UHCAN Ohio Exec Director Steven Wagner offers thoughts on "Shared Interests: Working together across organizations to achieve common purposes." Click for a link to the slide show outlining the concept.
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Flanked by SnAp activists Madison Martinez on her left and Hannah Smith on her right is none other than SPAN activist Arlene Sheak. Wherever the action is you'll find Arlene right in the middle of it.
Economic analysis reveals Ohio can't afford to wait on universal, publicly financed health care system
December 04, 2018
State Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) announced House Bill (HB) 440, legislation to establish a single-payer healthcare plan to universally cover medical, dental and vision services, will receive its second committee hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, December 5 at 9:30 a.m. in House Insurance Committee. This is the first universal health care coverage bill to have a second hearing since the 125th General Assembly.
“Healthcare prices are rapidly increasing in Ohio. Wages are going nowhere. Ohioans have to spend a greater percentage of their hard-earned money on healthcare. That’s not freedom,” said Fedor. “Expensive medical bills can be the difference between bankruptcy and the American Dream of retirement, home ownership, sending a kid to college, or starting a family.”
Gerald Friedman, Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, will provide sponsor testimony during committee detailing his research titled Economic Analysis of Single Payer Health Care in Ohio: Context, Savings, Costs, Financing. The exhaustive economic analysis reveals significant waste currently in Ohio’s health care system, how to eliminate that waste, and how efficiency can lead to significant savings for Ohioans while covering all citizens.
“Among economists, the debate is over: the best way to finance health care is with a universal public system,” said Friedman. “A universal publicly financed health care insurance system could save Ohio nearly $40 billion, enough to provide access to health care for everyone with $25 billion left over. Ohio can lead the way to a better and cheaper system. What are we waiting for?”
Additionally, Friedman’s analysis reveals that HB 440 will increase disposable income for 95 percent of Ohioans, with most individuals saving an average of $2,300 in the first year of implementation. He says this is amplified when factoring the role medical bills have played in bankruptcy and debt, burdening both families and the broader financial system. Ohio has 20,000 bankruptcies per year due to medical bills, hitting seniors the hardest with 60 percent of bankruptcies among older adults. In 35 percent of those bankruptcies, medical bills came to over $5,000— or over 10 percent of family income.
Friedman adds that individuals and businesses in Ohio would save $25 billion. The analysis also estimates a 5-6 percent increase in employment— approximately 260,000-325,000 new jobs— as guaranteed access to health care will increase entrepreneurship, alleviate workers from job lock, and guarantee reimbursement for medical practitioners.
Debbie Silverstein, executive director of Single Payer Action Network (SPAN) Ohio, will also provide sponsor testimony on HB 440.
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the ultimate marketplace reform, but it still left almost 30 million Americans uninsured and at least that many underinsured,” said Silverstein. “Costs are still too high and Ohioans have learned that insurance does not guarantee affordable care. It is time to go in another direction and learn from those who do it better and cheaper.”
“Ohioans work hard, but they’re health care isn’t working for them,” added Fedor. “HB 440 would bring healthcare freedom to hard working Ohioans. It would be an economic game changer for our state.”
OpEdNews Op Eds 9/14/2018 at 17:21:35
I got a call from a Politics Done Right listener who said he heard that Single-Payer Medicare for All would increase the taxes of most people and it would increase government expenditures. I told him that in fact, it would raise taxes for most but that is not the whole story. To be clear, every individual will be better off for precise reasons.
Here is an absolute statement. If one entity is paying our medical bills, it is much more efficient than having multiple companies do it. Let's say we have 100 health insurance companies. When you add that each company has to have its own executives, a board of directors, advertising budgets, capital costs, computer equipment, accountants, risk managers, and a myriad of other expenses, it illustrates what we actually see, expensive insurance. If there is one payer that covers everybody, Single-Payer Medicare for All, then all those duplicated costs go away, and some functions are virtually unnecessary.
Private insurance companies also have shareholders. Shareholders demand dividends and ever-expanding stock appreciation at a higher rate than inflation or a higher rate than the expanding economy. That is one reason among many others why health insurance rates increase faster than inflation. This same issue applies to pharmaceutical companies who raise rates not to create better drugs but to ensure better value for their shareholders and corporate bonuses.-
I gave the caller a hypothetical example for illustrative purposes to counter the fallacy that somehow Single-Payer Medicare for All is detrimental to the individual. The opposite is true. Again, the numbers I am using are just for illustrative purposes as the real numbers are dependent on the basic services that will form part of the new system.
A family making $50,000 may pay $5,000 in Federal Income Taxes and $12,000 in health insurance -- that $12,000 goes to an insurance company. That insurance usually has anywhere from a $500 to $10,000 deductible. There are traditionally copays associated with it as well. So even with this insurance and level of payments, if one uses health care, they can still be relegated to bankruptcy. In effect, out of pocket expenditures for health care and taxes can leave little for all other standard household and living expenses.
Single-Payer Medicare for All simplifies everything and cost less in the aggregate. That same person would still pay that $5,000 in Federal Income Tax. They may then pay, who knows, $5,000 in health care taxes. The taxes would actually be progressive, meaning if you make less you pay less. If you make more, you pay more. Every single American would have access to health care without concern for deductibles. One could actually plan their life without the fear of worrying that if they get sick their entire outcome changes including the possibility of bankruptcy.
Some balk at this as being too utopian. Where is the money going to come from? First of all, doctors' offices will no longer have to have large staffs to handle the fight with dozens of insurance companies. That means lower cost for office visits. Additional money comes from not having to pay shareholder dividends, overpriced executives, bonuses, and all the duplicate expenditures we spoke about earlier. But that is only the beginning.
As you move towards Single-Payer Medicare for All, we must start other reforms. It won't be easy because all of the stakeholders, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, etc. will fight to keep their cash cow.
Most drugs are not discovered or designed or invented by huge pharmaceuticals who continue to loot the middle-class. They are created with NIH grants at Universities and elsewhere. When it is time to formalize them as drugs for the masses, capitalists buy and then overcharge for these drugs. Ironically, the government, you the taxpayer who paid to develop the drugs in the first place, do not partake of the profits. Drug companies want large rewards, large profits, with no real risk. We must rein this in sooner rather than later.
Many doctors leave school with hundreds of thousands in debt. We must institute some sort of merit system that allows doctors to go to medical school for free and then pay it forward by dedicating some years in the public sector. We must regulate hospitals to prevent them from charging inordinate rates just because they think they can.
Our health care system needs a complete revamping. It is inefficient and immoral. We must first understand that capitalism and the market do not work in health care delivery. There are very specific reasons beyond the scope of this post why that is true. The transition must begin now. It must include support for all of those who will lose jobs as inefficiencies are extricated. But we must get started now.
At each annual conference, SPAN Ohio grants the Smiddie Award to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the struggle for health care justice. This year's winners are Dr. Matthew Noordsij-Jones and Dr. Katherine Lambes who practice medicine and advocate for health care justice in the Dayton, Ohio area. Congratulations and thanks to these two fine people!
Big Pharma: Market Failure explores the problem of extreme drug prices in the US and how drug cost impacts on the public, on businesses and the overall US economy.
This documentary makes an effective business case for realizable change. It digs deep to answer key questions. How much do pharma companies really spend on research and development of truly innovative drugs? Do "free market" principles impact on drug prices and help control cost? Do the normal rules of business apply to the pharma industry? How do TV ads impact consumers and doctors?
The proposal is to create a solution that makes business sense for employers and health sense for employees. It is a compelling drama that reveals the truth of pharma cost and what we can do about it.