Saturday, July 8, 2017

NY Times -- Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday advised that if his health care bill can’t muster enough votes, and Republicans are not able to agree on a version of repealing and replacing Obamacare, “the crisis will still be there and we'll have to figure out the way forward at that point.”

He said taking no action of health care is not an option.

So, as Robert Reich surmises, "if Senate Republicans can't reach an agreement on their bill to repeal (and 'replace') the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare], they’ll have to abandon it,” and tweak it to improve it. Something Congress should have been doing right along. Although a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program will not be accomplished this time either.

It’s true, “The Affordable Care Act is an inefficient system that was adopted only because its architects believed, plausibly, that the more efficient single-payer approach would not be politically achievable in 2009. But single-payer now enjoys significantly higher support than it did then and is actually strongly favored by voters in some states.

Solid majorities nationwide now favor expansion of the existing single-payer elements of our current system, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Medicaid cuts proposed in Congress have been roundly criticized. Perhaps it’s time to go further: Individual states and, eventually, the entire country, can save money and improve services by embracing single-payer health care.

Of course, the ever persistent Senator Bernie Sanders continues to press the issue: 

What we should be doing as a nation is not debating how many people we should or shouldn’t throw off of health insurance. We should be moving to join the rest of the industrialized world to guarantee health care to all through a Medicare-for-all, single-payer program.

Here is the truth. The total cost of health coverage under Medicare-for-all would be much lower than our current system. Under Medicare-for-all, 95 percent of the American people would see their income go up, not down. If we don't enact Medicare-for-all, we'll spend over $40 trillion on healthcare and still leave 28 million uninsured.

We pay far more per capita for health care than do the people of any other nation, but our health care outcomes are still not very good. If we want to truly be a great nation then we need to make health care a right.

In introducing the article “Why Single-Payer Health Care Saves Money,” Bill Moyers writes in his Facebook post: 

An economist explains why providing health coverage under the single-payer system - in which a public agency handles health care financing while the delivery of care remains largely in private hands - costs less than under the current system in the United States. The system would probably mean higher taxes, but overall costs for most people would be much lower.

An economic view by Robert H. Frank