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Single-Payer Health Care

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Single-Payer Healthcare

To quote Senator Bernie Sanders, “Health care must be recognized as a right, not a privilege. Every man, woman and child in our country should be able to access the health care they need regardless of their income. The only long-term solution to America's health care crisis is a single-payer national health care program.”

Minnesota should opt-out of MNSure by requesting a 1332 waiver through Health and Human Services (HHS) to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Obamacare) in order to implement single-payer health care in our state.

We need to support legislation like SF 219, The Minnesota Health Plan, (1) introduced by State Senator John Marty (DFL-SD66) and H.R. 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, introduced by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI). (2)

Opposition to rational change is the hallmark of status quo profiteers. Lawrence Lessig said, “So long as wealth can be used to leverage political power, wealth will be used to leverage political power to protect itself.”

In April of 2009, Nancy Pelosi told a group of reporters, “’All we hear is single-payer, single-payer, single-payer.’ Well, it’s not going to be single-payer.” Yet, even when a majority of Americans supported single-payer, a majority of nurses and doctors favored single-payer, and a majority of health economists favored single-payer, Congress wouldn’t even debate single-payer. In fact, it never made it out of committee meetings because Wall Street buys, sells, and rents lawmakers with corrupt campaign financing. Likewise, we can expect a bewildering attack by the powerful pay-or-die healthcare lobby for any attempt to pass healthcare that is more humane, economically efficient, saves thousands of lives a year and does it with free choice of doctor or hospital. Extreme public pressure will be necessary.

Opponents of single-payer health care tell us that enormous taxes will have to be raised and we cannot afford this expansion of government. But as a percentage of GDP, America spends almost twice as much as other advanced nations, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Which begs the question, “Do you prefer to pay twice as much in the private sector or half as much in the public sector?” Without a reduction in quality, most people would prefer to cut the cost of health care services in half, even if it does raise taxes.

Corporatized medical insurance has produced healthcare rationing, higher prices, diminished choices and more bureaucracy. This insurance system with close to a third of all health care spending having nothing to do with health care—overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments, huge profits and exorbitant executive pay; not to mention the billions wasted and spent on computerized billing fraud and abuse, has become a bureaucratic nightmare.

By learning the art of a model fraud-control strategy, government and the healthcare industry could substantially cut costs without restricting eligibility, denying the needy, or squeezing honest providers out of business. (Note: See my plan for Medical Waste, Fraud and Abuse Control)

To quote Senator Bernie Sanders, “[By] separating health insurance from employment [we]… would also promote innovation and entrepreneurship in every sector of the economy. People would be able to start new businesses, stay home with their children or leave jobs they don’t like knowing that they would still have health care coverage for themselves and their families. Employers could be free to focus on running their business rather than spending countless hours figuring out how to provide health insurance to their employees. Working Americans wouldn’t have to choose between bargaining for higher wages or better health insurance. Parents wouldn’t have to worry about how to provide health insurance to their children. Americans would no longer have to fear losing their health insurance if they lose their job, change employment or go part-time. Seniors and people with serious or chronic illnesses could afford the medications necessary to keep them healthy without worry of financial ruin. Millions of people will no longer have to choose between health care and other necessities like food, heat and shelter.” (3)

Enough is enough! The marketplace should not be allowed to legislate life and death. It’s time to stand up to the mercenary medical insurance lobby that places profits above the health and safety of the people.

(1)   SF 2060 - Minnesota Health Plan - as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Authors -- Marty; Bach; Lourey; Eken; Torres Ray; https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number=SF219&version=0&session=ls90&session_year=2017&session_number=0

(2)   H.R.676 - Expanded & Improved Medicare For All Act – Introduced by Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI, https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/676/text

(3)   S.1782 - American Health Security Act of 2013 – Introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/senate-bill/1782/text