There is a bill that has been introduced into Congress that would provide universal health insurance in the form of single-payer health care. That bill is House Resolution 676: “United States National Health Care Act or the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.” Former presidential candidate Ralph Nader is one of the bill’s supporters.
Elizabeth Kucinich, wife of Congressman Dennis Kucinich, has said about HR 676, “The government covers you for everything. Absolutely everything. Preexisting and future existing, long-term, you name it. As long as you’re in this country, you would get the coverage. And this is what the single-payer means, is that the government deals with the paperwork. You don’t have to deal with the paperwork. So no premiums, no co pays, no deductibles. No additional cost.”
As some of you may have read, Senator Max Baucus has been the chairman of a recent health care reform meeting or two. Representatives from the insurance industry were present, but supporters of single-payer health care were not. Some supporters of single-payer health care were in the audience, and called out for a spot at the table, but were immediately arrested.
President Barack Obama was asked during a recent town hall meeting, “I work for one of the large corporations here. But I talk to a lot of people about health care. My question is, so many people go bankrupt using their credit cards to pay for health care. Why have they taken single-payer off the plate? And why is Senator Baucus on the Finance Committee discussing health care when he has received so much money from the pharmaceutical companies? Isn't it a conflict of interest?”
Obama replied with his usual rhetoric about wanting health care reform. At one point, when he mentioned single-payer, members of the audience applauded. He responded to the applause by saying, “Got the little single-payer advocates up here.”
A little later in his answer, Obama said, “If I were starting a system from scratch, then I think that the idea of moving towards a single-payer system could very well make sense. That's the kind of system that you have in most industrialized countries around the world. The only problem is that we're not starting from scratch. We have historically a tradition of employer-based health care. And although there are a lot of people who are not satisfied with their health care, the truth is, is that the vast majority of people currently get health care from their employers, and you've got this system that's already in place. We don't want a huge disruption as we go into health care reform where suddenly we're trying to completely reinvent one-sixth of the economy.”
I might have been a little concerned about Obama’s motive to keep the insurance companies in the game of providing health care coverage because of all the money that was donated to his presidential campaign by insurance executives, but his smooth talking and slick response have put my mind at ease.