FOR MEN AND WOMEN ONLY (AND FAMILIES…AND KIDS…AND…)
It’s no secret that the U.S. health care system, while working fine for some, has great gaping holes and problems for many.
Heard my definition of an HMO? An organization where patients are sold to the lowest bidder.
When the HMO system was “founded” (not all that long ago), we were all told (in those 60 second sound bites on TV) that insurance companies paid for to defeat more egalitarian health plan ideas) that with a “single payor plan” you wouldn’t be able to choose your own doctor, no choice of care, limits, short visits, blah, blah, blah, and that costs would go up (while they, of course, would hold the line).
Well now (a decade and a half later): costs have gone up, you can’t choose your own doctor, and the HMO/insurance company (same thing) take 35 cents of each health care dollar off the top. (Is it any wonder that one of the most profitable segments of the economy/investing over the past 15 years has been the health care sector??
IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THUS! The voters in Oregon will, on November 5, have the opportunity to vote on Measure 23, a ballot measure to provide a “single payor” health care plan for the good folks of our sister state to the north.
What is “single payor health care,” you may ask.
The key concepts are universality (all state residents are eligible), security (coverage cannot be denied for job change, retirement, pre-existing conditions, etc.), choice (can choose any physician you want: you pick the doctor–your HMO doesn’t) and affordability (eliminating deductibles, copayments and insurance premiums).
Single payor health covers all medically necessary health services as determined by your health care practitioner (not the HMO) and includes prescription drugs, dental, vision, and both in- patient and outpatient, mental health, in-home, ER, and long-term care.
Financing is via current expenditures by federal, state and local governments, a progressive employer’s payroll tax (to replace current insurance premiums paid by employers) and a progressive income tax(replacing most personal health spending–premiums, co-pays and deductibles and out of pocket expenses for drugs, glasses, mental health and alternative care).
Management is via a publicly accountable non-profit health care finance board (see website listed at the end of this article for details).
Now, as you might imagine, the only people disadvantaged by this prospect are the insurance companies/HMOs and their highly paid CEOs, CFOs, Marketing Directors and numerous assorted highly paid VPs (as opposed to those disadvantaged by the present system: patients, doctors, nurses and hospitals). With the discontinuance of the billions skimmed off the top of the “system” that Measure 23 and “single payor” health care provides, more universally available health care can be provided for all (homeless to CEO), nursing can again become a less pressured and compromised healing profession, hospitals aren’t squeezed till the blood seeps between their bricks, and doctors might once again have the time and inclination to be ombudsmen (and women) for their patients (hey! who’s this system for anyway?!?).
HOW CAN YOU HELP? Access http://www.healthcareforalloregon.org . Look it over. Check out the summary and facts and statistics of the measure (or the whole text, if you wish), AND– if you would like to see the system try and work itself out, so perhaps it could sorta move down south… then DONATE TO THE CAMPAIGN (any amount will do: the more the better. It will take only approximately 700,000 votes to pass this measure). And you can bet your sweet bippy that the insurance companies will be pouring millions into snappy 30-60 sec sound bites, perjuring themselves with sly, negative advertisements.
Again, that web site is http://www.healthcareforalloregon.org . Check it out. Talk it up. Donate to the campaign. Then work to help bring it down here.