The November elections left us with a lot to digest—it wasn’t the decisive “blue wave” that some were predicting, but the tea leaves did tell us some interesting things about what voters believe and value, particularly when it comes to healthcare.
Interestingly, pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies found a notable phenomenon in exit polls: in races where Democrats won GOP seats, the number one issue was healthcare. Whereas in races where Republicans won Dem seats, the number one issue was jobs and the economy.
Many observers dismiss single-payer health care as a political non-starter , but this traditional view ignores an explosion of support for the idea in recent years. In one recent poll, over 70 percent of Americans said they would support “a policy of Medicare for All”, including 85 percent of Democrats and even 52 percent of Republicans. A subsequent poll asked “do you support providing Medicare for every American” and found nearly identical results, including majorities of support from respondents in the South, those who live in rural areas, and those who say they “lean conservative.”
Momentum is building among House Democrats for a more moderate alternative to single-payer health-care legislation.
The legislation, which would allow people aged 50 to 65 to buy Medicare, is being championed by Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), who supported House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for Speaker in exchange for a commitment to work on his bill when Democrats take control of the House early next year.
Replacing our health care financing system with a single-payer system could have profound and unforeseeable consequences on the capacity of doctors, hospitals and other providers to deliver quality care. Substituting government financing for ESI would: 1.) Place fiscal burdens on taxpayers that the private sector now voluntarily bears; 2.) Require workers with ESI to pay more to finance care for others; and 3.) Eliminate the higher reimbursement rates that private insurers typically pay for medical care.
Progressive Democrats are pushing for a vote on a controversial health-care bill after the party takes control of the House early next year.
But the left’s push for “Medicare for all” legislation would likely divide Democrats and pose a headache for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi(D-CA), who is poised to become Speaker in the next Congress.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who is co-chair of the Medicare for All Caucus in the House, told supporters on an organizing call Tuesday night that simply expressing support for the idea is not enough.
Supporters say they are going to push for a vote and organize grass-roots efforts to pressure Democratic holdouts to sign on to the legislation. However, any floor vote would probably fail, with all Republicans and some Democrats rejecting the measure.
Republicans have a health-care checklist they would like to accomplish before losing their House majority early next year. But they’re well aware Democrats have little incentive to help them out — especially given the growing resistance top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi appears to be facing in her quest to assume the speakership.
Even still, some things to watch on the health policy front include: Reversing drugmakers’ extra “doughnut hole” contributions; passing the CREATES Act; and repealing the medical device tax.
In June the U.S. Food and Drug Administration convened a meeting around the problem of illegal opioids sold online and through social media.
“Millennials and those younger rely heavily on social media,” says Alex Khu, assistant director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Global Trade Investigations division. “Criminal organizations recognize that trend and we’re starting to see advertisements and sales of counterfeit or substandard prescription drugs on social media sites.”
At best, counterfeit medications aren’t what they are supposed to be, like sugar pills. At worst, they’re dangerous and even deadly, particularly when fentanyl is involved.
Nationwide “Medicare for all” would cost more than $32 trillion over its first decade. Doubling federal income and corporate taxes wouldn’t be enough to pay for it. No doubt, that cost would be used to justify further restrictions on health-care access.
But the problems with single-payer go well beyond cost. In the past half-century, nationalized programs have consistently failed to provide timely, high-quality medical care compared with the U.S. system. That failure has countless consequences for citizens: pain, suffering and death, permanent disability, and forgone wages.
Many Democrats have embraced “Medicare for All,” but there’s a big variation in the policies they propose under that banner. This poll asked respondents two related questions—what they think candidates mean by “Medicare for All,” and what they want that policy to mean, if they support it at all. Overall, just 52% of those surveyed said they think “Medicare for All” refers to a single, government-run health care program covering everyone. Voters were more divided over what they want “Medicare for All” to be: 34% said they would favor a single-payer system; 33% said they would prefer an optional public plan alongside private insurance; 30% wanted neither. This poll shows that Medicare for All has different meanings to different people.
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service, which celebrated its 70th anniversary on July 5, is imploding. Vacancies for doctor and nurse positions have reached all-time highs. Patients are facing interminable waits for care as a result. This August, a record number of Britons languished more than 12 hours in emergency rooms. In July, the share of cancer patients who waited more than two months to receive treatment soared. Yet enthusiasm for government-run, single-payer health care continues to build in the U.S. One look across the Atlantic, to the disaster unfolding in the U.K.’s government-run healthcare system, ought to curb that enthusiasm.