Health Care or Insurance Care? It's Time to Respond!
The health care decision-making process in Washington is horribly tainted by the campaign contributions of insurance and pharmaceutical interests. Under the pay-to-play system health care becomes insurance care, the public option shrinks to irrelevance, the choice we are left: What kind of private, for-profit insurance do you want? This is not acceptable. We must respond now, and not settle for a plan which subsidizes insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and sets the stage for the privatization of Medicare. We want Health Care for all the people, Medicare for All, which is exactly what the bill John Conyers and I wrote, HR 676, accomplishes. And the only way we will achieve it is to organize and take action in our communities to effect real change at a state and national level. Let us initiate immediately an action plan to intervene and provide health care for all:
- On-line petition. Please contact your lists, your family and friends. Please sign the petition for a single payer system. I will deliver the petitions directly to your Congressperson.
- Petition to download, print and circulate among friends and neighbors - including an instruction sheet.
- A National Health Care for All Conference Call from Washington, DC, at 10 pm EDT, Thursday, September 10th at 1-800-230-1096. Join us, so that we can discuss our new beginning and ways in which we can all help. Pre-registration is necessary in order to reserve sufficient phone lines. Please RSVP here. When you call in and the operator asks, "what conference call?" tell the operator, "Health Care for All."
- Health Care Meet-Ups. Coming Thursday September 10 2009.
- Tell A Friend. Every email forwarded will make a difference? Please use the "Forward Email" link belowto circulate up to 5 emails at a time to your friends.
I need your help to initiate this action. If you believe, as I do, that we can and must begin a new long-term state-by-state grassroots effort to create a single-payer, not-for-profit health care system, please contribute now at Kucinich.us
Thank you. Sincerely.
By Billy Zou '12, Contributing Columnist
Published on Monday, October 5, 2009
For those who have been living outside the U.S. or in a cave, two health care reform bills have been proposed to universalize the American health care system. One, H.R. 3200, proposes a public health insurance plan or 'public option,' while the other, H.R. 676, would create a single-payer system that would cover all medically essential care.
The Senate rejected the public option plan last Tuesday, and the forecast is gloomy for proposals of bolder changes.
There’s been a lot of “debate” surrounding the reform. With all the news stories of inflammatory protests at town halls, I suspect that there’s something more than Godwin’s Law at work in political forums across the country.
It’s obvious that private insurance companies do not want a single-payer system that would marginalize their role to providing supplemental care, or a public option that would provide competition and potentially drive down premiums.
What I am interested in, however, is not the kaleidoscopic advantages that a universal public health insurance system would provide: reduced administrative costs, more patients seeking preventative measures — which save costs in the long run — and pharmaceutical research focused on developing drugs that reap the most social benefits rather than the largest profit, for example.
According to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, one reason single-payer Canada spent $3,895 per capita on health care in 2007 while the U.S. spent $7,290 — with arguably inferior outcomes and 16 percent of the population uninsured — is Canada’s reduced administrative costs.
I am interested, on the other hand, in how seriously Americans take their Declaration of Independence, which states that they have certain inalienable rights, and that among them are “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
If this is the case, isn’t government justified in — nay, obligated to — protect these rights?
The question then becomes whether health care is really a human right. There are those who argue that it is not, claiming that one only has the right to seek health care, not demand that others provide it. To them I say, is it not an American right to demand protection from foreign armies? Is it not a right to demand that our water be potable, our food edible and our media credible? (OK, not the last one.)
Food need not be a public good because it is inexpensive and easily obtained. This is not the case with some the most essential medical care, which may be very expensive and unaffordable to a large slice of the population.
To have a serious illness go untreated is to be deprived of the hope of pursuing happiness, if not at some point life (according to the American Journal of Public Health, 44,800 die in the U.S. each year simply from lack of coverage).
Indeed, according to an article on the science new web site, Science Daily, a global study on Satisfaction with Life conducted at the University of Leicester found that happiness correlated with health more strongly than any other measure.
The pragmatist in me realizes that a single-payer system isn’t happening in America any time soon.
Nevertheless, if the access to necessary health care is an inalienable right, then it is something that should not be handed out by private insurance companies that would prefer to turn away patients in order to maximize profit.
Instead, providing health care should be the responsibility of the government. The sole purpose of its existence is to protect the rights of those who have to live in this country.