Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Time for Single Payer

The message needs to be clear and simple.
[W]hy is health care such an “unbelievable complex subject”? If the rest of the industrialized countries can guarantee health care to all their citizens, why can’t the United States?


[A]ccording to a February 2016 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “nearly two thirds (64%) of Americans say they have a positive reaction to the term ‘Medicare-for-all,’ and most (57%) say the same about ‘guaranteed universal health coverage.’ Fewer have a positive reaction to ‘single payer health insurance system’ (44%) or ‘socialized medicine’ (38%).”

The words don’t work and, as a result, ignorance abounds.

“About half (53%) of Democrats say they have a very positive reaction to ‘Medicare-for-all’ compared with 21 percent who say the same for ‘single payer health insurance system,’” according to the Kaiser poll. But to be clear: “Medicare-for-all” and “single payer” refer to… the same exact thing.


Remember the anti-Obamacare town halls in the summer of 2009, where attendees carried placards that read “Keep government out of my Medicare”? An August 2009 poll found that 39% of Americans said they wanted government to “stay out of Medicare” — which is, of course, impossible.


In San Francisco, a single payer system called “Healthy San Francisco” was launched a decade ago and has had very high approval ratings. How about Sanders, Warren et al push for a federal version called “Healthy America”?


[The] UK’s National Health Service, the NHS, [...] is more popular with the British public than both the Royal Family and the armed forces. [...]  Not only because “international comparisons show that the NHS outperforms other countries, including the U.S., in terms of quality of care, efficiency, access and equity,” to quote health economist Andrew Street. It has always been clear what the NHS is and what it stands for. There is no need for “individual mandates”; no concept of “pre-existing conditions.” The NHS was founded, the legendary Labour health secretary and proud socialist Aneurin Bevan explained in 1948, on three core principles: that it “meet the needs of everyone,” that it “be free at the point of delivery,” and that it be based on “need, not ability to pay.”

UK governments of both right and left have signed up to these core principles. Almost 70 years after Bevan’s launch of the health service, it was Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron who, referring to the “magic” of the NHS, said: “You don’t have to produce your wallet or your credit card, you get great treatment because it’s a birthright of being British that we have a National Health Service that is free at the point of use and available to all who need it.”

Can you imagine a leading Republican describing free health care as a “birthright” for Americans?

  The Intercept
I cannot.  I cannot imagine a leading Democrat doing it either.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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