Friday J29: Nevermind the Mandate, We Need Universal Healthcare


5pm – 6:30 p.m.
@ the closed St. Vincent’s Hospital (West 13th St @ 7th Avenue, Manhattan)

On Thursday, June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision to uphold or strike down all or parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka “Obamacare.” Experts and the mainstream media are especially concerned with how the court rules on the Insurance Mandate, which will force uninsured people to buy private insurance

Regardless of whether the Supreme Court decides Obama’s Health Insurance Bill and/or the Mandate are constitutional or not, we still will need Universal Healthcare in America.

Even if the ACA is upheld, and despite the best intentions of many advocates to defend it, the law was largely written by Liz Fowler, Vice President of Policy at the nation’s largest and most profitable health insurance company, WellPoint.

The law will deliver 20+ million new customers and $447 billion in taxpayer subsidies directly to the private health insurance companies, but leave at least 23 million uninsured, and millions more under-insured with inadequate health insurance coverage.

The cornerstone of the ACA is the individual mandate. This regressive policy requires that if you are not eligible for a public program (Medicare, Medicaid, the V.A.), you will then be forced to buy private health insurance, or remain uninsured and pay a fine. The 99% will have to pay a much higher percentage of their income than the affluent for their coverage, and older people pay more than younger people. A 43-year-old individual making 34,000 a year will pay $5,204 in premiums and deductibles before the insurance will kick in to only cover 60% of the cost of care.

Healthcare suffers because these companies do not prioritize paying for care, but rather gobble up 30% of our healthcare dollar with shareholder profits, huge CEO salaries, marketing, high overhead and administrative costs (compared to Medicare with administrative costs of only 2%).

Obama’s bill is a tangle of legislative and constitutional contortions aimed at preserving our fragmented and ineffective patchwork of public and private healthcare systems. Why? In order to make the health insurance industry happy. Unsurprisingly, the insurance industry along with the pharmaceutical industries are the biggest spenders in terms of political lobbying.

While Obama’s bill does have some valuable components, there is a much simpler, more effective, and undoubtedly constitutional solution to our healthcare problems. All we need to do expand Medicare to every American regardless of their age. Medicare is one of our nation’s most beloved and effective programs. It is based on a single payer model, which is a proven model for providing universal healthcare implemented in many countries around the world, who get much better care for much less money than we do.

“Single payer” is a simple and proven solution to the two intertwined crises in our current healthcare system: the skyrocketing costs and the fact that millions lack access to care. A single-payer system like Medicare provides everyone with guaranteed, comprehensive healthcare at a much lower cost by eliminating the middleman that currently stands between you and your doctor: the insurance companies.

Under a single-payer plan, doctors and hospitals would be paid for their work by a single tax-supported fund (like Medicare already does for Americans over 65), rather than wasting time and money dealing with hundreds of insurance bureaucracies as they do now in our “multi-payer” system. Instead of the multitude of plans currently available, each with different networks of providers and different services covered, every resident is automatically enrolled in the same comprehensive plan.

In addition, Medicare for All would remove all financial barriers to care. The system would be funded through progressive taxation, which means you only pay a percentage of your income based on what you can afford, unlike the skyrocketing fees charged by private insurers. A single payer system would also eliminate all co-pays and deductibles. Finally, Americans would no longer have to worry about finding “in-network” doctors or being stuck with a bill for healthcare due to an insurance denial.

Healthcare is a human right, not a commodity or a luxury for those who can afford it!

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