This is a big deal! The American College of Physicians endorsed a flat out overhaul of our healthcare system and has decided the best way forward is –drumroll please– Medicare for All.
The group is known to be more lefty than other physicians groups, but this is still a big get. However, they are still willing to accept a public option. From The Hill:
“Currently, the United States is the only wealthy industrialized country that has not achieved universal health coverage,” the group said in a paper laying out its position. “The nation’s existing health care system is inefficient, unaffordable, unsustainable, and inaccessible to many.”
The group endorsed both full-scale single-payer health insurance and an optional government-run plan as competing options that can both achieve universal coverage.
Highlights from CommonDreams:
Although the United States leads the world in health care spending, it fares far worse than its peers on coverage and most dimensions of value. Cost and coverage are intertwined. Many Americans cannot affford health insurance, and even those with insurance face substantial cost-related barriers to care. Employer-sponsored insurance is less prevalent and more expensive than in the past, and in response, deductibles have grown and benefits have been cut. The long-term solvency of U.S. public insurance programs is a perennial concern. The United States spends far more on healthcare administration than peer countries. Administrative barriers divert time from patient care and frustrate patients, clinicians, and policymakers. Major changes are needed to a system that costs too much, leaves too many behind, and delivers too little.
While it did not say that Medicare for All was the only way to achieve a more equitable, accessible, and sustainable healthcare system, the ACP laid out four key recommendations for achieving universal coverage in the United States. They are:
1. The American College of Physicians recommends that the United States transition to a system that achieves universal coverage with essential benefits and lower administrative costs.
2. Coverage should not be dependent on a person’s place of residence, employment, health status, or income.
3. Coverage should ensure sufficient access to clinicians, hospitals, and other sources of care.
4. Two options could achieve these objectives: a single-payer financing approach, or a publicly financed coverage option to be offered along with regulated private insurance.
I am firmly opposed to a public option, but at the same time, I don’t see a way forward that we get any improvements without it. Think about what has to happen, politically, in the makeup of not only our federal government’s elected officials, but the states who will be tying this shit up in court for a generation – all because they will feel the need to protect their healthcare industry. We – PROGRESSIVES, not just Democrats – have to: 1) Win and keep the presidency, House, and Senate for several election cycles (meaning we have to defeat all the structural challenges keeping Republicans and resistant Democrats in charge). 2) Eliminate the filibuster. 3) Win several state governments, and prevent most or all Republican trifectas. In addition to that, we have to get those people elected on a platform that is polling well but not amazingly.
If the public option can get us closer more quickly, I’m going to have to reluctantly be OK with it. A lot of people don’t have a generation to wait for healthcare.
You can read their entire endorsement here.