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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Single payer advocacy in the great state of Maine

Dr. Philip Caper in Truthout (picked up from the Bangor Daily News, nice!):

Second, the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act has shined a spotlight on how unnecessarily complicated our fragmented health insurance system is, and how great is the need to fundamentally reform it. That in turn has reignited public interest in further reform, and strengthened a growing popular movement.

For example, this past October well over 100 people turned out in Portland on the second night of the World Series to view a movie and discussion about health-care reform. Here in the heart of Red Sox Nation, that is notable.

Last week, Maine’s legislature held a hearing on LD 1345, a bill that would create a path to a state-level single-payer system for Maine. Such proposals have been around for years, met with tepid interest from the public and vigorous opposition from insurance companies and other corporate interests.

This time it was different. The hearing room was packed to overflowing with enthusiastic supporters. Forty-five members of the public took the day off and traveled to Augusta to testify in person. Another 15 to 20 submitted written testimony. Of those, 57 testified in favor of the proposed legislation, two against and one undecided. Only representatives of the health insurance industry openly opposed the bill.

Those are very good numbers for Maine. Maine is a big state, and it's a long drive to the state capital, Augusta.

The media frenzy surrounding the troubled rollout of the ACA since early October has provided commentators (including myself) many opportunities to point out publicly that although the functionality of the ACA’s websites fell short in many states, the underlying problem is not bad software. It is the expensive complexity baked into the law. That level of complexity can only be justified by politics — the perceived need to preserve a central role for private health insurance companies, despite their widespread unpopularity, as a means of financing health care.

In which Lambert apologizes for being prematurely correct....

A simple expansion of Medicare, at the federal or state level, would eliminate 95 percent of that complexity, and with it much of the public confusion and distrust surrounding health-care reform. Largely because of its requirement that people, including large employers, buy private health insurance, the ACA has forced large numbers of people who, to date, have had little reason to care about health-care reform to pay attention.

The evidence shows we could cover everybody in Maine by replacing insurance premiums and most out-of-pocket expenses with a much simpler and fairer broad-based and progressive tax system. At the same time, we’d reduce the costs of unnecessary paper shuffling by an estimated $1 billion per year, according to Dr. William Hsiao’s testimony before the Legislature on Oct. 19, 2010.

$1 billion a year is a lot of money for the state of Maine. If the hospitals could be brought on board -- Maine has an aging population, and a lot of retirees, so medicine is a disproportionately big business -- then the health insurance companies could be out in the cold.

NOTE What about an interstate compact with Vermont?

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mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

This kind of thing is what we need to be aware is underneath the problems.

Hopefully, people can see, ignore what the politicians say and focus on the FTA barriers. That has to be seen for what it is. Its a major, major global thing. This has been the core of US trade policy for 20 years, they are not going to let real single payer happen without a big fight. AND FAKE MULTI PAYER CAN'T SAVE MONEY

PLEASE don't fall for the ACA smokescreen. Deck chairs/Titanic

The ACA is so bad because they deliberately tied their own hands. They are not America's friends. The two parties are cooperating in a cover up of the FTAs.

http://www.oneillinstitutetradeblog.org/slovakia-prevails-investment-tre...

http://spectator.sme.sk/articles/view/54060/10/dutch_firm_achmea_loses_a...

(2012) http://www.pnhp.org/news/2012/august/dutch-insurer-intends-to-block-sing...

http://www.pica.ws/programs/FairTrade/GATS-maine.html

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

This is how they have made it almost impossible!

It has to be free? How can that be?

Well, its a very practical thing, actually. The main issue is the WTO rules, but lets leave that to the other links here:

http://www.iatp.org/files/GATS_and_Public_Service_Systems.htm

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publication...

Read this too - its long, but worth it.

and just speak practically. Since there is just a single payer and no tiers, it has to be free to the end users. Also, all providers have to go through the same single payer for payment. Period. There can't be insurers because then nothing works, there is no point nd its actually then becomes a guaranteed disaster. There is no wiggle room on that, despite what a lot of people may tell you. They are, for one reason or another (perhaps with the best of intentions) NOT telling the truth. It will fail, soon! The ACA will fail, soon. We already know that, friends. (Shhhh!)

So since there is just one way to get paid all doctors are in. The fact that the rich get their healthcare through the system is extremely important. If any escape hatches are provided, the system will rapidly decline into something like what we have now. A crime.

This should be obvious:

With money exchanging hands, you have to have tiers, because you need to punish those who don't have enough money.

Also, as I said, its against WTO rules to "unfairly compete" with for profit companies from any country by setting up a discriminatory national monopoly after a country has already agreed to dismantle them.

Also, once multinationals are involved, (they may already be!) they get special rights to stay into the next geological epoch. To get them to leave, a country has to buy its freedom at ENORMOUS cost. (See GATS Article XXI procedure)

Its based on the size of the potential, not actual market.

This is the reason they are hiding their trade deals. They are giving away these kinds of infinitely long entitlements to corporations?

What do we get in exchange? OBAMACARE!

Submitted by lambert on

.... then FTAs do not apply to it! (Brilliant.) I'd say there ought to be some barrier to entering the system, if not a co-pay, however. Thoughts?