More About Vermont, From The Esteemed Amy Goodman

Here’s Amy about the Vermont single payer plan signed by the governor a few days ago:

… It’s basically Medicare for all—just lower the age of eligibility to the day you’re born. The state, buying these health care services for the entire population, can negotiate favorable rates, and can eliminate the massive overhead that the for-profit insurers impose.

Vermont hired Harvard economist William Hsiao to come up with three alternatives to the current system. The single-payer system, Hsiao wrote, “will produce savings of 24.3 percent of total health expenditure between 2015 and 2024.” An analysis by Don McCanne, M.D., of Physicians for a National Health Program pointed out that “these plans would cover everyone without any increase in spending since the single payer efficiencies would be enough to pay for those currently uninsured or underinsured. So this is the really good news—single payer works.”

(Boldface mine.)

Twenty-four percent! Astonishing? No. What’s really astonishing is that your federal government doesn’t want you to have this, wants you instead to pay that extra 24 percent to keep the private insurance system that brought about the current dog-awful situation.

Why could this not have been done in the Affordable Care Act? One simple reason: it wasn’t politically, um, convenient… for President Obama. There’s no real economic obstacle I can think of.

I keep hearing how America has “the best health care system in the world.” I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. No system that utterly omits large numbers of people of low and even middle income can possibly be called the best… and our system leaves out a lot of people… in Sept. 2010, it was 50.7 million, or one in six Americans… for no better reason than that they can’t pay the price of admission, i.e., the price of medical insurance. As of June 2010, The Commonwealth Fund ranked the U.S. last among seven industrialized nations (the others were Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK) on “measures of quality, efficiency, access to care, equity, and the ability to lead long, healthy, and productive lives.” And that’s “[d]espite having the most expensive health care system” among those nations.

It’s about time we throw the bums out who forced this system on us. But considering the number of senior citizens among my readers, I suspect you already knew that.

UPDATE: here are the overview and executive summary of the June 2010 Commonwealth Fund report.

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