The Future of U.S. Health CarePosted: March 24, 2017
The Affordable Care Act is about to be replaced. The Republican Party has long vowed to repeal it, and they now have the opportunity. But they haven’t given a hint as to what will replace it or whether they will provide coverage for all Americans. This change is coming, and it needs to be done right this time. A single-payer plan answers every objection offered against the Affordable Care Act.
Medicare is a single-payer plan, very popular with people over 65. Notice the uproar created by every suggestion to cut it back. Simple fairness requires that all Americans share in these benefits, since we are all paying for them. Certainly it is far more important to the future of the country that all the children, youths, and working-age citizens become healthy and active participants in our economy and civil life. It is nice to take care of the elderly, but it is vital to society to take care of the young.
The simplest, easiest, and quickest way to accomplish this is to amend the Medicare act to cover all Americans. A single vote will eliminate the national disgrace of millions of our people who cannot afford any kind of health insurance coverage now available. With that accomplished and a practical date set for it to go into operation, the necessary provisions can be developed to insure smooth operation at lower cost. A number of possible issues come to mind immediately. With a program as big as this, scores of others will become apparent, both before and after implementation. Common sense and a strong determination to make it work for the good of the people and the nation can solve all problems.
Opposition to this program will be fierce. Pressure on Congress by voters must be intense and unrelenting to overcome the billions of dollars which will be spent to kill the idea. Too many powerful and wealthy interests will resist the loss of their profits, particularly the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. If their lobbies succeed in convincing Congress that their profits are more important than the health of the people, this proposal will go nowhere.
We cannot ignore this opposition. Only an engaged and determined public can overcome it. This means an educational blitzkrieg to convince the public to act. The time to take action is NOW. The Affordable Care Act will be replaced. What with? Single-payer is the right answer.
Where do we start? Senator Sanders seems like the natural focal point. If he can marshal his millions of ardent fans to get behind this push, we will have a great beginning. All have Facebook and other technology, which should be filled with the reasons why Single-payer is best. Letters to the newspapers and magazines, plus constant urging of our elected representatives are essential. Better heads than mine can develop the effective programs we need.
William R. Austin, Sr., Endwell, NY
Some of the Reasons to Prefer a Single-Payer Plan
- It covers all Americans, the only fair approach. For the poor, it is the basic first step in helping to lift them out of poverty.
- It has frequently been decried as “socialism”, and thus un-American. But we already pay our taxes to subsidize the health care of the elderly (Medicare), the indigent (Medicaid), children (Chip), veterans (VA hospitals and doctors), as well as to subsidize the health insurance coverage of virtually every government employee, local, state and federal (including our elected representatives in Congress). Not to mention the publically subsidized profits for insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and hopsitals. As far as health care is concerned, we are already as socialist as we can get.
- All of these separate subsidies would be combined into the standard income tax levied on all Americans, cutting out the need for many of the special Federal programs. Local and state governments, including boards of education, would no longer have to tax their constituents to subsidize the health insurance of their employees. (A side benefit would be the elimination of a major cause of friction in contract negotiations with employees.)
- The business community should be delighted at turning over the health insurance responsibility to a single payer. Not only does it relieve management of a burden unrelated to their normal business, but it allows them to become more competitive in the market place, both at home and abroad.