WSW: Does "Fixing" Health Care Mean A Single Payer System?

Sep 24, 2018

File photo of supporters of single-payer health care marching in 2017 in Sacramento, Calif.
Credit Rich Pedroncelli / The Associated Press

Michigan for Single Payer Healthcare President Eli Rubin says the United States has a broken health care system. He says after several attempts to try and fix it, a single payer health care system makes sense right now.

Rubin, a History Professor at Western Michigan University says whether you’re rich or poor should not determine whether you get the medical treatment that saves your life. Michigan for Single Payer Healthcare and the Southwest Michigan Democratic Socialists of America are sponsoring a screening of the film FIX IT, Healthcare at the Tipping Point Thursday September 27th from 7:00 to 8:00p.m. in the Van Deusen Room at the Kalamazoo Public Library.

Bill Farmer, a member of both organizations, says a single payer system would take the profit motive out of the healthcare system. Farmer says that would eliminate overhead that doesn’t actually pay for care. He says having health insurance doesn’t even guarantee that high medical bills won’t lead to bankruptcy.

Rubin says the United States already has single payer systems, in Medicare and the Veterans Administration. Rubin says Medicare is popular, and it should be offered as an alternative and expanded to include things like vision and dental care.

Vermont was planning to try a single payer health care system, but the governor backed out in 2014 rather than go through with a large tax increase. Rubin says Vermont leaders lacked the political will. He says since then, public support has grown for a single payer system. Rubin says while a tax increase would be necessary, there would be savings from reduced medical costs.

Farmer says a single payer health care system would mean that health insurance companies would not be making decisions about what care is paid for. Rubin says it would be no different than how Medicare is administered now. He says that means accountability would come from the voters.