Health Policy for Activists Category

Within this confusing debate, there are three basic options to finance our health care system: (1) continue the ACA, with some possible revisions; (2) replace it with the AHCA, as modified within Congress; or (3) adopt a single-payer Medicare for All plan for national health insurance (NHI).

“The people are what matter to government, and a government should aim to give all the people under its jurisdiction the best possible life. (Her Life: The Woman Behind the New Deal.” —Frances Perkins Center.

This is a pivotal time for both political parties and the country, with far-reaching consequences into the future. Any GOP replacement or repair plan will fail, be unsustainable, and incur huge and unaffordable costs for taxpayers without the benefits that Americans need and deserve. The winners would be the private insurance industry, the drug industry, other corporate stakeholders in the medical industrial complex, and Wall Street. The losers would be patients and their families, who will have less access, choice, and affordable care, and face worse health outcomes.

Defying experience and reason, we can anticipate that the GOP’s principles and approaches will make an imploding ACA system even worse. We can then expect a huge backlash from the public and even the private insurance industry when it doesn’t get all that it wants.

Trump’s political appointees further show how unlikely it is that any swamp will be drained—instead, we can expect quite the opposite, and that doesn’t bode well for health care.

What will happen in Congress in January remains unclear. Democrats can ward off a filibuster in the Senate while the Republicans are deeply divided over the ACA’s repeal and replacement options.

We have three basic alternatives in how we finance health care: (1) continuation of the ACA with changes as needed; (2) repeal of the ACA and replacement by a GOP “plan”; and (3) enactment of a single-payer Medicare for All system of national health insurance (NHI). But you would never know that from the debate, which lacks details of the first two options and remains silent on the third.

The ACA bailed out the industry in 2010, which is once again calling for more government subsidies to stay in business. A just-released estimate by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) acknowledges that the three-year risk corridor deficit from 2014 through 2016 for insurer losses will exceed $14 billion. (4)

Medical students and their colleagues in other health professions are looking for a simplified system with universal access for all Americans to necessary care based on the principle that health care is a human right. That approach has been adopted for many years, in one way or another, by almost all advanced countries, while the U. S. remains by far the most expensive system with worse access and quality of care than most of these countries.

Despite grudging acceptance of EHRs by most physicians, they are here to stay.

About this blog

Physicians for a National Health Program's blog serves to facilitate communication among physicians and the public. The views presented on this blog are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of PNHP.

News from activists

PNHP Chapters and Activists are invited to post news of their recent speaking engagements, events, Congressional visits and other activities on PNHP’s blog in the “News from Activists” section.