Thursday, August 13, 2009

FWIW, folks who go on Episcopalian junkets say, "Not just health care reform: eliminate private insurance and go to single (government) payer."

Health costs are a very important issue, when folks are impoverished just to stay alive, and when the fruits of a lifetime of labor are wiped out by a couple of years of end-of-life care. I work a second job to provide decent health coverage for my family, and it is exhausting. Even a very good plan still manages to club us with a big bill now and then.

But I am not convinced that a Third-World or dinosaur socialist model will deliver the goods.

Some defenders of this government managed approach say, "Our critics conflate health care with health care insurance. We're only talking about the insurance part." But if that's true, what to make of this nugget in the second-to-last paragraph of the EXPLANATION:

"Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards."

And the second paragraph of the explanation, by appealing to the lack of care for various demographic groups, leaves the whole resolution open to the fair question, "Well, with total systemic control, how well has the government done with Veterans' and Indian Reservation health care?" (Answer: not so well).

At a calm public meeting in Sioux Falls, South Dakota's Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) suggested a less ideological approach:

...her assessment of public opinion on health care is that while enthusiasm for a publicly funded insurance option is mixed, there is wide support for Congress to improve access to primary care and preventive care, to cap expenses from catastrophic illness and injury and to make insurance universally available to control costs.

"Even people with insurance want reform," she said. "They're tired of 15 to 30 percent increases" in their health insurance, tied to the cost of uncompensated care for those without health insurance. There may be disagreements on how to structure health care reform, but we have to get it done. It's breaking the country," Herseth Sandlin said of rising costs.

Anyway, read the whole Episcopalian thing. Link takes you to the official denominational text.

Resolution: D048
Title: Adoption of a "Single Payer" Universal Health Care Program
Topic: Health Care
Committee: 09 - National and International Concerns
House of Initial Action: Deputies
Proposer: The Rev. Gary Commins
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th Convention of the Episcopal Church urge passage of federal legislation establishing a "single payer" universal health care program which would provide health care coverage for all of the people of the United States; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention direct the Office of Government Relations to assess, negotiate, and deliberate the range of proposed federal health care policy options in the effort to reach the goal of universal health care coverage, and to pursue short-term, incremental, innovative, and creative approaches to universal health care until a "single payer" universal health care program is established; and be it further

Resolved, That the Episcopal Church shall work with other people of good will to finally and concretely realize the goal of universal health care coverage; and be it further

Resolved, That church members and the Office of Government Relations communicate the position of the Episcopal Church on this issue to the President and Members of Congress, and advocate passage of legislation consistent with this resolution.

The Episcopal Church, along with several other denominations in the National Council of Churches, previously called upon the Congress and the President to ensure universal access to health care for all people in the United States by the end of 2006.

That deadline has now passed, and the situation is worse than ever. More than 47 million people in the U. S. are currently without health insurance, more than 75 million went without for some length of time within the last two years, and millions more have inadequate coverage or are at risk of losing coverage. People of color, immigrants and women are denied care at disproportionate rates, while the elderly and many others must choose between necessities and life sustaining drugs and care. Unorganized workers have either no or inadequate coverage. The Institute of Medicine has found that each year more than 18,000 in the U. S. die because they had no health insurance.

While we in the United States spend more than twice as much of our gross domestic product as other developed nations on health care ($7,129 per capita), we remain the only industrialized country without universal coverage, and the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates.

Almost one-third (31 percent) of the money spent on health care in the United States goes to administrative costs. Single-payer financing is the best way to recapture this wasted money. The potential savings on paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.

Under a single-payer system, all Americans would be covered for all medically necessary services, including: doctor, hospital, long-term care, mental health, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. Patients would regain free choice of doctor and hospital, and doctors would regain autonomy over patient care.

Physicians would be paid fee-for-service according to a negotiated formulary or receive salary from a hospital or nonprofit HMO / group practice. Hospitals would receive a global budget for operating expenses. Health facilities and expensive equipment purchases would be managed by regional health planning boards.

A single-payer system would be financed by eliminating private insurers and recapturing their administrative waste. Modest new taxes would replace premiums and out-of-pocket payments currently paid by individuals and business. Costs would be controlled through negotiated fees, global budgeting and bulk purchasing.


From here. Now the GLBT are all about single payer health care? Somebody call those Log Cabin Republicans.


plsdeacon said...

"A single-payer system would be financed by eliminating private insurers and recapturing their administrative waste."

You haven't seen "administrative waste" until you have seen the government administrate something.

Government is almost always less efficient (doing thing right) and less effective (doing the right things) than a private concern. I no longer believe that this is about providing insurance to those who cannot afford or do not choose the have it. I believe it is about power and control and a belief that bureaucrats are more careful with other peoples' money than private citizens.

Phil Snyder

Michael said...

Is it just me, or did I find no scripture whatsoever in the resolution, not even a passing reference to our responsibility as Christians to care for the poor and unfortunate among us?

One would think that the members of this ecclesiastical group, being joined to Great Britain by many ties, would understand the massive inefficiencies of government run health care systems--inefficiencies which will only expand to consume the monies available.