Single payer health care needed now


June 4, 2009 by theradicalmormon

Wow.  This is incredible:

Medical bills are involved in more than 60 percent of U.S. personal bankruptcies, an increase of 50 percent in just six years, U.S. researchers reported on Thursday.

Amazing to me is that of these bankrupt people whose bankruptcy involved medical bills, 75% of them have health insurance!

More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.

The researchers further noted:

“Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income,” the researchers wrote.

“Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations.”

The researchers, whose work was paid for by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said the share of bankruptcies that could be blamed on medical problems rose by 50 percent from 2001 to 2007.

“Unless you’re Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy,” Harvard’s Dr. David Himmelstein, an advocate for a single-payer health insurance program for the United States, said in a statement.

We need a single payer plan or Medicare for all, in order to deal properly with this problem.  Programs that the Obama administration are developing involve keeping private insurers intact and mandating that all people buy health insurance.  This sort of plan won’t work as has been amply exemplified in numerous states attempts to implement such a program.  Massachusetts is the latest state to try and fail.  Under Mitt Romney (Mormon brother, political enemy) this sort of a plan was instituted in Massachusetts but has had many problems.  You can read all about the failure of the Mass. plan here:

I am a member of Physicians for a National Health Program and find their website a valuable tool for discerning the facts in the debate over what course our country should take with regards to health care.  You can find that site here:

In spite of recent polls which show that the majority of physicians and of the public favor single payer health care, the topic is not even anywhere near the agenda in the Obama administration.  The insurance companies are too powerful to allow that sort of talk.

3 thoughts on “Single payer health care needed now

  1. Terra says:

    I love PNHP, everyone should check it out. Go check out the people that disagree as well, so that everyone can see how the arguments stack up. To me the arguments are definitely in favor of single payer.

  2. Forest Simmons says:

    “The insurance companies are too powerful to allow that sort of talk.”

    Wherefore the world lieth in sin.

    This is the refrain (from section 49) that echoes in our minds these days when we see this kind of wickedness continue with impunity.

  3. theradicalmormon says:

    Ralph Nader has this to say about single payer today:

    In 2003, Barack Obama said he was for single payer.

    What would it take to get single payer enacted?

    “First, we have to take back the White House, the Senate and the House,” Obama said at the time.

    Fast forward six years.

    The Democrats have taken the White House.

    The Senate and the House.

    And now what’s Obama’s position?

    In a speech this week in Chicago before the American Medical Association, Obama made clear he was now opposed to single payer.

    And his lieutenants suggested that Obama would support legislation to make sure that single payer does not become a reality in America.

    There’s only one explanation for Obama’s flip-flop on single payer.

    The health insurance and drug corporations have a hammerlock on Washington.

    And Obama is going along to get along.

    What’s the net result?

    Sixty Americans are dying every day due to lack of health insurance. (Institute of Medicine report.)

    Instead of getting behind single payer, Obama and the Democrats are engaged in the what Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief at the highly regarded New England Journal of Medicine calls “the futility of piecemeal tinkering.”

    Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the most liberal of the Democrats’ tinkering plans would cost $1 trillion over ten years and still leave 37 million Americans uninsured.

    Single payer on the other hand would cost less than we are overpaying now — and cover everyone.

    Zero uninsured.

    As Dr. Angell puts it — single payer is not only the best option.

    It’s the only option that will both control costs and cover everyone.

    Replace 1,300 insurance industry payers with one payer.

    Save $400 billion a year in bloated corporate administrative and executive compensation costs.

    Free choice of doctor and hospital.

    Use that money to insure everyone.

    No bills, no co-pays, no deductibles.

    No exclusions for pre-existing conditions — because under single payer, you are insured from the day you are born.

    No bankruptcies due to medical bills.

    No deaths due to lack of health insurance.

    Cheaper. Simpler. More affordable.

    Everybody in. Nobody out.

    According to recent polls, the majority of Americans, the majority of doctors, the majority of nurses, even the majority of health economists want single payer.

    That’s why almost every health care town hall event I hear about is dominated by citizens speaking out for single payer.

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