5 Reasons We Need a National Organization to Energize the Fight for Single Payer

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      National single payer must be “national” not “state” not “incremental.”

      In the last 15 years, a plethora of groups has sprung up across the country, organizing for state-based “single payer.” No state can obtain enough funds to establish a single payer plan without federal funds, and unlike the federal government, states must balance their budgets, forcing them to sacrifice health during lean years. States’ rights, as a concept, have never moved the U.S. forward, and, in many instances, have promoted racial injustice. Health care is a national crisis that requires a national solution.

      The public option, improving Medicare but maintaining the stranglehold of commercial insurers in Medicare Advantage or encouraging investor-owned Direct Contracting Entities or ACO-REACH in Traditional Medicare are all incompatible with single payer. There is no incremental reform that can ease the nation step by step into a removal of the corporate insurance industry from health care. Private insurance and corporate profits must be removed from the system through national legislation.

      As the most prominent health policy proponents of single payer wrote recently, while we urgently need single payer reform, “the accelerating corporate transformation of U.S. health care delivery complicates this vision.” The idea of public payments flowing from a single payer to independent practitioners and non-profit hospitals, so popular in the 1960s and 70s, when many high-income countries developed their own universal health care systems, is outdated and must be reconsidered. Wall Street is busy buying up doctors, hospitals, and other health care facilities, where profit, not health care, becomes the principal aim. Do we want our single payer payments to flow to these players? Who should own our health care assets? People or corporations? These questions demand an honest discussion.

      The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the inequities, inefficiencies, and indifference of our health care system. This is our crisis momen—when individuals from all social justice organizations must unite under a broad people’s movement that demands a national health system. We cannot leave health care, or any human right, to the whim of states, just like Medicaid expansion, which leaves millions of poor people out, just like abortion rights, which jeopardizes the lives of women, and voting rights, which threatens our democracy. Our system of no-system is irreparably broken and must be replaced with a national, single payer, public program that claims health care is a human right and is free from all corporate profits. National Single Payer (@NSPhealthcare) is the organization fighting for health care justice for all.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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