16 Oct Look into national health care
In the past couple of weeks, my mailbox has been cluttered with not one, but two glossy 8½ by 11 postcards from the Michigan Republican Party.
Both featured an unflattering photo of Kathy Wiejaczka, Democratic candidate for the 101st District State House seat, that looked like it had been taken by unscrupulous paparazzi: you know, something you might see on a supermarket tabloid, along with photoshopped images of two-headed aliens and unflattering pictures of one of The Royals.
The other side of the most recent postcard sported a cheesy photo of lines of people standing in front of numbered windows, below a large sign that said (I kid you not) “Michigan Department of Doctor Appointments.” The postcard did not iden- tify what office Ms. Wiejaczka was running for, nor did it identify anything about the Republican Party’s platform.
Instead, it trashed what it called “her government takeover of healthcare,” and listed several negative outcomes, according to the sources cited: “Bureaucrats choosing your doctor, prescription drug costs to increase, government spending to skyrocket, $32 trillion in tax hikes.”
I had one major question as I read the postcard: Why is the Michigan Republican Party against singlepayer healthcare for all, when 70 percent of Americans now support it? That includes 85 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans (Reuters Poll).
Put another way, what is the payoff for the Michigan Republican party if we continue on our current system of patchwork medical care?
I needed to learn more about single- payer healthcare, so I went online and found excellent resources from Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org). I encourage you to check out the site. The following is an explanation from the organization’s Frequently Asked Questions handout. The italics are mine.
“Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands. Under a single-payer system, all residents of the U.S. would be covered for all medically necessary services, including doctor, hospital, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs.
“The program would be funded by the savings obtained from replacing today’s inefficient, profit-
oriented, multiple insurance payers with a single, streamlined, nonprofit, public payer, and by modest new taxes based on ability to pay. Premiums would disappear; 95 percent of all households would save money. Patients would no longer face financial barriers to care such as copays and deductibles, and would regain free choice of doctor and hospital. Doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.”
Think about who profits from our current healthcare system. If you owe money right now for a medical test, an exam, hospitalization, long-term care, dental work; or if you’ve put off one of the mentioned medical things because you can’t afford it; it’s not you who profits! It’s the pharmaceutical companies, the medical insurance companies, the for-profit hospitals. (See “Behind Your Rising Health-Care Bills: Secret Hospital Deals That Squelch Competition,” Anna Wilde Mathews, The Wall Street Journal, September 18, 2018).
Americans have the highest health spending in the world because of administrative costs, even though many Americans have no medical care or insufficient medical care. With single-payer national health insurance there would be no more co-pays or deductibles, and pharmaceutical companies would have to negotiate prices with the single payer so that would keep drug costs down.
So, going back to my original question, why wouldn’t the Michigan Republican Party want singlepayer health care? My answer: I don’t know.
But I do know that everyone has a right to health care. Kathy Wiejaczka, a nurse for 39 years, knows that first hand. So does Rob Davidson, an ER doctor running for U.S. Representative, 2nd District. Neither is in the pocket of corporations.
Source: Ludington Daily News
October 2, 2018