Editorial Comment & Opinion

Single Payer Health Insurance

Single Payer Health Insurance Now!After dozens of repeal votes over the last six years without a replacement plan, Congress now has the potential to repeal “Obamacare.” Our dream of Single Payer Health Insurance is fading.

On January 15th, Donald Trump announced his near-completion of a replacement, predicted to result in “insurance for everybody.” That’s only similar to Speaker Paul Ryan’s forecast of “universal access for all” to health insurance. Ryan leads the movement in Congress to reduce government requirements for available health plans.

Removing insurance company profit margins of 20% from health insurance has never been discussed. Congress has a long record of protecting medical insurers and pharmaceuticals. In fact, the dreaded Obamacare forced an individual mandate for insurance and a stated prohibition against regulated or negotiated drug prices straight from the GOP playbook to help insure passage.

Could President Trump’s “insurance for everybody” be an improvement on Obamacare that is far better for the country’s citizens? Or does that phrase put us back in the pre-Obamacare days where anyone can seek insurance, but the nation’s current (record) number of covered citizens drops by millions? How much political capital will the new president expend toward a replacement plan? Will preventive care drop and overall health costs rise? Will the rate of medically-induced bankruptcies reappear?

Until Americans get their cancer diagnosis by phone or mail, they can afford to ignore a return to a “pre-existing condition” being a lock-out from coverage. There is no indication a Congress who has demonstrated decades-long fealty to medical insurers and Big Pharma will budge on their preference to cut health care costs by denied coverage, by excessive price, or both.

“Single Payer Health Insurance” is a progressive’s dream for covering everyone in the country. Under Trump and the current Congress, that may just turn out to be YOU alone, and not your government.

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