Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Expanded and Improved Medicare for All

In the early 60s, my oldest son suffered a near-fatal illness that lasted for several years and involved several lengthy hospitalizations. We were a working-class, one-income family, and we survived this crisis in good financial shape with health insurance from Blue Cross/Blue Shield which was non-profit at that time. Most working-class families had high-quality affordable health insurance then. Since then, corporate profit and advertising has entered the health-care business and created a system too expensive, too complex, too inefficient, too unaffordable, and too inaccessible to be sustainable.  Profit, not consumer health, is now the major concern of the health-care industrial complex.  
The Affordable Health Care Act has been economic salvation for many families I know by improving affordability. It has not and cannot solve the other problems created by profit-driven market forces. 

The Patient’sFreedom Act proposed recently by Senator Susan Collins to replace the ACA makes the system way too complex for consumers by offering 3 system options for states to choosefrom. One option is to keep the ACA as is, which is not a good choice. There are still way too many uninsured, underinsured, or with too high deductibles to make it truly affordable to all. Both of the other 2 options would reduce benefits to consumers and do not solve other major problems in the current system. 

Both my personal experience and my years of research into health-care persuades me that the most reasonable, humane, and best solution to benefit consumers and to solve the problems is to replace Obama Care with the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, which “would vastly simplify how the nation pays for care, saving hundreds of billions of dollars on administrative overhead that could be used to improve patient health, restore free choice of physician, and eliminate copays and deductibles. . . . [N]early 6 in 10 Americans, 58 percent, support a Medicare-for-all approach, with the Gallup poll finding that 41 percent of Republicans favor replacing the ACA with ‘a federally funded health care program providing insurance for all Americans” (). Such a program could automatically enroll everyone at birth and be funded by affordable premium payments to the Medicare system instead of to profit making insurance companies.  Until this can be done, we must not repeal the ACA which would throw the whole system into even more chaos than it is in now.
Published, February 1, The Star Herald