We Need Medicare-for-all NOW!

download (2)The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working and is an improvement from what we had before. The healthcare law (ACA), ensures that up to 105 million Americans cannot be subject to lifetime caps by their health insurance plans. Because of the law, up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage or charged more. Specifically in Iowa, the law has allowed over 800,000 Iowans to receive at least one preventive service at no out-of-pocket cost.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a definite improvement over the status quo. It extended health insurance to millions of people, a move which will save lives and improve the quality of life for many people. But it is not enough. – Richard Eskow

55ba7e6dc361883d318b45deI support Senate Bernie Sanders’ plan for Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system.

The Medicare-for-all or “Universal health care” plan consists of only one payer (a single-payer public agency) to pay for medical care. There is only one health plan for everyone that provides all medically-necessary care, and it would eliminate the unnecessary administrative activities.

The United States remains the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care for all as a right. – Senator Bernie Sanders

Medicare-for-all single-payer system provides only one payer of medical bills, not the array of over 1,000 different health insurance companies with confusing plans that include terms such as “formulary” and “out-of-network.”

  • “Single-payer health care,” simply means that only one public (insurance) agency – that is publicly accountable and people pay into a single fund – that pays for medical bills.

Bernie’s model, which he introduced in the U.S. Senate, the “American Health Security Act,” calls for the right to healthcare for all. The plan has endorsements from several national unions and the AFL-CIO, along with many national healthcare advocacy organizations. His bill for Medicare-for-all single-payer system, would update and strengthen our nation’s healthcare system with the following:

  • An equitable tax structure, providing that the wealthy pay their fair share into a national healthcare system.
  • Union/company benefit plans would be maintained if desired, however only to provide extras other than the medically necessary care that would be covered for everyone.
  • Funding dedicated to ensuring that transitional benefits would be available for insurance industry and administrative workers who may be displaced.
  • Complete funding for community health centers, giving 60 million Americans living in rural and underserved areas access to care (Healthcare Now)

*there have been other versions of the single-payer health care system introduced in Congress*

Medicare for All is an urgently – needed next step, leading to a more humane and efficient health care system. – Richard Eskow

Many Americans do not realize that there is a difference between “health insurance” and “health care.” Clarification, “health insurance” is not “health care.”

  • “Health care” is a phrase which has traditionally referred to medical treatment.
  • “Health insurance” is a financial arrangement that collects funds to pay for medical treatment.

In America, the majority of Americans are covered through private health insurance, which they get through for-profit corporations. Many if not all of these corporations charge significant percentages for profit and their “overhead.”

The problem is this: Even when they [Americans] have health insurance, Americans are paying more and more every year for their actual treatment. – Richard Eskow

Even with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs of health care – including copayments and deductibles – are soaring.

  • According to Milliman’s most recent report the employee’s total cost of care increased by roughly 43% between 2010 and 2015. (Employer costs increased by nearly one-third.)

As we all know, for-profit health insurance is expensive and inefficient.

We [United States] spend significantly more for health care than any other developed nation. – Richard Eskow

For example, look at United Healthcare, they reported profits of more than $10 billion in 2014. That is just one year. Now, if you took that money and put it back into the system, you could provide medical coverage to more than one million people, and that’s even at our nation’s excessive rates.

bernie_on_single_payerExecutives of those companies have been big winners. Mark Bertolini, CEO of Aetna (the nation’s third largest health insurer) had a total compensation of $30.7 million in 2013, which was 131% higher than in 2012. Health Plan Week, a trade publication, said the CEO’s of the 11 largest for-profit companies were rewarded with compensation packages last year [2013] totaling greater than $125 million. Those companies include Aetna, Centene, Cigna, Health Net, Humana, Molina, Triple-S Management Corporation, UnitedHealth Group, Universal American, Wellcare, and WellPoint (Center for Public Integrity).

Basically, we are getting much less for our money. We pay more on a single person basis for care than our peers in other nations.

The following is the health expenditure per capita in U.S. dollars for several major nations for the year 2014 (WordBank):

  • Australia $6,110
  • Belgium $5,093
  • Canada $5,718
  • Denmark $6,270
  • France $4,864
  • Germany $5,006
  • Japan $3,966
  • Netherlands $6,145
  • Sweden $5,680
  • United Kingdom $3,598
    • Average for those nations: $5,245
  • United States $9,146

Private health insurance costs more, and delivers less than government-sponsored care. – Richard Eskow

tumblr_nqmseszzS11uvablzo1_1280Personally, living with cystinosis, I stack up medical bills quickly. However, I am on Medicare and Medicaid, which pays for all of those costs. I am frightened when I think about my future and how in the world I would be able to afford employer health insurance. The employer health insurance would need to pay for all of my medications and medical expenses. One of my medications alone costs $55,000 for a 30 day supply. That is outrageous!

Look at the “free market” in health care. There are only 11 major health insurance companies, and many of the others are owned by those 11.

One might even consider those health insurance markets “highly concentrated” under the Justice Department, according to a 2009 study.

For-profit pharmacy corporations, hospital chains, and provider practice groups are driving up costs in a system that provides an incentive to overcharge and overtreat patients. – Richard Eskow

Look at this, the government can and has managed healthcare delivery efficiently. It is called Medicare.

Medicare is more cost-effective than private insurer, and could serve as the foundation for a single-payer system. – Senator Bernie Sanders

“Medicare operates at lower overhead than private health insurance. Medical costs have increased more slowly for Medicare than they have for private insurance.”

It is a moral imperative that the United States join the rest of the developed world in guaranteeing all Americans the human right of health care by adopting the Medicare-for-all single-payer health care plan.

It’s time for a Medicare-for-all single-payer health care system!

Sign the petition! 

Other Sources: Five Reasons We Need Medicare For All
*Nothing in this post has been authorized by any candidate, candidate’s committee, or party*

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