More than 2,200 physicians have backed a proposal for single-payer health reform in the American Journal of Public Health.
Such a system would resolve the fact that millions of people still do not have health insurance or are under-insured and remove deductibles and co-pays, the physicians argue. The proposal envisions most hospitals and clinics would be privately-owned nonprofits and that physicians could continue to practice under a fee-for-service model or receive salaries from group practices, hospitals or clinics.
Under the national plan, patients would have the option to choose any doctor or hospital, negating provider networks, they say.
“A single-payer NHP offers a salutary alternative, one that would at long last take the right to health care from the realm of political rhetoric to that of reality,” four doctors write in an accompanying editorial.
They also say the proposal would save $500 billion annually by eliminating insurance firms’ high overhead costs and profits, as well as the paperwork that hospitals and clinics face. New taxes to help finance the program would be offset by lower premiums and out-of-pocket spending, they say.
Bernie Sanders, one of the final candidates for the Democratic nominee for president, has made a single-payer health care system part of his platform.
Adam Gaffney, a Boston-based pulmonary disease and critical care specialist who was the lead author of the editorial, said the Affordable Care Act hadn’t done enough to ease access to health care for millions of consumers.
“Caring relationships are increasingly taking a back seat to the financial prerogatives of insurance firms, corporate providers, and Big Pharma,” he said in a statement. “Our patients are suffering and our profession is being degraded and disfigured by these mercenary interests.”