In 2010, congress passed historic legislation that made it illegal to deny insurance to those with pre-existing conditions, allowed young people to stay on their parents insurance until age 26, and provide financial assistance to those who could not previously afford health insurance.
With passage of the Affordable Care Act, there are more than 16 million people who have insurance that did not have it before, and the apocalyptic consequences that the Republican Party predicted, have not come to pass.
While the Affordable Care Act has improved the lives of millions of Americans, there are many who have fell through the cracks due to holes in the system and the refusal of many Republican Governors, like Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, to expand Medicaid.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has been an undeniable success, and an important step in improving the health care of the American people, but it is just a step and not the final solution.
There are still more than 33 million Americans that do not have medical insurance, and costs are continuing to climb.
To solve this problem I would propose legislation that would establish a single-payer health care system.
What is single-payer health care?
Single-payer health care is when the government collects all health care fees and pays all health care costs. This would eliminate waste and allow us to provide medical care to everyone for less than we currently pay as a nation in insurance premiums.
In addition to high profits, insurance companies have high administrative costs due to executive salaries, advertising, lobbying and other business related expenses that would be eliminated under a single-payer system.
Hospitals would see a reduction in billing and administrative costs by dealing with a single-payer as opposed to dealing with more than 1500 insurance companies with different rules and procedures for billing and obtaining approval for medical services.
Everyone would have the same access to medically necessary services, devices and prescriptions. There would be no fees or copays, and care would be based on need and not the patient’s ability to pay.
Instead of paying insurance premiums, employers would pay a payroll tax of 4.75% on all employees, and employees would be accessed a payroll tax of 3.5%.
According to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, 95% of Americans would pay less for health care than they are paying now, and that even with the vast increase in comprehensive care, a single payer system would reduce overall cost by $400 billion annually.
This plan would not only increase the availability of health care that is based on patient affordability, it would increase access because we would be able to prevent the closing of many of our rural hospitals that has been epidemic due to rising costs. The plan would provide them with a budget that would allow them to serve the people in their area.
The simple fact is, the availability of care should not be based on one’s ability to pay, and the health of the American people is not something that should provide huge profits to companies that try to provide us with as little health care as they can get away with under the law.
Health care is a human right. The health of the American people directly affects the health of our economy and our nation as a whole, and it is important that we do everything that we, as a nation, can do to provide every American with the heath care they need, when they need it.
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