For Immediate Release: May 12, 2022
Contact: Clare Fauke, PNHP communications specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a 25,000-member nonprofit research and education organization, today called on Congressional leaders to pass a single-payer national health system before the next public health emergency.
“At the moment that Americans most needed stable health coverage for their families and stable funding for their community hospitals, our health system failed them miserably,” said Dr. Susan Rogers, an internal medicine physician and president of PNHP. “Medicare for All would guarantee seamless coverage for everybody in the nation, and fund our hospitals based on community health needs, not profits.”
Dr. Adam Gaffney, PNHP’s immediate past president who is also a critical care physician and instructor at Harvard Medical School, testified at today’s U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing on Medicare for All. “As we mourn the loss of one million Americans from Covid-19, commercial health insurers are celebrating record profits,” said Dr. Gaffney. “In the first two years of the pandemic, UnitedHealth Group made $46 billion. Every dollar that goes into the pockets of commercial insurers is a dollar not spent on patient care.”
Dr. Gaffney noted that when the Covid-19 public health emergency expires, as many as 16 million Americans will suddenly lose health coverage, most of them in low- and middle-income families. “Without stable, high-quality coverage, a single injury or illness could bankrupt a family,” explained Dr. Gaffney. “The need to fundamentally reform how we finance health care has never been more urgent.”
Dr. Rogers added that Medicare for All would replace today’s wasteful per-patient billing by funding hospitals with annual global operating budgets, similar to how we fund essential public services like fire departments. “Hospital global budgets would promote health equity by paying only for patient care, not shareholder dividends or slick ad campaigns, and would fund capital projects based on community health needs instead of profits,” said Dr. Rogers.
PNHP estimates that by eliminating the bureaucracy needed for billing and payment collection, global budgets would save the U.S. $220 billion per year, representing nearly half of the expected $450 billion in annual savings — about $2,400 per person — under Medicare for All. Global budgets would also prevent hospital closures by providing facilities in rural and other underserved communities with predictable and stable funding, as well as emergency funding in times of crisis, like a pandemic or natural disaster.
“Health care profiteers are costing us lives and money,” concluded Dr. Rogers. “We can’t wait for another public health disaster to change the way we fund health care. The clock is ticking.”
Physicians for a National Health Program (pnhp.org) is a nonprofit research and education organization whose more than 25,000 members support single-payer Medicare for All reform.
Dr. Adam Gaffney’s written testimony can be found HERE.