Health Care Reform: Information sources
We need and welcome your suggestions for material.
We want to represent the range of views within the Democratic Party, so send your suggestions now.
The basic source for President Obama's proposals and the administration's analysis of the problems and issues that Health Care reform must address is the Health Reform site. There you will find an extensive set of reports on and analyses of the problems these reforms are intended to address.
The White House has also produced a website devoted to providing a Reality Check on the current debates about Healthcare reform. It provides essential information, as well as very effective video material on the current issues under debate; it is a great source for challenging the opposition's distortions and misinformation. Go there now!!
The key source for understanding the President's agenda on Healthcare reform is his address to both Houses of Congress on September 9 2009 . Watch the full version of President Obama's address on health care below, or a four minute summary. Read the full transcript here .
Democratic Party sites
Democrats Abroad Canada has created a great website devoted to Health Care Reform, offering wide-ranging resources. Go there! Updated
The Democrats Abroad Mexico site has extensive material on Health Care Reform.
Democrats Abroad Japan has created a Health Care Project: Americans Abroad Know about National Health Care site that enables DA members to post and share their experiences with a range of international healthcare systems. Not updated
Articles and resources recommended by our members
Online articles: overviews
See the Commonwealth Fund report on The Comprehensive Health Reform Bills of 2009 which looks at the key provisions of the House and Senate Bills. Updated.
On the NPR website Paul Knox has produced What Health Care Overhaul Means for You, which provides specific information on the implications of proprosals for the employed insured, the uninsured, the underinsured and the self-insured.
Slate has produced Health Care Reform: An Online Guide.
Current debates New and Urgent
The issues under debate, the specific details of proposed legislation, the negotiations are all in flux and change quite rapidly, as do the positions of some legislators. A handy way to keep up to date is to follow Politico.com, The Huffington Post, or Real Clear Politics (this has a regular section specifically on "The Health Care Battle."
After the Finance Committee reported out its bill S1769, the health insurers released a Price Waterhouse Coopers study for America's Health Insurance Plans on October 11. The White House called it "an insurance industry analysis that is designed to reach a conclusion which benefits the industry, and does not represent what the bill does" and produced a detailed point by point rebuttal.
See the way Zack Cooper unpacks some of these issues in his recent article in The Huffington Post A Health Insurance Mandate and Corporate Monopoly. New
See the Commonwealth Fund report on The Comprehensive Health Reform Bills of 2009 which looks at the key provisions of the House Bill and the emerging Senate bill New
Zack Cooper, Health Economist at the London School of Economics, in English Healthcare in the US Reform Debate: Setting the Record Straight on the Huffington Post site August 14 analyses this role and the accompanying misrepresentations. New
T.R. Reid. Five Myths About Health Care in the Rest of the World. Washington Post, August 23 2009 covers what the title says.
Online articles: arguments for different systemic reforms
We intend to cover the emerging details of proposals. Ezra Klein's blog for the Washington Post is still a useful resource.
Paul Krugman's article, The Swiss Menace in the New York Times of August 16th presents an overview of the range of options for reform to achieve universal coverage. Also follow Paul Krugman's blog for continuing dicussion of health care reform issues.
Steven Pearlstein in The Washington Post offers It's Time to Give up On the Public Option on August 19 2009 . His response to Ezra Klein's critique is here. A further article on the compromises that he thinks would enable a bill to pass was published on August 28 Kennedy Saw Health-Care Reform Fail in the '70s. New
Nicholas Kristoff in an op-ed in the New York Times on September 2 examines the 'paradox' that 'Health care reform may be defeated this year in part because so many Americans believe the government can’t do anything right and fear that a doctor will come to resemble an I.R.S. agent with a scalpel. Yet the part of America’s health care system that consumers like best is the government-run part.' Good short exposition.
Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent Vermont) is a strong advocate of single-payer, state-administered healthcare. You can find links to his publications and appearances on his website.
The Physicans for a National Health Program support a single payer system. Its site has links to a range of material supporting this option.
Senator Kent Conrad (Democrat North Dakota) wants to deliver coverage to the uninsured by starting up new cooperatives modeled on rural electric cooperatives that were founded during the Great Depression. Go to his site for more information and read the August 27 New York Times article Cooperatives Record Weighed in Health-Care Debate by Mufson.
Online articles: on specific issues
The New Geography of Health Care, published in the National Journal Online on October 22, 2009 in the National Journal by Ronald Brownstein and Charlie Szymanski uses recently released census data to show that "Many of the House members in both parties who are most opposed to the health care reform legislation moving toward a historic vote represent districts where the share of residents without insurance exceeds the national average, often by substantial amounts..." NEW Great interactive graphics.
This 2005 Harvard study on Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy is very widely quoted. It found that nearly half of all Americans who file for bankruptcy did so because of medical expenses. The followup study Medical Bankruptcy in the United States 2007 found that 62% of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2007 were caused by health problems—and that 78% of those filers had insurance.
See Al Franken make some short sharp points about medical bankruptcies here. New
Underinsurance- material needed please!
Healthcare reform, Seniors and Medicare
Organizing for America has produced a short fact sheet on Healthcare and Seniors.
Anemona Hartocollis, in the New York Times, examines end of life care in Months to Live - At the End, Offering Not a Cure but Comfort.
Healthcare reform. economic issues and the economic crisis
Atul Gawande, in his June New Yorker article The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care, very effectively explores the relation between cost and quality of health care.
The Brookings Institution's Engelburg Center for Health Care Reform has produced a study Bending the Curve: Effective Steps to Address Long-Term Health Care Spending Growth. New
AARP - a nonprofit, nonpartisan memership organization for the over 50s has produced The Costs of Doing Nothing
The role and power of insurance companies
Bill Moyers has an interview with Wendell Potters, former health insurance insider, on July 10 2009. Watch it here. The Bill Moyers Journal site describes the interview as "Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year."
Potters also testified before the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation on June 24; read that testimony here.
Healthcare Reform and Overseas Americans
There is an interesting post on this topic in the Forum - go there and discuss!
George Lakoff, professor of linguistics and author (Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate) is well known to activists) offers some very useful comments on why he thinks that we - Democrats- are not framing the debate effectively. Watch it here.
Al Franken ( Democrat, Minnesota) had an engaging and illuminating discussion with people at the Minnesota State Fair; it is a clear and effective exploration of many of the issues involved.
Bill Moyers has an interview with Wendell Potters, former health insurance insider, on July 10 2009. Watch it here. The Bill Moyers Journal site describes the interview as "Looking back over his long career, Potter sees an industry corrupted by Wall Street expectations and greed. According to Potter, insurers have every incentive to deny coverage — every dollar they don't pay out to a claim is a dollar they can add to their profits, and Wall Street investors demand they pay out less every year." Potters also testified before the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce and Transportation on June 24; read that testimony here.
Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films have produced an excellent video featuring family doctors urging Americans to Heal Health Care Now. Watch it here. Over 450,000 family doctors have signed up to this call.
Jonathan Cohn (2007) Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis and the People Who Pay the Price. Go to the website about the book
Think Tanks and Foundations
The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has a Fact Check project which offers highly relevant material on the current claims and counter-claims in the health care reform debate.
Engelburg Center for Health Care Reform at the Brookings Institute
There are many more news and information items placed in the Healthcare Forum by our members. You need to create an account to view them. New
Misrepresentations, lies and fear
Go to Reality Check for the most recent information to combat misrepresentations.
As an antidote to the sensationalist coverage of the town hall debates, The Democratic National Committee released 'What You Don't See on National Cable News,' a video compilation of what the DNC calls 'civil, productive health insurance reform town halls taking place across the country' -- find it here.
The Newsweek article The Truth about Obama's Health Plan offers some interesting points about opponents' fear tactics and their resonance.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is intended for educational use and offered as a public service. Any views expressed should not be understood as representing or reflecting the views of Democrats Abroad UK, Democrats Abroad or the Democratic Party of the United States. Links to other organizations or publications imply neither endorsement of their policies nor any association with the Democratic Party or Democrats Abroad - UK.
Produced by E Capizzi with thanks to Bill Barnard, Barbara Young, Paul Knutson and Herman Rothberger for their contributions to research and provision of links.
Update October 20 2009
Beverly Bandler has produced an invaluable Healthcare Reform Information Pack. It contains a careful analysis of the current status of US healthcare quality and coverage, a clear outline of what the proposals for reform are intended to achieve, the process for enactment of legislation, as well as an extensive bibliography. Read it now!!!