Single payer witnesses show the common sense path, but Congress listening to industry donors
Yesterday, as Senator Tom Harkin (D-IO) left the health care hearing room he leaned over to me and said:
“I used to sell insurance. The basic rule is the larger the pool the less expensive the health care. Today we have 1,300 separate pools – separate health care plans – and that is why health care is so expensive; 700 pools would be more efficient and less expensive and one pool would be the least expensive. That’s why single payer is the answer.”
Nothing like common sense.
But, common sense was not on display in the Senate yesterday. Instead, the senate is seeking a path to the goal of universal coverage by protecting the least efficient model – the for-profit insurance industry that through waste, fraud, abuse and bureaucracy eats up 31% the cost of health care.
Chris Dodd (D-CT) who chaired the hearing, standing in for the ailing Ted Kennedy, has received $2.1 million from insurance industry throughout his career, another $547,000 from the pharmaceutical industry, and $467,000 from health care professionals. Dodd opened the hearing stating the stark facts:
We spend more than $2 trillion on health care every year- more than 18 percent of our GDP. By 2040, 34 cents of every dollar we spend could be on healthcare. That is not simply unacceptable – it’s unsustainable. Premiums and out-of-pocket costs for individuals and families alike continue to skyrocket.