How’s this for a simile? “Millions remain uninsured, and most Americans’ coverage comes with gaping holes, like a hospital gown that looks pretty good in front but leaves a lot hanging out in back.” Now there’s a breakfast visual for you. That’s in an opinion piece in STAT by Claudia Fegan, the national coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program. That’s Fegan’s assessment of health care now, even after she ticks off the good things that the ACA did; things like expanding coverage to 20 million Americans, and allowing parents to keep children on their health plan until age 26.
As her title might suggest, Fegan has some advice for the Trump administration and Republican legislators: Go ahead and repeal Obamacare, but the only viable replacement is a single-payer system. (The idea has been around a long time.)
But Fegan has advice for Democrats as well: Given the soaring premiums under Obamacare that allows insurers to deny care, and pharmaceutical companies’ tendency to overprice, the status quo isn’t worth defending.
That’s just one person’s opinion, or is it?
She cites a Gallup poll that says that “58% of Americans—including 41% of Republicans and 53% of those who favored repeal—wanted the ACA replaced with ‘a federally funded health care program providing insurance for all Americans’, in other words, single-payer reform.”
Want cost control? Fegan points out that when Canada installed its single-payer system in the 1960s it was paying as much for health care as the United States paid, relatively speaking. Those savings come from slashing overhead and, not surprisingly, she takes a swipe at the insurance industry.
“Where insurance giant Aetna keeps about 20 cents of every premium dollar for itself, the comparable figure for overhead in Canada’s system is 2 cents, and for Medicare it’s 3 cents. And Canada has saved vast amounts by simplifying hospitals’ and doctors’ billing paperwork.”