tv Democracy Now PBS June 23, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
06/23/17 06/23/17 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: obamacare is a disaster. it is totally dead. we're putting in a plan today that is going to be negotiated. >> health care is a human right. we're the richest country in the world. there is no reason why we can't afford to allocate money appropriately to support poor people. amy: after weeks of secret negotiations, republican senators have released a healthcare proposal that would remove millions of low-income and disabled people from medicaid, prompting protests on capitol hill that are expected to continue to the country.
it would also cut subsidies to purchase of health insurance and allows states to effectively eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. it would defund planned for a year. roundtable -- we will host a roundtable with john mcdonough, steffie woolhandler, and dr. willie parker. then to south sudan where a government ethnic cleansing campaign threatens to into the country. >> i crossed into uganda at the beginning of this year when government soldiers started attacking us. we just heard gunshots and took to the forest for safety. i children and grandchildren scattered off in different directions and we were reunited just recently in this camp. amy: we will speak with journalist nick turse about his
new article "ghost nation." all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. after weeks of secret negotiations, republican senators thursday released a health care bill that would reduce key benefits for millions of americans. the better care reconciliation act would find a large capital gains tax cut for the rich by removing millions of low income and disabled people from medicaid. according to the center on budget policy priorities, 33 billion dollars of the tax cuts would benefit the 400 wealthiest u.s. households. the senate bill would also reduce subsidies to individuals to purchase health insurance and would allow states to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. the measure would defund planned parenthood for a year, making breast-cancer screenings and basic reproductive services more difficult for women to get.
the bill was negotiated behind closed doors the between 13 republican male senators. this is senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. to freereed on the need americans from obamacare's mandates and policies contained in the discussion draft will repeal the individual mandate so americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford. we will repeal the employer mandate so americans no longer see their hours and take-home pay cut by employers. amy: senator mcconnell claimed the bill would strengthen medicaid. in fact, it would cut the federal health program by more than $800 billion over a decade, this is new york democrat and senate minority leader chuck schumer. >> this is a bill designed to strip away health care benefits and protections from americans who need it most in order to give a tax break to the folks who need it least. this is a bill that would in the it,caid as we know
roll back medicaid expansion, cut federal support for the program even more than the house bill -- which cut medicaid by $800 billion. amy: senator mcconnell says he wants to vote on the health care bill next week before congress leaves for the fourth of july recess. republicans can only afford to lose two boats for the measure to pass with 50 votes. saidrepublican senators thursday they will oppose the bill in its current form, arguing it feels to cut medicaid benefits enough post of the bill is similar to the house measure that would leave more than 20 million americans without health insurance. the congressional budget office has yet to score the current health. we will have more on the senate health care plan after headlines. outside senator mitch mcconnell's office on capitol hill thursday, scores of disabled protesters held a sit-in protest against the republican healthcare bill. many of them chanted, "no cuts to medicaid!" as capitol police
dragged them away one-by-one. one woman was lifted from her wheelchair by four officers after she went limp in a nonviolent protest. protesters also rallied at washington d.c.'s national airport thursday, targeting republican lawmakers as they left town for their home states. this is protester barbara bearden. all ofe hoping to catch the senators on the recount before they get home. we would like to remind them of what is waiting for them -- more protest, more request for town halls, and more calls. amy: in more news from washington, d.c., president trump said thursday he does not have tapes of his conversations with former fbi director james comey, whom trp fired amid an fbi probe into alleged russian meddling in november's election. in a twitter rant last month, trump threatened comey over the possibility of taped conversations, tweeting -- "james comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our
conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" in a pair of tweets thursday, president trump tweeted -- "with all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, i have no idea 'tapes' orere are recordings of my conversations with james comey, but i did not make, and do not have, any such recordings." the tweets came as nbc news reported trump asked director of national intelligence dan coats and nsa chief admiral mike rogers to state publicly that the president had not colluded with russian officials to interfere in november's election. coats reportedly told house investigators that trump was obsessed with the russia investigation. the white house thursday held the latest in a series of not for broadcast press briefings in which it attempted to ban reporters from recording video or audio -- and in a new twist, tried to bar them from even reporting on the restriction. a press schedule emailed to
white house correspondents wednesday included the tag line, "for planning purposes only. not reportable." meanwhile, a pair of government accountability groups has sued the trump administration over its use of encrypted messaging apps, saying their use circumvents the presidential records act. top white house officials reportedly use the confide app, which automatically deletes messages after a set period of time. in a statement, citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington said -- "the american people not only deserve to know how their government is making important decisions, it's the law." a new lawsuit filed by the american civil liberties union charges police in washington, d.c., used sexual abuse as a form of punishment after hundreds were arrested during protests against donald trump's inauguration on january 20. a complaint by four plaintiffs charges officers stripped them, grabbed their genitalia, and
inserted fingers into their anuses while other officers laughed. one of the plaintiffs, photojournalist shay horse, said -- "i felt like they were using molestation and rape as punishment. they used those tactics to inflict pain and misery on people who are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty." in a statement, d.c.'s metropolitan police department promised an investigation but defended its officers' actions, saying all arrests on january 20 were proper. in yemen, the united nations warned thursday an epidemic of cholera could reach 300,000 cases by the end of the month. u.n. emergency relief coordinator stephen o'brien said the spread of the often-deadly disease is entirely preventable. >> this is because of conflict. it is man-made. the numbers are absolutely staggering. it is getting worse. the color elements, in addition to all of the lack of food, lack of medical supplies for people,
is, of course, primarily -- one has to put that at the door of all of the parties of the conflict. amy: the warnings over cholera came as the u.n.'s humanitarian coordinator called on a u.s.-backed, saudi-led military coalition to halt airstrikes in yemen, citing mounting civilian deaths and the june 19 targeting of the main water supply system in dhamar city, which affected people. one million in iraq, prime minister haider al-abadi predicted thursday that u.s.-backed iraqi forces were nearing a victory in their battle to reclaim the city of mosul from isis. the remarks came a day after the historic al nuri grand mosque was reduced to rubble. isis claims the mosque was destroyed by a u.s. airstrike, though the u.s. and iraqi officials said surveillance video proved it was packed with explosives by isis and deliberately blown up. this is prime minister al-abadi. >> we will soon announce the final victory over the enemy
isis and in mosul city in particular. god willing. little resistance remains. isis will soon announce its folder beat. they blew up the mosque, which was the starting place of their movement. amy: the u.n. estimates as many as 150,000 people remain trapped in mosul's old city amid heavy airstrikes and house-to-house fighting. the journalistic monitoring group airwars reported four brothers -- othman, bakr, omar and ali -- were killed along with their entire family by iraqi government shelling in mosul's old city. meanwhile, airwars reports six civilians were killed and several others injured in alleged coalition airstrikes in raqqa, syria. airwars also reported that strikes in the eastern province of deir ez-zor killed up to 16 civilians tuesday, with different sources blaming russia, syria, and the u.s.-led coalition for the deaths. meanwhile, the syrian city of deraa came under heavy bombardment thursday from forces loyal to president bashar
al-assad, who reportedly dropped barrel bombs from helicopters. in the united kingdom, the conservative government of prime minister theresa may has ordered inspections of 600 high-rise buildings across britain after a massive fire in grenfell last week left at least 79 people dead and injured dozens more. workers were seen removing highly flammable cladding from a tower in north london thursday. the materials are similar to those used in the grenfell tower, despite the fact the cladding is banned in the u.s. and europe. the trump administration thursday said it will remove grizzly bears in and around yellowstone national park from protection under the endangered species act. interior secretary ryan zinke's order will impact yellowstone's estimated 700 bears, whose population has grown from 136 when the bears were first listed as endangered in 1975. in response, the center for biological diversity said -- "it's tragic that the trump administration is stripping protections from these
magnificent animals just to appease a tiny group of trophy hunters who want to stick grizzly bear heads on their walls." president trump's two adult sons, eric and donald, jr., are long-time trophy hunters who've been repeatedly photographed alongside dead animals, including a leopard and an elephant. president trump has renewed his push for an expanded wall on the u.s.-mexico border, telling a crowd in iowa he wanted ad solar panels to the length of the structure to help pay for it. trump made the remarks wednesday in a campaign-style event in cedar rapids. pres. trump: we are talking about the southern border. lots of sun, lots of heat. we're thinking about building the wall as a solar wall so he creates energy and pays for itself. and this way, mexico will have to pay much less money.
and that's good. right? amy: as president, donald trump has proposed massive cuts to research on renewable energy, has greenlighted the keystone xl and dakota access pipelines, and has moved to open up vast areas of federal land to coal, oil and gas development. in climate news, the world meteorological organization warns planet earth is in the midst of another exceptionally warm year with heat waves arriving far earlier than normal in a pattern that's consistent with climate change. parts of north africa and the middle east saw temperatures top 122 degrees fahrenheit this week. palm springs, california, tied that mark, setting an all-time high. meanwhile in paris, france, highs reached 100 degrees thursday. in bolivia, scientists a they are in a race to sample ice from meltinggreg sugars -- glaciers before global warming erases thousands of years' worth of records on earth's climate. glaciologists with the ice memory project took ice cores
from the illimani mountain in bolivia's andes, noting the glacier was almost a full degree warmer than a previous sample. this is scientist patrick ginot. >> we can prove the temperature of the glaciers risen .7 degrees centigrade in 18 years. this glacier, and 6500 meters above sea level, will heat of bit by bit and with global warming, it will lose all of the information that we're going to take from these ice samples. that is why we cannot wait 10 more years. amy: worldwide, at least 200 million people depend on glaciers for drinking water and are at risk of being left without water due to melting ice. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. after weeks of secret deliberations, republican senators released a healthcare thursday proposal that would reduce key benefits for millions of americans. the "better care reconciliation
act" would find a large capital-gains tax cut for the rich by removing millions of low-income and disabled people from medicaid. according to the center of budget policy priorities, $33 billion of the tax cuts would benefit the 400 wealthiest u.s. households. the senate bill would also reduce subsidies to individuals to purchase health insurance and would allow states to eliminate protections for people with preexisting conditions. the measure would defund planned parenthood for a year, making breast-cancer screenings and basic reproductive services more difficult for women to secure. while drafting the legislation, president trump had called on republicans to improve the house plan by giving it more "heart." the bill was negotiated behind closed doors between 13 republican white male senators. this is senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> we agreed on the need to free americans from obamacare's mandate the policies contained in the discussion draft will repeal the individual mandate so
americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford. it will repeal the employer mandate so americans no longer see their hours and take all pay cut by employers. amy: senator mcconnell says he wants to vote on the healthcare bill next week before congress leaves for the 4th of july recess. republicans can only afford to lose two votes for the measure to pass with 50 votes. four republican senators -- rand paul, ted cruz, ron johnson, mike lee -- said thursday they'll oppose the bill in its current form, arguing it fails to cut medicaid benefits enough. the bill is similar to a house measure that would leave more than 20 million americans without health insurance. the congressional budget office has yet to score the senate bill. democrats are firmly united against the bill. this is senate minority leader chuck schumer. >> this is a bill designed to strip away benefits of productions from americans who need it most in order to give a
tax break to the folks who need it least. this is a bill that would in medicaid as we know it, rolling back medicaid expansion, cutting federal support for the program even more than the house bill -- which cut medicaid by $800 billion. amy: this comes as scores of disabled protesters held a sit-in protest outside senator mitch mcconnell's office on capitol hill and demonstrators thursday gathered at washington, d.c.'s national airport to target republican lawmakers as they left town for their home states. also on thursday, barack obama weighed in on efforts to scale back his signature health-care law. he posted a scathing statement on facebook that said -- "the senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. it's a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in america." for more, we host a roundtable discussion with three guests.
joining us from boston is john mcdonough, a professor at the harvard chan school of public health. he served as a senior adviser on national health reform to the u.s. senate committee on health, education, labor and pensions from 2008 to 2010. and from 2003 and 2008, he served as executive director of health care for all in massachusetts, playing a key role in passage of the 2006 massachusetts health reform law. he's the author of "inside national health reform." also in boston, dr. steffie woolhandler, a professor at cuny-hunter college and a primary care physician. she is a lecturer at harvard school and the co-founder of physicians for a national health program. she is a well-known national advocate for medicare for all. and in aspen, colorado, dr. school and the co-founder of physicians for aw, abortion provider, and the board chair of physicians for reproductive health. his new book is "life's work: a moral argument for choice."
we welcome you all to democracy now! we will begin with professor john mcdonough. can you lay out what the republicans presented after weeks of secret negotiations with other republicans? >> i think the statements from senator schumer articulated it well. what is essentially going on here is the affordable care act was an attempt to improve the nation's health care system and expand coverage and deal with other issues. it was paid for significantly by new taxes on wealthy americans and some very powerful corporate interests. the new bill in the house and reflected in the senate is an attempt to do major tax cuts for wealthy americans and powerful financed byterests, decimating the medicaid program and other essential parts of the nation health care safety net.
that is clearly what is going on. the senate initially said we will take the house bill and throw the way and start all over . instead, what they have done is simply make a number of adjustments. if you look up close between the two, you can see many, many disagreements and differences of opinion on details, but if you stand back, there are essentially the same thing. they fundamentally undermine the nation's commitment to the medicaid program, which covers about 75 million low income and lower income americans by phasing out the expansion that was created in the affordable care act and by fundamentally changing the financing of it, where they put a cap on it so that states will have no choice but begin to retrench back on the benefits. they continue the subsidies for private health insurance purchase for lower middle income americans, but again, they substantially degra that
coverage, for example, lowering what is called the actuarial value or how much benefit you get out of your premiums from the aca standard of 70%, down to 58%. which means higher co-pays, hired a delectable's across the board. they defund planned parenthood for a year, but setting it up then to continue well into the future. they get rid of the prevention and public health trust fund that has provided vital public centers for to the disease control as well as public health departments all over the country. you can go on and on. it is hard to find something in the measure that one could say that is good or at least not harmful. it is pretty much bad from start to finish. amy: on the issue of medicaid, we're talking about medicaid cut overall in half, something we have not seen in the history of medicaid. both medicaid expansion and
medicaid itself. and can you talk about who is covered by medicaid? like cap the babies born in this country are paid for by medicaid. >> medicaid is the primary insurance coverage program for low in lower income americans. many children -- most children in the united states, more under medicaid than any other kind of coverage. , porcine ors citizens, low income, disabled people, and other working low income working adults who have no other options for coverage. about one third of the medicaid program consists of low-income senior citizens and disabled. they actually account for two thirds of the spending on the program. so if you want to take a meat ax
to the medicaid program, it is really impossible to implement cuts at that level without on lowdamaging impacts income, disabled, and elderly, as well as children, parents, and families. amy: nursing homes? >> nursing homes is very much a part of the benefits that low income seniors get. had few families have grandparents or parents who have gone into long-term care and not at some point needed help from medicaid to pay for the cost of long-term care -- which is just so unaffordable for most americans. ,my: dr. steffie woolhandler presumably, you only sell the starting yesterday. this was kept under wraps from many republicans as well as democrats in the senate. it is interesting republicans who are opposed to this, the group like mike lee from utah and rand paul from kentucky, ron
johnson from wisconsin, who feel that this doesn't go far enough. senator susanhave collins from maine as well as senator michalski from alaska who are deeply concerned that this, once again, as with the house bill, that apparently, president trump has called mean, will mean tens of millions of more americans will lose their health insurance. >> well, it certainly will. i think it is very important for onple to express their views this bill to the senators because there will be a vote next week. is quite a bit meaner and some ways than the house bill, the cuts to medicaid, for instance, are much deeper. and many people, like those in nursing homes and poor infants
are going to be affected worse. there will be worst problems under this bill. but i do want to talk a little bit about how the taxes, these big tax windfalls will come to the rich. what the republican bill does is it says rich people who get their income from investments no pay the medicaid tax. people who earns always ha% med. the republican senate and house bill will say that rich people earning $100 million a year off of investments through stock sales and dividends will longer have to pay that same medicaid tax the rest of us pay. they've been very quiet about that. i don't think that is a very popular idea. additionally, they're cutting taxes on the insurance industry, ma.pharnm
so this is a giant tax cut. cut.unpopular tax if americans really understood it was getting this tax windfall. it is going to make health care more expensive for ordinary americans. amy: professor john mcdonough, does this avoid obamacare altogether if this were passed? passed in its current form, it would do unprecedented damage to that law. most of the major portions of it that deal with expanding coverage and providing some security for americans in terms of needing health care services. there are other major parts of the law that it actually does not touch at all. there's a big part of the law that is trying to do major changes in medical care delivery , creating new mechanisms called accountable care organizations, establishing a center for innovation at the centers for
medicare and medicaid services. none of those are touched. there are large parts of the law that quietly, republicans actually support and seem to want to continue and even expand. but the major pieces of the law in terms of expanding insurance coverage for low and lower middle income americans and the taxes to pay for that are pretty well decimated in terms of what is on the table right now. this is going to move very fast. it is possible it won't happen. and that is why steffie is correct when she says everyone has to weigh in here. but if they succeed in getting it through the senate on thursday or friday of next week, there are some reports that the house may actually convene on saturday and adopt the senate version and send it to the president's desk. this could move with unprecedented rapidity for such
a major controversial issue. so the stakes are very high. and the place where this really needs to get stalled in defeated is next week in the senate. amy: are you saying this could of thehe house, instead house attempting to reconcile the senate and house bill, they could just adopt the senate bill? >> it is conceivable that is it gets through the senate with 50 votes, that the senate will say folks, take "this it or leave it" and they will come on saturday and they may be able to string together enough votes so they could actually just adopt the senate plan in toto and senate directly to president trump's desk. it could happen very fast. amy: you are one of the architects of romney care in massachusetts. >> we did not collect that. much based on republican
plan under republican governor of massachusetts, governor romney who later run for president. how far away are the republicans today in congress, in the house and senate, from that republican plan in massachusetts that did get past? >> there is a significant with draw. the original was republican conservative idea going back to the 1980's and 1990's, the alternative to bill clinton's universal coverage plan. they continued to promote it throughout the process where we passed it in massachusetts will stop them when it got to stop them when it got to congress in 2009 and it was barack obama who was supporting it, then they all jumped off the ship and left to democrats there asourselves to try to get best done as it was possible to get done at that time. so there is been a substantial
retrenchment. i saw this morning on one of the tv shows, senator rand paul basically saying, well, i think we should just take away all of the standards and requirements and let people buy whatever they want. people should be able to buy health insurance he said for about one dollar a day. so about $365 a year. i don't know what that would really get you, but it would not get you very much. i think what we have to understand is what motivates the republican party is cutting taxes. that is first. everything else is secondary to that goal, whether it is health care, education, environmental protection -- everything else. so this is part of a bigger pattern in terms of the republican agenda. this is so big and important that this is up first. this is just the beginning. know you mcdonough, i have to leave. thank you for being with us, professor at harvard chan school of public health.
it would remove millions of low-income and disabled people from medicaid. according to the center on parodies, $33icy billion of the tax cuts would benefit the 400 wealthiest u.s. households. the senate bill would also reduce subsidies to individuals to reduce health insurance and would allow states to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. the measure would also defund planned parenthood for a year, making among other things, breast-cancer screenings and basic reproductive services more difficult for women to secure. for more, we're joined in aspen, parker,, by dr. willie professor at cuny-hunter college and a primary care physician. -- dr. willie parker a , physician, abortion provider and the board chair of physicians for reproductive health. his new book is "life's work: a moral argument for choice." still with us dr. steffie , woolhandler, a professor at
cuny-hunter college and a primary care physician. dr. willie parker, respond to what has finally been revealed by the republicans in the senate, this health care bill, and specifically what it means for women. bill to me looks like rivers robin hood bill where it will steal from the poor to give to the rich. the president called for a bill with more heart. but whate end up from the senate is more heartless bill. what it will mean, as you other guests have said, the most vulnerable people who .ely on medicaid you're talking about not just brooks, but the women who give birth. it is alarming that if women lose access to coverage for prenatal care and for
childbirth, something that we are never even conceived of, that alarming in the context of the fact we have rising maternal mortality in this country -- a lot of which can be prevented by things that can be discovered during prenatal care. so there is that impact. there's also the impact of -- the fact that the affordable care act expanded access to the preventative services of familyeptive of planning. it strikes me as odd that people who are ideologically driven reduce abortion, are going to reduce the services that make abortion unnecessary. hundreds of thousands of women got their birth control through medicaid coverage because it was a preventative service. as a result of that, we've seen number of abortions in this country since it became legal. number of abortions in this country since it became legal. amy: have you ever seen an
organization, in this case planned parenthood, targeted in this way? named in the bill that this particular group will lose its funding? and why for a year? >> well, this is unprecedented. i think it is a bait and switch. deciding wef like are not going to overtly he you in the nose, but while people can't see, i'm going to pinch in the ribs while people are not looking. targetedr seen restriction of resources toward an organization simply because ideologically people are opposed to one of the services that they provide. but it is consistent with the extremism we see on people who disagree with the idea of abortion. they are willing to discount all of the other vital services that planned parenthood provides, as you said earlier, screening mammography, cervical cancer screenings, and defunding
planned parenthood for a year or at all means 2.5 million women who rely on planned parenthood further services will be uncovered for a year. , thatinto the future number would only swell. amy: it might surprise people to hear that, for example, have the babies born in this country are on medicaid, that those births are covered by medicaid. can you explain that, dr. parker? >> well, it is related -- when you look at the fact that higher pregnancy,intended which is about half of all pregnancies in this country arer are fortended, they are occur those who lack health care. that means those people would not have access to preventative services and would enter into pregnancy with comorbidities or
other health issues that might whentheir care necessary they don't have coverage. as your guests said earlier, the people who are sickest and neediest consume more of the health care services. when you look at the fact that we say that women, in an effort to make sure they have healthy babies are entitled to health care, is not a small stretch that poor women and underinsured women who become pregnant their respective of their insurance coverage status need to care when they need it, and that is where medicaid stepped into the gap. amy: what was your response when you started to read through this bill? how are people organizing right now in the reproductive rights community around the country? disheartened and and energizedngry
at the same time. it seems like those who have little will have the most taken from them and the most who have most will have their excess augmented. it is just shameful. most perplexing that the vulnerable in our society are being made more vulnerable. there's a blatant disregard for our most vulnerable citizens that week claim to care -- that we claim to care about. i think people are understanding and deciding that they can't take this lying down. i think the march on june 3 21st, the women's march and other marches that have launched since have energized people to understand they have to become politically engaged. so you have people who are moving forward based on the
movement of people to get out and march and now we're trying to transition that into political activism on multiple levels. amy: donald trump appeared to come out in favor of a form of single payer health insurance for the uninsured previously. i want to play the clip. >> obamacare is going to be repealed and replaced. it is a disaster. premiums up 45%, 55%. >> how do you fix it? >> everybody has to be covered. this is an un-republican thing to say. >> universal health care. >> i wouldn't take care of everybody. much better than they are taking care of now. >> the uninsured person is going to be taking care of? how? >> i would make a deal with existing hospitals to take care of people. >> who pays for it? >> the government will step that
we will save so much money on the other side. for the most part, it will be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plains with lots of different competition, with lots of competitors, with great companies. and they can have their doctors and plans. they can have everything. amy: that was donald trump in 2015. dr. steffie woolhandler, you're one of the key advocates for medicare for all. where does that fit into this picture today? do you think this is a moment where the time for medicare for all can be pushed around the country in a very big way as people across the political spectrum are horrified by the specter of among other things, tens of millions of people losing their health insurance? made some modest improvements of the health care system and the republicans would pulled us all back will stop at the affordable was never a very good bill.
it left 28 million americans completely uninsured. intense millions more with these unaffordable gaps in coverage like copayments and deductibles and uncovered services. and that is why the affordable toe act has been vulnerable these attacks because people look at their own situations and obamacare come under the affordable care act, health care still not affordable to me. so the best way to fight the republican attacks is to say, let's move forward from the affordable care act to a single-payer system rather than backward through repealed. the single-payer system works because by having a single come a simple medicare for all system, you save so much money on administrative costs and overhead that you can cover all of the uninsured and approve coverage for everybody else who has gaps in their coverage without raising total health care costs. and that is why about 20,000
u.s. physicians have come together to advocate single-payer. that is what the national nurses united, the biggest nursing union in the country, is pushi single payer. it is why senator sanders ran on single-payer. it is like congressman john conyers has introduced a bill with 112 cosponsors for single payer. so now is the time to be saying to the electorate, the aca was a step forward, but not a big enough step. we need to be moving forward from the aca to the single-payer medicare for all plan that americans need and deserve. amy: how feasible do you think this is? senator bernie sanders has yet to introduce this bill of the type that john conyers has already introduced in the house. >> my understanding is sanders is planning to introduce a bill over the summer. the john conyers bill has gained a lot of cosponsors -- more than
half of all of the democrats in the house of representatives now bill.sor the conyers that is more than any time in history. we're seeing a lot of public support for the idea of single-payer. we're seeing a big movement at the state level in california. we are getting a whole lot more discussion of single-payer now than we've had before. quickly, andou california, it passed the state senate but has to go through the assembly, then it has to go through governor brown. do you think he will sign off on it, unlike what happened in nevada, where the republican senator in that case said no to medicare for all, even though it was passed -- >> we're only going to get single-payer if the populace keeps the pressure on the politicians. it will not happen automatically. it is not going to happen because governor brown has on occasion in the past said he likes single payer it will
happen because we have a movement that is strong enough to counter the political power of these rich people who are getting these huge tax cuts, of the entrance industry who would have no place does a farmer who think they're going to have to accept lower prices under single-payer. so that is a lot of political power and the only way to push through that is to really build a movement, but that really seems possible right now with polls showing two out of every three americans who have an opinion on health care think we need some sort of medicare for all programs. now is really the time to be pushing this -- in fact, the only way to recount her the republican momentum at this point. amy: dr. steffie woolhandler to andk you for being with us dr. willie parker, the chair of the board of physicians for
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we end today's show by looking at south sudan, where the united nations warns an ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by the south sudanese government is threatening to empty the country. the united nations has accused soldiers with the government's sudan people's liberation army, known as the spla, of killing, torturing, and raping civilians, as well as burning down homes and villages. the violence has caused one of the biggest refugee crises in africa. more than 1.7 million south sudanese civilians have already fled to neighboring countries
since the civil war erupted in 2013. this is a south sudanese refugee named maria lalum speaking from a refugee camp in uganda. >> i crossed into uganda at the beginning of this year when government soldier started attacking us. we just heard gunshots and took to the forest for safety. my children and grandchildren scattered off in different directions and we were reunited just recently in this camp. amy: south sudan is the world's youngest country. the united states backed south sudan's independence in 2011 and the country's president, salva kiir, whose troops are now accused of carrying out the majority of crimes in the ongoing war. for more, we're joined by journalist nick turse. a reporter with the investigative fund, spent six weeks reporting from across south sudan and in refugee camps in neighboring uganda and the central african republic. his new article for harper's is titled "ghost nation: an
ethnic-cleansing campaign by the government threatens to empty south sudan." we welcome you to democracy now! you just recently were in south sudan. talk about what is there. this is covered almost not at all in the united states. >> it is difficult to get coverage of it here. thank you for having me on. i spent about six weeks in northern uganda, democratic republic of congo, and south sudan interviewing internally displaced persons and refugees. i talked to about 250 people when i was there. it is the fourth time in the last four years i've been covering the civil war. it was by far the worst i have seen it. there's a got the ring -- government ethnic cleansing campaign. government troops will roll into foot,es in trucks or on so must nothing, and begin opening fire. generally kill between four in 10 people and then set fire to
homes. amy: can you give us a little history lesson? south sudan, the world's youngest nation, established in 2011. explain also the u.s. role in what you feel the u.s. responsibility is today. i begin with how it was founded and how it has deteriorated into what it is today. >> seven sedan has been -- southern sudan has been more and more since the 1950's with very few respites in between. the last civil war between the khartoum government in the north of sudan and the southerners range from 1983 to 2005. bornthis, south sudan was should say in 2011. last two secretaries of state, hillary clinton and john kerry, put it delicately, but
there is some truth in it that d itunited states midwife into existence. they provided a tremendous amount of support, financial assistance, training to the government and to the military that is now carrying out these crimes. in many ways, the united states was the guarantor of south sudan's independence. after the nation plunged into 2013, thein december u.s. has walked away in many cases. for an armsush embargo until very late in the obama administration, until the administration was out political capital. and never even imposed unilateral arms embargo. amy: y? support was a lot of for these leaders in south , the, including salva kiir president, who do u.s. had
fostered. there's a lot of lingering support from the prior civil war. there is always the idea that somehow tough talk would convince the government there to change its ways. over and over again, it has proved not to be the case. this government does not respond to that. amy: talk about the rift between the president and the vice president in south sudan. >> this was the beginnings of the civil war. president salva kiir, who still in power, dismissed his vice president. kiir hails from the largest of south sudan's ethnic groups. bashar is from the new heir. the civil war began as an ethnic cleansing campaign in the capital after char said he would challenge kiir for the presidency in upcoming elections -- elections that never were held. war'sthen, the civil
fractured in many ways and now targets are not only the new h, minorities in the south of the country. all of these other smaller ethnic groups that minorities ie south of the country. are being chased from the country. amy: you begin your piece "ghost nation" by writing -- "in his heart, simon knew he was digging his own grave." tell us who simon is and what his story is. >> i found simon, who is a resident of a, a village in the far south of south sudan, living under a tree -- a large mango tree in uganda. most of his village was chased down after a series of killings
for the south sudanese government troops. they caught simon on his way out of town. they forced him to dig a grave, which simon believed would be his own grave. and they took steps to execute him. it was only through happenstance, poor aim, and a gun jammed, that saved his life. after an argument among soldiers, they allowed him to leave. simon left something in that site of his supposed execution. the main i found was completely shattered, traumatized. i don't think he knew what to do next or where he would go. it is like this for so many south sudanese. it is a country whose population has been traumatized. refugeesouth sudan, fleeing civil war say government soldiers have indiscriminately killed civilians, slitting the throats of adults, running down
children with a vehicle, and shooting those who tried to flee. hundreds of survivors recounted the violent scenes as they fled toward safety in uganda. this is one civilian, password okot. had two brothers. one of them was arrested by the soldiers and slaughtered for no reason. the other one was trying to flee, but was shot dead. i don't even know what to do with their widows and children. amy: just one voice. talk about why you went there and also this is becoming the biggest refugee crisis in all of africa now with 1.7 million refugees, people trying to leave. ofyes, in fact, the number internally displaced persons is even higher. around 4 million people who have fled their homes. on top of this, there is a great .l of hunger 6 million people who are
civilian -- who are severely food poor. this doesn't get covered much in the u.s. the u.s. has responsibility in south sudan. i felt it imperative to go back. it is the people who bring me back. they deserve so much better. i think it is important that americans ow exactly what is going on. amy: what do people tell you needs to happen there? >> people in south sudan are looking for the international community to step up, to put real pressure on the government there. it is a was difficult to tell exactly what they want, but generally, they will say, the united states was our benefactor . they are a superpower. we are very small country. why isn't the united states doing more? at the very least, i think the united states could appoint a special envoy. this is something a bipartisan group and commerce has begged
the trump administration to do. there is no point person even corn ending this. amy: is there any arms embargo in place right now? >> not at the present. amy: finally, how would you iness u.s. military action africa? you have been reporting on it for years. has it changed under president trump? >> as we've seen another contacts around the world, the military in some ways has been given carte blanche by the trump administration. we've seen a loosening of restrictions in somalia. i think we're seeing a ramp up of the american-backed war there. more u.s. boots on the ground. there was an american special operations forces soldier killed there recently. two others injured. i think we're going to see more of that. there are still u.s. forces on the ground in libya. troops that are in western africa leading the fight against boko haram. it is early to see exactly what
the trump administration is doing. i think they're in a heavily court and a policy with africa, but i think we will see more troops on the ground, mores. base this is the way things have been going for years now. amy: the danger journalist's face going to south sudan. the people in south sudan obviously face massive danger. >> definitely. local journalists face the most difficulties. they are threatened, detained, tortured, even killed and no one has ever been held responsible. the crackdown against foreign journalists has become greater. more and more people are being accused of being spies. i was myself. thread with gels. just threatened with jail. 20 foreign about reporters, people who know the country best. difficult environment. amy: we're going to link to your article deck of -- and ghost nation. that does it for our broadcast. very happy birthday to karen
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