Privatizing Medicare and striking nursing home workers.

In recent posts I’ve written about the privatizing of Medicare.

When Medicare was established in the mid-sixties it was a limited but fully government-funded program.

Since then it has become more and more a privatized program, with billions going to big pharma and the private insurance industry.

My blog posts have mainly focused on how, with the growth of market place choice within the Medicare system when it comes to drugs and Medicare Advantage, the elderly have not been well served.

Privatization has made it more confusing, non-transparent and more expensive for many of us.

The Washington Post exposes another issue when health care is market driven rather than a public responsibility.

Federal money, through the Medicare and Medicaid systems, has long shaped the nursing home business — and in ways that left it completely vulnerable when the viral pandemic arrived in March.

For years, extra money has gone to pay for extra services, encouraging some nursing home owners to game the system and tempting unscrupulous operators to to file false claims for reimbursement. In the recent past the gold standard was physical and occupational therapy; now it’s respiratory care.

But stringent infection control, which might have kept the coronavirus at bay, has never been a revenue producer, even now during the pandemic. Similarly, there is no monetary incentive to hire more registered nurses, although studies suggest they have been crucial in minimizing covid-19 casualties in nursing homes.

Meanwhile, in Chicago this Thanksgiving weekend  700 nursing home workers who are members SEIU Health Care Illinois/Indiana (HCII) began a second #StrikeForOurLives. Strikers walked out at 11 Infinity nursing homes across the state of Illinois.

Members of SEIU have been denied adequate staffing, PPE and hazard pay.

40th Ward Chicago alderman, Andre Vasquez – recently condemned and censured at a meeting of the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America for voting for Mayor Lightfoot’s pandemic budget – calls for in-person support for striking nursing home workers in his ward.

One thought on “Privatizing Medicare and striking nursing home workers.

  1. What this nurse has to say is frightening. This country needs to face the fact that even nurses, who are essential to help COVID-19 patients, DO NOT HAVE HEALTHCARE. They also are not getting the PPE that is necessary to save their lives and many get fired if they get sick and can’t work.
    …………………………………………..
    COVID Crisis Nurse Shares Her Harrowing Experience | Amanpour and Company
    Nov 25, 2020
    Amanpour and Company

    As of Tuesday, 88,080 people are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. This is the highest number of hospitalizations in American history. Chelsea Walsh is a traveling crisis nurse who moves from one COVID hotspot to another, serving those hardest hit by the pandemic. She speaks with Hari Sreenivasan about what she has learned along the way, from Texas to New York

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