National Call In Day for Single Payer Healthcare this Friday, January 15th – Call Your Representatives!

This Friday, January 15, is national call-in day to promote a single-payer healthcare system.  Here is the official page with information on HR676 and how to contact your congressperson.  Also, you can call (202) 225-3121 and ask to be connected to the office of your Representative or your Senators (you can also look up their direct numbers using your zip code here)

Being in the healthcare community, I find it hard to believe that so many people don’t support this concept.  One of the big arguments is whether healthcare is a right or a dominican1privilege and when you work in the medical field, it is obvious that it should be a right, just like having a firefighter to put out your burning house, or a police officer to rescue you from an assailant, everyone should have basic medical care.  We often hear the term “socialized” attached to single-payer healthcare as a fear tactic because of the negative stigma still associated with the term socialism.  Single-payer, however, is not government run healthcare, it is private healthcare with government paying the bills instead of insurance companies.  Essentially nothing will change with how you interact with your physician or clinic, but rather than insurance companies artificially driving up costs and making profits on people’s health, denying legitimate claims, and costing an extra 15% or more in administrative costs, medicare and medicaid will cover everyone!  Costs overall will decrease, and the out of pocket expense to the individual will be lower than the current system.  If we can combine this with a massive expansion in public health education and services, along with major tort reform to revamp medical liability, we might just be able to improve our status from spending more money per capita than any other country, yet ranking number 37 in the world in quality of health care.  Shameful.

Please call in on Friday and make your voice heard!

4 Responses to “National Call In Day for Single Payer Healthcare this Friday, January 15th – Call Your Representatives!”

  1. Stefan Teitge Says:

    There are many flaws with single payer systems that are the basis for arguments against it. Stating that nothing will change is naive, and certainly disregards evidence from most countries who have single payer systems. Our medical system provides care options more timely and more varied than any other systems. While the average cough, cold or broken leg won’t see a radical difference in the care they recieve, more complex cases-cancer treatment, advanced heart disease etc, etc. will be harder pressed to recieve complex procedures and less timely of an application of those procedures if needed…there is a reason why many wealthy foreigners recieve health care in US hospitals. For the US to benefit for single payer health, we will need to reevaluate our national outlook on healthcare in general…to some extent people will have to be willing to receive less aggressive interventions and forfeit individualized care. We will have to be willing to accept consequences of delayed diagnoses more and will have to be guided by a more altruistic and less individual outlook (a decidedly un-American trait)-alcoholic cirrhotics in Cuba aren’t recieving too many liver transplants. As healthcare providers and as a population we are going to have to be willling to accept poorer outcomes (missed MI rates are less than .5 percent in the US and around 1-2% in Great Britain) due to limitations in testing mandated by government oversight (Ottawa ankle rules do sometimes miss fractures). People will have to start realizing death is a part of life, and agree to dispense with some life prolonging, but not life saving care. The US is a litigation rich environment, and we will unlikely benefit from tort reform, so as healthcare providers we will be handcuffed by less determinate testing and similar levels of litigation (a frightening prospect). Patients will need to recognize that diagnosises are missed and this does not necessarily represent negligence. In addition we will have to be willing as individuals to take on significantly higher tax burdens. Single payer healthcare obviously has some obvious benefits (universal coverage and decreased beurocratic costs being the most obvious), but to paint it as unflawed, and to assume that nothing will chage on the patients side is seriously shortsighted. It might ultimately be the direction that the country should take, but not without some serious philosophical shifts in the way we as a country and as individuals view our healthcare rights and priveledges.

  2. You are exactly right, Stef – I’m not trying to paint it as unflawed at all, just less flawed than leaving millions of people without healthcare. You’re also right in that tort reform will not be enough to protect the healthcare industry from lawsuits, especially those you mention that will come with missed diagnoses, there will have to be some sort of system to fairly monitor for negligence but protect physicians from being sued for expected poor outcomes. The U.S. will indeed have to change their attitudes if a single-payer healthcare system will work, but I don’t necessarily think that it will be much more out of pocket costs to an individual citizen. Simply by removing operations costs from corporate healthcare and reforming malpractice liability, our costs would come down by 25% or more (that’s about 15% from the insurance company’s profits and I’m just guessing on the 10% for liability), plus, between MediCare, MedicAid, and subsidies in the form of tax deductions, our healthcare system is 2/3 government funded anyway. I would think that if lawmakers were prudent (and they rarely are), limitation of complicated procedures and outpatient procedure delays could be minimized, because of the extensive system we already have in place. The least painless way to institute a single-payer healthcare system would be to simply start paying everyone as they are currently, and expand the current Medicare/Medicaid system to cover everyone. QI systems are already in place, and I certainly don’t see Medicare limiting anyone’s procedures. It certainly isn’t a perfect system, and there would be growing pains, but if it were well thought-out with participation from the medical community, I really do think it would be much better than what we have now in terms of social justice.

  3. What you are suggesting sounds more like Massachussetts Health reform than a single payer system. That makes a lot more sense to me.

  4. Andrew Nelson Says:

    Please do not buy healthcare insurance. If you have it please drop it. This is the only way that we will ever end the strangle hold that the insurance companies have on our government, we need to boycott their product. You don’t get what you pay for anyway, if you did they would not make so much profit.

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