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Mike hopes to see the world turned upside down through local communities banding together for social change, especially churches which have recognized the radical calling to be good news to the poor, to set free the prisoners and oppressed, and to become the social embodiment of the reign of God on earth as it is in heaven. He lives with the blessed memory of his wife, in Durham, NC, and has three adult children living in three different states. He also shares his life with the Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, the faculty and students of Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, NC, and the faithful fans of Duke and Baylor Basketball in his neighborhood.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Asking for Too Little on Health Reform

I have been a fan of the single-payer approach to funding health care since the 80s. When the possibilities for reform in the 90s went corporate, then crashed, I was disappointed. Ever since, what has happened is the consolidation of Big Health and more and more interference with our health care decisions.

I have had to change primary physicians three times since the mid-1990s, even though I have stayed on the same health insurance plan. I am having all kinds of trouble getting my daughter an appointment with a doctor of her choice now that she has grown out of her pediatrics practice. The current system does not allow us to choose our own doctors. Bureaucrats in corporate offices tell us who to see.

My primary care physician changed practices last year, and my wife's primary care physician followed him a few months later because the big behemoth health provider in our town was giving them too many regulations and rules on how to practice and to whom they could make referrals. Now their new practice has joined a "health management" firm, and I can already feel the regimentation squeezing me when I go for an appointment.

When the Presidential campaigns were promoting health care reform, which everyone knows we need, the head honcho of my insurance provider started funding a media disinformation campaign to make sure that his high-profit non-profit could prevent competition that might bring down our costs. This disinformation is now widespread, and Big Health is winning the battle.

An article by Jeff Cohen at truthout got me thinking. I was campaigning for the "public option" as a form of competition to reduce health care funding and improve services. Yet I keep hearing people say, "I believe in the single-payer plan, but since that is not going to pass . . . ." Well maybe it is not going to pass, but it is the best solution. Why not ask for the best, and see how close to it the policy debate will move? To provide for more people, to reduce overhead and paperwork, to end profiteering by excluding the sick, to stop proliferation of unnecessary procedures, to make sure no one loses access to health care, we need a single-payer system. As my friend Steve Bumgardner keeps telling me, the Medicare system works and is already in place. As Cohen says, "Medicare for All" is the solution. Tell your Congressional Representatives to support HR 676, the Expanded Medicare for All Act.

1 comment:

Shaun Harr said...

I'm waiting for our elected officials to realize that the system working in Canada and most of Europe offers better care to more citizens and in a much more cost-effective way.
Thank goodness for companies that are able to provide health care coverage to part-time employees or I would not be able to survive. One of my medications cost over $2000 a month and my share of lab costs from my last doctor visit is over $400. I'm not sure I would still be around without the part-time job I am now "stuck" in...

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