PBS NewsHour’s “Critical Care: America vs. the World” will air on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 10:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings). Despite recent reform efforts, the United States still has the most expensive health care system in the developed world — with worse health outcomes compared to its international peers and 30 million Americans with no insurance.
As the Biden administration looks to expand coverage amid a global pandemic, this special report examines the highs and lows of America’s fragmented system and explores how four other countries manage to offer health coverage to citizens more efficiently. With reports by PBS NewsHour national correspondent William Brangham in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada, this special takes viewers on a global tour comparing how medical care is organized, provided, and paid for in the U.S. versus other countries.
Thanks to your calls and messages, the Medicare for All Act of 2021 was introduced with 112 original co-sponsors, representing more than half the Democratic caucus! In addition to the returning co-sponsors, the bill has earned the endorsement of several brand-new members of Congress, as well as some senior members who signed on for the first time.
What’s in the bill?
Like previous versions of the Medicare for All Act, this year’s bill closely mirrors PNHP’s Physicians’ Proposal for Single-Payer Health Care Reform. It would establish a national health program to cover everybody living in the U.S. for all medically necessary care, including hospitalization and doctor visits; dental, vision, hearing, mental health, and reproductive care, including abortion; long-term care services and supports; ambulatory services; and prescription drugs. Patients could visit the doctor or hospital of their choice, without co-pays or deductibles.
The program would pay independent and small group practice providers on a fee-for-service basis, and fund hospitals and other facilities with yearly global operating budgets, with separate funds for capital improvements. By eliminating the profiteering and waste of commercial insurance, Medicare for All would save $600 billion per year while expanding coverage to all.
The path to Medicare for All is clear. We must educate and organize a national grassroots movement, work closely with allies, and support the efforts of the 100+ chapters of PNHP and SNaHP.
Medicare for All: single-payer reform
Our health care system is wasteful; is this a government problem or a for profit health insurance problem?
- Waste: Our current health care system costs 3 trillion dollars a year. All 5 independent studies demonstrate that 34% of this expenditure
($812 billion) is wasteful, i.e., doesn’t fund care, funds administrative costs of care instead.
- Medicare and other publicly funded care uses 3% of this $812 billion for admin costs
- For profit funded care uses 15% of this $812 billion dollars for admin costs.
Which of our two differently financed healthcare systems gives us the most freedom of choice?
For profit financed health insurance:
- Restricts choice of provider network and works diligently to restrict utilization of care, even though Americans use one-quarter the number of hospital days and physician visits as the Japanese.
- Restricts flexibility in changing jobs or starting new business.
- Restricts the increases in wages and over all purchasing power due to employer needing to shift that money into increasing premiums.
- Exposes workers with employer based insurance to excessive risk of bankruptcy despite the illusion of coverage.
- Exposes participants to premiums, co-pays, out of pocket costs, supplement insurance costs.
Single payer reform, or Medicare for All provides:
- Reduction in overall cost to 95% of participants as the payroll tax to both employer and employee will be less than the accumulated costs of premiums, co-pays, out of pocket and supplemental insurance.
- Freedom for workers to change jobs without loss of health care.
- Freedom to start up a new business.
- Freedom from fear of bankruptcy should you or family member become ill.
- Security in all aspects of life from knowing that health care is affordable and available for all folks in the US.
HealthCare For All WNC is an Asheville, NC, group organizing for fundamental health care reform. We advocate a single-payer national health program – improved Medicare for All – that would provide universal coverage, comprehensive benefits, and zero cost sharing.
As citizens inside and outside the health care system, we are a chapter of PNHP (Physicians for a National Health Program), a member of NCM4A (North Carolina Medicare For All Coalition), and we support universal health care.