Resolution for the February 2008 Washington State Caucuses:
It is apparent to all Americans that
the state of health care in the United States has reached crisis
proportions. At least 43 million American citizens are without health
Article 25 of the United Nations’ Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, enacted in 1948 and signed by the United
States, states that health care is a basic human right.
Many Americans, who currently have health insurance
through their places of employment, would lose their insurance coverage
if they were sick or injured for an extended period of time, as they
would also lose their jobs.
Americans pay more per capita for health care
services than anywhere in the world and receive fewer services dollar
for dollar. Approximately 31% of health care expense in the United
States is due to bureaucratic paperwork for the billing departments of
insurance companies and Health Management Organizations (HMOs).
Digitizing medical records will save $77 billion and
will play a major part of the cost saving measures of the candidates’
health plans. The United States spent $2.1 trillion on healthcare in
2006, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,
Office of the Actuary, National Health Statistics Group. 31% of that
$2.1 trillion amounts to nearly $653 billion that is spent due to
insurance company bureaucratic waste. Utilizing a Single Payer Health
Insurance system, America could save much money while also providing
superior health care.
According to the United Nations World Populations
Project, the United States spent 13.9% of our Gross Domestic Product on
health care in 2001. Only Switzerland at 10.9% and Germany at
10.7% spent anywhere near this amount for health care. These two
countries are known for having some of the best health care in the
world. They are universal single payer systems. Universal Health
Insurance is part of an income tax levied along the same lines as our
payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare. Absolutely every
European has health care coverage and chooses whichever doctor they
The Washington Post reported on February 8th 2008
that Merck Pharmaceutical paid a $650 million fine for defrauding the
Medicaid system. Carrie Johnson, Washington Post staff writer, states,
“Prosecutors say the drug maker gave pills to hospitals at virtually no
cost to hook poor patients on expensive medicine. When the patients
left the hospital, they often continued taking the drugs, but with the
government footing the higher bill.”
On January 16th 2007, Premera Blue Cross asked a
judge to seal documents that disclosed it defrauded Medicare by using
it to pay insurance claims. On August 26th 2006, the New York Times
reported that the California State Attorney General filed charges
against 39 drug companies suspected of defrauding the state by
overcharging for medicines.
When former Republican President Richard M. Nixon
first introduced HMOs to the American people in the 1970s, those who
had developed the business structures knew they were taking client
funds and profiting by not providing services. It is obvious that
private insurers or Health Management Organizations cannot be involved
in any successful health care system. The current United States health
care system, using private insurers, is not only ineffectual and
inefficient but it is corrupt, as well.
A health care system based upon human rights and
dignity cannot work without eliminating the profit motive.
The current health care system also hurts the United
States in economic ways that are immediately apparent.
It cost an additional $930 per vehicle to produce a
car in the United States in the year 2000 because businesses bore the
brunt of the cost of private insurance. This is the primary reason many
auto manufacturers relocated their production plants from Michigan to
Ottawa, Canada. Our health care system is another reason for
corporations to export jobs. It would stimulate the economy to have a
universal health care system in the United States.
Productivity lost due to untreated or unnecessary
illnesses causing people to miss work costs the nation’s economy untold
dollars. The ethical cost is also high.
Representative John Conyers from Michigan and
Representative Jim McDermott from Washington have proposed The United
States National Health Insurance Act (House Resolution 676) to
the 107th Congress. House Joint Resolution 30, introduced by
Representative Jesse Jackson of Illinois, also in the 107th Congress,
amends the Constitution of the United States and makes health care a
constitutional right. Rep. McDermott has introduced another bill,
H.R.1200, The American Health Security Act of 2003. These are proposals
that address the concerns of the American taxpayer as well as the
health care issue.
resolve that all Democrats and their Democratic Representatives work
for a Federal Single Payer Universal Health Care system or “Medicare
for All” that includes complete coverage of prescription drugs, dental,
visual, and mental health in the United States and that covers all
Americans and guests of our country.