Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Single Payer Health Care Now

18,000 people die every year in the United States  because they are refused treatment in a hospital.  Why?  They have no health care insurance.  47 million Americans do not have health insurance - - 6 million more than when the Supreme Court chose George Bush as their president.  Millions more are about to loose their insurance as they loose their jobs.  With real unemployment now hovering around 17 percent, millions more people are without insurance.  Millions of us just one illness away from poverty and destitution while the health-insurance company owners are awash in profit, pounds of flesh ripped from the bodies of “unhealthy mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and, most of all, children”.  Our current health care system, ranked 39th in the world, is, as Nick Metel wrote last month, “an old, failed relic, broken beyond repair.”

There are alternatives, alternatives that don’t rely on a profit motive.  Single payer is such a system.  Single payer as in Medicare available to all seniors in the U.S.  “The government, which is the ‘single payer’ covers all citizens and pays the bills when they visit private (or public) doctors, hospitals and other facilities for medical care, wrote Mike Dennison in the Billings Gazette. “All would have basic coverage, regardless of whether they have a job, or where they work.  Nobody gets billed for basic care.  Nobody goes broke because of medical bills.

Who supports single payer?  According to the latest polls, 68 percent of the American people do.  51 percent of American physicians do.  The nursing unions do.  American business leaders do. 

Who opposes single payer?   It seems the only hold-outs for the current system are President Obama, big pharma, the health insurance companies, including AARP and their congressional lackeys who claim single payer is off the table.  Funny how small their tables are when it comes time to enacting policies that benefit the majority of people in the country. 

The time has come to scrap the for profit health care system.  Representative John Conyers of Michigan and 93 co-sponsors have introduced HR676 that would establish national health insurance and a single payer system.  500 labor unions have endorsed the bill.  Led in part by the California Nurses Association, the national coalition supporting single payer has 85,000 institutional members.

The time has come “for our leaders to ensure that no citizen is ever again added to the lost of those who have died due to a lack of health coverage, a list that adds 18,000 names each year according to the Institute of Medicine.”  18,000?  That’s five 9/11s.  But congress and Obama are not going to do it unless we apply political pressure.  Call or write members of congress and the president and demand that they institute real change we can believe in. 

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At 10:50 PM, Blogger Stash said...

President Obama promised health-care reform this year. "It cannot wait. It must not wait. It will not wait!"

This call received a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle.

It is guaranteed not to be single-payer, but I do wonder and am somewhat optimistic regarding what the "reform" will look like.


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