Saturday, March 20, 2021

Finishing the Job: Americans Want Action on the Cost of Health Care This Year, New Poll Shows - Families Usa

Finishing the Job: Americans Want Action on the Cost of Health Care This Year, New Poll Shows - Families Usa Comment by Don McCanne The history of Families USA and Physicians for a National Health Program dates back to the Clinton administration effort to expand health care to everyone. When Bill Clinton was offered the choice of a market of private health plans or a single payer national health program, he chose the former - the plan of Families USA. Anyone around then certainly remembers that failure. Later, "President Barack Obama credited Families USA with playing an instrumental role in promoting the enactment of the ACA and for the organization's work helping to implement and protect the historic health legislation." (Wikipedia) But after a decade of ACA, we still have serious deficiencies in our health care financing system: tens of millions uninsured, tens of millions underinsured with excessive out-of-pocket cost sharing, narrow provider networks that limit choices in health care, high prices, diversion of health care dollars to passive investors, inequity in access to health care, and profoundly excessive administrative services which have made us the most expensive system on earth, in spite of all its deficiencies. What do people want? The recent polling from Families USA and Hart Research Associates shows that people want affordable health care and affordable prescription drugs, and they want action now. Three-fourths of voters say that health reform should be a high priority this year: 91% of Democrats, 75% of independents, and 58% of Republicans. Support holds across racial, geographic, and gender differences. Over 80% of voters across various demographic groups and political preferences believe that the health care system today works more for the benefit of the insurance and drug industries than the average person. Voters are concerned that Congress will not go far enough to make changes to the heath care system, outweighing their concern that Congress might go too far. Families USA has had a quarter of a century to prove that the private insurance market should be the primary source of health care financing in the United States. Based on the wishes of American voters, that model has woefully failed. Even their own poll indicates that people want the system fixed now, and not by the private insurance industry. A quarter of a century ago, President Clinton said that the single payer model was the better plan but that he was going to go with Ron Pollack's Families USA private insurance market plan. That was clearly a mistake. President Obama's tweaks were somewhat beneficial but again fell far short because he left the private insurers in place in the financing infrastructure. President Biden and Congress now have the chance to rectify those errors by enacting and implementing a single payer system of Medicare for All. But we cannot allow the wishes of America to be hidden in a poll. We need to raise our voices in a deafening roar that will be heard throughout the nation, and especially in the White House.

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