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Are they listening?

As Tom Daschle, President-elect Obama’s choice for secretary of health and human services, flies across the country to attend community meetings on health care reform, and the Obama Web site solicits opinions and health care stories from citizens, those of us who support a single-payer national health insurance program hold our collective breath. Will the incoming government really listen to the citizens who, in poll after poll, by a clear majority, support single-payer health care? Or will the vested interests of the private, for-profit health insurance lobby win again?

The Congressional Budget Office just released a 197-page report analyzing issues related to health care reform. In discussing an array of proposals for reform, the report gave a scant two paragraphs to reviewing the single-payer, “Medicare for All” option. Yet given the fact that a single-payer national health care program would save $400 billion in administrative costs and pay for itself, rather than adding billions of dollars to an already overburdened system, one would think the “Medicare for All” option would be front and center, and would have received extensive attention in this report.

In addition to potential savings of $400 billion a year in administrative costs, a single-payer federally-administered national health program would help contain costs by creating global budgets and bulk purchasing, including prescription medications. Single-payer is the only feasible route to universal health care that would cover everyone, and be cost-effective for government, individuals, and business. Everyone would benefit except the private insurance companies, which would be eliminated in a single-payer system.

The public/private financing mix that is the foundation of the proposals made to date by president-elect Obama and Senators Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus simply won’t work, because they are unable to contain costs. This has been shown in numerous state experiments patterned after this model. The most recent example is our Massachusetts “Chapter 58” health reform legislation, which is being billed as the “model for the nation.”

The Massachusetts plan is not financially sustainable. State payments for premiums for the fully state-subsidized insurance plans will increase by an average of more than 9 percent in 2009. Participating insurers are trying to keep premiums down by decreasing benefits and shifting more costs to individuals, creating plans with huge deductibles and large co-payments. Governor Deval Patrick has said, “The increases at this rate over time (are) just not sustainable, not for families, not to business, not for government.”

Meanwhile, private insurance companies continue to rake in profits and pay their CEOs millions of dollars. CEO William van Faasen of Massachusetts Blue Cross Blue Shield earned $16.4 million in retirement benefits in 2006, in addition to almost $3 million paid for his other role as chairman of the insurance company. These bloated compensation packages would not be paid to administrators in a single-payer health care system.

Mr. Van Faasen has recently been in the news again in a Boston Globe exposé about his agreement with Partners Healthcare in Boston to pay their hospitals 30 percent more than other hospitals in the area. Such behind-the-scenes arrangements would not be possible in a more transparent non-profit single-payer system.

HR 676 is the national single-payer bill, known as “The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.” This legislation would eliminate the for-profit insurance companies, and the government would administer our health care funds. However, our private health care delivery system would remain the same.

This is not “socialized medicine,” as hospitals and doctors’ services would remain private. There would be comprehensive coverage for everyone, paid for with a progressive tax. There would be no other premiums, co-payments or deductibles. Everyone would have a choice of doctors and hospitals, and there would be effective cost control. This would be accomplished without increasing health care costs.

Why isn’t this legislation the centerpiece of the Congressional Budget Report, rather than a two-paragraph footnote? Please call your congressional representative and ask him or her to support single-payer health care (HR 676). Then send this article to your friends and ask them to do the same.

This article, by Dr. Susanne L. King, is from www.berkshireeagle.com.

Comments

3 Responses to “Are they listening?”
  1. Eliza Jane Dodd says:

    Good Moring America , I live in Texas now left the home I had for 30+ years in Tn. because I was REFUSED Emergency room care in 2003 .Prior to that I had excellent credit and Health Care the same as congress has right now COBRA or BCBS of Tn.& I paid @$7,500 a yr @17 yrs USED it ONE time and the OBGYN gave me VIOXX & Narcotics wishing I would go away and die .It took a Ultra sound probe to break off inside of me to get the cancer removed along with a good fight with the OBGYN to get a operation when I paid all that money for all those years .Now I can not affor Health Care and be able to eat and a Dry Place to sleep each night .What PART does President Obama NOT UNDERSTAND ? We as Americans can not afford to HAVE Health Care !He makes us all look like FOOLS that Voted for HIM ! He said CHANGE and HE MUST have seen the Movie SICKO ? Or does HE not care ? TESTIMONIALS of Health Care Nightmares are all over the WEB ! And I myself am ABLE and WILLING to go to CONGRESS and TELL ALL MY HEALTH CARE NIGHTMARES ! How Workmans comp Doctors tried to KIll me with Steriods confirmed by a DUKE Doctor ! He said they were trying to KILL Me ! We need to Have HR676 and Eliminated Workmans comp all together ! We dont need that We need Universal Health Care .I was never out to SUE anyone I just wanted Medical Attention ! And the County in Tn was Playing the Work Mans Comp doctors GAMES trying to let me die because I would of cost them MILLIONS in Medical BILLS and maybe even DEATH and my family could of SUED them …But I could Find No Lawyer to take the Case ! They either Hung up on me or Yelled and hung up .Then I realized I worked for the Country Club and they all go to the same country club They are all friends and in Cahoots with each other .I wish they would all Hang in the court square togther .The all wanted me to die I had to go home and DIE alone as I was leaving the Emergency room I saw all these Mexicans that never lived there before ,I never NOTICED them entering the Hospital But I noticed them as I was leaving .I saw them getting attention and Not one person as sick as I was .I went home to die and last chance looking for a healer online a curezone . com came up and I did a Natutral Cure and it saved my life from the steriods and got rid of what I had caught at work that KILLS 25,000 Americans each year ! Yes they Tried to KILL ME …and then refused me care in The COUNTY EMERGENCY ROOM in JACKSON TENNESSEE .I had EXCELLENT CREDIT ! In America TODAY it is SURVIVAL OF THE FITIST !!!! If you have No Health Care and cant afford to go to a Doctor You are a DEAD MAN But a illegal is Taken Care of to Take our American PLACE here on AMERICAN SOIL .Last month in Dallas JPS a Man DIED waiting for Care Average Wait time is 19 Hours Long because of the Mexicans jamming the emergency room’s for common colds and Flu’s ! What Part Does this President Oabam dont get >>>?????Hey OBAMA WE CANT AFFORD HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA ANY LONGER People are dying left and right ! maybe we should bring these dead people to Washington and Lay them on the WHITE HOUSE LAWN so You can see We are NOT telling You a Long Tall Story SEEING IS BELIEVING! I DONATE MY BODY FOR PUBLIC DISPLAY WHEN I DIE I want to be DONATED TO MICHAEL MOORE TO DO WHAT HE WANTS WITH MY REMAINS and I pray he DUMPS me on the WHITE HOUSE LAWN or The DRIVE way so they can roll over my Dead Corps ! Like a Speed Bumb ! So He can be reminded of What it is Like not to Have Health Care in America .Might as well be a speed BUMP ! I cant Not Afford to leave myself for someone else to BURY I cant even afford simple Health Care it is out of my reach ! Its like a CANDY Bar I want to BUY and eat but I cant afford it ! So I do with out .I cant even afford to die or live I am stuck in LIMBO ! .SO I donate myself to MICHAEL MOORE to do with as he pleases !

  2. polybius says:

    Wall of text ftl dude. But skipping thru I can see what you are saying. And of course I agree. Any sane, non-payed off person would.

    But man come on. Obama was never the progressive candidate. That was Edwards. Obama got in there, because of his incredible charisma and speaking ability, got the Dem nomination. After 8 yrs of Bushco running us into the ground, in all frankness, if Dems had run a spoiled orange as their party leader, they would have won.

    Now we have Obama. A good man. But he is a new Senator, and he plays the game. Is he bought and payed for? Almost certainly.

    He will not support single payer, because his bosses (not the American people) the insurance companies won’t let him. I seriously think if they thought hr 676 had a chance, they would kill him. Seriously. They are that powerful.

    What is the answer?

    My friends, the same answer we have only ever had. It is time to let go. You have to be willing to lose everything you have and yes that means your life too.

    Organize. identify the enemy. Destroy them.
    That’s not Obama, that’s the people that own him. The Execs, the power brokers who run the Congress. Big media, Big pharm, and yes our old friends who supply the DoD with their weapons.

    I don’t expect you to believe me now. But you will. Watch as the backboneless Dems bend to ever Repug demand, watch as Obama parties with and does the bidding of the very people is was sent there to protect us from. You can not vote in someone to save us.

    The system is broken, they have stolen it from us.
    O r g a n i z e

  3. kara luke says:

    Yes, the U.S. voting system is broke because the only candidates that end-up running the race for election are powered by the enormous funds of pharmaceutical industries and insurance companies, but it doesn’t mean that the American people can’t call, harrass, and write their congressmen (and be the biggest pain in our congressmen’s butts) until they have no choice but to listen to the people. We have to keep on fighting. We won’t take no for an answer.