This Thursday, June 28th, 2012, was a victorious day for the American people. The Supreme Court upheld Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which is popularly known as “Obamacare“. As happy as I am for my fellow citizens, I still on the sidelines of support with my arms folded tightly against my chest. I expected more.
Yes, PPACA is a victory for children and people with preexisting conditions. Small business get a tidy tax break for doing what they should have done long ago: taking care of the employees that keep their companies in business. Seniors are now one step closer to squeezing a bit more blood from the turnip. They get better coverage for the “donut hole” problem with prescription drug payment.
Women also, at long last, get a piece of the victory pie. We have birth control covered. The weenie clause is still in effect though: we are treated like any other American citizen unless we work for an agency that doesn’t support birth control. (Don’t worry ladies, we’ll get there.)
As nice as these solutions are for Americans, PPACA is not good enough. It still leaves millions of Americans in the lurch. It does nothing to control health costs or encourage preventative care. It still keeps doctors and patients out of the decision making process so that insurance companies remain in charge. The reality is that it is single payer healthcare with training wheels.
Those of us who support the single payer system do so for practical reasons. The following are just a few.
1) Single payer is comprehensive. Every one has right to healthcare. Every one wins.
2) It cuts out the middle man. Insurance companies have been making ghastly amounts of money on hospitals and small companies. Affordable insurance has outrageous co-payments.
3) Single payer covers all the services necessary to good health. This includes doctor visits, hospital stays, preventive, long-term care, mental health, reproductive health care, dental, vision, prescription drug and medical supply costs. No more picking and choosing based on insurance company biases.
4) Single Payer is cost effective. Physicians for a National Health Program estimate that Americans would save about $350 billion a year by adopting a single payer system.
President Obama takes great pride in introducing PPACA. Considering the amount of money that Americans are bleeding out for our current healthcare program (2.7 trillion dollars – 2012), he has every right to be proud. I refuse to call his healthcare program “Obamacare” because I am holding him to a higher standard. PPACA is just the beginning.
I will reserve the term “Obamacare” for a system that works for all Americans. When our president takes democracy seriously and offers a system that keeps its citizens healthy enough that they can keep their homes, their businesses and their families, I will freely use the term “Obamacare”. Until then, I am back at the sidelines tapping my foot.