The scaremongers have begun to dominate the debate over health care reform. They warn that President Obama’s plan would lead to “death panels.” That’s utter nonsense promulgated by those who don’t want any change.
What’s really scary is that we won’t get any reform this year. That would result in even higher costs for health care and health insurance, more people going without health care, more people going bankrupt, and more companies dropping health insurance for their employees because they can’t afford it. One woman I know who runs a small business told me that she will have to accept a huge increase in their premiums. Alternatively, they could pay no increase in premiums but accept a $4,000 deductible for their employees. Think of it – they would have to pay $4,000 in medical costs before the insurance would kick in – and that’s after their premiums.
What we need is a single-payer health care system. All other industrialized countries have single-payer systems that cover everyone and at much lower cost than here in the United States. These systems are highly popular, too. In Britain, for example, a friend and former colleague told me she has never met anyone there - rich or poor, young or old, leftwing or rightwing, male or female, black or white - who would want to get rid of the National Health Service. It is there for everyone, and everyone uses it. No one ever has to worry that, if they lost their job, or did not have medical insurance, they may not be able to afford medical fees. The system is straightforward, with a minimum of paperwork, and uncontroversial.
If single-payer systems are so effective in Britain, Canada and other countries, why can’t we adopt one? Don’t let the scaremongers frighten you. Let your legislators know that you want them to vote for single-payer legislation -- H.R. 676 in the House and S. 703 in the Senate. If you do not know who represents you in Congress, or you do not know how to reach them, go to votesmart.org. It is a fabulous resource.