Health Care is a Human Right – (latest draft as of 6/26/16)
There is a pressing need to view healthcare as a human right, not a ‘for-profit’ commodity.
- Improved Medicare for All is needed. The current market-driven system for financing and administering health care has failed in several important ways:
- Per capita, it is the most expensive system in the world. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), has not controlled costs.
- Despite extremely high spending, health outcomes in the US rank poorly, especially for low income people and communities of color.
- Despite the ACA, tens of millions of people are uninsured; tens of millions more are under insured and cannot afford the care they need. Medical bills remain the leading cause of bankruptcy and foreclosure.
- Under the ACA, insurers are dropping out of many markets. In some regions there is only one insurer available to patients in their insurance marketplace.
- The inhumanity and complexity of the current system cause considerable stress for patients and health professionals. Health professionals spend time on documentation and insurance claims that could be spent on patient care.
2. Improved Medicare for All is founded on human rights principles:
- Universal. All people have access to the high quality, comprehensive care they need.
- Equitable. Care is equitably financed through progressive taxes as a public good; barriers to receiving care are removed; and care is free at the point of service.
- Accountable and Transparent. Administration is moved from the private to the public sector so that the public can monitor quality and use of resources.
- Participatory. The public has an active role in the design, implementation, evaluation, and accountability of the system.
- Improved Medicare for All (a single-payer system) is the solution:
Health care will be publicly financed through taxes, and the current multi-payer system will be replaced with a single billing system. This will make the system easier to use and save hundreds of billions of dollars in administrative costs annually. Further cost controls include setting operating budgets for service providers and negotiating fair prices for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health services. Businesses will no longer have to offer expensive health benefits, and small businesses will find it easier to compete for the best employees.
All people residing in the US will be included. All medically necessary care will be covered, including vision, dental, mental health care, long-term care, substance abuse treatment, reproductive care, transgender care, alternative/complementary care, hospice care, durable and adaptive medical equipment, and hearing aids. Care will be delivered through public or private (not investor-owned) health practices and facilities. Patients will have full choice of providers and treatments no matter where they travel in the US.
Improved Medicare for All eliminates the stress of looking for affordable coverage, being uninsured, and worrying whether necessary medicines and treatments are covered. And it allows health professionals to focus on the needs of their patients.
- Legislation: We urge Congress to immediately replace the Affordable Care Act with Improved Medicare for All modeled on House Resolution 676.
Full Text of HR 676 can be found at: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/111/hr676/text
Summary of HR 676: This legislation will insure health care is provided to all individuals residing in the United States and its territories. All medically necessary care will be provided, including at least the following services: primary care and prevention, inpatient care, outpatient care, emergency care, prescription drugs, durable medical equipment, long term care, palliative care, mental health, dental, substance abuse, chiropractic, vision, hearing services, and podiatric care. Patients will be required to make no payments at the point of receiving care. Provider institutions will be public or nonprofit. Patients will be free to choose physicians, clinicians, hospitals, and care facilities. Congress will appropriate monies to cover all program costs. Funding will be obtained from existing federal sources, personal income tax on the top 5% of earners, and progressive payroll and self-employment taxes. A National Board to monitor quality and access will be established. HR 676 will take effect 1 year following enactment of the legislation.