Republicans want to privatize Medicare and slash Medicaid to reduce the nation’s deficit. President Obama says he wants to preserve Medicare and Medicaid, but his budget proposal looks to those programs to find savings.
We agree that healthcare costs are a serious problem, but cutting Medicare and Medicaid won’t help.
Instead, we need to take the corporate greed and waste out of our healthcare system, and make healthcare a human right by extending Medicare to everyone.
The current fiscal crisis is a crisis of healthcare costs. Healthcare costs per capita in the United States are the highest in the world, yet we leave our population uninsured or underinsured without access to care. These high costs are due in large part to the use of a fragmented multi-payer (multiple insurance plans) model with associated high administrative costs (1).
One-third of our healthcare dollars are used for administration rather than direct patient care. Administrative costs include developing and marketing plans, determining eligibility for the various plans and then processing the claims for the various plans which each have different rules. Contrast this with the relatively streamlined administrative cost of Medicare which is less than 3 percent.
The private market fails to provide people in the US with adequate healthcare. For-profit health insurance companies have a fiduciary responsibility to make money for their stockholders, not care for the sick. They make money by denying care and raising out-of-pocket costs for patients. Government programs internationally and in the United States have a better track record of providing universal, comprehensive care and controlling health costs (2).
We want to remind President Obama that the way to control healthcare costs, and guarantee healthcare to seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, and everyone in the US is through expanded and improved Medicare for all. This will ensure healthcare is a right to everyone, and allow us to create a sustainable healthcare system that controls costs.
While we the people are tightening our belts, the health insurance industry is making record profits. The big five health insurers earned $11.7 billion in 2010 – a 51% increase since 2008 (3).
With your help, Healthcare-NOW! and allies continue to keep this message alive. We need you to build the movement to win. Send this message today, and keep up the fight for the right to health care for all.