We can't afford not to!
It is apparent to everybody that we have major problems with our healthcare system. 43.7 million or 14.7 % of Americans are uninsured and another 34 million would lose their insurance if they became seriously ill. We spend more money per capita in the United States for fewer services than anywhere in the western industrialized world. We have the shortest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality of any industrialized country. European countries and Canada all have systems that cover every citizen of their countries and their death rates reflect this. These are obvious problems with our healthcare system but there are other problems not as apparent as the social or ethical issues.
According to a CIA analyst speaking at an ABC NEWS Nightline Clear and Present Danger as America Fights Back; Town meeting discussion on how prepared America is for bioterrorism threats on October 5, 2001, we are more vulnerable to a bio-terror attack than our European allies due to our healthcare system. It would be nearly impossible to track the spread of a disease in the first hours of an attack since many uninsured people would not get diagnosed and treated until a disaster was already well in progress. In the European systems, any disease clusters or epidemic transmission patterns would emerge and be noticed hours or days sooner than here since people can see a physician without financial concerns.
It costs about $1000 more to build a car in the United States than it does in Canada due to the health care system in the United States. This is why GM and others moved from Michigan across the border to Ottawa, Canada. (Peter Urmetzer, From Free Trade to Forced Trade, Canada in the Global Economy, pg. 127; Penguin Canada 2001) The lack of universal health care actually causes US companies to export jobs. NAFTA and WTO rules allowing countries to subsidize health care, put the United States at a disadvantage right from the start. Let's enter the 20th Century. (OK, it's the 21st century but that's the point.)
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SinglePayerHealth.org is a work in progress and will be improved and updated in the future. April 2008.
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The Bill of Rights
United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
Introduced by Rep. John Conyers into
the 110th Congress.
The “United States National Health Insurance Act”
Introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott into the 110th Congress.
American Health Security Act of 2003 and 2007
Introduced by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. into the 107th through 110th Congress.
House Joint Resolution 30
Right to Health Care Constitutional Amendment
We can wait no longer!
The economy of our country suffers in myriad ways as a result of our healthcare system. Illnesses that could have been diagnosed and treated early cost untold work hours lost to employees and employers alike. The cost of treating seriously ill people is more than needed. Much more health care expense is incurred than if people had been treated sooner.
A huge amount of health care expense is bureaucratic paperwork for the insurance companies. According to the United Nations World Populations Project, the United States spent 13.9% of our Gross Domestic Product on health care in 2001. This is more than any other country. Yet it is more difficult to see a doctor in the United States because of restrictions imposed by insurance companies and Health Management Organizations (HMOs). In single-payer systems, someone can see any doctor they wish whenever they need to and the state insurance policy pays. Single payer health insurance is not socialized medicine as some people fear. Doctors have their private practices and are paid per service by the federal insurance policy. Doctors would earn the same money they do now but they would be less restricted in treatment options than they are by the HMOs. It has been suggested that HMO's are more efficient than Medicare but this is false.
There are those who believe that if they privatize Medicare and Medicaid it will improve the service that the elderly receive. However, statistics show that HMOs give poorer service than non-profit medical services or Medicare. They provided less follow up care, childhood immunizations were fewer, and even routine medical care was lacking. It is estimated that if all American woman joined an HMO and left their non-profit medical provider, the death toll from breast cancer would rise by 5,925. (Bleeding the Patient quoting; JAMA, 1999; 282:Jul. 159 - 163) HMO's also cost the patient more in premiums and out of pocket costs which harms the economy as a whole. In 2005, it will cost the America economy $56.7 billion more in our current system than it would under a single payer healthcare system. (Lewin Group 2002, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research) This is money we could be using to create jobs even as healthcare improved.
Nearly 47% of all bankruptcies are a direct result of a medical reason and medical expense. This is another way our healthcare system damages our economy.
There has been television advertising run by the insurance companies that claim many Canadians have to come down to the United States in order to get treatment since the waiting lists there are so long. The chart at the top of this page shows the falsehood of that statement. This is one of the many myths that insurance companies and HMOs promulgate
It has also been said that the Washington State attempt at single-payer health insurance would have harmed business and was the cause of its failure to make the ballot. It was only the extremely well financed HMO advertizing campaign that defeated it. The fact is that most businesses would be spending less and have less reason to out-source or move outside of the US if we had a single-payer system. Much of the money that would finance single-payer is existing money from payroll taxes for Medicare and Medicaid, as suggested by Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun during her 2004 presidential campaign. Some money from individuals that would have paid for insurance premiums could also be applied to the fund. The fact is that many people would be paying less than they do now. Businesses would pay into the fund as well but as has been demonstrated, the cost for many businesses would drop. Only businesses, that have no health benefits for employees, would pay a little more but any small startup mom and pop businesses could have a health care tax break depending on size and other variables. Only individuals who didn't have health insurance now would be paying a slightly higher tax but they would become fully insured. They would never have to worry about health care again. Children would be born insured and prenatal care would be received automatically. Those too ill to work would get better treatments sooner and be able to return to the workforce at a higher rate than currently possible. As has been proven by study after study, the quality of healthcare would go up and the over all cost would go down.
Many people who are receiving Medicare or Medicaid had to wait months until they were determined to be eligible for the benefits. Often this is after they had lost their employer based insurance policy after an extended sick leave. In the interim, their illnesses were progressing. Single-payer would eliminate this and save billions of dollars in time and paperwork. Those currently receiving Medicare and Medicaid would continue to receive all benefits as the system was phased into a single payer program. The Medicare Bill Plan D recently passed in Congress was merely putting a band-aid on a severed artery. What's worse, is that the new Medicare Bill costs much more than was originally stated by the Bush administration. This cost increase is a direct result of privatization of prescription drug insurance. Any healthcare system that includes private insurance companies is doomed to failure. The insurance corporations don't want you to be aware of this.
Over the years there have been many attempts to reform the healthcare system. In 1994, the Clinton Administration attempted to improve the system with the Guaranteed Health Insurance Act of 1994 but that bill was defeated by the Contract on America designed by Newt Gingrich. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. introduced a House Joint Resolution 30, a Constitutional Amendment to insure equal quality healthcare for all Americans. Representative John Conyers and Representative Jim McDermott introduced House Resolution 676, The United States National Health Insurance Act into the 107th Congress. Rep. Conyers has re-introduced H.R. 676 into the current 110th Congress. Rep. McDermott alsohas reintroduced a bill, H.R.1200, The American Health Security Act of 2007 into the 110th Congress.
If you wish the United States to create a national healthcare plan you can write your elected officials. Many officials receive large campaign donations from HMOs and pharmaceutical companies. Any officials that do not wish to support a single-payer universal healthcare system can be voted out of office. You can let them know that their vote will change yours. Promote candidates that support universal health care and donate money to their campaigns. Write letters to the editor. Demand that America enters the 21st century.
Constitutional Amendment to Guarantee Healthcare for All Americans.
Introduced by Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) into the 107th Congress.
(H.J. Res. 30)
`SECTION 1. All citizens of the United States shall enjoy the right to health care of equal high quality.
`SECTION 2. The Congress shall have power to implement this article by appropriate legislation.
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