The CBC/CNN debate in South Carolina is history. One of the issues covered was that of Univeral Health Care. The Big Three each have their plans, which are built upon some form of our current system of health insurance. The other major plan is HR 676, The Conyers/Kucinich Plan for Medicare for All.
Transcript via CNN.
CLINTON: Well, first of all, my health care program will cover everyone. I don’t leave anybody out. It is a universal system.
It will build on the congressional plan that provides health care for members of Congress, their staffs, government employees, and therefore it is not a new system.
CLINTON: It is not government-run. It has the advantage of being proven, so that we can withstand what will be obviously the attacks coming from the Republicans, and the right, and the drug companies, and the health insurance companies.
It also will give comprehensive health care to everyone. It’s especially important we do that with chronic diseases.
But we need a universal health care system where we manage chronic diseases, where we get prices down because we can bargain with the drug companies, where we say to the health insurance companies that they must cover everyone, they have to do it at an affordable rate.
And for people who might have some financial challenges, I am proposing health care tax credits that will make health care for everyone affordable.
And I think that that is the right way to go, because if we don’t have everybody in the system, we know what will happen. We will begin to have more and more people who are uninsured.
Here she makes a salient point:
The health care companies will continue to cherry pick. The hidden tax that comes when someone does finally show up at the emergency room will be passed onto everyone else.
So I am adamantly in favor of universal health care. And that means everybody is covered. And we will have a system to make it affordable, but it will be required, as part of shared responsibility, under a new way of making sure that we don’t leave anybody out and provide quality, affordable health care for everyone.
Now for Senator Obama:
JOHNS: Senator Obama, we all know what universal health care is, as Senator Clinton just said, sort of the idea that everybody deserves health care. And I have not been able to sort of zero in on your position on this one question: Does your plan cover the estimated 12 million or so illegal immigrants in the country?
OBAMA: It does not.
JOHNS: Why not?
OBAMA: Well, because I think we’ve got limited resources. And it is important for us that, when we’ve got millions of U.S. citizens that aren’t yet covered, it’s important for us to make sure that they are provided coverage.
I do think that we have an obligation to make sure that children are covered. And we want to make sure that they are not sick in the emergency room.
But the critical issue on these various plans is, how are we going to actually get it done?
More from Senator Obama, with another salient point:
The only way we’re going to be able to overcome the insurance companies, and the drug companies, and the HMOs who are profiting from the current system is if we are having all these negotiations in a public setting, we are very clear about who’s carrying water for the drug companies and the insurance companies, and who is looking out for the families who, day to day, are struggling.
All of us, all three of us have met people every day in our travels across the country who, even if they have health care, are looking at such high premiums that effectively it’s not really health insurance, it’s house insurance.
They’re paying premiums, in case they get hit by a car, they don’t lose their home. But they never go to a doctor.
And we’ve got to put responsibility not just on the next president, but also on Congress to make sure it happens. And that means that we’ve got to have the American people clear about the choices that we face.
And then comes former Senator Edwards:
BLITZER: Senator Edwards, would your plan include the 12 million illegal immigrants? And if not, what happens if they get sick and they wind up in emergency rooms? Who’s going to pay for that?
EDWARDS: Well, it’s a good question. I think, honestly, none of our three plans cover them.
But what I have done is strengthen…
… strengthen the safety net of the public health system so that our public health clinics, our public hospitals will always be available.
And if that is married to comprehensive immigration reform, so that people who are living here undocumented actually have a chance to become American citizens, then I think they’ve got the opportunity to become part of the plan.
And more from John Edwards:
EDWARDS: In order for the plan to be universal, it has to mandate coverage for everybody.
It was at this point that the sniping (for lack of a better term) started about the differences in the three plans as well as campaign funding started.
Senator Obama made a very interesting point:
They have decided that we should mandate coverage for all adults. I believe that the problem — and understand what that means. A mandate means that, in some fashion, everybody will be forced to buy health insurance.
Now, John has been honest that that may mean taking money out of people’s paychecks in order to make sure that they’re covered. Senator Clinton has not been clear about how that mandate would be enforced.
But I believe the problem is not that folks are trying to avoid getting health care; the problem is they can’t afford it.
For those of you who think that the Massachusetts model is best:
OBAMA: Now, what is happening in Massachusetts right now — there are articles being written about it — which is that folks are having to pay fines and they don’t have health care. They’d rather go ahead and take the fine because they can’t afford the coverage.
Fascinating stuff. We have the Big Three all keeping the underlying system of insurance and saying that their improvements will lead to Universal coverage.
Then there’s HR 676:
What Is National Health Insurance (NHI)?
To begin with, it is NOT “Socialized Medicine”, far from it in fact. Also, it does not mean that our medical system will be taken over by the government and run like the post office as many of our opposition friends would mistakenly have you believe.
The government doesn’t ‘take over’ the medical system?
Basically, House Resolution (H.R.) 676, the “New Expanded Medicare” bill now in sub-committee in the House of Representatives simply creates a new and far more functional “single payer” method of paying for medical services while leaving the medical system itself completely alone and intact. This will eliminate the hundreds of complicated and redundant payment plans currently imposed on the system by private “for profit” health insurance companies and save literally BILLIONS of dollars every year by eliminating such wasteful duplication. This will allow your doctors offices and hospitals to function much more efficiently and serve your needs much more effectively as well. Just imagine what a huge benefit this will be!
So HR 676 will act as a payment clearinghouse for doctors as they do their work. It also offers something our current system doesn’t: Efficiency!
Here’s are some of the benefits of HR 676:
- Every citizen of the US will be covered from birth to death.
- No more pre-existing conditions to be excluded from coverage.
- No more expensive deductibles or co-pays.
- All prescription medications will be covered.
- All dental and eye care will be included.
- Mental health and substance abuse care will be fully covered.
- Long term and nursing home services will be included.
- You will always choose your own doctors and hospitals.
- Costs of coverage will be assessed on a sliding scale basis.
- Tremendously simplified system of medical administration
- Total portability – your coverage not tied to any job or location.
- Existing Medicare benefits for those over 65 will remain the same or be vastly improved in many cases.
Needless to say, that’s a system worth supporting! And for those of the candidates and supporters who are worried about the size of the change:
Change is indeed often a very scary thing to most people, but when the need is so great and the proposed changes are so much better than the status quo, maybe changing to a NHI system in the USA is something that we can all think about supporting, whether you are a moderate, liberal or conservative, after giving it a lot of careful study and thought.
Don’t let the Repugs keep us from Universal Health Care. Don’t let the Blue Dog Democrats keep us from an efficient Single Payer system. Don’t let the big three candidates keep us from a Not-for-Profit system. Don’t let the insurance companies stop HR 676 by whining “What happens to us?” (we know they’ll find new avenues to be insured.)
If you support HR 676, the Universal Single-Payer Not-for-Profit System for Health Care, contact your congressperson here!
If you want to support a candidate for President who supports HR 676, you still have the choice. Go to the Dennis Kucinich campaign site, where you can donate or volunteer your time!
As always, now more than ever,
Vote your conscience, choose peace!