Single Payer Presentation

Single Payer Presentation

Old Naval Hospital

Old Naval Hospital

Last night, Melani and I went to an event sponsored by Bozeman for Change, a vestige of the Obama campaign, a clot of Democrats. A doctor, Bob Putsch, spoke in favor of a single payer, government coercion health plan that could take the place of Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s Administration, SCHIP, and possibly the Indian Health Service. (Ask about the IHS.) Putsch is a member of Physicians for a National Health Plan, PNHP. They prefer the term “Medicare for all” rather than “single payer”. They found public resistance to the latter.

Putsch’s main points were:

  • 46 million Americans have no formal health insurance
  • Health costs bankrupt some people
  • Health costs are higher in the US than other industrialized nations
  • Infant mortality and maternal mortality is higher in the US than some nations
  • Money is wasted on administration, doctors billing hundreds of private insurance companies
  • These high administrative costs could be used to provide medical services if billing was simplified as under a government single payer plan

I remember all these complaints. Hillary Clinton made them in 1990. She and her husband tried a massive overhaul of health care in which the government would dominate. Putsch’s points have a long history.

One of the most surprising observations I made was dissent within the Democratic club. Max Baucus has a bill socializing health care to a large extent. But because it allows a role for private insurers, single payer advocates oppose it. Obama is with Baucus, though they remember him advocating for a single payer plan at one time. A far-left union, the Service Employees International Union, SEIU, also supports the Baucus bill. References to Baucus, Obama and SEIU drew snickers and discontent from the crowd on Friday night. They are going to picket Baucus’ listening tour coming up. And I thought Democrats were unified.

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