Single Payer Health Care: There’s Really No Comparison


Debbie says:

Since the middle of last year, Laurie and I have veered somewhat away from our roots as a body image and photography blog to delve into other political issues. We’ve never written about health insurance and health care policy. Nonetheless, access to care is an essential body image issue as well as being a political issue on other fronts. Having (or not having) the freedom to take care of our bodies certainly affects how we live in your bodies, which is at the root of our body image.

In California, where Laurie and I both live, a single-payer proposal is gaining some serious traction. The proposal has passed the state senate in theory. With dollars attached, it will need more votes than it has so far. And the state assembly is somewhat more conservative than the state senate, though both have supermajorities of Democrats, so it could theoretically pass without any Republican defectors. It has a well-funded well-grounded budget study which says it will save California $40 billion/year. It has a sensible, nonburdensome revenue stream.

No one in their right mind wants the horrible American Healthcare Act (“AHCA”) to pass.  As much as I want good single-payer coverage in California — and everywhere — I would give it up in a hot second if I could trade it for keeping “Obamacare” for the rest of the U.S. However, if the AHCA does pass, that will help California move toward this proposal … and maybe that will help move the rest of the U.S., at least the parts of the U.S. that retain some semblance of sanity and some awareness of the needs of actual humans. (New York and Vermont also have proposals moving along through their state legislatures.)

My friend JP Massar has created a starkly informative chart of the contrast between the Republican’s AHCA (as passed by the House of Representatives) and the California proposal. We can’t say how the Senate might change the bill, since they’ve decided to keep that secret. Here are just a few of his points:

Under the AHCA, how much will it cost you for insurance? Variable, depending on age. For some older people,  coverage could well cost more than their annual income.

Under the California proposal? Nothing, ever.

How much will it cost you if you get sick (AHCA)? Potentially everything you have, and more. States can define what is covered (“essential benefits”) and your illness may not be covered. There could also be yearly and lifetime limits on what your insurance will pay.

(California): Nothing, ever.

If you are able to get insurance, what will your deductible be (AHCA)? Thousands of dollars. Possibly much more than now because the infamous cost-sharing subsidies would likely go away.

(California): Nothing, ever.

If you have to visit a doctor, or fill a prescription, what would your copay be (AHCA)? Whatever your insurance company thinks they can get away with.

(California): Nothing, ever.

There’s lots more, ending with:

What if I go insance because Republicans are running the country (AHCA)?> Too bad! That’s clearly a pre-existing condition.

(California): You’re covered!

Single payer health care: It’s affordable, it’s comprehensive, it’s compassionate, it’s sane. The Republican “alternatives” offer none of the above.

Every body needs care. Not to mention what we can do for, by, and with our bodies with the money we wouldn’t be spending on doctors, prescriptions, and insurance.