Nothing makes me more angry than listening to the Very Serious People at CNN and MSNBC claim that single-payer health insurance (i.e. Medicare for all) is some sort of left-wing policy. It's not -- and that's why the rest of the developed world uses some variation of single-payer insurance to cover everyone for less than America spends to cover its elderly and poor alone.
Well, here's great proof from the Charlotte Observer that single-payer health insurance is indeed a mainstream -- dare I say conservative -- idea. Republican Hospital Executive Jack Bernard -- from pretty-damn-red Georgia -- expounds:
Single payer would drive down costs because Medicare (or a utility-like private single payer insurer) would have leverage to keep costs down. With no other game in town, providers would be forced to operate more efficiently. Drug companies would be pressured to give Americans the same drug pricing that is found elsewhere.Well, there you have it -- common sense...from a Republican hospital executive. Hell has not frozen over, because this is simply a smart man stating inarguable facts. You know, like pointing out that paying health insurance CEOs multi-million dollar salaries for doing nothing of value is bad for health care:
Friedman pointed out that in multiple state studies (independently done by several groups), single payer turns out to save money. In his own studies, he has shown savings of around 20 percent for North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and even more in Colorado and Maryland.
According to Friedman, a national single payer system would produce enormous savings, $18.7 billion per year. Surely, at a time when wage earners are being faced with ever increasing premiums and higher deductibles, we should at least consider Medicare for all or a similar single payer system.
The real question is whether either party is willing to stand up to the drug and insurance lobbies and do what is best for America.
Friedman pointed out that the most basic financial problem with U.S. health care is the for-profit insurance system. Insurance company profits have increased 250 percent in the last decade, Friedman said. The head of Cigna made a whopping $29 million in 2009 while health care premiums and increased deductibles are eating up more and more of workers’ wages.Single-payer health care is not socialist-communist-pinko-unicorn policy from the Left. It is a reasonable, middle-of-the-road approach to health care that is vastly more 'conservative' than a fully-socialized system (i.e. the NHS or America's VA).
He further pointed out that the administrative cost of health care insurance is one of the major drivers of escalating health care costs from 1980 to 2005. According to Friedman, the administrative cost of private insurance will be $200 billion in 2013. In the U.S. billing costs run $83,975 per doctor per year versus only $22,205 in Ontario.
Wouldn't it be tragic for our Democratic Party if it took a conservative third party to finally make it a reality...