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White Paper: Making the Case for Single Payer Health Reform: It is Time for Medicare for All

Executive Summary:

The health care system in the United States is better described as a non-system of expensive illness intervention that covers too few and costs too much. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee access to health care for all, yet we spend twice as much on health care as any other nation. Our high spending does not buy good health outcomes, as the U.S. ranks poorly in all basic indicators of health when compared to other industrialized countries. 

Forty-seven million Americans are uninsured butthe problems extend far beyond the uninsured population. According to Families USA, families with health insurance pay premiums that are $922 higher each year to cover the costs of the uninsured. (Stoll) 

Health care bills have become the number one reason for personal bankruptcies, although some people lose far more than their economic security. A study released by the consumer advocacy group Families USA in April of 2008 noted that 460 working-age Hoosiers die each year because they don’t have health insurance. (Bailey) 

Public opinion polls show that Americans are increasingly concerned about the health care crisis. Even those with insurance have begun to understand that they are vulnerable too, and a majority of Americans support sweeping changes to guarantee access to all. 

Health reform proposals that attempt to work within the frameworks of the current, market-based system will not achieve universal coverage or control costs, two goals that must be paramount. The U.S. should use the Medicare program as its model and expand insurance to all Americans through a single payer system. 

Research shows that a system funded and administered like Medicare would save at least $300 billion annually. These savings provide more than enough funding to provide coverage for the 47 million Americans currently uninsured. 

Even with a tax increase to fund a national health care program, the vast majority of Americans would pay less for health care than they do today, since premiums, co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs would be eliminated. And, U.S. businesses that currently provide health insurance would no longer be at a competitive disadvantage because of their health care costs. Health care inflation would be controlled through budgeting and negotiated fee schedules. 

H.R. 676, the National Health Insurance Act, is sponsored by Rep. John Conyers and 88 other members of Congress. It would use the Medicare model to create a publicly-financed, privately administered health care program to cover all Americans. 

Citizens Action Coalition calls on the members of the Indiana Congressional delegation to sign-on as co-sponsors to H.R. 676. 

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