Leah Schwinn: The Partnership For America’s Health Care Future
Have you heard of this group? The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future represents health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and for-profit hospitals (our local Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital is a nonprofit).
They are spending millions of dollars to scare Americans about Medicare for All, so while you may not have heard of them, you are likely to hear from them. The quotes come directly from their website: http://www.americashealthcarefuture.org.
They begin with their goals. “Every American family should be able to afford the care they need to lead a healthy life and we want to work together to lower costs.” Then why do pharmaceutical drug prices and insurance premiums keep rising?
The Affordable Care Act, required everyone to buy insurance. People bought what they could afford to pay monthly (a low premium), but their high deductible keeps them from accessing the care they need. They are the under-insured. Today 84.2 million Americans are uninsured or under-insured. Medicare for All would cover everyone.
The Partnership wants to “build on the strength of the employer-provided health coverage that more than 180 million Americans rely on today.” But the under-insured rate is growing fastest among those receiving employer-provided healthcare. And many workers are paying a higher share of their premiums. Our businesses can no longer afford the burden of providing health coverage to their employees. It’s hurting our economy.
They say, “Health-care decisions should be made by patients and their doctors — not politicians.” Right now you and your doctor decide what is best for you, but you need the health insurance companies’ approval of that care. These companies weigh your care against their profits. The more claims they deny, the more profit they make.
The Partnership considers Medicare for All, Medicare buy-in or a public option to be “starting over with a brand new government health insurance system.” We’ve had Medicare for 55 years. Expanding what we have is hardly starting over. Medicare has very low overhead It runs about 2 to 3% overhead compared to 10 times that much for private insurance companies. If Medicare were expanded to cover everyone, it would include younger, healthier people. Medicare could then afford to provide more benefits.
They declare that “Any one-size-fits-all new government health insurance system would mean Americans would have to pay more, to wait longer for worse care.” A study published Feb. 15 in the Lancet Health Policy Journal from Yale University, finds that with Medicare for All, we would realize a 13% savings in national health care expenditures, equal to more than $450 billion dollars annually and save more than 68,000 lives.
They tell us that some plans proposed may cost $32 trillion. They don’t mention that figure is for 10 years. They don’t mention, that with our current system we will spend $47 trillion over the 10 years. They say every American will pay more taxes. They don’t mention that almost every American will be paying less because we will not be paying premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
Many studies have shown that wait times in America are comparable to wait times in the other industrialized nations who provide universal coverage with better health outcomes than America. American health care has fallen in health outcomes like infant and maternal mortality rates. We will not pay more. We will not wait longer. We will have better care.
Medicare is a singlepayer system. One payer. It is not socialized medicine, where the government owns the hospitals and employs the medical staff. Medicare just pays the bills. In Medicare for All, all of the providers, doctors and hospitals would remain the same, but we wouldn’t have the networks the insurance companies put in place to limit our choices.
When everyone is in the same plan, savings from greater efficiency, and money now spent on profits, advertising, lobbying and exorbitant CEO salaries, would enable Medicare to improve the number of benefits, and expand to cover everyone. No one will go bankrupt from medical bills.
Medicare for All that the Partnership wants you to be afraid of, would provide everyone with high quality care. You will have dental, vision, hearing, mental health, women’s health, and long-term care. It will not be a sudden disruption of the system. Bernie Sanders’ bill in the Senate has a four-year transition. The House plan has a two-year transition.
The only health care future The Partnership cares about, is their future profits. Let’s put patients over profits instead.
Leah Schwinn lives in Grass Valley. She is a member of the Nevada County chapter of Health Care for All – CA.
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