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Las Vegas shooting/Single-Payer Healthcare

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Sep 30, 2017 12:00 PM
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On the Monday, October 2nd edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

At least 50 people were killed and 200 injured in the nation's worst mass shooting Sunday night in Las Vegas.  On Monday's Smart Talk, we'll get an on-the-ground report from LasVegas journalist Dana Gentry.

The Senate's third attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, failed last week before the vote made it to the floor.  It was the third attempt since the inauguration of Donald Trump, who campaigned with the promise to overturn the ACA, saying on many occasions the plan " . . . is unaffordable and it's a disaster."

Earlier in September, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders proposed a "Medicare-for-all" bill that, according to Sanders' own website, would " . . . create a federally administered single-payer health care program."  The plan would cover all aspects of healthcare; preventative and emergency care, primary, specialized, vision, dental, mental - everything for everyone.  People could choose any doctor and prescriptions would be covered.

Supporters of universal single-payer healthcare are thrilled that the bill brings the topic to the national narrative, though it has little chance of passing the Republican-controlled congress.  Critics contend that further government involvement in the healthcare process would only take choices away from consumers and cost would skyrocket.

On the Monday edition of Smart Talk, we will spend the hour discussing the merits and drawbacks of a single-payer healthcare system.  Pennsylvania State Representative Pamela DeLissio (D - 194th) will discuss her proposal - the Pennsylvania Health Care Plan - a single payer plan administered by the state.

We'll also speak with Dr. William Davidson, a cardiologist who has served Central Pennsylvania for 30 years and is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program, an organization of doctors advocating for a universal single-payer system.

We'll also speak with critics of the single-payer concept; Vince Phillips is a retired lobbyist who advocated for the Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters and Eric Beittel, a financial planner and the former President of the Board of the Central Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters.  We'll also hear from Elizabeth Stelle, the Director of Policy Analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation.

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(clockwise from upper left) Pennsylvania State Representative Pamela DeLissio (D - 194th) / Dr. William Davidson - Healthcare4All PA / Eric Beittel - legislative chair, Central Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters / Vince Phillips - lobbyist (ret), Pennsylvania Association of Health Underwriters

emails

- I understand Rep. DeLissio's passion for wanting a single-payer type platform for PA.  However, I don't think she has all the facts from what is happening around the world.  Wait times are real, and would only be worse in the States as we have a higher population.  Recent studies show that wait times in Canada, England and Australia are now higher than ten years ago.  Many in Canada now wait over a year for orthopedic surgery.  The median wait time for "medically necessary" treatments in Canada is now 20 weeks.  In Australia, some patients have to wait 3-5 years for much needed procedures like hip or knee replacement.The latest figures in England show: 1.9% of patients waited more than 6 weeks for a diagnostic test, 9.7% waited more than 18 weeks before admission to a hospital, and 19.5% of those with suspected cancer waited more than 62 days before beginning treatment.  Citizens of PA or the US will not tolerate wait ties like this.  We will end up with them as providers quit or hospitals close if forced to except payments based on Medicare.  How will rep. DeLissio's plan get around all of this?    - Steve

- I may be overstating the complete obvious but with over 300 million people in the United States no plan that anyone comes up with is going to make everyone happy, therefore it is simply a matter of what any individual or group is willing to give up what they want to have a compromise to get what they need.                      - Paul

- In her presentations, Rep. DeLissio shows a possible outcome of Single-Payer being the elimination of premiums, co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.  If this is the case, how would this coverage be paid for?  If there is no "skin in the game" (as she previously mentioned in another presentation), there will be excessive abuse of the system.  California's proposal included a 15% payroll tax, a 2.3% sales tax, and an increased business tax to pay for their health care.  This penalizes the working population and business owners even more.  Would Rep. DeLissio be proposing something similar in PA?

Deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses are needed so that everyone using the system is paying into the system as well.                   - Steve

- the current system binds workers to employers in a way that discourages seeking educational development or career advancement in other fields. Eliminating the tax deduction from companies that provide benefits and shifting the discount to the consumers will truly create the open market place many claim to want. Every purchaser would be on an equal footing and insurers would have to compete for customers.                                                 - John, Harrisburg

- The guest who discussed rationing of health care needs to address the current rationing of health care. As it is now, insurance companies choose which procedures to cover and which medicines are in their formulary. If your procedure or medicine is not on that list, you either pay cash or forego it. That already is rationing. - Shirley

- Several points to consider:

  • The largest question to start with in the health care debate "...is health care a right or a privilege?"
  •  I do not like to hear about a single pay system as I still prefer choice!
  • As a small business owner in the insurance agency business, I have not heard anyone ever talk about cost reforms in the entire health care process. I know the guaranteed-issue provision of PPACA ("Obamcare") is a huge cost-driver, but prior to the law, costs were still increasing drastically. How about legislative tort reform to limit the ability and amount to sue...not only for health care but in PA in general...i.e.--you sue me and lose, you pay all of my legal costs! I know that may never happen as many legislators have a law degree to protect!    - Mike, Lititz

I grew up in Canada under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan. Your female guest is wrong. Physicians in Canada are NOT government employees as they are in England.

The Canadian health care system is not perfect, but it is better and more equitable then here in the U.S. If I have to pay more for YOUR Grandmother to receive healthcare, I am okay with that.                                 - Phil, Lebanon.

-  I am a proponent of single payer health care.

I currently have a cadillac Employer-based health insurance.  I am willing to change my plan and pay an additional $100.00 more than I am currently paying so all of us can have health care.

even if it means a "perception" of less quality health care for me.

I am also an economist aficionado (my degree is in finance) and single payer health care is a more efficient method of providing health care.   -Mark, Steelton

- I took a "read at your own pace" course about health insurance and it explained that HMO's came about because doctors thought that if regular people got regular healthcare costs would go down The idea was that if a company pays for regular care then the company's rates will stay lower. . I believe it has been studied and that getting people care regularly did not make the costs go down overall.

It was a long time ago and it was only that course, I never heard another source discuss the matter, but that course determined that the idea of an HMO had really failed.  - anon

- Bureaucrats should not be used to refer to government bureaucrats if she is not going to refer to any insurance company employees as bureaucrats as well.                                                               - Roy, Selinsgrove

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