Health care

Andy Driscoll: ObamaCare Has History on Its Side

Employer-provided healthcare, in its true light, should long ago have been seen for what it was: a stopgap measure to ensure wartime factory workers coverage to prevent war-profiteering by corporations whose largesse derived directly from government contracts to produce tanks, jeeps, armaments, etc., produced mostly by Rosie the Riveter...women employed to replace the men sent to the battlefields and war ships.

Insurance companies had a premium holiday because they could profit handsomely from certain percentages of those defense contracts to provide the coverages required by them.

After the war, instead of finding a way to maintain those coverages on such a massive, government-funded scale, employer-provided healthcare moved into a permanent group policy culture that kept premiums and profits flowing to the private insurers, thus allowing a continually evolving insurance industry to remain in the business of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and specific procedures. In other words, the money drove the development of actual health care based on what insurance companies said they’d pay for.

Moreover, a worker’s insurance stopped cold if he or she changed jobs, then often having to wait six months, at least, before her/his new employer’s policy would cover then. More profits.

TruthToTell, Mon., June 20-9AM: T.R. REID: Why Can't The US Do Healthcare Right?-KFAI FM 90.3/106.7/; First Person Radio-Jun 22: SARAH JAMES: Arctic Village Activist

We’re recorded this week, but check us out next week and call in to talk about Cops and the Code of Silence once again. Also, back next week on .



TruthToTell, Mon., June 20-9AM: T.R. REID: Why Can't The US Do Healthcare Right?

This week, we bring you an excellent talk by former Washington Post correspondent, T.R. Reid, who spoke to a gala gathering of some 250-300 single-payer advocates at Macalester College in mid-June. The event brought together the Minnesota Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) and the Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (MUHCC). Reid spoke about his experiences research and writing his book, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, on the differences among health care systems throughout the industrialized world and asking us all why reasonably priced universal health care continues to elude us even as our friends and enemies overseas and next door cover everyone from womb to tomb and still pay less than half that of the US health system.

T.R. Reid is one of those people whose conversational tone makes it seem as though you’re talking over the backyard fence, but whose deep insights brought us a flavor of his overseas assignments, especially Japan, on National Public Radio for many years.

From his website:

T. R. Reid has become one of the nation’s best-known correspondents through his coverage of global affairs for the Washington Post, his books and documentary films, and his light-hearted commentaries on National Public Radio. He majored in Classics at Princeton University, where he has since done some teaching, and served as a naval officer, a teacher, and various other jobs. At the Washington Post, he covered Congress and four presidential campaigns. He was the Post's bureau chief in Tokyo and in London. His story revealing the secret engagement of Crown Prince Naruhito is known in Japan as the dai-sukoopu – that is, “the great scoop.”

Reid has written and hosted documentary films for National Geographic TV, for PBS, and for the A&E network. He is a regular commentator on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.” He has written six books in English and three in Japanese and has translated one book from the Japanese. His most recent book, The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care, came out in 2009 and became a national best-seller. PBS Frontline produced two documentary films, “A Second Opinion” and “Sick Around the World,” following Reid as he reported that book.


First Person Radio-Jun 22: SARAH JAMES: Arctic Village Activist -AUDIO HERE


Listen to last week's program with L. Frank Manriquez HERE.


First Person Radio hosts Laura Waterman Wittstock and Richard LaFortune talk with Sarah James, a native Gwich'in from Arctic Village, Alaska, USA, and a board member of the International Indian Treaty Council. She was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2002, together with Jonathon Solomon and Norma Kassi. They received the prize for their struggles for protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) from plans of oil exploration and drilling. Oil and gas exploration would disturb the life cycle of the Porcupine caribou, a foundation of the Gwich'in culture for 20,000 years.

Sarah is the board chair and a spokesperson for the Gwich’in Steering Committee, and has educated people around the world about the porcupine-caribou herd and the importance of protecting “the Sacred Place where Life Begins” (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) from oil exploration and drilling. She has received many awards, including the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, the National Conservation Land Trust Award and the Ecotrust Award for Indigenous Leadership

TruthToTell Nov 29: SINGLE-PAYER: On Life Support? - AUDIO BELOW

On-air date: 
Mon, 11/29/2010

Talk about a target on your back: The November 2nd Election was almost as much about the federal health care reform package as it was the Wall Street bailouts. And most progressive thinker believe that that health care package is anything but, with some notable exceptions – like no more preexisting conditions haunting future coverage, no more limits on catastrophic coverages and coverages of parented children extended up to age 26.

And yet, advocates for at least a state-based single-payer system, especially the one they call the Minnesota Health Care Plan, introduced by Sen. John Marty at least a couple of years ago, are undeterred, and the very large Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (MUHCC) is in the lead, along with the Minnesota Chapter of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP). The MHCP essentially removes third-party payers (insurance companies) from the reimbursement equation in Minnesota, replacing that with a plan which covers absolutely everything medically necessary for everyone in the state (universal coverage), regardless of employer or employment status, for the rest of their lives, and which is paid for out of a pool of public revenues and from which payments are determined by a system similar to the beloved Medicare system with similar cost controls (Medicare administrative costs are limited to 2.5% of premiums collected and the system watches doctors’ and hospital costs very carefully).

But, what can they possibly expect in this political atmosphere? We’ll find out when TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with three of the more prominent activists in this movement. JOIN US AND JOIN THE CONVERSATION: 612-341-0980.

SEN JOHN MARTY - Current Chair, Minnesota Senate Health, Housing and Family Security Committee

AMY LANGE - Executive Director, Minnesota Universal Heath Care Coalition

DAVID MAIR, MD - Physicians for a National Health Program-MN

59:29 minutes (27.23 MB)