Medical care, American dream or nightmare – Redux – Mission Hill Gazette


By Catherine DeLorey, Director of the Institute for Women’s Health

In the latest issue of the Mission Hill Gazette, Dr. Glenn Mollette discussed some issues with the United States health care system, focusing on the costs of services and insurance.

He concludes by stating that we must have access to quality and affordable medical care and that we must make health insurance a priority. But, he neglects to discuss how we can accomplish this. Medical insurance, as currently organized in the United States, is a major component that sustains our for-profit healthcare system, the most expensive healthcare system in the world.

But, there is a beacon on the horizon that can solve this problem. Single-payer health care, also known as Medicare for all, is the way to make health care affordable and equitable for all. Even though over 70% of U.S. residents support a single-payer system, the fact that we haven’t yet suggests that this is more of a political issue than a scientific one. The United States is the only developed country in the world that does not offer its residents universal health care.

In a single payer system, the dysfunctional factors, lack of access and high costs of the current system will be eliminated. With a single-payer health care system, many of these current dysfunctions would be resolved. “Everybody In, Nobody Out”, a popular song, highlights a main characteristic of a single-payer system – that everyone has access to health services. Health care is not based on income or what the insurance company deems appropriate. It is a medical decision between the caregivers and the patient. In addition to everyone’s eligibility, single-payer health care is portable, that is, it does not depend on place of work, marriage or residence.

In a reformed system, the benefits are uniform for all. The health services offered are not dependent on the money a person has or the cost of an insurance plan available to them. Benefits are determined by need. Interference by the sickness insurance fund in determining benefits would be eliminated. Prevention and health education would be an integral part of an individual health care plan. Health insurers don’t pay for prevention because while it can save money in the long run, it doesn’t always save money in the short run. Since people change insurance companies often, an individual health insurer would not reap the benefits of preventative care.

Another advantage of a single payer system is that each person chooses their own doctor. There is no need to worry about whether the provider or the specialist is on the plan or not, there are no hidden costs in seeing a doctor who is “off plan”, since there is no cost. no “out of plan”. The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world. We pay more than twice the cost of health care in other developed countries, costing over $ 11,000 for every person in the country. By not having to pay premiums, co-payments or deductibles, the Single Payer will save individuals and the entire healthcare system money. Over 95% of individuals would save money.

Although a single payer system is necessary, it is not sufficient. Once we have access to health care for all, we can start to fix the structural problems of the system Knowing that 70% of the population supports the single payer, shows us how political the single payer is. As a political issue, voters have a responsibility to inform their elected representatives that a single payer system is an idea whose time has come and that we should join with the rest of the developed world to have a universal, affordable system. and fair. Mission Hill is emerging as an epicenter of health care reform, home to two major health advocacy organizations. Health Care Now (www.healthcare-now.org) is fighting to win a national single-payer health system because access to health care is essential for human dignity, and Mass-Care (www.masscare.org ) is the leading organization working to establish a single-payer health care system in Massachusetts.

The following is federal and state legislation supporting Single Payor / Medicare for All:

• Medicare for All Act of 2021 HR 1976 (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/117/hr1976#) filed by Representative Pramila Jayapal; 117 co-sponsors.

• A law establishing Medicare for all in Massachusetts. H 1267 (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H1267) filed by Denise C. Garlick and Lindsay N. Sabadosa; supported by more than 60 legislators,

• A law establishing Medicare for all in Massachusetts. S 766 (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/S766) tabled by Senator James Eldridge supported by 25 State Senators.

If we are not happy with the current dysfunctional health system, it is up to us to support the organizations and the laws that will change it.

Catherine DeLorey is a longtime resident of Mission Hill. She is president of the Women’s Health Institute, a women’s health education organization located in Mission Hill.

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