Why Don" t We Have A Single-payer Plan In America?

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1) The government can't run anything. I don't trust the government.

The current gang in Washington may be a good reason not to trust the government to do ANYTHING right.

However, Medicare and Social Security are good examples of systems that run well and on time. People receive their checks the same time every month and health care is provided: on time.

2) I'm a free market person and don't want any part of "socialized medicine."

Single Payer Insurance is defined as a single government fund with each state which pays hospitals, physicians and other health care providers, thus replacing the current multi-payer system of private insurance companies.

It would provide coverage for the fifty million people who are uninsured.

It would eliminate the financial threat and impaired access to care for tens of millions who do not have coverage and are unable to afford the out-of-pocket expenses because of deficiencies in their insurance plans.

It would return to the patient free choice of health care provider and hospitals, not the choice that only the restrictive health plans allow.

It would relieve businesses of the administrative hassle and expense of maintaining a health benefits program.

It would remove from the health care equation the middleman-the managed care industry-that has broken the traditional doctor-patient relationship, while diverting outrageous amounts of patient care dollars to their own coffers.

It would control health care inflation through constructive mechanisms of cost containment that improve allocation of our health care resources, rather than controlling costs through an impersonal business ethic that robs patients of care so as to increase profits for the privileged few. Single Payer Universal Health Care would provide access to high quality care for everyone at affordable prices.

3) Canadians have long waiting periods and come to the U.S. for their health care needs. Therefore, such a plan would make for waiting periods in the U.S.

First of all, ask almost any Canadian if they would trade our system for theirs. The answer is a resounding "NO."

They may have to wait for elective surgeries, for instance, but we have to wait for these kinds of surgeries, as well.

Canadians have the option to buy extra coverage to get heroic measures covered, say in the case of Cancer treatment.

At 9% of their GDP, they are spending much less than we are as a nation. We, the wealthiest nation on earth, spend 14 % of our GDP.

4) Our country cannot afford to insure everyone.

Our country already has enough funds dedicated to health care to provide the highest quality of care for everyone. Studies have shown that under a single payer system, comprehensive care can be provided for everyone without spending any more funds than are now being spent.

Not only do we have more than sufficient funds, we are also a nation that is infamous for our excess health care capacity. Typical of these excesses is the fact that there are more MRI scanners in Orange County, CA than in all of Canada.

With our generous funding and the tremendous capacity of our health care delivery system, the delays would not be a significant limiting factor in the U.S.

5) Americans do not want "Socialized Medicine."

Socialized medicine is a system in which the government owns the facilities, and the providers of care are government employees.

In sharp contrast, a single payer system uses the existing private and public sector health care delivery systems, preserving private ownership and employment. The unique feature of a single payer system is that all health care risks are placed in a universal risk pool, covering everyone. The pool is funded in a fair and equitable manner so that everyone pays their fair share in taxes, unlike our current defective system in which some pay far too much while others are not paying their share. The funds are allocated through a publicly administered program resulting in optimum use of our health care dollars.

A single payer system has no more in common with socialized medicine than our current Medicare program.

Socialism is a dirty word in this country. Universal health care for all has been equated with socialism, and much propaganda has been communicated by the press, by right wing politicians, by medical groups such as the AMA or anyone else who has an agenda to keep the 1500 plus health insurance companies a thriving market with profits that undoubtedly help to pay for their agendas.

6) A Universal Single-Payer would lower the standard of care to a level of mediocrity for everyone, preventing the affluent from exercising his or her option to obtain the highest level of care.

Our current system is characterized by essentially two alternatives: either no insurance with severely impaired access to even a mediocre level of care, or being insured by a managed care industry that has whittled down what is available until mediocrity has become the standard of care. Only the relatively affluent have access to unlimited care.

The generous level of funds that we have already dedicated to health care, adding to this a more efficient administration with an exclusive mission of optimum patient care well above the mediocrity that we now have, lays the foundation for a universal health care system in America.

A single payer system does not preclude the affluent from paying, outside the system, for a penthouse suite in the hospital, or for cosmetic surgery or for any other service that would not be part of a publicly funded program.

But if Americans knew the truth, and would turn off their TVs and use that time instead to change this country, using the power of grassroots politics, to make a single payer universal system a reality for all, then we would finally have the best health care system in the world.

Any group with the passion to change the world, one issue at a time, with a loving intent, can do it.
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