We face many problems. Employers are cutting back on benefits, President Bush wants to privatize and cut back Medicare, the state budget crisis will mean a minimum of 500,000 more uninsured Californians, the rolls of the uninsured are swelling, and costs are soaring. 41 million Americans have no insurance and we are the only industrialized nation not to have a national health plan. Spending in 2001 averaged $5,035 for each person in the United States. This is 2 to 3 to 4 times as much as any other industrialized nation.
There is a solution and it is called single payer. Let's rid ourselves of the 300 insurance company and 69 government bureaucracies in California. Creating one publicly funded and PUBLICLY ACCOUNTABLE agency to finance all health care would rid us of the existing maze of bureaucracies. We would pay taxes in lieu of premiums, but they would be less than current insurance company premiums. This would mean a healthier economy with more money in the pockets of business and working people.
In 2002, the State of California concluded at 1.2 million-dollar study called the Health Care Options Project http://www.healthhcarefor all.org . It concluded that by removing the health insurance industry from the health care loop and using a single payer financing system instead, Californians could save 7.6 billion dollars a year while insuring everyone with better services including long term care and full prescription drug coverage.
State Senator Sheila Kuehl from Santa Monica will be introducing single payers legislation in February 2003. It will be legislation that we can support and build a movement for universal health care around. On March 1 we are having a public meeting on the newly released legislation.
A note on the name "single payer". We have a problem calling only for universal health care without calling for single payer financing. Many politicians call for universal health care, but their solutions leave the insurance industry in the health care loop. Those are called multi-payer solutions and they deliver different levels of care for different classes of people. Health insurance today is either a job perk, a poor people's program, a senior program (Medicare), or we pay dearly for it. This makes no sense. The question to ask politicians is: "Are they proposing that we all be in one risk pool and enjoy equally great health care (single payer) or are they only talking about expanding on a wasteful system that continues delivering different levels of care for different classes of people."
The U.S. war budget is equal to the waste in our health care system. It is estimated that 25% of U.S. health expenditures is wasteful either due to insurance companies keeping 15% to 30% of every dollar for overhead or because doctors have to deal with the maze of insurance company paperwork. There are 1 and 2/3 secretaries or billing clerks for every doctor in America. In 2001, US Health spending was $14 trillion and the defense budget was about $350 billion.
The forces against change are powerful and you are needed to build a social movement for health care reform. It is a movement of compassion and sends a message that as a society we actually care for one another. Join the fight for universal health care with single payer financing. Support the legislation of State Senator Kuehl. For more information see the Health Care For All website at http://www.healthcareforall.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 695-7891.
"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most
shocking and inhumane."
---Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The State of California's Health Care Options Project has concluded: We could insure all Californians, including the 7 million uninsured, with better services including long term care & prescription drugs and save Californians 7 billion dollars a year.
State Senator Sheila Kuehl is introducing legislation based on this
study. Come to a panel presentation on this legislation.
Sonja Dale: teacher activist
Phil Diers: Social Justice committee member at Trinity Church in San Francisco
Ayala Mirande: Registered Nurse at S.F. General -- member of SEIU Local 790
Scott Falcone: affordable housing developer
Susan Cieutat: JD, MPH, RN at S.F. General, member SEIU Local 790
Ann Chen: disability evaluation analyst for MediCal, member of SEIU Local 790
Barry Hermanson: small business owner, recent candidate for supervisor in District 4, and co-chair of S.F. Local Homeless Coordinating Board
Dr. Nancy Brockington: family practitioner
Sponsored by Health Care For All - San Francisco
For more information call (415) 695-7891 or email email@example.com