- Apr 13, 2011
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
A group of more than 2,000 physicians is calling for the establishment of a universal government-run health system in the US, in a paper in the American Journal of Public Health.
According to the proposal released Thursday, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough in removing barriers to healthcare access. The physicians’ bold plan calls for implementing a single-payer system similar to Canada’s, called the National Health Program, that would guarantee all residents healthcare.
The new single-payer system would be funded mostly by existing US government funding. The physicians point out that the US government already pays for two-thirds of all healthcare spending in the US, and a single-payer system would cut down on administrative costs, so a transition to a single-payer system would not require significant additional spending.
Under the proposal, all US residents would be able to see any physician of their choosing in the country and be treated at any hospital. With guaranteed coverage and no co-pays, deductibles and premiums, patients would not have financial barriers to seeking care, which would lead to greater utilization of the system and improved health outcomes, Himmelstein argues.
The additional funds would be made up by modest tax increases in exchange for abolishing insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
Fees for medication would be negotiated with pharmaceutical companies the same way other countries with single-payer systems already negotiate for lower cost medications. Currently, US drug prices are some of the highest in the world.
Himmelstein said this type of reform can’t be done state by state. The physicians’ plan depends in part on cost containment through having a single payer with the power to negotiate drug pricing with pharmaceutical companies as well as eliminating many levels of bureaucracy in billing and insurance registration.
Read more @: 'We need fundamental changes': US doctors call for universal healthcare
I can definitely get behind this. Its a shame that the US isnt were the rest of the industrialized world is with this kind of health care system. And I would have to agree with Himmelstein when he says that this cannot be done on a state by state basis. There needs to be a "single payer" and not 50 payers. And I also would agree that right now as it stands its pretty politically unrealistic to expect this to be implemented in the next 4-8 years. If anything it serves as a strong rallying cry and keeps attention on the issue of the US joining the rest of the world with universal single payer health care.