Featured Community Article
The following article was submitted by a local Co-op Community Member and has not been edited for content. The views expressed within do not necessarily reflect those of North Coast Co-op. If you would like to contribute an article, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
When you enter the Coop in Arcata or Eureka, ever wonder what kind of health insurance the workers have? What about your own health insurance? What kind of premiums, deductibles and co-pays complicate your life? Are your medical bills confusing? Do you ever postpone seeing the doctor because of expense?
The Coop is committed to providing health insurance and yet every year it faces the challenge of finding a way to adequately insure it’s staff without bankrupting the budget. But whether a company provides its own insurance or buys plans from corporate health insurance, clearly that cost could be more productively used to invest in innovation, infrastructure and expansion—and employee benefits.
The solution is right in front of us—two currently outstanding bills would construct and implement a single-payer healthcare system in California or across the nation: CalCare, AB 1400 and Health Care for All, HR 1976. Single payer would mean just that: an end to the bureaucratic and expensive bureaucracies amounting to thousands of payers, in the form of health insurance companies.
Health insurance conglomerates, or payers, waste $.30 on the dollar on profit, overhead, advertising, lobbying our legislators (with our money), payouts to shareholders and monstrous salaries and bonuses for CEOs. They are expensive middlemen who provide no value added to health care. They unilaterally raise premiums and deductibles, control doctors’ prescribed procedures and medicines, control which doctors and hospitals we may visit and often simply deny care. The less they pay for us, the more money they make for themselves.
In contrast, a single-payer healthcare system eliminates multi-payer health insurance complexity. It establishes ONE streamlined, non-profit, publicly supported agency or payer that will cure the above ills. A government-run trust fund will pay for all medically necessary services, allowing every resident to choose their doctors and hospitals.
Every resident, regardless of race, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, employment or documentation would receive at birth, a life-time card that guarantees equal access to health care. Never again would anyone pay a premium, co-pay, out-of-pocket cost or have to meet a deductible. Never again would anyone see a doctor or hospital bill. All medical payment would be from the publicly supported, single payer, governmental agency.
Can we afford this? We already pay taxes that support our wasteful healthcare system. Those funds would be reapplied to the single-payer trust fund. The insurance premiums we now pay will be replaced by progressive taxes based on income. Payroll taxes will go down especially for small businesses and individuals with limited incomes. Multiple studies indicate that such a system will save the nation some $65 billion per year. With today’s health costs spiraling we simply can’t afford not to make a change.
In Humboldt County, alone, millions of dollars are overspent on corporatized healthcare plans. Clearly, our current system is broken. Contact your federal and state legislators to co-sponsor the bills or thank those that already have. Let’s make it easy for the Coop and other businesses in CA to thrive. Let’s make Humboldt fiscally and physically sound!
Corinne Frugoni, M.D.
805 844 6655
P.O. Box 4531, Arcata, CA 95518-4531
For more information contact us or go to: healthcareforall.org and/or pnhp.org