Universal coverage should be health goal

By Richard A. Damon, M.D.
The Billings (Mont.) Gazette, June 21, 2017

Everyone knows the Senate is trying to ram through their version of the GOP House health care bill called the American Healthcare Act behind closed doors and in secret. Both political parties routinely resort to underhanded ways to gain political advantage, placing party politics before population.

Gov. Steve Bullock, along with three other Democratic governors and three Republican governors, is urging the Senate to rethink the health care bill, which as yet has not been scored by the CBO. McConnell hopes to pass the Senate version before Americans can respond to knowing the devastating impact the bill will have on millions of Americans while giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans.

Major health insurers are fleeing the ACA market. The underlying reasons we are in crisis are that for-profit health insurers and drug maker stakeholders remain in legislative control of health care policy. There is no legislative congressional admission that the reasons for the health care crisis is because of the private insurer multi-payer system, while drug makers continue to be exempt from drug price regulation.

Transition to a Medicare for All single payer system, funded by modest equitable taxes, would initially be cost neutral because of increased expansion of coverage to every American. After initial transition costs, every American from birth to death would enjoy comprehensive benefits, saving over $450 billion a year in administrative costs, making Medicare for All an equitable sustainable system. We must not allow Congress to pass the underhanded, perverse bill excluding 23 million Americans from coverage and giving tax breaks to the wealthy.