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Physicians Push Medicare for All As ACA Replacement

Physicians say Medicare for All would help President Trump make good on promises for better coverage and benefits. (White House Photographer)
Physicians say Medicare for All would help President Trump make good on promises for better coverage and benefits. (White House Photographer)
March 27, 2017

RICHMOND, Va. — With the GOP's plan to replace the Affordable Care Act now dead on arrival, the debate over how to fix health care in the U.S. is heating up again.

While partisan divides remain high, Glenn Pearson, former president of Physicians for a National Health Program, said the failure of the American Health Care Act presents a unique opportunity for President Trump to make good on campaign promises for more coverage and better benefits by moving beyond for-profit models.

"America is the only wealthy country in the world that has a free market, for-profit system,” Pearson said. "It treats health care as a commodity, like buying a TV. In every other country, health care is a human right."

Pearson noted that the Medicare for All Act - introduced by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. - would provide immediate and comprehensive coverage to all Americans by expanding Medicare, the popular single-payer program already in place for people age 65 and older.

Critics have said the move would be too costly. But independent analysis of similar legislation found that 95 percent of U.S. households would pay less than they do in the current system of insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

Pearson, while not a fan of the ill-fated Trumpcare proposal, noted the Affordable Care Act still leaves many without coverage and channels billions of taxpayer dollars to private insurance companies. He said a majority of Americans, including Republicans, support a system where dollars currently going to administrative overhead and private profit are spent on patient care instead.

"There would be no deductibles, no co-insurance, there would be very small co-pays, and so nobody would ever go bankrupt because they became ill,” Pearson argued.

He said even though more people have insurance since the roll-out of the ACA, nearly 2 million Americans go bankrupt each year because of health care expenses.

A National Day of Action calling for universal health care is set for April 8, the first day of the congressional recess.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA