Sunday, November 18, 2012

America's health care system

The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide universal health care for all of its citizens. Despite this, Americans pay on average twice as much for health care ($7,129 per capita annually) as do citizens of other industrialized nations, and tax-financed health spending is higher in the U.S. than any other country.
How is it possible that health care taxation and spending in the U.S. is higher than in any other country in the world, while over 50 million Americans have no health insurance and the majority who are insured receive only partial coverage? The answer has to do with the private insurance industry. Between 2002 and 2010, health insurance premiums rose over 97 percent, while the profits of the top ten health insurance companies increased 428 percent in the same period. Huge profits and the high administrative and marketing costs associated with a for-profit health insurance industry (31 cents out of every dollar) make privatized health care in the U.S. the most expensive health care system in the world.
  • More than 45,000 adults die annually due to lack of health care coverage.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all bankruptcies are caused by unpaid medical bills.
  • Three-fourths of those bankrupted had health insurance at the time they got sick or injured.
The Obama Administration’s Health Care Reform Act of 2010 not only preserves the private health insurance industry, but it gives $447 billion in new taxpayer subsidies directly to insurance companies and mandates that everyone purchase their defective products. Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) estimates that under the legislation at least 23 million people will remain uninsured, translating into 23,000 unnecessary deaths annually. And since there is no cap on premiums, consumer health care costs will likely continue to skyrocket.
A solution to this problem is a universal health care system that eliminates the private insurance industry entirely (often referred to as a “single-payer” system). “By replacing the private insurers with a streamlined system of public financing,” writes PNHP, “our nation could save $400 billion annually in unnecessary, wasteful administrative costs. That’s enough to cover all the uninsured and to upgrade everyone else’s coverage without having to increase overall U.S. health spending.” Single-payer health care is supported by over 60% of the American people—including a majority of physicians—yet President Obama and the congressional leadership are silent on the issue, and the corporate media ignores or ridicules single-payer advocates.

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Dear Friend,
Despite the Supreme Court leaving most of President Obama's health care law intact, the prognosis is still grim for America's broken health care system.
Republican governors and conservative state legislators are already planning to reject the Medicaid expansion envisioned in the health care law.
This will leave millions of low-income Americans without any kind of health care coverage, in addition to the tens of millions we already knew the law wouldn't cover. 1
And Republicans in Congress are determined to repeal the law — and they might gain the power to do so in the next election.
We need to solve America's health care crisis, and we know it may take awhile. So with health care reform back in the public debate, we need to start advocating now for the real solution: single-payer health care.
Every other industrialized country in the world provides quality, universal health care at a fraction of the cost of the U.S. system.
Private insurance companies are a big part of our problem. And while President Obama's health care law made some positive reforms and will expand health care coverage to millions of Americans, it guarantees customers and profits for insurance companies who put profits before people.
These companies didn't want to compete with a "public option" for a reason — they want to maximize profits and minimize care.
Medicare, on the other hand, already covers 40 million Americans over the age of 65, providing quality care at prices that are much lower than the private market. It's also quite popular and unquestionably constitutional.
We should expand it so that it covers everybody.
Let's remember, when health care reform went through Congress, a single-payer system like Medicare for All wasn't even on the table.
In another example of Democrats pre-emptively caving to Republican obstructionists and their insurance company lobbyist friends, the starting position for the Democrats was a compromise in the form of a public health care option that might compete side-by-side with private insurance plans.
And then that compromise was compromised even further when the Democrats jettisoned the public option.
With health care back in the national spotlight, we can't let the strongest voices be the Republicans in Congress who are working to defeat President Obama and the insurance companies looking to wring as much profit as they can from the rest of us.
If we do, we know how that will turn out.
America's health care system is in crisis, there's no more time for half-measures and unworkable compromises when we know Medicare already works.
Tell Democrats: Support Medicare for All. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager 
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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