Our health care system is the most expensive in the world and fundamentally flawed. By maintaining a large role for the health insurance industry in the new health care “reform” law, Congress and the President have guaranteed that our healthcare dollars will continue to be wasted on industry profits, marketing, lobbying, and executive salaries, instead of being used to achieve the health security we all deserve as a human right. The insurance industry is in the business of making money, in part by denying coverage to the people most likely to need it, by avoiding payment of claims, and by raising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for patients.
A different solution is necessary: a universal, single-payer healthcare system.
It’s called “single-payer” healthcare because one payer (e.g, Medicare) makes all the payments to the private healthcare professionals and institutions that you, the patient, choose to use.
It’s “universal” because it covers everyone.
By eliminating the duplication, paperwork, overhead, advertising, profits and excessive executive salaries of the insurance industry, and by negotiating lower drug prices with the drug industry, we can save enough money to provide excellent coverage for everyone, without the premiums, deductibles, and co-pays that are a financial barrier to necessary healthcare for so many.
Traditional Medicare, itself a single-payer system, spends only about 3% on overhead, compared to 15-30% of the private health insurance industry. H.R. 676, the single-payer healthcare bill now before Congress, is also known as “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act “.
H.R. 676 provides for single-payer health insurance for all U.S. residents. It covers all medically necessary care, including: primary care and prevention; inpatient, outpatient, and emergency care; prescription drugs; durable medical equipment; long term care; dental, vision, and hearing care; mental health services; substance abuse treatment; and chiropractic services.
In addition to covering all US residents, this bill seeks to improve the current Medicare program by closing the infamous “donut hole,” negotiating lower drug prices with the pharmaceutical companies, and replacing all premiums, deductibles, and co-pays with a modest payroll tax on employees and employers, a small (one quarter of one percent) tax on stock and bond transactions, and a supplemental tax on our wealthiest Americans.
The Western PA Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare is working to educate the public about H.R. 676 and to encourage our elected officials in Washington, Harrisburg and locally to support Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.
To become involved, add your name to our email list and come to our next general meeting. We can also arrange to have a speaker come to one of your groups to talk more about single-payer healthcare.