The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Top 10 reasons for single-payer healthcare

with 6 comments

Here’s a pretty sharp summary of single-payer healthcare benefits from the California Nurses Association:

Top 10 Reasons For Enacting a

Single Payer Healthcare System

1. Everybody in, nobody out. Universal means access to healthcare for everyone, period — the desire of 81% of all Californians, as reported in a January, 2007 Field Poll.

2. Portability. Even if you are unemployed, or lose or change your job, your health coverage goes with you.

3. Uniform benefits. No Cadillac plans for the wealthy and Moped plans for everyone else, with high deductibles, limited services, caps on payments for care, and no protection in the event of a catastrophe. One level of comprehensive care no matter what size your wallet.

4. Prevention. By removing financial roadblocks, a single payer system encourages preventive care that lowers an individual’s ultimate cost and pain and suffering when problems are neglected, and societal cost in the over utilization of emergency rooms or the spread of communicable diseases.

5. Choice of physician. Most private plans restrict what doctors, other caregivers, or hospital you can use. Under a single payer system, patients have a choice, and the provider is assured a fair reimbursement.

6. Ending insurance industry interference with care. Caregivers and patients regain the autonomy to make decisions on what’s best for a patient’s health, not what’s dictated by the billing department or the bean counters. No denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions or cancellation of policies for “unreported” minor health problems.

7. Reducing administrative waste. One third of every health care dollar in California goes for paperwork, such as denying care, and profits, compared to about 3% under Medicare, a single-payer, universal system.

8. Cost savings. A single payer system would produce the savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. healthcare model, adopted a single-payer system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little if any increase in overall healthcare spending.

9. Common sense budgeting. The public system sets fair reimbursements applied equally to all providers while assuring all comprehensive and appropriate health care is delivered, and uses its clout to negotiate volume discounts for prescription drugs and medical equipment.

10. Public oversight. The public sets the policies and administers the system, not high priced CEOs meeting in secret and making decisions based on what inflates their compensation packages or stock wealth or company profits.

Is there an honest, factual reason—and pro-capitalism philosophical platitudes are not reason enough—for refusing to make healthcare available to our neighbors?

Related posts:
Jane Bryant Quinn: Yes, We Can All Be Insured
Tags: , , , Monte Asbury


Written by Monte

October 1, 2007 at 8:50 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Needing Health Insurance and Having a Mild Disability. An Essay by John “Hai” Knapp. This along with millions of other factors is a crystal clear need for some fair form of distribution of medicine allowing every American Affordable Access. 1/3/2008, last update 2/16/2008. had some help from Megan Browne of Autism Speaks.

    This essay was basically written in response to a promise to the National Coordinator of Healthcare-Now that I would use my disability to help put a human face on the healthcare crisis. Please do not mistake disability with inability. You don’t have to look far to find a human face on the healthcare crisis. Besides healthcare crisis I find it to help put a human face on a host of other disabilities. It is not just disabilities (physical, mental, or emotional) that limit people from competing for jobs that have medical insurance; some times people make mistakes in education or life circumstance that lead some people to the break the law and later on are sorry.

    For the clearly disabled, such as those who are crippled, blind, have mental retardation, cerebral palsy, other forms of paralysis, severely autistic or have a disabling mental illness, etc; we all know it would be extremely difficult for them to get a job that has medical insurance; or go buy medical insurance with their earning. But are likely eligible for MEDICAID or Medicare! BUT! What about the mildly disabled, the one that should be able to work, obtain their insurance from their job, or go out and buy medical insurance? If they can’t get a job, they can’t have medical insurance (under our so called “world’s best healthcare.”). By the way, USA healthcare is #37; not #1. For someone with a mild disability such as Aspergers Syndrome, a mild form of autism, competing in the narrowed job market can be a nightmare. I have such a disability; plus I am in my 50’s.

    Those individuals may even have a record of holding down a job with benefits; BUT, what happened if he/she loses that job? I am in that boat. He should get another job; right? After all, there are plenty of jobs to go around that bear the medical insurance benefits; right? Many jobs are deliberately reducing hours so they can get out of having the medical insurance benefit; it’s not just because they don’t want to; they can’t afford it.

    Some might say if you have problems standing on your feet or keeping your balance or walking, get a cane. Wouldn’t it be nice if you have autism you could get yourself an autistic cane. It might help you to make better eye contact. It might help you to get words out better, if you get stuck in the middle of a sentence. Maybe this cane will help with process of connecting your internal thinking with the reality outside. Maybe it will help you with all the limitations inflicted by the autism. Maybe this cane will calm your out of control nervousness. Autism Speaks; we had jolly well better be listening. Please visit Autism Speaks is actively seeking legislation for the fair distribution of healthcare. My own opinion is, we should go to a single-payer national medical insurance system, like HR 676. It will come clear to you as you read on; if some kind of impairment knocks him out of the ability to get a job (insurance bearing) it may also cost him his privilege of having medical insurance.

    I’m writing this essay because I have a condition called Aspergers Syndrome, which is a mild form of autism. It doesn’t mean I can’t work. I have worked very well at a 9 year career at Lester Electrical, till they downsized again. I have since tried to find another job (living wage and medical insurance benefits); of course I am also trying to compete for available jobs with my non-autistic counterparts.

    Though I’ve had testing done at age 7 I have never heard the term Aspergers Syndrome until I was 53. In spring of 1985 I’ve asked a co-worker about my being different; she said “you are different in a very wonderful way. You are immature in concept of reality, which is not necessarily a bad thing.” In the summer of the same year after a relationship failed, the same co-worker mentioned autism as a possibility; I didn’t believe the co-worker. The former girlfriend also knew there was something different about me, but didn’t know what it was. She has also warned me that it would affect future relationships if not solved and informed me that she would do everything in her power to get solved if she had been afflicted by it. By the way, we have continued to be friends, even after breaking up the romantic affair.

    I still didn’t know the word Aspergers; but knew I was different; but didn’t always know what the heck it was. In December of 1985 I saw a psychiatrist to try to find out what it was. They didn’t get very far because the insurance company refused to pay for it; and the clinic didn’t take IOU’s. FINANCIAL BARRIERS = HEALTHCARE CRISIS. This is another example of our need for a fair distribution system of healthcare. The doctor prescribed expensive psychological testing; but I couldn’t get it done due to the financial barrier. While I am no longer the biggest believer in psychiatry Dr Gutierrez may have been able to find out what it was and what I could have done about it; maybe things could have been done without regards to whether the insurance company will pay for it or I can pay for it. Not being able to fund the screenings I have coped best I knew how.

    As mentioned earlier I have had a 9 year successful career at Lester Electrical here in Lincoln NE; now it is over. Where do I go next? Apparently, needing help to compete in the job market I went to Voc Rehab or “Vocational Rehabilitation.” Now, Voc Rehab is paying for expensive tests that the psychiatrist previously wanted to run. Hopefully Voc Rehab can help place me onto a job that pays a living wage and medical insurance benefit. If they continue to be unable to get me place in a job they may have to declare me disabled; that is not what I have in mind; I don’t think that is what you want either. Do you want me living off your taxes?

    If I am the only one that would benefit from a single-payer medical insurance system, and everybody else is better off with the privatized care; by all means, let’s stick with privatized and leave the insurance companies, the mafia, the murderers in control of our healthcare.

    If I could have found out long time ago; and found out what to do about it; not prevented by the financial barriers; I may have already gotten the counseling, training, and other kinds of treatment to handle my Aspergers syndrome. I may have also been making good money; which means I would be sharing generously in our national universal healthcare system (President Truman succeeded in getting a universal healthcare system implemented).

    Because of circumstances that forced me to come to terms with items making me different and finally finding out my condition is Aspergers Syndrome, as a folk musician/singer/songwriter and that mostly for a cause, mainly concerns over healthcare crisis am branching out my music ministry to including Autism Awareness. I have written a song for Autism Awareness. I am autistic; and I am not ashamed of it anymore. I’ll wave it as a banner if it helps children diagnosed with autism get needed therapy without financial barriers. Hardships connected with my Aspergers (including being a social outcast in high school and other growing up hardships) is where I got the incredible compassion to form my music ministry for affordable healthcare; now branching to include Autism Awareness.

    In conclusion; many may believe that those who can should work and obtain private insurance. And, of course, we have the welfare, Medicare, and Medicaid for those who obviously can’t work. The question still comes up, “Are there enough jobs so that everybody that can work and obtain medical benefits can find (or compete for available) jobs with medical benefit and living wage?” Can everybody that can and is willing to work; or everybody that can’t but would work have affordable access to healthcare? Many like me, who are on the edge and should be able to work, but find it incredibly difficult to compete for living wage/benefit bearing jobs with non-autistic counterparts. One person can take for granted a job with excellent benefits package; someone is obviously disabled (blind, crippled, hearing impaired, cerebral palsy, severely autistic, mentally retarded, maimed, etc) eligible for Medicare or Medicaid . We must make sure that the people stuck in the middle can also HAVE AFFORDABLE ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE. Furthermore; the right reforms to healthcare will bring jobs back to America which are currently being outsourced oversea.

    On January 2, 2008 I took a brave step. I was at the Meadowlark Coffee & Espresso in Lincoln NE; at the piano on open mic night. Tonight I will do a song of the late Sammy Davis Jr. (initiated chord run in Ab) For all my life I knew I was different; but I didn’t always know what the heck it was. For years I’ve coped and handled it well. Recent circumstances forced me to come to terms with it. I have Aspergers Syndrome, a mild form of autism. Yes, I am an aspie, an autie, and not ashamed of it anymore. This is where I’ve got my incredible compassion to become “The Healthcare for ALL Music Guru.” But ultimately (started introduction in C) I’ve Got To Be Me, my strengths, weaknesses, and things I wish could be different, I’ve Got To Be Me. Then I started singing the song “I’ve Got To Be Me” by the late Sammy Davis Jr.

    John "Hai" Knapp

    March 29, 2008 at 5:24 pm

  2. (…adding to what I just said) OR-do I ALWAYS do what is best for the hurting person? Period, end of struggle?

    I Honestly don’t know!

    -Derin Beechner-


    October 5, 2007 at 12:30 pm

  3. RG,

    THAT is the real question isn’t it? I am looking forward to Monte’s answer.

    I think it is first and foremost the responsibility of Christians and Christ’s church to care for the sick and the poor-but what happens when we just aren’t skilled enough? Or have the room, know-how, resources, etc? Ultimately, it should be the responsibility of every individual-just like the Good Samaritan-to be the delivery driver and then to foot the bill. So let’s pretend that the church IS doing an effective job (which is isn’t) of taking care of the poor and paying for the bill. Should we (Christian Americans), STILL persuade government to ante up and use our taxes for universal health care? Well, the easy answer is to say that it wouldn’t be needed because, after all, there is nothing like the local church when the local church is the local church. But what about when there isn’t enough Christians to care for everyone? What happens if the government is full of Christians? Yeah, that last one was a stretch…

    Is it an “easy” way out for a Christian to wish to direct the money that the federal government is mandating to go to universal health care? I mean the money isn’t going to be stopped being taken (taxed). So let’s have it go to universal health care (instead of the Nat’s Endowment for the Arts or for meaningless research or whatever)-one way or another the bill is getting paid by me.

    OR, is it really the role of government to take care of its people? Or am I asking the wrong questions from the wrong paradigm? I don’t know. I do know that my Christian side (which is the only side that really matters) has been fighting a lot with my Republican side lately.

    Good question RG!

    -Derin Beechner-


    October 5, 2007 at 12:27 pm

  4. Monte, I promise to read Quinn’s article and to give this issue lots more thought.

    I would like to ask you one more question. I am being sincere in asking it–I want to hear a reasoned biblical argument for government-run health care.

    Is our Christian obligation to have the government care for the sick, or is it for families and churches to do so?


    October 5, 2007 at 11:53 am

  5. Thanks, RG, for taking the time to make these good points. I would observe that a similar system exists in almost every nation in the developed world, and twenty-five of them provide better quality healthcare to their nations than the American model, according to the World Health Organization. None of them spend as much money per capita as we in America do (billions of which – literally – go to industry self-promotion: “You just can’t beat the Blues!” Single-payer systems, when well-done, have been shown to cost less.)
    You have correctly identified challenges to a single-payer program, but they are challenges that have been overcome by many other nations; I scarcely think American ingenuity is less capable.
    Please do read Jane Bryant Quinn’s excellent piece, Yes, We Can All Be Insured.
    The facts are in; it can be done. Difficult? Of course. But I don’t find that sufficient to avoid our uniquely Christian obligation to care for the sick.


    October 5, 2007 at 11:34 am

  6. Monte,

    I can’t argue with #1 or #2. They are obvious.

    I don’t see how #3-10 could ever be guaranteed, although they sound fantastic–utopian even.

    #3 You don’t think that people with money and connections would still be the ones who get to travel to the Mayo Clinic or the Loma Linda Health Center to have the best doctors and the most sophisticated tests? Based on what? You don’t think the friends and relatives of the administrators won’t be the first in line for procedures?

    #4 You don’t think the goverment will limit preventative medicine once the bills start coming in?

    #5 How do you know that patients would have a choice or would keep having a choice? You don’t think that the government would send people to the cheapest clinics and the doctors with the lowest fees? You don’t think that excellent doctors would charge people out of pocket for what the government wouldn’t cover? Do you really think that the best doctors in America would even have time to see all of the patients who would choose them if it were free?

    #6 This is probably your most suspect point. You really believe that the government would not interfere at all with a patient’s treatment to make sure they spend as little as possible? Why wouldn’t they? What would stop them from doing so? In fact, they would be obligated to save as much money as possible, since they are spending taxpayers’ money.

    #7 and #8 and #9 Right. Governments are not known for creating huge bureaucracy with tons of waste and budget padding. Do you really believe that? You don’t think that there will be superviors and assistant supervisors and mangers and junior assistant managers sucking up a huge chunk of the budget for their salaries?

    #10 You really think that the public–as in the general public–will have any say in these matters? Based on what? At least CEO’s have to answer to their boards and their stockholders and have to actually turn a profit. There is very little incentive for government agencies to answer to anyone or create an effictent system.

    Keep dreaming!


    October 5, 2007 at 11:10 am

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