Today, 150 people will likely be killed on the job or die from job-related illnesses and disease. That deadly toll will continue tomorrow and the next day and the next until the nation “renews the commitment to protect workers from injury, disease and death,” and makes it a high priority, says the 2013 edition of the AFL-CIO’s Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect.
This is the fundamental fact of American health care: We pay much, much more than other countries do for the exact same things. For a detailed explanation of why, see this article. But this post isn’t about the why. It’s about the prices and the graphs.
While many Republicans balked at passing $60 billion in relief for Hurricane Sandy cleanup (they eventually passed a little higher than $50 billion), TIME’s Steven Brill wrote that the United States spends nearly that much in health care costs each week.
Americans overspend $750 billion in health care each year. One-fifth of our economy enriches very few at the expense of everyone else. Labs, drug companies, medical device makers, hospital administrators and purveyors of CT scans, MRIs, canes and wheelchairs are some of the entities and people reaping the financial rewards by gaming the health care system, writes Time magazine's Steven Brill in a fascinating, in-depth look at why health care prices are just "too damn high" in Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us.
Working families rallied on Capitol Hill last week, calling on Congress not to make any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They also told Congress to close tax loopholes for big corporations and the wealthiest 2% and to prevent the sequester from going into effect and harming the country.
When Medicare Part D was introduced in 2003, the goal was to provide seniors with cheaper prescription drugs, writes Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in an Op-Ed for the Duluth News Tribune. But, with the Part D "donut hole" and the clause that prohibits Medicare from negotiating drug prices, the burden of prescription drug costs has been a hardship for many of America's seniors over the past decade.
Working families aren't fooled. There's nothing "fair and balanced" about the Bowles-Simpson budget plan that would ultimately increase unemployment, cut Social Security benefits, tax workers’ health benefits and scapegoat federal employees while giving more tax breaks for sending jobs overseas and lowering tax rates for Wall Street and the wealthiest 2%. Yesterday, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) introduced an amendment to H.R. 444, that would direct President Obama to follow the budget recommendations of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, known as the Bowles-Simpson plan.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka sent this message to working family activists:
Tom Ward’s hardest memory to live with was the day his father came home from what would be his last day of work. His father barely made it through the door, fell to the floor and, between tears, said, “I can’t do it anymore.”