Monday, April 28, 2008

HR 676 Universal Health Care

I have been looking closely at health care reform and related matters for the past two years, and it seems like I learn something new every day. It embarrasses me to admit that just this week I became aware of HR 676 (The United States National Insurance Act) introduced into the House of Representatives by Rep. John Coyers (D-MI) in January 2007. This bill contains all the right provisions for setting up a first-rate universal health care system in this country. Unlike the proposals of the leading presidential candidates that continue the role of private insurance companies, HR 676 basically calls for eliminating them altogether, and turning the health care system into one having the delivery of health care as the first priority. In essence, the proposal calls for a complete conversion to a non-profit health care system.

The proposal has several key features. One is that it provides complete coverage for all medically necessary services including long-term care, prescription drugs, dental care and eye care. Another is that it provides for all United States residents and visitors. The act totally eliminates co-pays and deductibles, and it prohibits for-profit insurers from selling insurance covering services duplicating those provided by the universal health care system. Under this act, patients would have complete freedom of choice in providers, hospitals, clinics, and practices. In recognition that all this cannot happen in one day, the bill calls for a conversion to a not-for-profit health care system to take place over a period of fifteen years.

Financing for the program would be provided by an employer payroll tax of 4.75%, and employee payroll tax of 4.75%, a 5% health tax imposed on the top 5% of income earners and a small tax on stock transactions. The end effect would be a small reduction in overall health care spending.

I don’t see anything wrong with any provision of the bill; in fact it looks to be well thought out. One pleasing thing is that the bill is gaining support in Congress and elsewhere. When first introduced, the bill had 25 co-sponsors, and by April 2008 it had 90. Eighty-nine of these are Democrats, one is an Independent, but none are Republicans. No commentary needed here.

You can read the full text of the bill at:

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Another positive review

The fifth review from LibraryThing, giving it four stars:
Less of a personal journey than an exploration into the true costs of medical treatment in the United States today, and where the money goes. For anyone concerned with injustice, inequalities, or lack of checks within the system; or anyone who is concerned that they cannot afford the medical care they or their loved ones need, this clear and non-judgmental book written by a layman with no preconceptions or industry biases is highly recommended.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More reviews from LibraryThing

Two more LibraryThing reviewers have written about Mired. The first one gave a mixed review, but had this to say:
Most patients have no idea how health care billing works until they are faced with a financial crisis. A book like Mr. [sic] Davis' would be very helpful in leading them through the process, especially if they live in Alaska.
The second reviewer said this:
A myriad of books have been written on this topic; however, Mr. Davis' strength lies in the fact that he writes it from the perspective of a consumer. It could be argued that he is not qualified to write a book about the health care industry as merely a consumer. Certainly, economists may be more capable of addressing the macro issues of national healthcare, and pundits the political ramifications; however, that really isn't the purpose of Mr. Davis' book. Rather, it reads like a good summary (with a clearly liberal bent) on the state of the health care industry.

And, unlike economic and political pundits, Mr. [sic] Davis doesn't shy away from actually providing a solution. As he says, "What is needed is single-payer universal healthcare ... the most economical form is a fully socialistic system like the United Kingdom's (and the VA system as well) in which the government owns and operates the hospitals and hires healthcare providers."
(Davis recommends a single-payer arrangement like France's system or Canada's, rather than socialized medicine.)