Health Care Reform – Not There Yet

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Access to health care is an issue relevant to everyone or at least can become very relevant to anyone at any time.  Combine this with the facts that we have nearly 50 million uninsured in this country, spend more on healthcare than any other nation, and have worse overall health than most any other developed country, and it is no surprise that health care reform has been a hot topic in Washington in recent yspears.  The Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 was a step in health care reform.  However, it still hits far from the mark.

The dream is to have everyone able to access the health care they need at any time.  Period.  Not only is it a dream but a recognized universal human right.  This is most often nowadays referred to as single-payer health care or Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.

The key idea behind this proposal is to remove the health insurance industry from the equation.

Health insurance companies currently spend 10 times more in administrative costs than Medicare, largely in efforts to find ways to deny insurance, treatments or medications to individuals.  In a single-payer system, health care providers would still be managed as they are but they would all bill to one single payer – the U.S. government, the funds for which would come from taxes, at far lower costs than current insurance premiums. Single-payer health care reform is not only the only way to ensure everyone is eligible and able to receive health care, but it would improve care, reduce costs, and improve the health of the nation.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this excellent three-part interview with U-Mass Economist Gerald Friedman.

Convinced and want to do more?  Contact your state representative or legislator and join your local Healthcare-Now Coalition.

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4 Responses to “Health Care Reform – Not There Yet”

  1. pharmdiva2013 Says:

    Being a huge proponent for healthcare for all, I share many of your same sentiments. The quality of healthcare in the U.S. coupled with high expenditures, saddens me. Especially, when compared to other countries both industrialized and third-world. The book by former Senator, Tom Daschle, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Helath-Care Crisis”, outlined a similar approach to what you described. I’m not totally convinced removing the health insurance industry from the equation is doable. Giving the advocacy, campaigning and fundraising many big businesses conduct with members on the Hill, it may be idealistic to develop an inclusive approach to remedy concerns in efforts to incorporate lessons learned and moving forward to build a better system. I’m anxious to see how this unfolds and to see many Americans have access to healthcare. Reform is here and underway. http://www.healthcare.gov/

  2. stlouisguys2013 Says:

    Having worked in the United Kingdom and the United States, the biggest impediment to single payer system in the United States is the American people themselves. The culture in the US is highly individualistic. The shared burden required to have a National Healthcare system has been successfully demonized, by various stakeholders as “Socialism”. This is despite the fact that single payer systems are usually less expensive. The affordable Healthcare act may be the first step towards single payer, even if it takes another 100 years to get there!

  3. oluwanioje Says:

    Having worked in the United Kingdom and the United States, the biggest impediment to single payer system in the United States is the American people themselves. The culture in the US is highly individualistic. The shared burden required to have a National Healthcare system has been successfully demonized, by various stakeholders as “Socialism”. This is despite the fact that single payer systems are usually less expensive. The affordable Healthcare act may be the first step towards single payer, even if it takes another 100 years to get there!

  4. marcoslrz Says:

    I believe that every human being in this world should have access to health care. Unfortunately, this is only possible in a developed country but unlikely to occur in developing countries. Despite this fact, millions are still uninsured in the United States. The Affordable Care Act may help to decrease the number of uninsured patients, but more changes in the U.S. healthcare system have to be implemented to improve quality of care. I think that medicine in the U.S. should be focused more in prevention. For example, a patient of mine told me that he wanted a second opinion because his previous doctor did not make a significant effort to treat his recurrent skin infections. This particular patient had a private insurance and he wanted to do several expensive tests (seen in the internet) so we can figure out his “problem”, including computed tomography, serology for multiple bacterial and fungal organisms, allergy tests, etc. I asked him if he was taking his antibiotics as prescribed from the previous provider. He said he missed some doses and he did not finished the 10-day antibiotic course. He also said that he has several scratches from his cats and dogs. In addition, he also smokes 20 cigarettes per day but has not decided to quit yet. His medical history includes hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes.
    The perception of the physician is that something has to be done on every patient in order to avoid “missing” something (particularly in the emergency departments) and to prevent lawsuits, because if something is done the patient will not complain about the physician. Patients also have to realize that having a health insurance may not be sufficient to prolong life or reduce mortality. A patient-centered medical system including education of preventable diseases, life-style modification, monitoring weight, etc; may be implemented in the coming years in this healthcare system. If we really want to cut costs in medicine, both patients and physicians have to be on the same team. I like the idea to have everybody on some sort of health insurance, but this should not be the final goal. This has to be complemented with other quality improvement projects not yet established.

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