Do We Really Need A Middleman In Our Broken Health Care System?

Jun 23, 2017

By Paul Y. Song, MD | Contributor Huffington Post

Nothing illustrates the middleman in our overall fight for health care justice better than this “Schoolhouse Rock!” styled video launched today by Healthy California in support of SB562. Middleman is the first of the Guaranteed Healthcare Rocks! series produced by Healthy California, California Nurses Association, and AFM Musicians 47. It was created by progressive Hollywood musician/lyricist/producer Clifford J. Tasner.


As the Republican controlled United States Senate has begun its secret closed-door deliberations to finally repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and replace it with generous tax cuts for a privileged few, the California State Senate has taken pro-active steps towards establishing the first ever state-run single payer program by passing SB562.


It should be noted that with or without a GOP repeal, far too many Californians currently endure significant financial difficulty in maintaining their existing inadequate health coverage (Fig. 1) and in meeting their daily living expenses especially once they get sick (Fig 2). Thirty-Seven percent of Americans now report having difficulty paying their monthly premiums, 43 percent report having difficulty paying their deductibles, and 34 percent of insured Americans report bring unable to pay for food, rent, and housing due to an illness. All the while, unregulated insurance premiums continue to skyrocket far faster than inflation or wages (Fig 3). In California alone, insurance rates have increased over 200 percent in the past 10 years and are expected to only get worse.


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1 Comment

  1. jif6360

    Healthcare Proposal:

    Politicians on both sides of the aisle spend a majority of their time raising money to finance their reelection campaigns. The rest of the time is spent arguing with the opposing party to give the illusion that they are actually attempting to govern. There is one subject that is toxic to both parties and that is Universal Healthcare. With healthcare being 20% of our GDP, this should be the number one issue and the government should be trying to put forth long-term solutions. The Republicans want to simplify the tax code while the Democrats want the rich to pay their fair share. These two issues can be solved with universal healthcare. Whether you’re rich or poor, everybody should pay 10% of their income for universal healthcare without any caps on net income. These funds would be paid into an account similar to SSI or FICA. The only argument left would be the quality of coverage that this would give to all Americans. In my opinion, that coverage should be a $500 deductible with 20 / 80 coverage for up to $10,000, and then the universal healthcare will pay for anything above. In other words, you would never pay more than $2,500 in any given year. This coverage would not cover vision or dental insurance. Insurance companies would now offer supplementary insurance to pay for that 20% (similar to AARP). This supplementary insurance would still promote competition within the market which would keep the quality of coverage high. Public-sector workers would lose nothing if the government would pick up the cost of this supplementary insurance. Private-sector employees who had been covered by their employer would no longer require it and could be given a one-time pay raise to restore the lost value of losing those benefits.

    Let’s do some basic math. We currently have about 90 million people that can’t afford coverage because they are either underemployed or completely out of the work force; indirectly, the government ends up footing the bill when these people have emergency room visits or unpaid doctor bills. We have about 50 million people on welfare, disability and social security. There are approximately 20 million public-sector workers and most of them are married with children. There is an additional element to this equation that is often overlooked. About 20% of our economy is based on government contracts for the private sector. Some examples are road construction and military equipment contracts. These private-sector workers are well-paid and have excellent insurance coverage that is very similar to that of public-sector workers. When you add up all of these disparate groups of people who already have healthcare coverage through the government, we’re really not that far away from universal healthcare as things stand right now.

    At the very least, this proposal should be discussed within the government and then a nationwide referendum should be held so that the people can ultimately decide.

    Please take the time to send a copy of this to all of our senators.