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Trumpcare Fails; Physicians Push Medicare for All

The former head of Physicians For a National Health Program has advice for President Trump regarding a solution to the problem of health insurance. (mokeybusinessimages/iStockPhoto.com)
The former head of Physicians For a National Health Program has advice for President Trump regarding a solution to the problem of health insurance. (mokeybusinessimages/iStockPhoto.com)
March 29, 2017

MADISON, Wis. – With the GOP's plan to replace the Affordable Care Act now off the table, the debate over how to fix health care in the U.S. is heating up again.

Although deep partisan division still exists, Glenn Pearson, former president of Physicians for a National Health Program, says 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," he said. "It treats health care as a commodity, like buying a TV. In every other country, healthcare is a human right."

Pearson notes the Medicare for All Act, introduced by Rep. John Conyers, 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 the current system of insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

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

"There would be no deductibles, no co-insurance, there would be very small co-pays," he explained. "So nobody would ever go bankrupt because they became ill."

He says even though more people have insurance since the roll-out of the ACA, nearly two million Americans go bankrupt each year because of health-care expenses. A National Day of Action calling for universal guaranteed health care is set for April 8, the first day of the congressional recess.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI