(One danger that hasn't been discussed very much: If the Court upholds the ACA's 'individual mandate', legislatures may interpret the ruling as permission to pass laws requiring the public to buy products & services from favored businesses. Such a ruling would provide a legal basis for widespread privatization of public resources & services. -- Scott McLarty, Green Party Media Coordinator)
Physicians for a National Health Program
Leaders of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of 18,000 doctors who advocate for single-payer national health insurance, released the following statement today:
Regardless of whether the Supreme Court upholds or overturns the Affordable Care Act in whole or in part, the unfortunate reality is that federal health law of 2010 will not work: (1) it will not achieve universal coverage, as it leaves at least 26 million uninsured (http://cbo.gov/publication/43080), (2) it will not make health care affordable to Americans with insurance, because gaps in their policies will leave them vulnerable to bankruptcy in the event of major illness, and (3) it will not control costs.
Why? Because the ACA perpetuates a dominant role for the private insurance industry. That industry siphons off hundreds of billions of health care dollars annually for overhead, profit and the paperwork it demands from doctors and hospitals; it denies care in order to increase insurers’ bottom line; and it obstructs any serious effort to control costs.
In contrast, a single-payer, improved-Medicare-for-all system would achieve all three goals – truly universal, comprehensive coverage; health security for our patients and their families; and cost control. It would do so by replacing private insurers with a single, nonprofit agency like Medicare that pays all medical bills, streamlines administration, and reins in costs for medications and other supplies through its bargaining clout.
The major provisions of the ACA do not go into effect until 2014. Although we will be counseled to “wait and see” how this reform plays out, we’ve seen how comparable reforms in Massachusetts and other states have worked over the past few decades. They have invariably failed our patients, foundering on the shoals of skyrocketing costs – even as they have profited the big private insurers and Big Pharma.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is not expected until June. Regardless of how it rules, we cannot wait for an effective remedy to our health care woes any longer, nor can our patients. The stakes are too high.
We pledge to continue our work for the only equitable, financially responsible and humane cure for our health care mess: single-payer national health insurance, an expanded and improved Medicare for all.
Statement of Physicians for a National Health Program upon the passage of the health law in March 2010 (http://pnhp.org/news/2010/march/pro-single-payer-doctors-health-bill-leaves-23-million-uninsured).
Fact sheet on the crisis in U.S. health care and the case for single-payer health reform (http://www.pnhp.org/sites/default/files/docs/2011/Improved-Medicare-for-All-Fact-Sheet.pdf). A recent analysis of the Massachusetts health reform (http://masscare.org/massachusetts-health-reform-in-practice/).