Discussion on Threats to Privatize Medicare

The Republican 2012 budget eliminates Medicare. If successful, Medicare will change from a guaranteed set of benefits to limited vouchers to buy private insurance, as well as reduce Medicaid funding by turning it into a block grant system.

This is outrageous.

Healthcare-NOW! and Physicians for a National Health Program invites you to join a national educational conference call to learn more about these threats, and what we can do to show that Medicare is the solution to our health crisis, not the problem.

The call will be held Monday, April 11th at 7pm (E). Please RSVP here.

Featured speakers include:
DeAnn McEwen, California Nurses Association/National Nurses United Council of Presidents, ICU nurse at Long Beach Medical Center
Olveen Carasquillo, National Board Member of Physicians for a National Health Program, Chief of Division of General Internal Medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine
Dr. Margaret Flowers, Congressional Fellow, Physicians for a National Health Program

Click here to RSVP for the call and we will send you the call information by email.

Thank you for fighting back against these efforts to destroy our social safety net, and standing strong for improved Medicare for All.


  1. Healthcare-NOW! on April 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Hi everyone. Please add your questions for the panelists here!

    • Ann Molison on April 9, 2011 at 1:38 am

      What are the best messages we can use when communicating with others, and especially our Tea Party member of Congress, what effect this would have on Medicare members now, and in the future?

    • Mark Johnson on April 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm

      Please explain why some parts of Medicare have no trust fund problems while others do.

  2. Linda Mitchell on April 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Where would people find insurance companies willing insure them? I am safe. I am already on Medicare, but if it weren’t for Medicare no one would insure me. I am a survivor of Hodgkins disease and breast cancer with artificial heart valves, a pacemaker, hepatitis B. Who else would insure someone like me?

  3. Anne Scheetz on April 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I established a yahoo group, Single-Payer Medicare, which has so far not been used. E-mail address: singlepayermedicare@yahoogroups.com. Purpose: “We are public speakers and other activists interested in exchanging experiences and ideas around talking (to physicians and other health care professionals, seniors, and the general public) about contemporary Medicare in the context of the single-payer movement.” I would be happy to have people join this group. Or I would join another group in which these issues might be discussed.

    Thanks for doing this!


  4. Barbara Fuller on April 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    What is needed is nothing less than mobilization of ALL health and medical care organizations, in combination with all organizations, including the unions, devoted to social justice, equality, and fair play. Form a powerful group of organized millions of people across the nation to call, fax, our legislators, and stage a- round the clock sit-ins at the White House, and every State House in the country, at the same time – not for just an hour, not for just a day, but until the victory is won.

    Winning in immediate terms means continuation of all those basic health and social services and programs we know our people need, including Medicare, Medicaid, Women’s Reproductive health services and all those programs that are in the business of helping the poor, and the middle class, who are rapidly joining the ranks of the poor.

    Let’s not be sole issue driven, right now. Let’s set the stage so our legislators will understand every time they propose such draconian, just plain stupid legislation, they will face the wrath of millions. Every time they threaten to shut down the Federal government, they would think twice if they knew millions would protest – yell, scream, jump up and down and be in their faces.

    We must look at the big picture. We must aim for nothing less than BIG change, transformation of all the goll -darned systems that undermine and put people at health, educational, social and financial risk and ruin. We don’t have to live like that. We don’t have to live with massive, unrelenting corporate greed. We have to have the courage to be people of conscience, equity, resolve, and swift, decisive and strategic action. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

    We MUST mobilize across all artificial barriers that too often prevent us from working collectively, like race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, class, age, education. We must blunt and eradicate the evil, warped, one size fits all thinking of our legislators. Too many of our legislators and misleaders seem to thrive on punishing people, don’t care about ordinary people, Main Street people, and NEVER think of sensible, alternative solutions to problems. They cut and lash programs and budgets that serve the vulnerable, which, at this point in time, is all of us. Now is the time for us to speak as one people, with one voice to say, “Hell No” to wrong-headed democrats and republicans and the president.

    Our government is engaged in unprovoked, immoral wars throughout the world to feed the needs of the military-industrial complex. At home, we have 2 million individuals under lock and key. Why?? Who pays for all of this?? We are the only ones who can put a stop to this nonsense. One or two individuals or organizations cannot STOP the war being waged on the American people, most of whom are tax payers.

    Too many elected officials state, county and national simply want to take us back to the primitive era of every man and woman for themselves. Many have no intention of operating in the interest of the common good. What is needed is a collective mobilization, ready and willing to respond to injustice on a moments notice. We must challenge the president, congress in a peaceful, but decisive and strategic, and organized manner. The only way to do that in the environment in which we currently live, is with peaceful protest of millions of people for weeks, months and necessary, years, if it takes that long.

    The Republican and Democratic conservatives have been waiting and working slowly and strategically for this moment since the, “New Deal.” Eliminate or Privatize every program or service that benefits people. Deregulate every law and policy that protects the environment and protects us from the food industry, the banking and financial services industry, among others.

    Enough already.

    • Cynthia DeCuir on April 9, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      Barbara Fuller has clearly summarized our national and cultural “illness”. Thank you Annie Kelleher and Sheri. This great nation of precious human beings is under attack by the forces of corporate greed, plain and simple.
      Our small rallies to save the middle class (God Bless the Wisconsin 14!) are fine and well, but John Boehner and his Tea Party cohorts do not see those.
      No, it is now time to organize a real March on Washington. I have expressed this to True Progressives and other organizations from whom I receive daily email updates. Pretty signs on t.v. have lost their power. We literally need to get on planes, business, in cars and drive, fly, ride to Washington just exactly the way the freedom fighters did in 1962. I am not African American, and I tell you that Dr. King’s dream was for ALL Americans. You have my email. Most of us have little money and are barely employed, but we have our lives that are threatened by such a force that it needs to be meet with the force of millions of marchers and peaceful protesters ON Washington itself.

    • John Young on April 15, 2011 at 1:38 am


      Even before this Congress was sworn in there were adequate indications that the Republicans had totally abandoned all rational thought and sold their soul to the big multinational corporations and special interests. Their message and actions clearly indicated the following:

      The Republican Perspective
      After having been abused, exploited, and worked to death creating the wealthy, and having had their last dime stolen by a society the wealthy have perverted for their own devices, the poor should at least have the common courtesy to die quickly without complaint.

      That view was apparent then, but now that they have gleefully jumped off the sanity cliff without a parachute, they are determined to complete their previously subtle goal to usurp all 3 branches of government and enslave the population for the benefit of their corporate masters in a blaze of glory. A billion dollars of misinformation and false political advertising enabled them to dupe the 10% of gullible voters they needed to hold us hostage and blackmail the country to pay ransom their corporate owners demanded. Unfortunately, the Democrats have been complicit in enabling them to achieve that goal to a tragic extent. A reading of the Declaration of Independence sends a chill down one’s spine to realize we are right back where we started, but with the enemy more firmly entrenched on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party separately or together is capable of solving any of this country’s problems because it is not in their interests or the interests of their corporate owners to do so. By conscious or unconscious complicity they have created a system of two idealogical spheres whose internal philosophies are not even consistently credible or compatible, but through billions of dollars of marketing, misinformation, and false political advertising have rendered their adherents incapable of rational thought. They derive their power by dividing the people and telling their followers what to think and do for their own desires and benefit. They have been able to do this now, because the majority of those who witnessed this occur in Germany over 70 years ago are now gone. The parallels are frightening, but the oppressors should remember that orders from their corporate masters may not be an acceptable excuse when it comes to trial for all the deaths that result from their actions. Their inaction in failing to implement Improved Medicare For All is already responsible for 45,000 needless deaths annually due to lack of health insurance. How many more deaths do they think we will accept due to their actions, before we unite against the single issue everyone agrees is driving this country to bankruptcy, the for profit health care insurance system. With all the money and influence against us we have to muster all the support possible even to have a slim chance of success. So, we need to agree on this one issue, even if we don’t agree on anything else, because if we can’t nothing else will matter anymore. Rational People Unite!! Identify, Recruit, Support, and Elect Citizens who will genuinely advocate for Improved Medicare For All. The only vote that is wasted is one that is cast based on parties incapable of representing your interests. I submit that all the single payer organizations should cooperate and coordinate, as we have in the past, to create the Single Payer, Improved Medicare For All Party, promoting a slate of candidates whose highest priority is enactment of single payer, since we as a nation currently have no greater threat from within or without than the political class warfare being lead by the Republicans, with tacit Democratic support. Candidates would be those that pledge enactment of Single Payer as their highest priority either as Independents, Democrats, or Republicans, with careful consideration of their financial sources of support judged for credibility and sincerity. With the total dissatisfaction with Congress across this nation, our endorsement and grassroots support will be the difference in enough races to tip the balance if we use our resources and cast our votes with unanimity for those willing to fight for our lives. If the greatest problem is cured, all the other problems become easily curable. While the biggest fear is that of the unknown, the greatest danger is in our current path.

  5. Annie Kelleher on April 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Demonstrations at major medical centers (not near their emergency room entrance/exits) and at university admin buildings in major cities. This is all craziness, as Barbara Fuller points out, and the legislation to virtually kill medicare/medicaid will topple the existing medical care institutions along with the middle class. We won’t need much of a health care infrastructure to provide health care to 1% of the population (and the others who come from royal families outside the USA).
    Fuller is correct on all fronts. It’s time for the dots to be connected on the myriad issues that are taking our citizens down, from young to old. It is our taxpayer dollars that have been stolen and used for purposes far beyond what is just — here and abroad.

  6. Sheri on April 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Everytime I put my life story (concerning no health care) it will not take my comments, am I doing something wrong?
    Tiered of typing in Idaho

  7. Sheri on April 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I think people do not realize how important all of this is.
    I worked for one company for 30+yrs. I had to quit my job because of health reasons (but husband had good ins.) Shortly after I quit, my husband’s job was “Downsized” this was about 4 yrs. ago. He got unemployment for 6 mos. then it ran out. (he is one that fell through the cracks of the extended unempl. We were living off my retirement money until he finally got a job driving school bus (loves it) NO BENIFITS though!
    I finally got a lawyer to take my case before a judge (I have 2-47 degree curves from severe scoliosis, osteoartritis, graves disease, 1 kidney that stll functions (full of stones) ovarian cycsts etc…. the list goes on. While I was trying to get my case heard I managed to pass stones etc. @ home with the help of a good old fashioned Dr. from our small town, still racked up several thousand in hospitol bills that we are still paying off. We had done everything we were told when we were young, paid off our house etc… Now if something does not happen soon with this broken healthcareless system we will loose everything we have worked our whole lives to obtain. Oh, did I mention most of my health issues are because I grew up next to Bunker Hill & played in the safe non toxic streams when I was a kid? Google that one, it was one of the biggest cover-ups made by OUR government! (even in the watergate tapes)Why does our government continue to run around policing other nations, when we have severe problems here @ home? All of the starving children in THIS country that don’t have a bed? We have got to come togeather some how NOW!

  8. William W Haywood on April 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    This health care fiasco has already played itself out once in front of every American alive today. Our elected mis-representatives gave big healthcare, big pharma, and the wealthy a big shot of cash, and the people of this country who needed single payer got lies shoved up their rectums by the media pundits. So my question is…When do we start the civil disobedience on a national scale? When do we start standing up for the futures of our children and this country by putting our butts on the line? Isn’t this what democracy calls for when it is being attacked from within??? We do it when we are attacked from without, but our political leaders and their cronies of wealth and power are the ones conducting this war on we the people, so let us start the civil disobedience now, and when we see our own military used against us, then we will know that we really do have a reason to fight.

    • Sheri on April 9, 2011 at 8:44 pm

      So, William
      My question to you would be….How do we get something started for real?
      I am scared & saddened for my children & grandchildren. I have worked my entire life & was forced to pay taxes, (none of our taxes are optional) Now when I hear that everything is bankrupt and will not be made available to me or my children I am screaming mad! I like allot of people would like to get something started, but how?
      The 1% that got all the tax breaks are not wanting to do anything but cut the things people have already paid for (medicare etc…)
      Do people like Fat Bastard (Exxon Mobil) not have kids & grandkids? Are they not thinking about what kind of a world we are leaving for those after us? I don’t care how rich you are, you cannot buy clean air, suitable drinking water etc… I am not siding with dem’s or rep. – They are ALL corrupt
      What are we to do?? And how?

  9. Chelsea on April 10, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    If you want an improved Medicare for all–first step is STOP VOTING FOR DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS as these parties (really it’s one corporate party)are owned lock, stock and barrel by Wall St. The Military Industrial Complex, Big Pharma, Big Oil, the health insurance cartel, the US Chamber of Commerce, etc.
    As Demonstrated by Democrats in 2009, they will not deliver. Yes, there are some Democrats like Conyers who wrote HR-676 and Kucinich who states he supports HR-676, but when it came time to vote–what did they do? They sided with Obama and his Wall St. thugs.
    Join the Green Party.
    Our platform includeds MEDICARE FOR ALL AS A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. Can the Democrats say that is their platform? No they can’t.
    Stop voting Democrat and start voting for Independents who support MEDICARE FOR ALL and the Green Party.

  10. Pauline Nager on April 11, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    My husband I have Medicare, the boon to seniors that is now threatened. It is outrageous that in this country we have to turn loops to put the health care issue on the national scene only to find that whatever progress we make to expand and improve the system becomes hostage to a Republican House filled with the legislative myrmidons and lobbyists of the corporate wealth.

    To make the matter more sad and serious we have a President who doesn’t seem to have the spine to use a bully pulpit to convince us that he is outraged, too. It is shameful that vital social services have been slashed and the wealthy have not been touched. We have no moral values left and certainly no courage left to make these moral values the campaign we need to launch at this time, in this place, and NOW.

  11. Bruce on April 11, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Ironically, a friend sent me this somewhat upbeat op ed written by Wendell Potter just 2-1/2 wks ago:
    http://www.prwatch.org/node/10435. In addition to lying about the sacrosanct nature of Medicare, the Republicans …. they are not my Grand Old Party … are engaged in a frontal attack on women’s health
    services which are consistent to playing to an extreme seeking to overturn Roe but also those who think the 19th Amendment was an escape & the crowd that admired Nicolae & Elena Ceausescu, meaning no
    prophylaxis, etc. I think this requires collaboration with Planned Parenthood, NARAL, etc, if they wish. Is that reasonable/sensible?

  12. Rina Riba on April 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I’m concerned that when Medicare is mentioned in the news, the topic is usually limited to senior citizens over 65, probably because seniors vote and are courted for that reason.
    What is left out is that Medicare is extremely important for younger people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), who already have to wait a full two years after they start receiving SSDI to have access to Medicare (that alone should be changed).
    Any of us can become disabled through accident or illness, and younger people need to be made aware of this and become part of the movement to support the survival and expansion of Medicare and of Medicaid as well.
    Medicaid coverage has already been chipped away at steadily for some time, with some states having severe cuts and extremely long waiting lists for certain Medicaid programs. Converting to block grants would further weaken whatever is available in many places.

  13. Kathy Chuparkoff on April 11, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Aren’t there other universal health coverage countries using non-profit “insurance companies” to pay health care providers, much as happens in Medicare presently? Is there absolutely no use for insurance companies with a new non-profit structure? If so what would their duties be, as the money follows the patients in a Medicare for All system?

  14. Eugenia Kuttler on April 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    It is so obvious to all of us that SINGLE PAYER IS THE ONLY WAY!
    EVERYBODY is guaranteed medical insurance and care COSTS are lowered because there is only one pool, PROFITS are out of the equation; ADMINISTRATION costs; EFFICIENCY will be guaranteed by not having so many “insurers”; and the bureaucracy will be cut.

    The DECISIONS will be made by the patients and doctors (contrary to what the Ryan supporters say), NOT THE PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANIES that only look after their profit, while the role of the GOVERNMENT is to work for the COMMON GOOD: the people, their wellbeing….

    And more important, everybody needs to understand that HEALTH CARE IS A RIGHT.

    It seems so obvious and uncomplicated. MY QUESTIONS ARE:
    Why doesn’t the government, but basically the American People see it?

    How can we, all together, simplify these messages so the people fight for what will benefit them?

  15. Jeanette on April 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    I am a person with cerebral palsy and other medical problems. My only income right now is SSDI and my only medical coverage is Medicare. I am IRATE that Congress is going to cut benefits, privatize, raise retirement age & restrict elligibility for these programs! These programs are pd for by FICA TAXES: NO ONE is discussing the fact that INCOME ABOVE $106,800 is EXEMPT from FICA TAX! People with disabilities & seniors are being SACRIFICED so the RICH can continue to have almost ALL of their income FICA FREE!
    FOR EXAMPLE: I heard today the CEO of VERIZON earned over $84 MILLION last year. He will only pay FICA tax on the first $106,800 of that. Same for all the other MILLIONAIRES and BILLIONAIRES. IT IS OBSCENE AND AN OUTRAGE!

    I want to know what I can do: busloads of people with disabilities and seniors could/should be on the way to Washington DC right now! Many of us aren’t working and don’t have the responsibility of caring for children, so the only obstacles are how to pay for it (I have no money) and organizing it. Even if people can’t make a trip to DC, protests could be held at Federal Bldgs & Soc Sec offices around the country. Yes, there are people protesting corporations not paying taxes and that the rich are getting more income tax breaks but FICA is what pays for SS & Medicare: right now the rich have virtually a FREE PASS on FICA while those least able to fend for themselves are about to be economically slaughtered. There is NO REASON for this! We must demand they end the REGRESSIVE FICA CAP INSTEAD!

  16. Eliza on April 11, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    How can we use this fight to continue to push for a single payer plan? This is the ONLY solution to our health care crisis.

  17. Cheryl Myers on April 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm


    What can we do to stop congress from passing the Path to Progress plan for Healthcare and the elimination of Medicare and Medicaid?

  18. TerryFlowers on April 11, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    As long as the financing of healthcare is for profit, the costs of healthcare will continue to escalate. The privatizing of healthcare will only exacerbate the situation. We need to improve and expand Medicare to include everyone…Medicare for All…a single payer healthcare plan. For more see http://www.pnhp.org and http://www.madashelldoctors.com

  19. Shelly O on April 12, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I will not make the mistake of voting for you again if you do not stand on our behalf and do what’s right for the people. Touching the Medi’s and SS programs is something that not even the worst Republicans before you have done. Why will you not come though for us? Why are you throwing us under the bus, and then running us all over? You ran on a platform that we supported, but you have not followed through. It’s not too late, and do you not realize how if you just stand firmly and strongly in integrity that more people will support you? We need you to protect us. Please do not touch the Medi’s or SS. Please do what’s right, and if you are unsure, think about what you would want for your daughters were they not setup for life like the rest of us. You do have a conscience don’t you? Well do you? We’re about to find out.