Saturday, May 9, 2009

Health Care Reform--Single Payer Excluded?

The Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Max Baucus, had its first hearing on health care reform this week. Representatives of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc. were at the table. Advocates of single payer were excluded, and in at least one case, arrested.

Single payer is government sponsored health care, essentially what Medicare is for those qualifying for that plan, extended to cover everyone. It is the most cost-effective, least expensive option of all the health care plans under consideration because (a) the expenses associated with maintaining a bureaucracy enabling insurance companies to minimize coverage of the insured would be eliminated and (b) the number of people in the plan would be so big it would enable the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for much lower drug prices than would be otherwise available.

What kind of reform are we going to get if the most effective approach is off the table?

If, like me, you support single payer (or even if you just think it fair that all options be put under consideration in the deliberations leading to the crafting of a health care reform bill), please contact members of the Senate Finance Committee to insist that single payer advocates be at the table. The next hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on the subject will be next Tuesday, May 5. Senator Max Baucus’s phone number is (202) 224-2651. Other contact info can be found via the link above.

[H/T to Karla Moore for the link & to Avram for Senator Baucus's phone number]

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