PREFATORY NOTE BY JOHN STOLTENBERG.
In my opinion, replacing our present capitalist for-profit health care system with a national, single-payer, cradle-to-grave, everyone-in-no-one-out mental and physical health care system should not be viewed as a reform to capitalism. More realistically it should be viewed as a step in the long, slow, careful, peaceful, orderly social/economic evolutionary process wherein the dysfunctional and failing capitalist economic system is replaced with an economic democracy, i.e. socialism. Also, it should be viewed as a step in the social/economic evolutionary process wherein the disintegrating capitalist social order evolves into a social order that can support an economic democracy, i.e. socialism. —J. Stoltenberg
…Cite Need To Move Beyond Affordable Care Act—
Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act six years ago, 30 million Americans remain uninsured, an even greater numbers are underinsured, financial barriers to care like co-pays and deductibles are rising, bureaucracy is growing, provider networks are narrowing, and medical costs are continuing to climb.
In a dramatic show of physician support for deeper health reform – and for making a decisive break with the private insurance model of financing medical care – 2,231 physicians called today [Thursday, May 5] for the creation of a publicly financed, single-payer national health program that would cover all Americans for all medically necessary care.
Single-payer health reform, often called “Medicare for All,” has been a hotly debated topic in the presidential primaries, thanks in part to it being a prominent plank in the platform of Sen. Bernie Sanders. The new physicians’ proposal is strictly nonpartisan, however.
The proposal, which was drafted by a blue-ribbon panel of 39 leading physicians, is announced today in an editorial titled “Moving Forward from the Affordable Care Act to a Single-Payer System” published in the American Journal of Public Health. The editorial links to the full proposal titled “Beyond the Affordable Care Act: A Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform” and the names of all the signers, and it appeals for additional physicians to add their names as endorsers. The proposal currently has signers from 48 states and the District of Columbia.
“Our nation is at a crossroads,” said Dr. Adam Gaffney, a Boston-based pulmonary disease and critical care specialist, lead author of the editorial and co-chair of the Working Group that produced the proposal.
“Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act six years ago, 30 million Americans remain uninsured, an even greater numbers are underinsured, financial barriers to care like co-pays and deductibles are rising, bureaucracy is growing, provider networks are narrowing, and medical costs are continuing to climb.
“Caring relationships are increasingly taking a back seat to the financial prerogatives of insurance firms, corporate providers, and Big Pharma,” Gaffney said. “Our patients are suffering and our profession is being degraded and disfigured by these mercenary interests.”
Dr. Marcia Angell, a co-author of the editorial and proposal, co-chair of the working group, member of the faculty of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, said: “We can no longer afford to waste the vast resources we do on the administrative costs, executive salaries, and profiteering of the private insurance system. We get too little for our money. It’s time to put those resources into real health care for everyone.”
Under the national health program (NHP) outlined by the physicians:
* Patients could choose to go to any doctor and hospital. Most hospitals and clinics would remain privately owned and operated, receiving a budget from the NHP to cover all operating costs. Physicians could continue to practice on a fee-for-service basis, or receive salaries from group practices, hospitals or clinics.
* The program would be paid for by combining current sources of government health spending into a single fund with modest new taxes that would be fully offset by reductions in premiums and out-of-pocket spending. Co-pays and deductibles would be eliminated.
* The single-payer program would save about $500 billion annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of insurance firms, and the massive paperwork they inflict on hospitals and doctors.
* The administrative savings of the streamlined system would fully offset the costs of covering the uninsured and upgraded coverage for everyone else, e.g. full coverage of prescription drugs, dental care and long-term care. Savings would also be redirected to currently underfunded health priorities, particularly public health.
* The “single payer” would be in a strong position to negotiate lower prices for medications and other medical supplies, yielding additional savings and reining in costs.
Surveys show strong, rising support for single-payer national health insurance among physicians. A 2008 survey of physicians found that 59 percent supported “legislation to establish national health insurance,” up from 49 percent five years earlier.
“Moving Forward From the Affordable Care Act to a Single-Payer System,” by Adam Gaffney, M.D.; Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H.; David U. Himmelstein, M.D.; Marcia Angell, M.D. American Journal of Public Health, June 2016, Vol. 106, No. 6, online first May 5, 2016, 1 p.m. Eastern. Includes link to full Physicians’ Proposal. Article available at this link:
The full, six-page Physicians’ Proposal with reference citations and 2,231 signatures (titled“Beyond the Affordable Care Act: A Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform,” written by a 39-member Working Group on Single-Payer Program Design) is also accessible at the following link: www.pnhp.org/nhi
PNHP’s summary of the Physicians’ Proposal is available here:http://www.pnhp.org/beyond_aca/Physicians_Proposal_Summary.pdf
PNHP’s fact sheet on U.S. health care is here:http://www.pnhp.org/beyond_aca/Physicians_Proposal_Fact_Sheet.pdf
Note to Commenters
Due to severe hacking attacks in the recent past that brought our site down for up to 11 days with considerable loss of circulation, we exercise extreme caution in the comments we publish, as the comment box has been one of the main arteries to inject malicious code. Because of that comments may not appear immediately, but rest assured that if you are a legitimate commenter your opinion will be published within 24 hours. If your comment fails to appear, and you wish to reach us directly, send us a mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We apologize for this inconvenience.
=SUBSCRIBE TODAY! NOTHING TO LOSE, EVERYTHING TO GAIN.=
free • safe • invaluable
Nauseated by the
vile corporate media?
Had enough of their lies, escapism,
omissions and relentless manipulation?
Send a donation to
The Greanville Post–or
But be sure to support YOUR media.
If you don’t, who will?