Skip to comments.Why Obama's Public Option Is Defective, and Why We Need Single-Payer
Posted on 08/06/2009 5:35:11 PM PDT by Lorianne
Once Congress finishes mandating that we all buy private health insurance, it can move on to requiring Americans to purchase other defective products.
A Ford Pinto in every garage?
Lead-painted toys for every child?
Melamine-laced chow for every puppy?
Private health insurance doesnt work.
Even middle-class families with supposedly good coverage are just one serious illness away from financial ruin.
Illness and medical bills contribute to 62 percent of personal bankruptcies a 50 percent increase since 2001. And three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had insurance, at least when they first got sick.
Coverage that families bought in good faith failed to protect them. Some were bankrupted by co-payments, deductibles, and loopholes. Others got too sick to work, leaving them unemployed and uninsured.
Now Congress plans to make it a federal offence not to purchase such faulty insurance.
On top of that, its threatening to tax workers health benefits to meet the costs of simultaneously covering the poor and keeping private insurers in business.
President Obama's plan would finance reform by draining funds from hospitals that serve the neediest patients. His other funding plans arent harmful, just illusory. Hes gotten unenforceable pledges from hospitals, insurers and the American Medical Association to rein in costs, a replay of promises they made (and broke) to Presidents Nixon and Carter. And Obama trumpets savings from computerized medical records and better care management, savings the Congressional Budget Office has dismissed as wishful thinking.
The presidents health plan cant make universal, comprehensive coverage affordable.
Only single-payer health reform Medicare for All can achieve that goal.
Single-payer national health care could realize about $400 billion in savings annually enough to cover the uninsured and to upgrade coverage for all Americans. But the vast majority of these savings arent available unless we go all the way to single payer.
A public plan option might cut into private insurers profits. Thats why they hate it. But their profits roughly $10 billion annually are dwarfed by the money they waste in search of profit. They spend vast sums for marketing (to attract the healthy); demarketing (to avoid the sick); billing their ever-shifting roster of enrollees; fighting with providers over bills; and lobbying politicians. And doctors and hospitals spend billions more meeting insurers demands for documentation.
A single-payer plan would eliminate most insurance overhead, as well as these other paperwork expenses. Hospitals could be paid like a fire department, receiving a single monthly check for their entire budget. Physicians billing could be similarly simplified.
With a public insurance option, by contrast, hospitals and doctors would still need elaborate billing and cost-tracking systems. And overhead for even the most efficient competitive public option would be far higher than for traditional Medicare, which is efficient precisely because it doesnt compete. It automatically enrolls seniors at 65 and deducts their premiums through the social security system, contracts with any willing provider, and does no marketing.
Health insurers compete by NOT paying for care: by seeking out the healthy and avoiding the sick; by denying payment and shifting costs onto patients; and by lobbying for unfair public subsidies (as under the Medicare HMO program). A kinder, gentler public plan that failed to emulate these behaviors would soon be saddled with the sickest, costliest patients and the highest payouts, driving premiums to uncompetitive levels. To compete successfully, a public plan would have to copy private plans.
Decades of experience teach that private insurers cannot control costs or provide families with the coverage they need. And a government-run clone of private insurers cannot fix these flaws.
No to single payer, no to public option, no to socialism.
Uhh...actually it’s one of the most obtuse and uninformative articles on the issue that I have read.
JUST SAY NO!
Please DO NOT mess up the best MEDICAL CARE and INNOVATION and TECHNOLOGY in the WORLD. PLEASE do not make it so the best and brightest NO LONGER want to go into medicine. Please do not ALLOW anyone other than the FAMILY and the DOCTOR to make ANY MEDICAL DECISIONS. Period. The end.
WE do NOT HAVE A MEDICAL CRISIS UNLESS MEDICARE OR MEDICAID is in TROUBLE and we have not been told. If they are, they are GOVERNMENT RUN and this should tell ya all ya need to know!
STUPID IVORY TOWER DOCTORS.
“Uhh...actually its one of the most obtuse and uninformative articles on the issue that I have read.”
That’s because you don’t understand “progressive” (aka marxist) economics.
That said, it's still your typical liberal utopian fantasy. The author should take some basic economics. When you subsidize something or when it's "free", people are going to use more of it. And the author never mentions how single-payer is going to be funded.
Single payer is not going to happen.
But it might happen eventually if they pass this ‘public option’ plan. Therefore, we should concentrate on the pitfalls of the publc option plan, which this article clearly illustrates will not work.
It's truly sad that any sentient being could write that line, completely convinced that it would be a good thing for every hospital in America to direct its efforts being sure no extra month left over when the money is gone. "Here's your monthly check, Weenie Hut General. Make sure it lasts."
“And the author never mentions how single-payer is going to be funded.”
Right. That’s because it can’t be financially sustainable (as other countries’ experience and our own Medicare system clearly show ... they are going broke). However, it is my contention that the current plan being proposed is even LESS financially sound.
Medicare for all. Let me see, the program will start losing money in 2017 because the politicians who legislate its benefits promise their voters more than the program income can support. Young people who pay for the system who know that they will not be able to use it when they get old because it will be financially broke cannot quit the system. Talk about consumer protection for a defective product, under the current government programs of Medicare/medicaid and social security, it does not exist. Private insurers may not be perfect, but if my insurance company starts to have financial problems or start screwing their customers with technical BS, I can replace them with another competitor. Under a one payer government run system, if the system goes bad, the payer has nowhere to go.
Their names say it all.....
Number of people enrolled in Medicare are 43 millions.
Based on the above each person enrolled in Medicare cost $ 9,488.
Now if 300 millions people enroll in single-payer socialized health care and each will cost $ 9,488 then the total cost would be 2.846 TRILLION DOLLARS.
Since they "automatically" grab up the over 65 crowd and they "automatically" deduct their premiums from the miserable pittance that SS represents, they have no NEED for marketing as their clients do not have a say in the matter. As to the "contracts with any willing provider", every year that passes see the government cut back further on what they offer to providers. I've had doctors bluntly tell me that they can not afford to accept Medicare as they would run in the red. Without tort reform and some serious malpractice protection for providers that situation will not change because of a single payer system. Meanwhile,as the cutbacks continue from year to year the number of "willing providers" continues to shrink.
What is the ultimate end of a "single payer" system, make all health care providers government employees?
I’m just a mobster donchaknow.