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Bernie Sanders Says ‘Get Rid of the Insurance Companies,’ Won’t Support Anything But Medicare For All

Bernie Sanders Says ‘Get Rid of the Insurance Companies,’ Won’t Support Anything But Medicare For All

Postby smix » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:15 pm

Bernie Sanders Says ‘Get Rid of the Insurance Companies,’ Won’t Support Anything But Medicare For All
Mediaite

URL: https://www.mediaite.com/tv/bernie-sand ... e-for-all/
Category: Politics
Published: March 27, 2019

Description: Independent Vermont Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders threw down some major markers on health care, saying he wants to “get rid of the insurance companies,” and that he would not support any Democratic health care legislation other than his own Medicare for All plan. On Tuesday night’s edition of All In with Chris Hayes, Sanders slammed the Trump Justice Department’s decision to try and completely invalidate Obamacare in the courts, and promised host Chris Hayes that “I’m going to do everything I can to tell the American people, including the many people who voted for Trump, that he is an absolute fraud” on the issue of health care. But then, Hayes asked Sanders if he would support a new Democratic House bill to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, and Sanders bluntly responded “No, I support the Medicare for All single payer program.”

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“Wait, wait, I just want to be clear,” a stunned Hayes interrupted. “So you don’t support that incremental reform?” “No,” Sanders said. “The incremental reform I support is Medicare for All,” Sanders added, and described the four-year transition period for his legislation. “But I just want to be clear about this,” Hayes said, still visibly shocked, “so if that House bill were to come to the Senate, you would vote against it right now?” Sanders did not directly answer that question, but indicated that he would only support his own legislation. Hayes then asked if Sanders would support a different approach to achieving universal coverage, like the Medicare for America bill that introduces Medicare as a public option. “Why not slide towards the system in an optional way?” Hayes asked. “Because ultimately, we have to recognize that current system is incredibly dysfunctional and wasteful,” Sanders said. “Its goal is to make profits for the insurance companies and the drug companies. You are not going to be able, in the long run, to have cost-effective universal health care unless you change the system, unless you get rid of the insurance companies, unless you stand up to the greed of the drug companies and lower prescription drug costs.”



As Hayes alluded to in the interview, though, Sanders has supported incremental health care reform in the past, and even supported a Senate bill that was substantially similar to the one the Democrats rolled out this week.
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Bernie says Blue Shield will be relegated to nose jobs; insurance doesn't cover optional cosmetic surgery

Postby smix » Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:05 am

Bernie says Blue Shield will be relegated to nose jobs; insurance doesn't cover optional cosmetic surgery
Washington Examiner

URL: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opin ... ic-surgery
Category: Politics
Published: April 10, 2019

Description: The man that wants to effectively nationalize the entire health insurance industry doesn't even know that existing health insurance companies don't cover optional cosmetic surgery. Realizing that fewer than four in 10 Americans favor outright abolishing private health insurance, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has attempted to tweak his Medicare For All bill. He claims that now he won't outlaw private insurance, but instead relegate it to "nose jobs." As with most things that emerge from the septuagenarian's sentiments, Sanders' proposal is inadvertently wise. It confirms that the free market is the only force capable of saving healthcare. Consider that even as healthcare costs spiral out of control, the inflation-adjusted prices of the top 10 most popular cosmetic procedures have fallen over the past two decades. As the overall consumer price index increased by 47.2% from 1998 to 2016, the price of the most popular cosmetic procedure, Botox injections, fell by 11.3%. The reason? Botox is almost never covered by insurance or by the government. Even the prices of invasive surgeries have fallen in real dollars. And although they did increase in price, breast augmentations increased at only half the rate of the total consumer price index increase from 1998 to 2016. And the price of aforementioned rhinoplasties only barely surpassed the consumer price index and fell far short of healthcare inflation. The rest of the healthcare industry, the part subsidized by insurance companies and government, has seen prices double and (in the case of hospital services) nearly triple. The cosmetic medicine industry demonstrates the value of price transparency and the benefits of removing third-party payers. When consumers are made to shop around for prices, their demand becomes more elastic. This ultimately pulls prices down. By contrast, the bulk of the healthcare industry relies on patients not acting like consumers and removing them from the price-setting process. It's why our current private health insurance system is bad and why our current Medicare system, which has reimbursement rates 20% lower than the private system, is downright abysmal. Bernie's plan will inevitably require massive tax increases, and if collapsing systems in Finland and the United Kingdom are any indication, Medicare For All will cause the definition of "vital" care to contract, so that people will be less able to access preventable care, the most cost effective aspect of any healthcare plan. President Trump's Department of Health and Human Services is correct to pursue policies to maximize price transparency. The private industry has already seen a large and necessary expansion of concierge care systems, in which patients pay a medical practice a flat retainer directly, which incentivizes patients to seek preventative care and enables doctors to see fewer patients due to removing the insanity of the insurance bureaucracy. Sanders may not have realized it, but the market for nose jobs is about a thousand times more functional than the market for services that Medicare covers. His plan may crowd out private health insurance as he hopes, or it may just create a second tier of price-transparent, concierge care for those who can still afford it after the tax hit. Sanders knows nothing about healthcare, but he still wants you to trust him to nationalize and control one-fifth of the United States economy.
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Bernie Announces 11-22 Million Illegals Would Get Health Care Under His Plan

Postby smix » Sat Jun 22, 2019 4:40 pm

Bernie Announces 11-22 Million Illegals Would Get Health Care Under His Plan
Breitbart News

URL: https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019 ... -his-plan/
Category: Politics
Published: June 21, 2019

Description: Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Democrat candidate forum in Miami on Friday that the estimated 11 to 22 million people in the country illegally would be entitled to the socialized healthcare program Medicare for All he hopes to put in place if he is elected. “We are going to end that and create a Medicare for All healthcare system, which guarantees health care to every man, woman, and child, and saves the average American substantial sums of money,” Sanders said, admitting next that “national healthcare” systems around the globe “have problems. “Now to answer your question, I will not deny that every country on earth that has a national healthcare program — all have problems — that’s the nature of health care in a changing technology,” Sanders said. “But what I want everybody to understand is literally starting yesterday the insurance companies and their drug companies are starting to spend tens and tens of millions of dollars to fight against Medicare for All, and we will organize the American people around the concept that all people in this country have the right to health care.” “At the end of the day we are going to win that struggle,” Sanders said. Sanders was then asked if he would include people in the country illegally in Medicare for All. “Absolutely,” Sanders said. “When I talk about health care being a human right, last time I heard, undocumented people are human beings as well.” The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that the socialized medicine that Sanders and some of his Democrat rivals for the nomination are endorsing would cost an estimated $28 to $32 trillion over a decade. Candidates including Beto O’Rourke, John Hickenlooper, Julian Castro, Pete Buttigieg, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also each had a 12-minute slot at the event.



Sanders Campaign Blasts Washington Post, Demands Retraction for ‘Inaccurate’ Fact Check
Breitbart News

URL: https://www.breitbart.com/2020-election ... act-check/
Category: Politics
Published: August 31, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) campaign blasted the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post in the latest edition of the “Bern Notice,” demanding the outlet retract its “inaccurate” fact check on Sanders’ claim that “500,000 Americans will go bankrupt this year from medical bills.”

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Sanders made the claim during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union last week, but the Washington Post concluded that his claim was based on a “flawed statistic.” The Sanders campaign took issue with the analysis and wrote a letter to Washington Post editor Marty Baron, demanding a “full retraction” and arguing that Sanders correctly quoted the study from the American Journal of Public Health, which is “not the National Enquirer”:
Senator Sanders accurately cited a statistic that was published in this distinguished public health journal. In what world does this merit one so-called “pinocchio” let alone three? Further, this “three pinocchio” rating isn’t just falsely attacking the veracity of Senator Sanders and misleading the public on one of the most serious problems facing the American people. It is also tarnishing the reputation of the author of the editorial who went to great lengths to have it reviewed by his peers, who believes “your false claim” has “besmirched” his “reputation as a scholar,” and who is also demanding a retraction.

“Unfortunately, this latest Fact Checker article is part of a much broader pattern of bias against Senator Sanders,” Sanders’ Senior Adviser Warren Gunnels continued, listing off the campaign’s well-documented list of grievances against the outlet. The letter continued:
The Washington Post says it adheres to the highest journalistic standards of objectivity, fairness and accuracy If that is the case, why does the Post’s editorial leadership allow the Fact Checker to regularly, baselessly disparage Senator Sanders with smears that are demonstrably inaccurate? And why has the Post’s editorial leadership not corrected or retracted these smears when they are proven false? We hope that you will address the Fact Checker’s inappropriate coverage of Senator Sanders — first by immediately retracting this most recent piece, and then by committing the newspaper to covering Senator Sanders in a fair, professional and ethical manner that finally starts honoring the most basic standards of accurac We look forward to hearing your immediate response to this request.

According to the Post’s analysis, Sanders used a statistic that is far too general. While individuals may list medical bills as a contributing factor for filing for bankruptcy, it does not necessarily mean that the medical bills were the driving force behind the final decision to do so. As the Post reported:
The Sanders campaign told us he was citing a statistic from a public health journal. Critics say the study he’s citing casts too wide a net because it counts anyone who mentioned medical bills or illness among their reasons for declaring bankruptcy, not just those who said it was the main reason or a big piece. Bankruptcies typically involve multiple causes, and in some cases, medical bills may be a small piece of the pie. Sanders glosses over those nuances, stating that health-care costs drove people to bankruptcy in all 500,000 cases. The study he’s citing doesn’t establish that.

The study Sanders cited included individuals who said that medical expenses played “somewhat” into their decision to file for bankruptcy. It does not, however, specifically indicate that the mounting medical bills were the sole reason. “Sanders’s claim works only by erasing this ambiguity and taking ‘somewhat’ to mean ‘mostly,'” the Post assessed. The Post also cited a 2018 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), which examined patients in California. It found that “medical bankruptcies represented 4 percent of all bankruptcies,” calling Sanders’ claim of 500,000 into question:
“Based on our estimate of 4 percent of bankruptcy filings per year and the approximately 800,000 bankruptcy filings per year, our number would be much closer to something on the order of 30,000-50,000 bankruptcies caused by a hospitalization,” one of the co-authors of the NEJM study, economist Raymond Kluender of Harvard Business School, wrote in an email.

However, the Sanders campaigns stuck to its guns, telling the Post, “Medical debt caused by the greed of pharmaceutical and insurance corporations is crippling millions of Americans, and it’s clear that 500,000 is the bare minimum number of bankruptcy filings caused by medical debt each year.” While David U. Himmelstein, who led the AJPH study, said Sanders accurately cited the study’s findings, the Post concluded that Sanders’ assessment was a “classic case of cherry-picking a number from a scientific study and twisting it to make a political point” and gave his statement Three Pinocchios. Sanders’ letter follows his vow to erase $81 billion in medical debt:
It is nothing less than barbaric that the leading cause of bankruptcy in America is medical debt. These people didn't spend all their money on luxury items. Their crime was that they got sick. We are going to cancel all $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 31, 2019
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Bernie Sanders proposes canceling $81 billion U.S. medical debt

Postby smix » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:09 pm

Bernie Sanders proposes canceling $81 billion U.S. medical debt
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa- ... SKCN1VL0QL
Category: Politics
Published: August 31, 2019

Description: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. presidential contender Bernie Sanders proposed a plan on Saturday to cancel $81 billion in existing past-due medical debt for Americans, but offered no details on how it would be financed.

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Sanders, an independent U.S. senator from Vermont, said in a statement that under his plan, the government would negotiate and pay off past-due medical bills that have been reported to credit agencies. The proposal, he said, would also repeal some elements of the 2005 Bankruptcy reform bill and allow other existing and future medical debt to be discharged. “In the United States of America, your financial life and future should not be destroyed because you or a member of your family gets sick,” said Sanders. “That is unacceptable. I am sick and tired of seeing over 500,000 Americans declare bankruptcy each year because they cannot pay off the outrageous cost of a medical emergency or a hospital stay.” According to Sanders, medical debt is the leading cause of consumer bankruptcy, with more than half a million Americans filing due to medical expenses each year. He said the 2005 Bankruptcy reform bill made it difficult to discharge medical debt by imposing strict means tests and eliminated fundamental consumer protections for Americans. “It also trapped families with medical debt in long-term poverty, mandated that they pay for credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy, and increased the need for expensive legal services when filing a case for medical bankruptcy,” the senator said. Sanders is seeking the Democratic nomination, along with more than a dozen other candidates, for the right to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in November 2020.
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Sanders’s flawed statistic: 500,000 medical bankruptcies a year

Postby smix » Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:43 am

Sanders’s flawed statistic: 500,000 medical bankruptcies a year
The Washington Post

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... cies-year/
Category: Politics
Published: August 28, 2019

Description: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has said medical debt has caused 500,000 bankruptcies annually. However, correlation is not causation.

bernie-state-of-the-union.jpg

“500,000 people go bankrupt every year because they cannot pay their outrageous medical bills.”
— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Aug. 25, 2019
“500,000 Americans will go bankrupt this year from medical bills.”
— Sanders, in a tweet, Aug. 20, 2019
This claim from Sanders — that medical bills drive half a million people into bankruptcy every year — relies partly on research from former Harvard professor and now senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Sanders and Warren are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, both running on a platform that includes universal health care and lower costs for patients. Interestingly, though, Warren doesn’t appear to make the same claim about 500,000 medical bankruptcies per year. The Sanders campaign told us he was citing a statistic from a public health journal. Critics say the study he’s citing casts too wide a net because it counts anyone who mentioned medical bills or illness among their reasons for declaring bankruptcy, not just those who said it was the main reason or a big piece. Bankruptcies typically involve multiple causes, and in some cases, medical bills may be a small piece of the pie. Sanders glosses over those nuances, stating that health-care costs drove people to bankruptcy in all 500,000 cases. The study he’s citing doesn’t establish that.
The Facts
The federal courts recorded 750,489 nonbusiness bankruptcy filings in the year that ended March 31, down 0.8 percent from the previous 12-month period, according to data from the federal judiciary. Sanders said 500,000 people were driven to bankruptcy by medical bills. A Sanders campaign aide said he was relying on an editorial published by the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) in March. That study, led by David U. Himmelstein, took a sample of bankruptcy court filings from 2013 to 2016, identified 3,200 bankrupt debtors and mailed them a survey. The response rate was 29.4 percent, with 910 responses and 108 surveys returned as undeliverable. Debtors were asked whether medical expenses, or loss of work related to illness, contributed to their bankruptcies. Of those who responded, 66.5 percent said at least one of those factors contributed “somewhat” or “very much.” Sixty-six percent of 750,000 is 500,000, so Sanders’s math adds up at first glance. “The majority (58.5%) ‘very much’ or ‘somewhat’ agreed that medical expenses contributed, and 44.3% cited illness-related work loss; 66.5% cited at least one of these two medical contributors—equivalent to about 530,000 medical bankruptcies annually,” the AJPH editorial says. This study includes a range of people for whom medical expenses or illness contributed “somewhat” to bankruptcy. What does “somewhat” mean? It’s broad enough to mean “slightly,” “fairly” or “moderately.” Sanders’s claim works only by erasing this ambiguity and taking “somewhat” to mean “mostly.” The AJPH editorial did not undergo the same peer-reviewed editing process as a research article. “In AJPH, many editorials are commissioned by the editor-in-chief from experts in their field(s), as a forum to present their most recent or preliminary findings on specific topics, or to coincide with significant dates or events,” said Morgan Richardson, an AJPH editor. “Lack of peer review does not indicate inaccuracy, but editorials are less likely to be cited in the scientific literature as evidence because the standard of rigor is different due to context.” However, Himmelstein used a methodology similar to what he, Warren and other researchers used in a 2005 peer-reviewed study that they updated in 2009. Warren was a co-author of those two studies, but not the AJPH editorial published in March. “Illness or medical bills contributed to 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007,” according to the study from 2009. (Again, the term used here is “contributed” and not “caused.”) It’s interesting to note that the rate rose from 62.1 percent in 2007 to 66.5 percent from 2013 to 2016. The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, was enacted in between the two studies. This line of research thus suggests medical bankruptcies became more prevalent after the law’s passage. “We did not ask about the sole or main reason for bankruptcy, because our past experience indicates that this is a meaningless question,” Himmelstein, a professor at CUNY’s Hunter College who supports single-payer health care, wrote in an email. “The vast majority of debtors suffer multiple problems that bring them to file, and cannot identify a single problem among them. Thus, if an illness led to lost work time (and hence income) and medical bills, debtors cannot separate out these different problems; they are of a piece.” Craig Garthwaite, a health-care policy expert in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, said the study was flawed. “It’s basically saying that if you go bankrupt and you have medical debt, that’s the cause of your bankruptcy,” he said. “That’s not the way you can do this kind of analysis.” He added: “Rather than looking at a sample of people who go bankrupt and see how many have medical debt, look at a sample of a bunch of people who have medical debt, and how many of them go bankrupt. And that gives you an idea of causality.” A group of researchers tried that approach in a peer-reviewed study published by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2018. Looking at a random sample of California hospital patients between 2003 and 2007, they found that medical bankruptcies represented 4 percent of all bankruptcies. The patients were between ages 25 and 64 and included only those admitted to a hospital for non-birth-related reasons. “Based on our estimate of 4 percent of bankruptcy filings per year and the approximately 800,000 bankruptcy filings per year, our number would be much closer to something on the order of 30,000-50,000 bankruptcies caused by a hospitalization,” one of the co-authors of the NEJM study, economist Raymond Kluender of Harvard Business School, wrote in an email. This would lead us to be skeptical of the 500,000 medical bankruptcies statistic, but that very much depends on how one defines a medical bankruptcy. … An enormous share of households have some amount of medical debt, so any survey of individuals will report a high share of them have medical debt but this does not imply that the debt caused them to file for bankruptcy.” Some people could still face high levels of medical debt without ever going through a hospital, and they wouldn’t be counted in the NEJM study. Warren, Himmelstein and their co-authors have criticized the NEJM study, which in turn criticized their work. Asked about the dueling research, Garthwaite said of the NEJM study: “I do think they’re getting much closer to what the number is.” A Sanders campaign aide wrote in an email: “Medical debt caused by the greed of pharmaceutical and insurance corporations is crippling millions of Americans, and it’s clear that 500,000 is the bare minimum number of bankruptcy filings caused by medical debt each year.” Linking to the 2009 article by Warren and her co-authors, the Sanders aide added: “Research attributed 62% of bankruptcies to medical problems in 2007 and found them rising since 2001. And according to reports from the federal judiciary, the total non-business bankruptcy appears to hover around 1 million cases annually since 2006. Over 40% of Americans, or 79 million people, are struggling with medical debt, which is why Bernie knows we must pass Medicare-for-all.” When we asked Himmelstein whether Sanders was quoting his study accurately, he said yes. Himmelstein wrote: “37 percent of filers said medical bills ‘very much’ contributed to their bankruptcy. Even if you use that restricted definition, then Sanders’s statement is accurate — or an underestimate. There are about 700,000 bankruptcy filings each year. Many filings are joint husband/wife filings, and based on our past research, we estimate that on average 2.71 persons reside in each debtor’s household. So the total number of persons who undergo bankruptcy is about 1.9 million annually. “37 percent of 1.9 million is a bit over 700,000. Even if you only count the husband and wife in a filing, the number suffering a bankruptcy to which medical bills ‘very much’ contributed is about 500,000.” But here, we’ve moved from the statistic Sanders cited from the AJPH editorial to a different number that relies on separate inferences. We will note that the study refers to “cases,” not people. Garthwaite said of Sanders’s claim: “It’s wrong. It’s just wrong. Just because the number’s big doesn’t make it right, even if you want to agree with the premise. And we should be careful about this. I’m not saying that medical debt and bankruptcy is not a problem, but I think we should have a conversation about the appropriate scale of the problem.”
The Pinocchio Test
This is a classic case of cherry-picking a number from a scientific study and twisting it to make a political point. Sanders’s statements — “500,000 people go bankrupt every year because they cannot pay their outrageous medical bills” and “500,000 Americans will go bankrupt this year from medical bills” — are unambiguous. He’s saying medical debts caused those 500,000 bankruptcies. However, correlation is not causation, and the study he’s citing doesn’t establish causation for all 500,000 bankruptcy cases. One of the authors sent us rough estimates showing that Sanders might be on target, but those numbers deserve scientific scrutiny before they can be taken as fact. In the meantime, the statistic Sanders’s campaign cited includes bankrupt debtors for whom medical expenses may have been a minor or relatively small contributing factor. A different, peer-reviewed study arrived at a much different conclusion, suggesting the medical bankruptcy rate is far lower, although it measured only hospital patients and not all types of medical debt. The omissions and twists are significant enough to merit Three Pinocchios for Sanders.

bernie-pinocchio.jpg

Three Pinocchios
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