#MedicareforAll beats Trump

Dec 30, 2019

By Dr. Bill Honigman​, Progressive Democrats of America – National Outreach Lead

 

I’m a recently retired Emergency Room physician, and after 37-plus years in the business I should know that #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll will save money and save lives.  And as an engaged citizen and a lifelong grassroots political organizer, I know it will beat Donald Trump in 2020.

Over the years, my night shifts in the ER became increasingly filled with folks suffering from untreated medical conditions like severe dental infections or unstable mental health ailments.  I had no way of knowing exactly how many at the time, but I well imagined the many sufferers of strokes, heart attacks, diabetic coma, and septic shock as being those who had avoided regular medical care or medications too expensive to take as recommended.

And yet thanks to lots of good economic studies and public discussions especially from champions like U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, it now requires no imagination whatsoever to know that the phenomenal waste, fraud, and abuse of big insurance and big pharma are driving up costs to an unsustainable level, resulting in still far too many preventable deaths per year. (This is despite the bit of progress made in the last decade with the Affordable Care Act.)  Every study that has ever been done on the subject, and there are lots of them, clearly shows that by eliminating private health insurance and obtaining bulk purchasing capability for drugs and medical devices in a #SinglePayer system, we Americans can have expanded benefits at a fraction of what we are now paying for health care, as they do in all other advanced countries around the world except ours.  And as Bernie and Elizabeth say, it’s a matter of political will not finances that is holding us back.

Significantly, more and more of us in America are catching on.  A 2018 poll suggests two out of three favorability overall for a #MedicareForAll system that ensures everyone living in America can have all essential medical services with free choice of doctors, hospitals, and approved ancillary services.  And politicians are slowly getting on board, following the lead of advocates who are no longer content to sit back while their friends, family and colleagues rack up big insurance and big pharma horror stories.

Clearly in the Democratic presidential primaries to date, the advocates of #MedicareForAll are rising to the top tier while those too timid to address the crisis head-on are falling by the wayside.  The people know that big problems require big change, and leaders offering “baby steps” will not be rewarded with their votes.

More and more of us are also now coming to see that the movement for #HealthcareJustice is just a part of what is needed to address a very large array of social injustices including our #ClimateEmergency, student loan debt, affordable housing, infrastructure needs, mass incarceration, refugee resettlement, gun violence, hate crimes, slave labor, and more. This is why the prospect of a #GreenNewDeal that includes #MedicareForAll makes so much sense.  

This is also why the sham promises of President Donald J. Trump will not stand the light of day at election time when exposed to the strength of candidates who run on the actual needs of the American people, like #MedicareForAll.  And the more critical the need, the more politically sound the judgment of voters will be. 

You don’t have to be a retired ER physician to see that Donald Trump and his Republican enablers clearly have no such plan, and the Democrats are moving decisively to beat him in 2020 with #SinglePayer, expanded and improved #MedicareForAll, a plan that will save both money and lives.

Dr. Bill Honigman is a retired Emergency Room physician and political activist living in Orange County, California.

 

11 Comments

  1. Ruth Walker

    Bernie’s is the only plan that can work: S.1129 – Medicare for All Act of 2019. While Elizabeth Warren is a co-sponsor, her proposal as a presidential candidate is to require two bills to get to as single-payer health care system, virtually a recipe for failure!

    Reply
  2. Eugene Lanz

    It sounds good but like most things that come out of Congress it probably contains loopholes through which an airliner could fly. Then the Democrats and republicans would not be able to come to an agreement and the public takes it on the chin and out of their pockets.
    Can you guarantee that this plan will be better than Obamacare! I know it would be better than trumpcare. That bastard does not give a damn if the American people have healthcare let alone affordable or workable care.

    Reply
    • Dr Bill Honigman

      #MedicareForAll will absolutely be better than the ACA/Obamacare. It will cover everyone living in the US. It eliminates all out-of-pocket expenses, copays, deductibles. It eliminates all restrictions on provider groups from an outside source. You would be able to sign up for any doctor or provider group of your choosing. And it is far more comprehensive than even the best union-negotiated plan or Medicare supplemental plan that you can imagine. All essential medical services, drugs, and medical devices are fully paid for by a public fund with revenues from a progressive income-based public premium. All of this is possible because of the incredible savings of eliminating the waste, fraud, and abuse of corporate-run market based insurance and being able to negotiate prices for drugs and medical devices just like the VA and every other advanced country in the world already does. It’s past time we did this, too. Onward to #HealthcareJustice. 🙂

      Reply
      • Linda Patterson

        Dr.Bill.
        I listened to you speak at the Oro Valley Library with Eva Putzgova. It was a great event.

        Would it be possible for you and I to host another healthcare town hall soon.

        Thank you, Bill

        Reply
        • Dr Bill Honigman

          Absolutely Linda, thanks. Travel time and resources are a challenge for me, but if I can’t make it my great friends Ken and Barbara from your area can help make it happen. Onward!! 🙂

          Reply
          • Nancy

            Hi Dr. Bill,

            I work with Linda Patterson’s campaign for AZ Senate. We heard you speak with Eva Putzova in Oro Valley. We’d love to have you do another healthcare town hall (with Linda) in Casa Grande, AZ. Is this possible and, if so, what month and/or days would work for you? Thanks! Your speech is so needed!

  3. Olga Weiss

    I love the idea…but how do you plan to pay for such comprehensive care? We have a true shortage of doctors and nurses to provide services…. current Medicare reimbursement for services is discouraging providers. There is much to fix…and quality medicine is now not happening. We are 32nd is the world for health outcomes. The stars in comprehensive coverage are Denmark (#3) with no private option, Germany and France (#1 and #2) with private option.

    Please respond.

    Reply
  4. Dr Bill Honigman

    @Olga, thanks for asking. Do you believe in science? I do. And over 200 economists and tens of thousands of members of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) an organization with its roots at the Harvard School of Public Health agree that a Single Payer Medicare for All system, including all the added medical benefits and retraining of insurance claims processors and training of new skilled medical personnel will cost less, not more than what we do now to finance Healthcare in America. Here’s the link for this, https://pnhp.org/news/economists-open-letter-in-support-of-single-payer-medicare-for-all/. Also, the “private options” of some of the top performing countries to which you refer, are not necessarily why they may rank slightly higher in outcomes. There are many other factors involved, and many published articles and books by nonpartisan analysts to which I’d be happy to refer you. One such publication is “Priced Out” by Prof. Uwe E. Reinhardt published just after he died last year, and his wife Prof. Tsung-Mei Cheng is also a strong advocate of the Single Payer system in Taiwan was featured in the monumental film “Fix It Healthcare at the Tipping Point” available to be watched free online. I hope that helps. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Rob

    Dr. Bill, I have read your article mentioned above, and have a few serious questions for you. The Federal Govt has been running the USPS for how long now? And its on the verge of bankruptcy. It is destroying the Social Security System by mismanaging funds. We do not live in a Star Trek utopia, where it is no longer about money and control, especially from progressive liberals. Pelosi showed her tyrannical colors already with her bills.

    So that being said, if you wanted legislation that was worthwhile to American, not illegal immigrants (which almost all countries do not support those who are not contributing to the System)..

    I cannot find the exact number, but if the USA left the UN, NATO, ans WHO, that is several billions of American taxpayer monies we could use for..AMERICANS! Japan is not the USA and they are needing reform there as are many of these countries you mentioned.

    I believe the Govt. should stay out of full management of Healthcare, especially based of the USPS track record. That said, I do think we could do this, as it addresses the issue:

    From SNOPES:
    95 percent of Japanese healthcare is not-for-profit.

    It’s not clear what this claim means, so we can’t really evaluate its accuracy. Does this mean 95 percent of healthcare providers operate on a not-for-profit basis? That 95 percent of procedures are performed on a non-profit basis? That 95 percent of all health care expenditures relates to not-for-profit providers?

    We do know that by law, hospitals in Japan cannot operate for profit, with the exception of large for-profit companies who build hospitals for their own employees. According to an analysis by Ryozo Matsuda, a health policy expert at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, 80 percent of hospitals are privately run. Facilities that provide care for elderly and disabled people (e.g., nursing home care, respite care, home care) can operate for profit, and according to Matsuda, most do.

    The government sets all fees for medical services and drugs.

    That’s true. More specifically, the fees are set by a government-appointed body called the Central Social Insurance Medical Council. A 2016 study in the journal Risk Management and Healthcare Policy described the system as “a uniform fee schedule at national level,” noting that “All providers, no matter whether private or public, share the same prices for their medicines, devices, and services under this nationwide fee schedule.”

    I would say this, and you as a once ER Doctor, did you ever lower or cut your invoices to patients? In my case, I have insurance, and the hospital agreed to $XXX.XX as an insurance payment, yet they go to the patient to go over and above what they agreed to as a cost. The issue Doc is greed and corruption, which I hate to tell you this, but as long as humans are involved, it will always be that way. History has taught us that.

    These are just my meanderings, and this is not a personal attack on you, just a conversation.

    Reply
    • Dr Bill Honigman

      Much thanks Rob for the conversation. Again, let’s look at the facts.

      It’s a fact that the other advanced countries of the world have eliminated the waste fraud and abuse in their systems resulting in better outcomes at about half the cost than ours. And they have done this by assuming the role of insurance providers or at least strongly regulating down what those companies can make, as well as across the board capabilities to negotiate down drug prices, not just for special services like the VA.

      Are we incapable somehow of achieving this level of reform? Canada and Taiwan are not bastions of progressive politics. However, they know a good deal when they see one.

      It’s past time we went this way, especially now that we can see how much better prepared we will be for the next pandemic if we did.

      Onward!!

      Reply
      • Dr Bill Honigman

        BTW Rob as you might imagine, I think leaving the World Health Organization (WHO) is a spectacularly bad idea, much like leaving the Paris Climate Accord was. The WHO compiles global data and releases it to all parties in a way that probably no other mechanism for doing so exists, at least to the best of my knowledge.

        This is, or at least should be, an invaluable service to all member countries, especially ones like ours that thrive by global trade and other cultural interactions. It is well worth the price, if for no other reason than that we could perhaps prevent the next global health disaster on the horizon, and as science tells us, thanks to global temperature rises there are more pandemics headed our way.

        Besides, #SinglePayer expanded and improved #MedicareForAll itself will save 100’s of billions of dollars per year, just by cutting out the corporate robber barons. So no need to cut off our noses to spite our faces by cutting out our participation in the WHO, or for that matter the UN, NATA, NOAH, and the many other international cooperative groups to which we owe allegiance as global partners.

        Onward!!

        Reply

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