was clear. Charles Allen, Mary Cheh, David Grosso, Phil Mendelson, Brianne Nadeau, and Elissa Silverman voted to disapprove, while Yvette Alexander, Anita Bonds, Jack Evans, Kenyan McDuffie, and Vincent Orange voted against efforts to shut down the contract. With the contract blocked, current jail health provider Unity will keep running jail health services for now.

Three cheers for David Grosso for taking the lead on this; however, the entire controversy ignores the real question as to why DC contracts with a for-profit corporation in the first place. Rather than pay the cost of providing care, plus the cost of the profit margin for the provider, it would be far cheaper to simply hire the doctors and nurses to provide the services and let them set up the prison clinics. This is but one example of how our for-profit health care system produces the worst results at the highest price.

Under Obama’s Affordable Care Act DC can set up its own single payer system. We could all pay a health tax, like the Medicare tax we have on our paychecks, and have universal care, free at the point of service. I am currently organzing an effort to do precisely this, contact me at marshall@prestovivace.biz if you would like to help.

Single payer links of the day

By Don McCanne, M.D

H.R. 2 passed in the House today by a vote of 392 to 37. It goes to the Senate where it will be voted on tomorrow. But is this really about the “doc fix” – eliminating SGR? Speaker of the House John Boehner clarifies that for us. It’s about entitlement reform and H.R. 2 begins that process.

Entitlement reform…

Entitlement reform is kleptocracy speak for take money from workers.

North Adams, Massachusetts: North County Cares Coalition to Hold Day of Action for Restoration of a Full Service Hospital

Despite High Rates of Nursing Injuries, Government Regulators Take Little Action

What Happened in Vermont: Implications of the Pullback from Single Payer

Better health care for Vermont

There are two bills currently winding their way through our Legislature, however, which will go a long way toward correcting this problem and attaining the goals called for in Act 48. These are H.207 and S.88. They propose to create a system of publicly funded access to primary care for all Vermonters, cutting back on the excessive expense of people utilizing emergency rooms as their doctors because barriers like lack of health insurance or insanely high deductibles shut them out of primary care. Unimpeded access to primary care is ethically, financially, morally and absolutely essential.

Higher Medicare costs planned for some seniors in 2018

Senators reject push to restore Medicaid funding

Single payer links of the day

Proposed SGR deal would advance GOP goal of privatizing Medicare

Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska: House Should Reject Medicare Change

Stop-gap Medicare ‘doc-fix’ will cost seniors

Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Testimony in Support of LD 815, “An Act to Establish a Single-Payer Health Care System.”

Pushing to help health profiteers

MONTPELIER — Lawmakers are considering a scaled-back health care bill that strips out a proposed payroll tax.

Medicare for all could replace Obamacare

Time to Demand Medicare for All and Social Security Benefits We Can Live On!

Via Naked Capitalism: California has a Medi-Cal “estate recovery plan” [KQED]. That’s when ObamaCare forces you into Medicaid, tells you it’s free, and it turns out it’s a lien against your estate. Boy, will your kids be surprised!

Healthcare debate at Georgetown University

Free to public, but RSVP is necessary.
Note – If taking public transportation, the D6 bus is your best bet. Consult Metro Trip Planner for your best route.
Georgetown – Debate: “Be It Resolved: Affordable, quality healthcare develops from maximizing freedom of choice – not government programs or mandates.”

WHEN: March 27, 2015 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
WHERE: Georgetown U. School of Medicine – New Research Building Auditorium
Georgetown University
3900 Reservoir Road Northwest, Washington, DC 20007
COST: Free, but RSVPs requested.
There is a parking garage located under the Leavey Center accessible from Reservoir Road, or there is the Southwest Parking garage accessible from Canal Road.

Debate Venue Details:

Date: Friday, March 27, 2015

Time: [Eastern] 6:00 PM Reception with soft drinks and hors d’oeuvres; Registration and initial voting
6:30 Debate Begins
7:45 Debate Ends. Final voting, tally.
8:00 Announcement of results.

Place: Georgetown University School of Medicine
Room — New Research Building Auditorium
3900 Reservoir Road Northwest,Washington, DC 20007
Moderator: Michael Ramlet (Morning Consult)

Arguing the Affirmative:
Dr. Josh Umbehr MD (AtlasMD)
Dr. Lee Gross, MD (Epiphany Health, Inc.)
Arguing in Opposition:
Dr. Dennis McIntyre, MD
Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD

Obamacare and small business

Small businesses struggle with health care law

The Affordable Care Act, which as of next Jan. 1 applies to all companies with 50 or more workers, requires owners to track staffers’ hours, absences and how much they spend on health insurance. Many small businesses don’t have the human resources departments or computer systems that large companies have, making it harder to handle the paperwork. On average, complying with the law costs small businesses more than $15,000 a year, according to a survey released a year ago by the National Small Business Association.

It does not have to be this way. If DC had a single payer system everyone would pay a healthcare tax, similar to the Medicare payroll tax, and we would all be covered. Because the system would be universal it would be far cheaper than Obamacare.

Under Obamacare states, including DC, can opt to have their own single payer system. This would divert thousands of dollars that currently goes to health insurance companies, and redirect it to the local economy. It would be a HUGE economic boon.

If you want to help me so this, send a note to marshall@prestovivace.biz.

Single payer links of the day

A new poll shows that more than half of Americans — including 80 percent of Democrats and a quarter of Republicans — support expanding health reform to “Medicare for All.”

Private medicare advantage plans stole $12 billion in “improper payments” in 2014

50% of those who purchased insurance in exchange will owe repayment–average is $794.

Republicans attack social compact with HR 1470

How Obama’s Plan to Control Health-Care Costs Could Fail; Medicare is betting on new payment models. The early results are thin

DaVita pulled into federal investigation over Humana’s Medicare Advantage risk adjustment practices

Via Kay Tillow

Dr. Robert Zarr prescribes exercise

To Make Children Healthier, A Doctor Prescribes A Trip To The Park

About 40 percent of Zarr’s young patients are overweight or obese, which has led the doctor to come up with ways to give them very specific recommendations for physical activity. And that has meant mapping out all of the parks in the District of Columbia — 380 parks so far.

The parks, mapped and rated based on facilities and in a searchable database by zip code, can be linked to patients’ electronic medical records. Zarr did it with help from the National Park Service and volunteers from George Washington University’s School of Public Health, park rangers and other doctors. Zarr also received some funding for the project from the National Recreation and Park Association, the National Environmental Education Foundation, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Michael Greger should take a look at this as he is always encouraging physicians to prescribe exercise. This shows what is involved. If you want compliance it is not enough to tell your patients to take excercise, you must lay out a practical plan as to how they could do that.

Zarr is the head of the DC Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Plan.

Single payer links of the day

D’Oh! D.C. Health Link allows its Web domain to expire

Adam Hudson, a spokesman for D.C. Health Link, confirmed Wednesday the domain was accidentally allowed to expire.
“The domain name comes up for an annual renewal, and did expire briefly yesterday,” Hudson said. “Once this happened, our IT team took quick action and resolved the issue in a matter of minutes. We have taken immediate steps to ensure that the renewal process is handled smoothly every year going forward.”

Geyman takes on Obamacare, touts single-payer system in latest book

In his newly published book, “How Obamacare is Unsustainable,” Geyman contends the three primary goals of the Affordable Care Act’s three primary goals—affordability, near-universal coverage and improved quality of care—are not being met and that a single-payer healthcare system is the best solution for all Americans, and for reform of U.S. health care.

Assemblyman Richard Gottfried is leading the effort to establish a single payer system in New York state.

Under Health Care Act, Many Tax Filers Are Discovering Costly Complications

Via Naked Capitalism: A $6.6 Million CEO Dreams of a “Doctor-Less” Future Health Care Renewal. More lunatic triumphalism from over-paid CEOs.

More from Naked Capitalism: Obamacare Is Spurring Startups and Creating Jobs Bloomberg. Startups to manage ObamaCare’s useless and artificially created complexity because markets.

EMERGENCY! The MIPS stake is plunging into the heart of traditional Medicare

The excerpts from H.R. 1470, above, reveal how the government intends to fulfill its goal of supposedly converting Medicare from a system that pays based on volume to a system that is based on value. Since the excerpts represent only a small sampling of this bill, it would be wise to download the full bill. You can gain a better understanding of the bill by skimming through the 158 pages, reading only the lines in full capital letters, while reading in full any section that piques your interest. It takes just a few minutes. That’s too much? Remember, this bill is about to become law and we will have to live with it perhaps for decades (the scorned SGR has been with us for 18 years).

One ominous clause in the bill is Sec. 2(e)(6) on page 101 of the GPO version. It calls for a study of “the feasibility of integrating alternative payment models in the Medicare Advantage payment system.” That is code language to clarify that these onerous requirements of MIPS apply only to the traditional Medicare program and not to the private Medicare Advantage plans. Why is that important?

NNU and Reclaim Chicago’s Mayoral Endorsement – Signal of New Political Movement

In accepting the endorsement today of Reclaim Chicago, Garcia compared the new independent political organization to the grassroots workers’ movement that powered Washington’s Rainbow Coalition to a surprising 1983 victory over the city’s infamous Democratic machine, led for decades by Mayor Richard “Boss” Daley.