Not all liberals and progressives are delighted with today's Supreme Court that found most of the Affordable Care Act constitutional. Public Citizen President Robert Weissman says it leaves millions behind.
"Tens of millions of Americans will remain uncovered, as will tens of millions of under-insured who will remain at risk of financial ruin if a major illness strikes. The private health insurance and pharmaceutical industries will remain in charge of prices and life-and-death treatment decisions," Weissman said in a letter to Public Citizen supporters.
The answer, Weissman said, it a single-payer, Medicare-style plan that covers everyone.
"The improved Medicare-for-all approach starts with the premise that health care is a critically-needed right that must be afforded to all, irrespective of any individual’s ability to pay," Weissman said. "It solves the problems of 50 million uninsured Americans simply and directly by establishing that everyone is covered by improved Medicare for all."
Everybody in, nobody out
Improved Medicare for all would prevent the deaths of the 45,000 Americans who die every year from lack of health insurance, Weissman said, adding that it would eliminate the hundreds of thousands of medical bankruptcies — affecting millions of Americans every year — that occur because people can’t pay their medical bills.
Further, according to Weissman, the Medicare-for-all approach would "eliminate the greatest waste in the health care system: the needless costs imposed by the private health insurers."
"These firms impose hundreds of billions of dollars of excess cost on us via their excessive profit-taking and executive compensation, their marketing expenses, their vast bureaucracies devoted to denying care, and their imposition of massive paper-pushing obligations on actual health care providers," he said.
Weissman said Public Citizen plans to step up its advocacy for single-payer, improved Medicare for all.
"In the near term, we expect to devote substantial energy to holding off efforts to further privatize and weaken existing Medicare. We anticipate that the early steps forward in winning expanded and improved Medicare will come from state initiatives, which we aim to support directly, and by ensuring that states are able to obtain needed waivers from federal laws and rules," he said.
"We cannot and will not tolerate a system that sacrifices 45,000 Americans a year just for the sake of corporate profits," he concluded. "We can be our brother’s (and sister’s) keeper and be cost-effective at the same time. Indeed, it turns out that being cost-effective requires that we take care of each other."