News Updates and Articles of Interest on HR676 and Single Payer Healthcare
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER SAYS 'YES TO SINGLE PAYER'
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER EDITORIAL BOARD - FEBRUARY 25, 2009
We wouldn't blame President Barack Obama if the stimulus fight has dampened his eagerness for taking on health care reform as broadly as the nation needs. But progressive members of Congress and Obama's supporters here and elsewhere must apply pressure for adopting a single-payer national system.
America is decades overdue for the universal health care enjoyed in other countries.
There are a variety of ways to move gradually, including Montana Democratic Sen. Max Baucus' call for expanding Medicare eligibility to age 55. Combined with the broadening of health care for the young (Washington state is approaching universal access for children), that could arguably put full care within view.
But a Seattle City Council resolution (similar to measures adopted in many other cities and states) has it right in urging congressional passage of one of the single-payer measures offered by U.S. Rep. John Conyers and Jim McDermott. Seattle Councilman Nick Licata explains cities' interests: "We see the real impacts of our communities and constituents suffering." And, like other employers, cities are faced with rising health care premiums.
While Obama must pay attention to the art of the possible, a crisis is the ideal time for fundamental reform. Universal health care would also address the basic economic challenges. If properly funded, it would lift the growing burden of Medicaid health care entitlements from the states and the federal budget.
Just as importantly, though, is addressing the burden of health care costs on employers. Our unique, employer-based system of health care insurance grew out of the post World War II era, when U.S. firms faced no serious rivals. With U.S. workers and firms looking ahead to a recovery, moving health care costs off corporate books would be a major contribution to the future of auto companies, innovative technology firms and every other part of the economy.