Remarks at Virtual Presentation (ZOOM) to Secretary Eric Friedlander, Carrie Banahan, and Jacquelyne Richardson on Aug. 25, 2020
Garrett Adams, M.D., M.P.H.
- We are proud of your leadership in the pandemic. Thank you.
- Your recent comments regarding the disproportionate rates of cases and the effects of Covid-19 on Black and Brown Kentuckians again reflect your wisdom, your humanity and concern for others.
“My commitment today is … to begin an effort to cover 100 percent of individuals in our … African American communities, everybody…We are going to be putting dollars behind it and we’re going to have a multi-faceted campaign to do it… it’s important because COVID-19 has shown what can happen when you don’t have coverage…This is just a first commitment and making up for that inequality that Dr. King said was the most severe, inequality in health care…I want to eventually make sure there’s coverage for everybody out there, but this is the time and this is our commitment and we’re going to make it happen.” NPR.org 6/9/20.
We honor your commitment and we’re here today to help us move forward together to achieve that goal. Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you and to open this dialog. We believe the only way to accomplish your vision of 100% health insurance coverage of individuals in … African-American communities is with a single payer national health insurance plan.
I have often thought about the similarity between your daily Covid-19 encouragement to Kentuckians, “We’ll get through this. We’ll get through this together.” and the Single Payer mantra, which is, “Everybody in, Nobody out.”
Seventeen years ago this month, at my desk at the Louisville Jefferson County Metro Health Department I read an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, entitled, The Physician’s Proposal for a National Health Plan. Here is an abbreviated version of the proposal.
A Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform
- The plan removes all financial barriers to medical care.
- Saves enough on administrative overhead to provide comprehensive coverage to the uninsured and to upgrade coverage for everyone else, thus requiring no increase in total health spending.
- Puts in place effective mechanisms to control costs, lowering the rate of medical inflation and making the health system sustainable for future generations.
- Restores free choice of clinician and hospital to all Americans.
- Every resident of the U.S., including all immigrants, is covered for all necessary medical care.
- National Health Program (NHP) card entitles patients to care at any hospital or doctor’s office.
- Provides coverage for outpatient and inpatient medical care as well as rehabilitation, mental health and long-term care, dental services, and prescription drugs.
- Improves on traditional Medicare’s benefits and expands coverage to all Americans.
- Eliminates premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance.
- Is federally financed (like Medicare) and administered by federal, state and regional boards. Private insurance that duplicates NHP coverage is prohibited.
- The Initial increase in government costs is fully offset by savings in premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
- Hospitals and other health facilities will be on a budget. Most remain privately owned and operated, receiving an annual “global” lump sum budget from the NHP to cover all operating costs.
- Physicians are paid based on a simple fee schedule covering all patients or by salary
- Medications purchased wholesale.
- It is paid for by combining current government health spending into a single fund with modest new progressive taxes fully offset by reductions in premiums and out-of-pocket spending
(www.pnhp.org – Am. J. Public Health, June, 2018)
At the end of the article there was an online option to endorse the plan and join PNHP, a data-driven organization of physicians and health professionals who educate and advocate for Single Payer national health insurance. I joined 8,000 fellow physicians. Today there are 23,000 and the majority of American doctors support Single Payer as well as leading physician specialty organizations.
Recently the AMA cut ties with an anti-single payer lobbying group as did the American College of Radiology.
In January the nation’s largest medical specialty society, the American College of Physicians (ACP), announced its endorsement of Medicare for All. On Aug. 12, 2020 the Society of General Internal Medicine officially endorsed that support and committed to advocate for universal health care coverage.
The majority of Americans favor Medicare for All. Although there are no specific Kentucky polls, evidence is building that Kentuckians favor the reform: City Council resolutions, and Democratic Club endorsements, a Resolution in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2007. Recently two Kentucky candidates for US Senate ran on single payer platforms. One of the candidates was endorsed by both leading newspapers in the state and came close to winning the Primary.
Single Payer is the only plan that will cut through the wasteful bureaucracy of our current system and actually provide health care for all. A single payer health plan will do exactly what you want it to do. It will level the playing field for all Kentuckians and put us on the road to equality and dignity for all. We are hoping that you and your administration will commit to a period of study and hopefully, support of a national single payer health care plan.