Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($7,129 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 47 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.
US spends more and gets less than the rest of the world because we have a patchwork system of for-profit payers. Private insurers waste health dollars on things that have nothing to do with care: overhead, underwriting, billing, sales and marketing departments as well as huge profits and exorbitant executive pay. Doctors and hospitals must maintain costly administrative staffs to deal with the bureaucracy. Combined, this needless administration consumes one-third (31 percent) of Americans’ health dollars. Single-payer financing is the only way to recapture this wasted money.
Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, long-term care, mental health, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.
Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.
A single-payer system would be financed by eliminating private insurers and recapturing their administrative waste. Modest new payroll taxes would replace premiums and out-of-pocket payments currently paid by individuals and business. Costs would be controlled through negotiated fees, global budgeting and bulk purchasing.
HR 676 allows doctors to practice medicine without constraints of insurance companies or HMOs compromising patient care and patients would have the right to choose their own physician or hospital. Preventative care emphasized and patients would have no co-pays or deductibles, which, studies show, discourage patients from seeking necessary medical care. Investor-owned, for-profit health care institutions, have a lower quality of care and worse medical outcomes than their not-for-profit counterparts.
A single-payer program would stimulate job growth by reducing the burden of health care costs on workers, unions and businesses. HR 676 would liberate workers from dependency on their employers for insurance.
Streamlined administration, bulk purchasing and global budgeting would help contain costs. Modest new payroll taxes would replace premiums and out-of-pocket payments currently paid by individuals and business.
The time is now for transformational reform of our health care system. Health care is a human right! Bring comprehensive health care to all; pass HR 676 Single-payer health care bill.