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Let’s send President Obama and Congress a message: Single-Payer is the only solution to America’s health care crisis!

Burn Your Health Insurance Bill Day

Demonstration in support of Single-Payer national health care (called Medicare For All) and against the power of private health insurance corporations

Inside the Ritz-Carlton, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the main Washington lobbying group for health insurance corporations, will meet to discuss plans to derail Single-Payer (http://www.ahip.org/links/policy2009/).

Make health care a human right, not a cash cow for the for-profit insurance industry!  Read “March 11: Burn Your Health Insurance Bill Day” by Russell Mokhiber (editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, http://www.corporatecrimereporter.com) on the Common Dreams web site (http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/03/03).  The Obama Administration, following the lead of mainstream Democrats & Republicans (who take millions in private insurance industry contributions), is trying to brush aside the demand for Single-Payer.  Let’s send President Obama and Congress a message: Single-Payer is the only solution to America’s health care crisis!

WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW about Single-Payer/Medicare For All…. 

See also the Green Party’s information page on Single-Payer (http://www.gp.org/organize/sicko.html) and “Single-Payer FAQ” at the Physicians for a National Health Program web site (http://www.pnhp.org/facts/singlepayer_faq.php).

How Single-payer works:

• Everybody in, nobody out: Single-payer covers every American regardless of employment, income, ability to pay, age, and prior medical condition.  Right now, about 48 million Americans have no health coverage at all and millions more have inadequate coverage.  Under Single-payer, they will all enjoy guaranteed quality health care, including prescriptions.

• In a Single-payer system, no American will face financial ruin because of illness or injury.  Private HMOs and health insurance companies raise their profit margin by denying treatment to people with medical emergencies and by denying coverage to those they consider ‘high-risk’ because of existing health problems, age, low income, etc.  In other words, private health insurance is designed to fail people who need health care the most.

• Single-payer will allow Americans to choose which physician, health care provider, and health care facility will treat them.

• Single-payer will cut national health care costs by as much as a third and reduce what working Americans pay for health coverage.  Single-payer will be funded at the federal level and administered at the state level.  Americans will pay for Single-payer the way we now pay for Social Security, but the amount working Americans will pay will be far less than for private health coverage, because Single-payer eliminates the profit-making insurance and HMO ‘middle-men.’

• Single-payer reduces paperwork for physicians and other health professionals, one reason why thousands of MDs, other people working in the health care industry, and medical students have endorsed Single-payer.

• Under Single-payer, physicians, hospitals, and other health care providers would compete to serve the public, raising the quality of health care.  Single-payer is a health insurance payment mechanism, not a health care delivery system.

• Health care rationing?  All health care plans ration care to some extent.  Under private insurance programs, treatment is rationed according to ability to pay for coverage.  Under Single-payer, the insurance company profit motive is removed and health care is rationed according to need, with medical emergencies and serious illnesses receiving top priority.

Single-payer and the economy:

• Single-payer makes economic sense.  At 3% administrative cost, Medicare (which would be made universal under Single-payer) is highly efficient compared to the 15-30% administrative costs of for-profit insurance.

• Single-payer will boost the ailing US economy and provide relief for businesses large and small, since it will cancel the high expense and administrative burden of employer-based health care benefits (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=158).

• Single-payer will relieve municipalities and school boards from having to bear the cost of providing health insurance to employees, allowing responsible officials to reduce their budgets and lower local property taxes.

• Single-payer gives government (and therefore taxpayers) a stake in preventive medicine and promotion of good health habits to keep costs down.

The politics of Single-payer:

• Polls have demonstrated popular support for a national health care program that guarantees universal coverage (http://www.wpasinglepayer.org/PollResults.html).  In 2008, the US Conference of Mayors endorsed Single-payer (http://www.usmayors.org/resolutions/76th_conference/chhs_03.asp).

• The US is the only industrial democracy that does not guarantee every citizen health care.  Compared to other nations, America has the best medical technology but poor access to medical treatment.  Single-payer will correct this scandal.

• The Center for Responsive Politics has documented the millions in campaign money that the insurance industry has given to Democrats and Republicans to maintain their control over health care (http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=F09), with a total of $46,002,881 in insurance lobby contributions in 2008.

• The Green Party endorses Single-payer in its national platform.  The Democratic Party endorsed national health insurance in 1948, but removed it from the Democratic platform during the Clinton Administration.  The Democratic and Republican parties continue to embrace failed ‘market solutions.’

• Barack Obama, before he launched his bid for president, supported Single-payer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpAyan1fXCE&feature=player_embedded).  Al Gore opposed Single-payer when he ran for president in 2000, but admitted two years later that Single-payer is the best plan (http://www.pnhp.org/news/2002/november/gore_favors_single.php).  Dennis Kucinich was the only Democratic presidential candidate in 2008 to support Single-payer.

• “Single-payer health care is socialism!”  By the same standard, so are public streets, sidewalks, parks, schools, libraries, fire departments, police forces, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and bailouts for ailing Wall Street firms.  The principle behind Single-payer is that health care should be a human right, not a commodity that allows powerful corporations that don’t actually provide health care (HMOs and insurance companies) to make money.

3 Responses

  1. I have not seen any evidence to your argument that supports a cost reduction in a single payer system. Where is the evidence? Do you know how much premium vs claims expense for profit companies are working with? Why would costs suddenly go down and quality go up? What incentives would a doctor have to treat patients if they are making less money? What about care rationing in other countries? Lotto system for cancer drugs!! Why do politicians from other countries come to the US to have procedures done? How much tax would you support in order to get a single payer system?
    Do you know that in a single payer system, you have no choice where to receive care?
    The 48 million people that do not have insurance right now is false. 13 million are illegal immigrants. There is really about 9 million americans that need to get insurance. We need mandates to for coverage. Right now, people that do not have coverage can walk into any hospital and receive care. No doctors ever refuse treatment to a patient.
    We already have electronic medical records, developed by the private market, now we need to get doctors and facilities to use the systems in place.
    Just some food for thought.


  2. The overhead for current government medical programs is !%. the overhead for insurance-based medical programs is 25%. In addition, half of medical coverage is based in a patchwoork of government and nonprofit institutions. The other half comes from 300 different insurance companies each using their own procedure. Aside from the reduced cost of overhead, the reduced cost to medical facilities for having one standardized method of billing will free up resources for patient care instead of bean counting.

    – Ian


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