Demanding Single Payer

Solidarity with Medical Students
Who Demand Single Payer Now!

We, the undersigned, stand together with medical students as they pressure organized medicine to support a single, comprehensive health care system for everyone in America.

At the American Medical Association’s annual conference in June, medical students demanded the organization end its decades-long opposition to a single-payer national health program, a system that would be publicly financed but privately delivered and is better known as “Medicare for All.” This week, members of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association will submit a resolution asking the American Osteopathic Association to support Medicare for All.

Currently, the majority of Americans and practicing physicians support single-payer health care. In their resolutions, medical students from both organizations acknowledge what the rest of the country already knows: Market-driven healthcare is leading Americans to early graves and medical bankruptcy.

Our health system produces some of the worst health outcomes in the industrialized world — the U.S. has the highest rate of infant mortality and the highest number of avoidable deaths — and devours an ever-increasing share of our economy with health spending accounting for a whopping 17.9 percent of the GDP. Those fortunate enough to have insurance face prohibitively expensive copays, premiums, and deductibles that limit access to care, and medical expenses remain a leading cause of bankruptcy.

Instead, Medicare for All would give health care providers more autonomy because their clinical judgement — not the financial bottom line of insurance companies — will guide patient care. Patients would have free choice of any doctor, allowing providers to compete based on quality of care. Physicians would spend less time on administrative responsibilities like paperwork and billing, and more time seeing patients, which boosts both their work satisfaction and income.

We proudly stand alongside America’s future physicians in their efforts to steer the AMA and the AOA towards a universal, single-payer health system that provides quality, equitable care for all patients.

Signed,

One Comment

  1. Victoria Nutting

    This is really idealistic and not practical at all. Is this only written by medical students or was there collaboration with practicing physicians who actually know the practicality of these idealistic, theoretical claims? A lot of these facts seem false. The links that are attached do not lead to studies just more opinion papers or a dead end. This logic does not seem very well thought out. You did not address or even mention the likely presence of confounding variables in some of your statistics, for example, regarding infant mortality. Highest number of avoidable deaths would definitely have some confounders!

    The authors and supporters of this might not be knowledgable in how other countries who have single-payer systems. I am a citizen of Canada and the U.S. and have several relatives who were or are physicians in Canada and know how their system operates. They have major shortages of staff and hospitals beds- people wait in the hallways on gurneys. People can wait 3+ years to even get to PCP. That goes against your point above the patients can see whatever doctor they want because all the doctors are full, so privilege and resources will win out. Most practices are full and not accepting new patients. They usually wait 1+ years to get a referral to a specialist. Then wait another 1+ year to schedule a surgery after seeing that specialist. ER waits can be 15+ hours easily. There are not enough residencies and med schools to train enough Canadian doctors because it is costly to open up new programs, so they are imported from other countries, which is not supporting local citizens and local economy.

    To add insult to injury with the shortage problem, socialized medicine is running frustrated doctors out of Canada because the system is so broken. The ones who are left can’t look after the community, so many people do not see doctors regularly because there are not openings. Some surgeons are only allowed to operate one day a week. Often they cap the amount of procedures you can do and cap the salary, so it deincentivizes work. These doctors want to work, they trained for many years to work and then are not able to because of lack of funding and lack of infrastructure. This goes against your point above that allows doctors to increase quality of care. This is false because their hands are tied in this waiting game. This gives them less autonomy, which counters your point above.

    Why would physicians spend less time doing paperwork? Because they are seeing less patients? Not good!

    It might theoretically provide equitable care (in practice, it won’t, as I mentioned above), but the equal care will not be high quality. The system will then run on a budget instead of free cash flow, so everything will be minimalized. The lines will get longer and THAT will send people to their graves earlier, to mimic the wording you used above.

    I know first hand and could give about 10 or more examples, including people I know who died young on the waitlist. But they were “covered” and it was “free.” And also it’s not free. Canadians pay similarly to what Americans pay but it is masked in taxes, so they are unaware of the cost. It really hits close to home because my family is directly suffering from single paying health care and I would be very sad to see that problem come here too. If Medicare for All was to be adopted, the motto should be “Medicare for All means equally poor care for all.”

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