A proposal for change

August 13th, 2003 – 10:25 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

The August 13th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) contains a proposal by a committee of Physicians for a National Health Program for a new, single-payer, national health care system:

For nine decades, opponents have blocked proposals for national health insurance, touting private sector solutions. Their reforms over the past quarter century have emphasized market mechanisms, endorsed the central role of private insurers, and nourished investor-ownership of care. But vows of greater efficiency, cost control, and consumer responsiveness are unfulfilled; meanwhile the ranks of the uninsured have swelled.

Many in today’s political climate propose pushing on with the marketization of health care. They would shift more public money to private insurers; funnel Medicare through private managed care; and further fray the threadbare safety net of Medicaid, public hospitals and community clinics. These steps would fortify investors’ control of care, squander additional billions on useless paperwork, and raise barriers to care still higher. It is time to change fundamentally the trajectory of America’s health care – to develop a comprehensive National Health Insurance (NHI) program for the United States.

Hopefully the publication of this proposal in such a prestigious journal will result in even more doctors standing behind the idea, and will re-energize a debate that has been allowed to fall by the wayside as the insurance and health care industries use their lobbying dollars to get the government to continue helping them put profits ahead of people.

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