Thursday, November 03, 2011

Why America Needs a Single Payer Healthcare System

Although the 2010 Healthcare Act provided many improvements it failed to pass a public option for a single payer healthcare plan that would cover everyone. Most Democrats wanted the universal health care every other developed country in the world has. We believe the goal of health care should be to keep people healthy not just to make profit for corporations.

This year about 100,000 people will die in America because they are uninsured, or underinsured. Every 30 seconds someone in this country goes bankrupt because of medical expenses even though 60% of those with medical debt had insurance. In the rest of the developed world people don’t go bankrupt because they get sick.

Only America has for profit HMOs. Some of the problems with for profit HMOs is big executive bonuses, denying claims simply to increase profits and running television ads that needlessly increase costs. They limit what doctors you can see and they tell doctors what treatment they will pay for. They make the cost of health care so high compared to other countries that it both reduces worker’s income and makes American products less competitive in the global market.

Under single payer, like Medicare for all, everyone would be covered and we could demand fair prices from the drug companies. There would be an enormous savings in administrative costs and paperwork. While Medicare’s administrative costs are 1.5 to 2% HMOs are between 20 and 30%. According to Physicians for a National Health Program ( “Single payer would save $400 billion a year, enough to provide comprehensive, high quality health care for all Americans.” The U. S. spends twice as much, $8,160 per capita, as other industrialized nations. Spending so much hasn’t made us healthier. The World Health Organization ranks France and Italy one and two and America 37th, Europeans and Japanese live longer and are less obese.
Our health care system is unaffordable. It is like a hidden tax on Americans that keeps going up faster than inflation and draining our resources. The rest of the world knows what works; its single payer. No other country is looking to adopt our failed system.

Dave Silva

3 November 2011

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