The Nevada Green Party stands solidly behind expanded and improved Medicare For All for the United States.
While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) did bring many more Americans into the insurance system than had been covered before, it was a band-aid on a hemorrhaging wound in need of a tourniquet, doing little to alter the profit motive of health insurance companies. Medicare For All is the only real solution to our healthcare woes. The Trump administration-sponsored legislation will dramatically reduce Americans’ access to healthcare, especially the young, financially challenged, and oldest citizens, and be a financial windfall to health insurance companies, taking away the profit limit established by the ACA. But make no mistake, Republicans are not alone in backing the health insurance industry: last year the Democratic National Committee voted down an amendment to endorse single-payer, even though 81% of Democrats and 58% of the American public support the idea. While 104 Representatives in the United States Congress have signed on to cosponsor Medicare For All legislation, only a few weeks ago the Democratic State Assembly leader in California blocked a Medicare For All proposal. Democratic leadership is out of touch with the desires of the American people, an unacceptable situation, on grounds both moral and ethical. If America truly is the greatest country on Earth, as pundits on all sides like to quip, we should have a healthcare system to go with the rhetoric.
Many misconceptions exist about how a single-payer government insurance system might work. Here are facts, not misleading truths, about what a fair and equitable healthcare system might look like:
Freedom to Choose
For-profit insurance companies love to say how single-payer is government healthcare, like in the United Kingdom. It is not: it is government insurance. The Veterans Administration is government healthcare. Under a single-payer system every American would get a card allowing them to go to any doctor or hospital of their choice. Doctors would not be government employees and hospitals would remain in private hands. People would be able to choose freely the place of their care.
Access for All
For-profit insurance companies claim single-payer will lead to rationing, as alleged in Canada. Not true. At the moment, private health insurance companies already ration care in the United States. More than 30 million Americans currently lack health insurance and without it often do not receive any healthcare at all. Early views of the Trump administration’s awful bill seems likely only to make the number of Americans without health insurance worse—and Republicans had a beer party in the Rose Garden to celebrate that feat.
At the moment, an estimated 120 Americans die every day because they do not have access to insurance. Most of what Americans hear about issues in the Canadian system is insurance industry propaganda, or lies, if you prefer a plainer word. Fact: in Canada, every day, zero people die because of lack of access to health insurance.
Manage Costs, Increase Savings
For-profit insurance companies claim costs will skyrocket under single-payer healthcare. False. A single-payer system is the only way to guarantee medical reform enables us to insure everyone. Eliminating the health insurance industry will save $500 billion a year, perhaps more, in administrative costs and profits, putting that money back into the system and taking it out of the hands of pharmacy benefits managers, device makers, medical record developers—the vast armies of middlemen and –women who spring up everywhere because of the profit motive.
More people will get early access for medical issues, resolving them at the beginning rather than trying to treat them when issues have often gotten out of hand, reducing the chance to mitigate the damage and making procedures more expensive. According to NPR, individuals with HSA’s carry more anxiety with their money and use it more for their dependents than themselves, thus getting worse care for themselves—Medicare For All would eliminate that kind of activity.
This would apply to pregnant women, as well, millions of whom do not get prenatal care because they cannot afford it. In Medicaid expansion states pregnant women are covered unless they are undocumented—but that only covers 41 states. The Washington Post called our infant mortality rate a “national embarrassment.” Expanding healthcare into this essential area could only help the numbers, especially for the poor and women of color. But the Trump administration has already made it very clear how it feels about women’s issues.
Put People Over Profits
The pharmaceutical industry claims drugs will be more difficult to access under a single-payer system. This is a blatant lie they want you to believe because their profit margins depend upon the current system. Much medical research is actually funded by the National Institutes of Health, at taxpayers’ expense, to the drug companies’ benefit.
Under a single-payer system this would only expand, to our communal benefit. Thus, necessary medicines would be far cheaper because patients wield more power—the Veterans Administration gets a 40% discount because of its clout. Most other industrialized democracies with single-payer insurance see these benefits, as well. This is the primary driving reason why the drug industry in the United States is so opposed to this idea: it puts profits over people.
Single Payer a Vast Improvement
Medicare For All would not cover less than the insurance you have now, if you are lucky enough to have insurance. For most Americans single-payer would be a vast improvement. All essential care would be funded: doctor visits, hospitals, prescription drugs, mental health needs, nursing and rehabilitation centers, home care, as well as vision and dental. It would eliminate bills, deductibles, and co-pays.
Simplify the System
Lastly, single-payer would not cost more than what Americans currently pay for private health insurance. Most people will pay roughly the same, perhaps less. But instead of paying the insurance companies, we will pay a roughly similar or smaller amount in taxes—taxes which go into the system to benefit all Americans. If you are currently paying @ $8,000 annually for a family of four, for example, with perhaps a $4,000 deductible, your cost is a minimum of $12,000 a year. Most families would pay less than that in taxes to fund a single-payer system, and there would be no deductibles attached. They would also be able to see any doctor they wished and check into any hospital in the United States, as mentioned earlier.
The benefits of single-payer are visible across the world—everywhere except the United States. We can and should do better. Don’t let the industry that takes your money and denies you necessary coverage make decisions for you. Stand with the Green Party for single-payer healthcare. Fight like your life depends on it—because it does.