Many Americans assume that the private health insurance industry is an unmovable fixture in the U. S. health care system, but there is a growing need to re-examine that premise. Over recent decades, its performance has been increasingly profit-driven to the point of now becoming unaffordable for patients, their families, employers and taxpayers.
In 2006 Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care hosted a hearing at a downtown Church in Louisville. Many told their stories of suffering and tragedy caused by a broken health care system. Dr. Ewell Scott explained how to fix it. Thanks to Harriette Seiler for preserving and editing this 18 minute segment, part of a video made by Sonja De Vries.
Louisville, KY. On Wed., Jan. 20, 2021, Dr. Barbara Casper presented a virtual program on national single payer health care to residents in internal medicine.
She explained how an improved Medicare for All would cover everyone, remove financial barriers to patient care, save money, and allow physicians to practice their profession free from the control of insurance companies.
At least 32 participated in the slide presentation and the discussion that followed.
Kentuckians for Single Payer Health Care is pleased to offer such virtual programs, free of charge, to any Kentucky organization or group that is interested.
To make arrangements please email Kay Tillow at email@example.com.
Dr. Wayne Tuckson, a specialist in colon and rectal surgery and past president of the Greater Louisville Medical Society, is the host of Kentucky Health, which airs several times a week on the Public Broadcasting System.
For a recent TV show, Dr. Tuckson interviewed Dr. Eugene Shively, a surgeon who resides in Campbellsville, on the issues of rural health. Dr. Shively is featured regularly on Single Payer Radio at https://www.forwardradio.org/singlepayerradio .
Rural Healthcare: Who pays and who benefits
Eugene Shively, MD, Emeritus Professor of Surgery, University of Louisville
The Kentucky Health interview of Dr. Shively by Dr. Tuckson can be viewed here.
In November, the Vermont Medical Society passed a resolution expressing its support for universal access to high quality health care through a single-payer national health program. On Dec. 10, the Congressional Budget Office reported that a single-payer health care system could cover everyone yet cost $650 billion less per year.
The Courier Journal reported on the impact of systemic racism on the health of African Americans. The 12 years of life lost to residents in the West End points to the dire need for quick and effective action. The solutions explored omit the most decisive one — the need for every person to have physicians of their choice and all necessary health care, free at the point of service.
Until age 65, Black people are 50% more likely to be uninsured than white people. Life expectancy at birth is 3.5 years shorter for Black people. And 86% of the difference in life expectancy is due to conditions that respond to medical treatment and prevention. Mortality rates quickly match across races after age 65 when everyone is covered by Medicare.
Getting everyone covered is vital — not a complete solution but a necessary foundation to tackle the problem.
The passage of Medicare in 1965 eliminated segregation in hospitals and helped end racial disparities for seniors. A universal, not-for-profit, single-payer system — an improved Medicare for all — will save millions of lives.
In Kentucky, it can happen that a senior is denied a Medicare supplement (Medigap) insurance policy, or is charged more for such a policy, because of a pre-existing condition. Such discrimination isn’t right and should be illegal. In fact, four other states have passed laws that do not allow such practices. We must do the same.
Write, call, email, tweet your representative urging her/him to co-sponsor HB 97 which will make such discrimination unlawful in Kentucky.
Then ask your senator to introduce or co-sponsor HB 97 in the senate.
(HB 97 was introduced into the KY House on Jan. 5, 2021, by Rep. Tom Burch. It was formerly BR 483.)
The Vermont Medical Society (VMS) overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution supporting a single-payer national health program, also known as Medicare for All, at its annual meeting on Saturday, Nov. 7.
The VMS, which represents 2,400 Vermont physicians and physician assistants, is only the second state medical society in the U.S. after Hawaii to formally endorse a national single-payer health care program.
The VMS resolution was introduced by Dr. Jane Katz Field, a pediatrician and vice president of the Vermont chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (VTPNHP).
“The need for universal single-payer health care has never been more urgent,” said Dr. Katz Field. “Thirty million Americans were already uninsured before the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions more continue to lose coverage as they lose their jobs. Today the Vermont Medical Society recognizes the need to move away from a broken health system that ties health care to employment, and towards a system of equitable and universal coverage.”
Support of a single-payer, national health program
As adopted at the VMS Annual Meeting on November 7, 2020
BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Medical Society express its support for universal access to comprehensive, affordable, high-quality health care through a single-payer national health program; and be it further
RESOLVED that the Vermont Medical Society will support a national health program provided it meets these core criteria and principles:
a) Promotes universal, equitable coverage for all US residents (regardless of immigration status);
b) Provides comprehensive and high quality coverage for all medically necessary or appropriate services, including inpatient and outpatient hospital care, primary and preventive care, long-term care, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, dental, vision, audiology, prescription drug and medical devices, comprehensive reproductive care (including maternity and newborn care, and abortion),
c) Prioritizes affordability for all, including: no cost sharing ( no premiums, copays or deductibles), a ban on investor-owned health care facilities, and prescription drug prices to be negotiated directly with manufacturers;
d) Reimburses physicians and health care practitioners in amounts that are sufficient, fair, predictable, transparent and sustainable, while incentivizing primary care;
e) Allows for collective participation by physicians and other practitioners in negotiating rates and program policies;
f) Promotes global operating budgets for hospitals, nursing homes and other providers. Continues to move away from fee-for-service reimbursement models to more flexible payment models that incentivize better outcomes and more coordinated care;
g) Allocates capital funds for hospitals separately from operating budgets;
h) Eliminates the role of private health insurance companies, thereby greatly reducing administrative costs and burdens on clinicians;
i) Allocates funding for graduate medical education that assures adequate supply of generalists and specialists
j) Reforms medical school costs to reduce the amount of debt recent graduates face;
k) Protects the rights of healthcare and insurance workers with guaranteed retraining and job placement;
l) Provides high quality software (EMRs) developed in public sector and provided free to all practitioners;
m) Creates a legal environment that fosters high quality patient care and relieves clinicians from practicing defensive medicine; and
n) Is funded through a publicly financed system, based on combining administrative savings and the current sources of public funding, with modest new taxes based on individual’s ability to pay