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President Donald Trump put forth a good number of lofty promises on healthcare on the 2016 campaign trail. A new analysis released Tuesday reveals there’s only one way to achieve them: Enact a single-payer, Medicare-for-All system.
In their paper, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, health policy experts Drs. Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein show that plans put forth by House Speaker Paul Ryan or Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price are “unlikely” to meet Trump’s campaign promises of more coverage, better benefits, and lower costs. (Indeed, even administrative tweaks announced last week by the Trump administration appeared to undercut those promises, as Common Dreams reported.)
But “single-payer reform could,” write the co-founders of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program (PNHP). “Such reform would replace the current welter of insurance plans with a single, public plan covering everyone for all medically necessary care—in essence, an expanded and upgraded version of the traditional Medicare program.”
Such reform, also known as Medicare-for-all, could save $504 billion annually on healthcare bureaucracy, they say, plus an additional $113 billion “could come from adopting the negotiating strategies that most nations with national health insurance use, which pay approximately one half what we do for prescription drugs.”
These savings would offset the cost of expanding insurance to the 26 million who remain uninsured despite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as “plugging the gaps in existing coverage—abolishing co-payments and deductibles [and] covering such services as dental and long-term care that many policies exclude.”
“We’re wasting hundreds of billions of healthcare dollars on insurance paperwork and profits,” said Woolhandler on Tuesday. “Private insurers take more than 12 cents of every premium dollar for their overhead and profit, as compared to just over two cents in Medicare. Meanwhile, 26 million are still uninsured and millions more with coverage can’t afford care. It’s time we make our healthcare system cater to patients instead of bending over backward to help insurance companies.”
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