[Marxism] Single-Payer Health Care: Senate bill introduced

Craig Brozefsky craig at red-bean.com
Fri Mar 27 10:27:33 MDT 2009

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	FW: Single-Payer Health Care: Senate bill introduced!!!!!!!!
Date: 	Thu, 26 Mar 2009 19:44:07 -0600
From: 	Tom Wilson <TWilson at accessliving.org>

Single-payer Health Reform Bill Introduced in Senate

March 26, 2009, Washington, DC

Would save $400 billion on bureaucracy, enough to cover all 46 million 
uninsured Americans

Challenging head-on the powerful private insurance and pharmaceutical 
industries, Vermont's Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a single-payer 
health reform bill, the American Health Security Act of 2009, in the 
U.S. Senate Wednesday. The bill is the first to directly take on the 
powerful lobbies blocking universal health reform in the Senate since 
Sen. Paul Wellstone's tragic death.

The single-payer approach embodied in Sanders' new bill stands in sharp 
contrast to the reform models being offered by the White House and by 
key lawmakers like Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Edward Kennedy 
(D-Mass.). Their plans would preserve a central role for the private 
insurance industry, sacrificing both universal coverage and cost 
containment during the worst economic crisis since the Depression.

In contrast, Sanders' new legislation would cover all of the 46 million 
Americans who currently lack coverage and improve benefits for all 
Americans by eliminating co-pays and deductibles and restoring free 
choice of physician. The most fiscally conservative option for reform, 
single payer slashes private insurance overhead and bureaucracy in 
medical settings, saving over $400 billion annually that can be 
redirected into clinical care.

"This is excellent news for the nation's health," said Dr. Quentin 
Young, national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program 
and a past president of the American Public Health Association. "There 
is now an affordable cure for our dysfunctional health care system. In 
the face of our present economic calamity, this is an urgent necessity."

Highlights of the bill include the following:

· Patients go to any doctor or hospital of their choice.

· The program is paid for by combining current sources of government 
health spending into a single fund with modest new taxes amounting to 
less than what people now pay for insurance premiums and out-of-pocket 

· Comprehensive benefits, including coverage for dental, mental health, 
and prescription drugs.

· While federally funded, the program is to be administered by the states.

· By eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private, 
investor-owned insurance industry, along with the burdensome paperwork 
imposed on physicians, hospitals and other providers, the plan saves at 
least $400 billion annually - enough money to provide comprehensive, 
quality care to all.

· Community health centers are fully funded, giving the 60 million 
Americans now living in rural and underserved areas access to care.

· To address the critical shortage of primary care physicians and 
dentists, the bill provides resources for the National Health Service 
Corps to train an additional 24,000 health professionals.

"We are confident that Sen. Sanders' bill will accelerate the national 
drive for the only reform that we know will work," Young said. "A 
majority of physicians endorse such an approach. Fifty-nine percent of 
U.S. physicians support national health insurance. Two-thirds of the 
public also supports such a remedy. We remember well that President 
Obama once acknowledged that single-payer national health insurance was 
the best way to go. It still is."

Sanders, who serves on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, 
and Pensions, is a longtime advocate of fundamental health care reform. 
His new bill draws heavily upon the single-payer legislation introduced 
by the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) in 1993, S. 491, and closely 
parallels similar legislation pending before the House, H.R. 1200, 
introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.).

A single-payer bill introduced by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), H.R. 
676, obtained 93 co-sponsors in the House during the last session. It 
has been reintroduced in the new Congress as the U.S. National Health 
Care Act with the same bill number.

Sincerely, Craig Brozefsky              <craig at red-bean.com>

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