Saturday, April 1, 2017

Medical Express: Single-payer reform is 'the only way to fulfill the president's pledge' on health care; Robert Reich commentary

"Single-payer national health insurance, also known as “Medicare for all,” is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. Under a single-payer system, all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs." Physicians for a National Health Program.

Robert Reich:

Repealing the Affordable Care Act without replacing it, as some conservative hardliners are demanding, would cost a minimum of 37,127 lives over the next two years (14,528 in 2018 and 22,599 in 2019), and perhaps as many as four times that number, according to scientific studies summarized in an editorial in this week’s American Journal of Public Health.

In contrast, the authors estimate the impact of replacing the ACA with a universal, single-payer health system, along the lines of the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, would provide immediate coverage to the 26 million Americans who are currently uninsured, saving at least 20,984 lives in year one.

So that’s the choice, folks. We can save some 20,000 lives a year with a single-payer system, or lose more than 20,000 lives per year by repealing what we have.

Oh, and a single-payer system costs far less. Right now the U.S. is spending more than twice on health care per person than the 35 advanced countries making up the OECD. Yet Americans don’t live as long and are subject to more chronic illness. The Kaiser Family Foundation finds that administrative costs in Medicare are only about 2 percent of total operating expenditures – less than one-sixth of the rate of private insurance.

Now’s the time for Democrats to make these points, and reframe the debate around single-payer.