Now, I realize that as online students, many if not most of you hail from locales far removed from Brooklyn, New York. But the Allen School has historic roots in Brooklyn. Brooklynites ought to be proud of the representation they elected for themselves in Congress. Wherever you come down on the issue of healthcare reform, you should value the integrity of honest dealers. That is, no one is served by being subjected to distortions or mischaracterizations promoted by partisans on either side of the issue. Lobbyists, ideologues and other special interests have been pumping the public discussion over heathcare reform full of deliberate misinformation and distractions. While there are legitimate ideological arguments to be made, finding a solution that works for everyone will be difficult enough without insincere players making disingenuous arguments. This is why the clip below of Congressman Anthony Weiner from Brooklyn, NY was so wonderful to me. On the 40th anniversary of Medicare, Congressman Weiner cut through some of the bogus arguments of those who are unwilling to even admit that the current healthcare system is broken. Whether or not you support the single payer option Rep. Weiner clearly does is not the point. It is just refreshing to see someone pull back the layers of lies and distortion piled on by so many on every side of the argument and make a very simple point. Enjoy!
5 Responses to “Single Payer Simplified by Local Fellow”
Fantastic! Fantastic! What a perfect way of elucidating the argument for government run health care. Medicare, 44 years old, the perfect argument. With whatever its downside, the fact that Medicare has been administered effectively for the most part and that if it were offered now to younger folks, they would most likely jump at having such an opportunity, demonstrates the point perfectly for government run health care. The “hypocrisy” of opponents with their contradictory arguments, is more than counterbalanced by this. If those folks don’t like government run health care and they want to knock it down with inconsistent arguments, then they should also vote against Medicare! But, of course, they won’t!
As coincidence would have it, Paul Krugman, an economics professor at Princeton and Nobel Prize winner in economics, wrote a recent Op-Ed column in the NY Times along the same lines:
“At a recent town hall meeting, a man stood up and told Representative Bob Inglis to “keep your government hands off my Medicare.” The congressman, a Republican from South Carolina, tried to explain that Medicare is already a government program — but the voter, Mr. Inglis said, “wasn’t having any of it.”
It’s a funny story — but it illustrates the extent to which health reform must climb a wall of misinformation. It’s not just that many Americans don’t understand what President Obama is proposing; many people don’t understand the way American health care works right now. They don’t understand, in particular, that getting the government involved in health care wouldn’t be a radical step: the government is already deeply involved, even in private insurance.
And that government involvement is the only reason our system works at all.” More
From what I understand Medicare does not pay health care providers the going rates for services rendered. So in essence the private health insurance companies, and health care providers are subsidizing Medicare. A single payer government run system by it’s very nature can only lead to health care rationing in order to cut costs. When something has no cost to the consumer demand skyrockets. At the same time demand is skyrocketing the best and the brightest going to medical school will be going into specialties rather than general primary health care, the family doctor. So fewer general practitioner for a huge increase in demand. It doesn’t matter what you call it, we have a hundred years of history. Socialism is a demonstrated failure around the globe. Canadians are not happy with their own health care system. Why then should we want to emulate something they’re having trouble with? If the last hundred years has taught us anything it’s that free-markets work the best at providing quality services. The idea that the government could compete with the private sector is a sad and pathetic joke. There is a plethora of free market solutions that could improve the current system. A system most are satisfied with, no sense throwing the baby out with the bathwater by starting down an unsustainable path leading only to long time failure.
So much mis-information in a single comment. Where to begin here? OK. First – Each and every doctor I know who accepts Medicare payments confirms that they get paid rates frequently commensurate with what they receive from private insurers. Plus, they don’t have to spend ridiculuous amounts of time/money negotiating with healthcare providers who have teams of bean counters trying to avoid paying for some of the medically necessary treatments these physicians prescribe to their patients. The money that doctors in private practice have to spend to fight for reimbursement from for-profit insurers FAR EXCEEDS the small differential in payouts they get from Medicare.
Second – isn’t this already a form of the dreaded “rationing of care” you are so afraid of? You telling me too that you don’t have any friends or relatives that have been denied reimbursement from their insurance company? Rationing is happening now at the hands an industry that places profit motive above care for human beings.
Third, Medicare IS A SINGLE PAYER PLAN. Guess what, administrative costs for Medicare come in consistently at or about 1%. ONE PERCENT!!! Compare this to the 20% of every healthcare dollar siphoned off by for profit insurers to fund lavish executive pay and investor dividends. I am confident that the extra 18% a single payer plan would save would go quite far towards making sure everyone got all the treatment they need.
Fourth, a single payer plan would not be “free”. All Americans would pay into the system as we currently do for Medicare for seniors. Furthermore, we all know Single Payer is not even being considered by Congress. The compromise position, the Public Option, would be a low cost alternative, but would still involve premiums and co-pays. Just not exorbitant ones. Plus, it would not mandate that private insurers cease to operate. Plenty of people, happy with their coverage would remain. Yes, many would be wooed away by the more attractive pricing of a Public Option plan. BUt that would provide the free market forces to spur private insurers to be more competitive with their pricing – bringing overall healthcare costs down. Don’t tell me you’re afraid of the “free market economy”. And remember UPS and FedEx didn’t run the post office out of business.
Fifth – OOoohh scary socialism… *sigh* I am sick of scaremongering about this. Contrary to your claim (please provide link to empirical data to support the specious claim that Canadians HATE their healthcare system) residents of Canada, UK, France and pretty much every other industrialized nation love their govt subsidized healthcare. Know any people in these countries? I do and they all laugh at us Americans for fighting so hard against this common sense approach. If socialism is so bad, perhaps your parents or grandparents should opt out of Medicare on principle. Ask them if they wanna do that and see what they say. Also, you might consider taking a patriotic stand and deny the protection of the fire department and police department, homeschool your children, buy a 4X4 since roads and bridges are the product of evil Socialism. You get the point.
Lastly, if you don’t think government can compete with the private sector, then you shouldn’t be afraid of this public option. After all, the market will weed out the weak and the private insurers will surely be shown to prevail due to their superior product/service. Right? And I am still waiting for anyone who is anti-reform to outline in detail even ONE of the “plethora of free market solutions that could improve the current system”. Just saying “NO” and “Obama is Hitler” is not a defensible policy position.
Anthony, have you checked out the American Medical Association’s statement on health care reform …. taken directly from their website:
“No one said that achieving meaningful health system reform this year was going to be easy. But tackling the tough challenges is something the American Medical Association (AMA) has been doing for 162 years.
As the nation’s largest organization representing physicians from every state and nearly every medical specialty—and the patients in their care—we are committed to achieving health system reform this year that:
Protects the sacred relationship between patients and their physicians, without interference by insurance companies or the government
Provides affordable health insurance for all through a choice of plans and eliminates denials for pre-existing conditions
Promotes quality, prevention and wellness initiatives
Repeals the Medicare physician payment system that harms seniors’ access to care
Eases the crushing weight of medical liability and insurance company bureaucracy
Physicians, patients, policymakers and others have found common ground on real health system improvements. Difficult issues must still be resolved. But it’s time for results, not rhetoric. It’s time to shift our focus from arguing about differences to working together to resolve them.
The status quo is unacceptable. America’s patients and physicians deserve better. The AMA will press on until a better health system is a reality for all Americans.”
Interesting that they want to appeal the Medicare payment system that harms seniors’ access to care, isn’t it? What is your take on their stance?