Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Soap Box Issue: Health Care Reform

There is a lot of health care talk in my family... mom is a social worker in the emergency room and a specialist in geriatric care/services and dad is an emergency room doctor.

I clearly remember more than one occasion as a child, when I was downtown with my dad and a street person would call out his name, come over to shake his hand, say they were feeling better or just say hello.

After the the exchange had passed, he would tell me a little of the back story... That person was schizophrenic, suffered from depression, was bipolar, or just down and out. And with no other resources for basic care available, they would show up in the ER with an otherwise preventable illness.

So, that said, it is with great pride and admiration for the just, considerate, concerned person my father is that I post this letter he wrote addressing Single Payer Health Care. I think he says it more eloquently than I could hope.

Read it, think about it and if you get a chance, talk about it and share it.


Americans have the world’s most technically advanced hospitals, the best educated doctors and health care workers, yet we spend twice as much per capita on healthcare as any other nation and only rank 37th (same as Cuba) in overall quality of health, such as life expectancy and infant mortality. We are not getting our money’s worth.

I am writing to ask you to support Single Payer Health Care as introduced in the US House of Representatives in HR 676 and in the US Congress as Senate Bill 703.

These bills are similar and if passed would provide health insurance for all citizens and legal immigrants and designate Medicare to be the single payer of health care bills: Medicare for everyone.

Medicare's overhead expenses are 4%. Private insurance companies overhead is between 20-30%. The change to ‘Medicare for everyone’ alone would save about $350 billion a year, more than enough to insure all the currently uninsured.

Patients will still choose their own physicians as they do with Medicare now. The physicians work for themselves as they do now. The only thing that changes is that the 20% of the health care dollar that now goes to profits for private insurance companies will go instead to insuring the uninsured.

President Obama has moved away from the Single Payer Health Care issue. While he has not given his reasons,I suspect he wants to cooperate with big insurance companies rather than battle them. It is time to remind him and his administration that Single Payer health care is the best option.

Further, the majority of physicians support this plan. In March 2008, the University of Indiana Medical School surveyed physicians around the country and found 59% supported single payer health care. Many other studies have shown that the majority of physicians want a change in health care insurance system as do the majority of Americans.

Physicians for a National Health Plan has online resources and information to answer any questions about how this plan would work. For interviews with some of the nations top health policy thinkers please watch the informative documentary “Health, Money and Fear” available online.

Please write to your Congressman, Senator and President Obama and tell them that the American people want to join with other nations of the world by making affordable health care available to all Americans.

Please pass this letter along to others concerned about health care in America.

President Barack Obama

To find your Representative try this link.

To find your Senator try this link

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