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      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – August 25, 2019 by Tony Wikrent Economics Action Group, North Carolina Democratic Party Progressive Caucus Strategic Political Economy Give No Heed to the Walking Dead [The Scholar’s Stage, via Naked Capitalism 8-18-19] The People’s Republic of China is wealthier than any rival America has faced. Its leaders are convinced […]
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Single-Payer? What is it good for?

You might have seen the phrase “Single-Payer” tossed around by me and others talking about Health Care reform.  I often forget to stop and explain the term which frustrates readers and embarrasses me.

So (since I’m not going to stop talking about it) this post will serve as a handy shortcut to Single-Payer resources.  And life will be a little bit easier for all of us.

My favorite go-to site for single payer facts is the Physicians for a National Health Care Plan:

Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 16,000 members and chapters across the United States.

Since 1987, we’ve advocated for reform in the U.S. health care system. We educate physicians and other health professionals about the benefits of a single-payer system–including fewer administrative costs and affording health insurance for the 46 million Americans who have none.

And they’ve got virtually REAMS of educational information! From their “New to Single-Payer” page they offer this description:

Single-Payer National Health Insurance

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Currently, the U.S. health care system is outrageously expensive, yet inadequate. Despite spending more than twice as much as the rest of the industrialized nations ($7,129 per capita), the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates. Moreover, the other advanced nations provide comprehensive coverage to their entire populations, while the U.S. leaves 45.7 million completely uninsured and millions more inadequately covered.

(snip)

Under a single-payer system, all Americans 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. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards. Continue reading

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Sitting at Obama’s table: The Secret Health Care Talks

New York Times

New York Times

Does anyone else want to burst into tears when they read about millionaires trying to make health care affordable?

Health Care Industry in Talks to Shape Policy

Since last fall, many of the leading figures in the nation’s long-running health care debate have been meeting secretly in a Senate hearing room. Now, with the blessing of the Senate’s leading proponent of universal health insurance, Edward M. Kennedy, they appear to be inching toward a consensus that could reshape the debate.

(snip)

While not all industry groups are in complete agreement, there is enough of a consensus, according to people who have attended the meetings, that they have begun to tackle the next steps: how to enforce the requirement for everyone to have health insurance; how to make insurance affordable to the uninsured; and whether to require employers to help buy coverage for their employees.

(snip)

Kennedy aides summarized discussions of the stakeholders, known as the “workhorse group,” in a recent memorandum obtained by The New York Times.

“While there was some diversity of views,” it said, “the sense of the room is that an individual obligation to purchase insurance should be part of reform if that obligation is coupled with effective mechanisms to make coverage meaningful and affordable.”

The ideas discussed include a proposal to penalize people who fail to comply with the “individual obligation” to have insurance.

(snip)

Their motives vary. Some say the moment to overhaul the health care system has arrived because of a confluence of events, including Mr. Obama’s election, the growing number of uninsured and the relentless increase in health costs. Some want to protect the interests of their members and could ultimately oppose the legislation, depending on its details.

(sigh)

Not once in the article is there a definition of “affordable” — which makes me doubly (if possible) skeptical of the eventual plan. But, then lets look at who’s doing the talking: Continue reading