Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Myths and Lies about Single Payer

1. Single payer is socialized medicine. WRONG. That would be the Veterans Administration. Or the British health care system. Where the government pays for the doctors and hospitals. Under single payer, you get a health care card and you can go to any doctor or hospital in the United States. Doctors are not employees of the government. Hospitals remain in private hands. You get free choice of doctor and hospital. 2. Single payer will lead to rationing, like in Canada. WRONG. Right now in these United States, the private health insurance companies ration care. If you don't have health insurance, you don't get health insurance. 50.7 million Americans currently lack health insurance. That's why 120 Americans die every day from lack of health care. There are some problems in the Canadian system, but most of what you hear about long lives is health insurance industry propaganda. Zero people die every day in Canada due to lack of health insurance. 3. Costs will skyrocket under single payer. WRONG. Single payer is the only health care reform that will save enough money to insure everyone. By eliminating the health insurance industry, we save $350 billion a year in administrative costs and profits. We then use that money to insure those who lack insurance and fully cover those who are under-insured. Yes, more people will be seeking health care because they will now have insurance. But they will be taking care of medical problems only, thus preventing more costly treatment later. 4. Drugs will be more difficult to get under single payer. WRONG. The drug industry would have you believe that there will be less research and development under a single payer system. In fact, much medical research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health. Under single payer, this would grow. Also, drugs will be cheaper under single payer. When all patients are under one system, the payer wields a lot of clout. For example, the Veterans Administration gets a 40% discount on drugs because of its buying power. Now you know why the drug industry is so opposed to single payer. 5. Single payer will cover less than the insurance I have now. WRONG. For the majority of Americans, single payer will be a vast improvement. All medically necessary care would be funded through the single payer, including doctor visits, hospital care, prescriptions, mental services, nursing home care, rehab, home care, eye care, and dental care. An enlightened single payer will also result in a sharp increase in public health funding to prevent disease. No more bills. No more deductibles. No more co-pays. 6. Single payer will cost me more than I'm paying now for private health insurance. WRONG. The vast majority of Americans will pay about the same or less than they are paying now. Instead of paying premiums to a private health insurance company, most of us will pay a similar or smaller amount in taxes. So, right now, if you are paying $8,000 in premiums for a family of 4 with a $4,000 deductible, your yearly liability is at least $12,000. You will probably pay less than that in taxes to fund a universal single payer. There will be no deductible. And you can go to see any doctor or check in to any hospital in the United States. Public Citizen 1600 20th Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20009

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