Obamacare was based on a Republican idea that Mitt Romney fairly successfully implemented in Massachusetts. Still, we spend more than two-and-a-half times more than most developed nations in the world, including relatively rich European countries like France, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
For all that expense, Americans had poorer health outcomes, including shorter life expectancy and greater prevalence of chronic conditions.
We are one of only two countries in the world to allow direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising (the other is New Zealand.) Because some companies charge ruinous prices for life-saving drugs, we should regulate drug prices, or at least allow prescriptions to be filled in Canada.
A Medicare-for-All system could save an enormous amount by bringing expenses in line with the rest of the developed world, and it could cover everyone. Even the CEO of Aetna thinks it’s a good idea.
Republicans could repeal and replace with this much simpler Medicare for all solution. It would be a great improvement on Obamacare. If Republicans cannot at least improve what we have, they should do nothing at all. Based on their performance, they should be voted out of office as soon as possible.
Aetna’s surprising single-payer stance (5/12/2017)
Buffett: GOP Health Care Bill a Tax Cut for the Rich (5/7/2017)
Time for a Trump Carnage Index (5/6/2017)
Noam Chomsky: Our Privatized US Healthcare Program Is an "International Scandal" (4/5/2017)
Bernie Sanders Wants to Expand Medicare to Everybody — Exactly What Its Architects Wanted (3/31/2017)
Universal Healthcare Is Great for Free Enterprise and Great for Small Businesses
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about healthcare.
50 Million Uninsured in the U.S. Equals 50,000+ Avoidable Deaths a Year. Why is this tolerated? The simple and unfortunately correct answer is because of the existence of the private health insurance industry and the hundreds of thousands of people who ... are being paid for their expertise in denying health care. (From the Public Citizen Health Letter January 2012)
We give ourselves license to spend half again as much as any other country in the world on healthcare, only to be ranked 37th ‘best’ by the World Health Organization, just so we don’t have to do the simple work of writing corporate predators out of the parasitic cash cow booty feeding troughs in which they’re entrenched. David Michael Green
"If you wonder why the United States is the only country in the industrialized world not to have a national health care program, if you're asking why we pay the highest price in the world for prescription drugs, or why we spend more money on the military than the rest of the world combined, you are talking about campaign finance. You are talking about the unbelievable power that big-money interests have over every legislative decision." Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt)
Will Republicans Try to Privatize Medicare in 2017? (11/20/2016)
"Every dollar not taken from Medicare could come from the hide of a tax-cut beneficiary, a defense contractor, or some other worthy and hungry mouth that needs feeding."
Health System Performance, 2016 Edition
Internal RNC Memo: 'Engage In Every Activity' To Slow Down Health Care Reform Huffington Post, July 21, 2009
VIDEO | Keith
Legislators for Sale (8/3/2009)
Keith Olbermann, MSNBC Countdown: "Finally tonight, as promised, a
Special Comment on Health Care Reform in this country, and in particular,
the 'public insurance option.'"
Top Ten Ways To Tell Your President & His Party Aren't Fighting For Health Care For Everybody
By Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report, July 29, 2009
Story on Town Hall Riots: Right-Wing Shock Troops Do Corporate America's Dirty Work
By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet, August 10, 2009.
My 1933 Nightmare By David Michael Green, Common Dreams, August 11, 2009
Single-Payer Frequently Asked Questions
"Grassroots, single-payer activists successfully pushed the Democratici Party Platform Committee to propose 'guaranteed health care for all.' This is a huge improvement from their previous language that merely endorsed 'universal coverage,' which is often a euphemism for the right to purchase private health insurance. We know from past state experiments that this right is meaningless. As we're now seeing in Massachusetts, private coverage comes with such burdensome restrictions, co-payments and deductibles that patients still can't afford the care they need. We need to continue to push for non-profit, tax-funded national health insurance." Steffie Woolhandler, Professor of Medicine at Harvard University. (8/12/08)
BENJAMIN DAY, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://masscare.org executive director of Mass-Care, a health care advocacy coalition based in Boston, said: Its easy to build political consensus for expanded health coverage. But experience shows that you can't achieve universal coverage at an affordable price unless you throw out the insurance companies with their massive overhead and profit, and replace them with a more efficient single-payer national health insurance program. "Sen. Obama should learn this lesson," Day said. As for Sen. John McCain's health care proposals, "they are so obviously unworkable that its hard to take them seriously." (8/12/08)
Read this FREE online!
Here's an eye-opening letter to the editor of The Economist, Jan 22, 2009 issue:
"SIR – Michael Moore’s claim that Cuba has a better health-care system than the United States is not as “ridiculous” as you think (“Health screen”, January 10th). The United States was ranked 37th in the latest report on health care from the World Health Organization, whereas Cuba ranked 39th. I suspect there is little difference between being placed 37th and 39th. However, when productivity is factored in Cuba’s health-care system does indeed seem to be more effective than America’s. America spends 15% of GDP on health care (which works out at $6,700 per person in 2006 dollars) while Cuba spends 8% ($360 per person). Most businesses would consider themselves better than their competitors if they delivered an equivalent product or service at one-twentieth the cost. Kenneth McLeod, Chair, Department of bioengineering, Binghamton University" http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12970732
Insurance companies probably have many thousands of employees to 'process' health insurance claims, many in very expensive office buildings, and many obscenely paid CEOs. For all that expense, what do they contribute to the actual delivery of health care ? Nothing. They have no business making decisions that are rightfully made by doctors and their patients. They do nothing to actually provide health care. (They pay plenty to lobby politicians though, so they may manage to continue to rip off sick people for their personal profit.)
So here's a suggestion for health care reform. Retrain health insurance employees so that they can actually do real work in doctors offices, hospitals, or other real jobs in health delivery. Close down the health insurers. We could go to a single payer plan like most civilized, advanced countries. My understanding is that there is a bill, HR676 which would do that. That would simplify the system and save enough money to guarantee universal health care.
Republicans like Jeb Bush are enjoying the healthcare gravy train and they still have enough people to stop real reform. Money (paper) is more important to them than results, and besides they wouldn't want Democrats to get credit for any improvement.
About Single Payer Healthcare
Media Blackout on Single-Payer Healthcare (3/6/2009)
Howard Dean: "This Is Ridiculous. We're 60 Years Behind the Times" on Fixing Health Care
Jacob S. Hacker, PhD: Health Care for Americans
Keep Your Job, Lose Your Health Insurance (2/7/2009)
Guaranteed Health Care (6/24/2008)
US Infant Mortality has fallen (10/16/2008)
"We know that our health-care system is broken: wildly expensive, terribly inefficient, and poorly adapted to an economy no longer built on lifetime employment, a system that exposes hardworking Americans to chronic insecurity and possible destitution. But year after year, ideology and political gamesmanship result in inaction, except for 2003, when we got a prescription drug bill that somehow managed to combine the worst aspects of the public and private sectors—price gouging and bureaucratic confusion, gaps in coverage and an eye-popping bill for taxpayers." Barack Obama: Audacity of Hope
Ask Congress not to cut Medicare (01/28/2008)
Collateral Damage: Bad Medicine in Tennesee (film trailer)
The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents. (Oct.23,2007)
Paul Krugman writes that the free market doesn't work for health insurance, and never did. All we have ever had was a patchwork, semi-private system supported by large government subsidies.
Krugman's book "The Conscience of a Liberal" is particularly good on health care reform.
Bow your heads and raise the white flags. After facing down the Third Reich, the Japanese Empire, the U.S.S.R., Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein, the United States has met an enemy it dares not confront -- the American private health insurance industry.
With the courageous exception of Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic candidates all rolled out health "reform" plans that represent total, Chamberlain-like, appeasement. Edwards and Obama propose universal health insurance plans that would in no way ease the death grip of Aetna, Unicare, MetLife, and the rest of the evil-doers. Clinton -- why are we not surprised? -- has gone even further, borrowing the Republican idea of actually feeding the private insurers by making it mandatory to buy their product. Will I be arrested if I resist paying $10,000 a year for a private policy laden with killer co-pays and deductibles? (more)
[A new] study ... finds that not only is the U.S. health care system the most expensive in the world (double that of the next most costly comparator country, Canada) but comes in dead last in almost any measure of performance. Although U.S. political leaders are fond of stating that we have the best health-care system in the world, they fail to acknowledge an important caveat: It is the best only for the very rich. For the rest of the population, its deficits far outweigh its advantages. [The] study compared the United States with Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Although the most notable way in which the United States differs from the other countries is in the absence of universal coverage, the United States is also last on dimensions of access, patient safety, efficiency and equity. The other five countries considered spend considerably less on health care, both per capita and as a percent of gross domestic product, than the United States. The United States spends $7,000 per person per year on health care, almost double that of Australia, Canada and Germany, each of which achieve better results on health status indicators than the United States. The United States also lags behind all industrialized nations in terms of health coverage. 46.6 million Americans (about 15.9 percent of the population) had no health insurance coverage during 2005. It is no wonder, then, that medical bills are overwhelmingly the most common reason for personal bankruptcy in the United States.
Note: For a treasure trove of reliable information on health, click here.
Death by medicine is now the leading killer and cause of injury in this country, ahead of the prior champion killers, heart attacks and cancer. The latest composite figures show death by improper medical conduct of hospitals and doctors (“iatrogenic deaths” they are called) at 783,936 dead each year, while deaths from heart disease is 699,697 and deaths from cancer, 553,251. The authors of this study report that “as few as 5 percent and only up to 20 per cent of iatrogenic acts are ever reported.” This implies that if medical errors were completely and accurately reported, we would have a much higher annual iatrogenic death rate. Dr. Leape, one of the first investigators of this issue, said his figure of 180,000 medical errors annually was equivalent to three jumbo jet crashes every two days. That was in 1994. The latest report shows that six Jumbo jets are falling out of the sky each and every day, killing all aboard...This same report says the number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. Little wonder the medical profession seeks protection. 166 Gerry Spence: Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of PowerCLG news)
Andy Grove's proposal for healthcare.PNHP website.
The US is the only advanced country that does not have national health care.
That Americans do not have security of their health care coverage is a national disgrace. US health care is the most expensive in the world in % of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but it does not cover a lot of us. Over 45 million people are not insured for health care in the US, although estimates, including underinsured or partially insured range up to one and a half times that amount, and the number is increasing.
Making health benefits an obligation of employers was a fatal flaw because it polarized business against it. Since it is more a public obligation in other countries, it makes globalization very unlevel. The auto and other industry are visibly suffering from this. They are responding by busting their unions and moving offshore.
Slowly, through increases in the employee contribution and copays the burden is being shifted away from companies. For some retirees they are pulling out . Insurance companies are in control. Many insurance companies sell their product based on the identification of low-risk pools, thus denying insurance to those most in need. You do not get insurance if you have a ‘pre-existing condition’. A health care system that does not cover sick people is an oxymoron.
Insurance companies have a close working alliance with Republicans. The MSA scheme, although derided as a kooky idea by most economists and health care experts, is now the ideological crown jewel of the Republican Medicare plan. The genius who came up with the ‘use it or lose it’ idea in which the money you set aside for healthcare at the end of the year becomes the employers. That’s Republican privatization for you…and like most of Bush policy is corporate welfare.
Because of press bias in health care reporting, the public is constantly misled from all sides. Media limits debate to private sector choices, denies voice to other points of view, and fails to provide coverage of experience in other countries. The Bush administration worked hard to suppress speech by further concentrating media.
Although there are variations, almost all Western countries fund health care with a single payer system. (There are always private options for people willing and able to pay for them.) Germany’s expenditures are half of ours per capita, and provide universal coverage.
Not only is our healthcare system dysfunctional, it is causing manufacturers, instead of improving product, to bust their unions and move offshore.
Republican tax cuts were taken from health care and it shows. Hospitals were sold (privatized) just to keep the doors open. Electing Republicans assures that the current flawed system will not only remain in place but also get worse. Instead you will get a 'Star Wars' program guaranteed (by Ted Postol of MIT) not to work.
To make the global free market a level playing field, healthcare should be largely taxpayer funded. The profit motive is out of place in medicine and only produces god awful results.
The following is a NYT oped by single-payer advocates Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein. Please write letters of support. Talking points could include that USGP (Green Party) advocates a single-payer health plan for all. Letters should be no more than 150 words: email@example.com
December 15, 2007
IN 1971, President Nixon sought to forestall single-payer national health insurance by proposing an alternative. He wanted to combine a mandate, which would require that employers cover their workers, with a Medicaid-like program for poor families, which all Americans would be able to join by paying sliding-scale premiums based on their income.
Nixon’s plan, though never passed, refuses to stay dead. Now Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama all propose Nixon-like reforms. Their plans resemble measures that were passed and then failed in several states over the past two decades.
In 1988, Massachusetts became the first state to pass a version of Nixon’s employer mandate — and it added an individual mandate for students and the self-employed, much as Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Edwards (but not Mr. Obama) would do today. Michael Dukakis, then the state’s governor, announced that “Massachusetts will be the first state in the country to enact universal health insurance.” But the mandate was never fully put into effect. In 1988, 494,000 people were uninsured in Massachusetts. The number had increased to 657,000 by 2006.
Oregon, in 1989, combined an employer mandate with an expansion of Medicaid and the rationing of expensive care. When the federal government granted the waivers needed to carry out the program, Gov. Barbara Roberts said, “Today our dreams of providing effective and affordable health care to all Oregonians have come true.” The number of uninsured Oregonians did not budge.
In 1992 and ’93, similar bills passed in Minnesota, Tennessee and Vermont. Minnesota’s plan called for universal coverage by July 1, 1997. Instead, by then the number of uninsured people in the state had increased by 88,000.
Tennessee’s Democratic governor, Ned McWherter, declared that “Tennessee will cover at least 95 percent of its citizens.” Yet the number of uninsured Tennesseans dipped for only two years before rising higher than ever.
Vermont’s plan, passed under Gov. Howard Dean, called for universal health care by 1995. But the number of uninsured people in the state has grown modestly since then.
The State of Washington’s 1993 law included the major planks of recent Nixon-like plans: an employer mandate, an individual mandate for the self-employed and expanded public coverage for the poor. Over the next six years, the number of uninsured people in the state rose about 35 percent, from 661,000 to 898,000.
As governor, Mitt Romney tweaked the Nixon formula in 2006 when he helped devise a second round of Massachusetts health care reform: employers in the state that do not offer health coverage face only paltry fines, but fines on uninsured individuals will escalate to about $2,000 in 2008. On signing the bill, Mr. Romney declared, “Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance.” Yet even under threat of fines, only 7 percent of the 244,000 uninsured people in the state who are required to buy unsubsidized coverage had signed up by Dec. 1. Few can afford the sky-high premiums.
Each of these reform efforts promised cost savings, but none included real cost controls. As the cost of health care soared, legislators backed off from enforcing the mandates or from financing new coverage for the poor. Just last month, Massachusetts projected that its costs for subsidized coverage may run $147 million over budget.
The “mandate model” for reform rests on impeccable political logic: avoid challenging insurance firms’ stranglehold on health care. But it is economic nonsense. The reliance on private insurers makes universal coverage unaffordable.
With the exception of Dennis Kucinich, the Democratic presidential hopefuls sidestep an inconvenient truth: only a single-payer system of national health care can save what we estimate is the $350 billion wasted annually on medical bureaucracy and redirect those funds to expanded coverage. Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Edwards and Mr. Obama tout cost savings through computerization and improved care management, but Congressional Budget Office studies have found no evidence for these claims.
In 1971, New Brunswick became the last Canadian province to institute that nation’s single-payer plan. Back then, the relative merits of single-payer versus Nixon’s mandate were debatable. Almost four decades later, the debate should be over. How sad that the leading Democrats are still kicking around Nixon’s discredited ideas for health reform.