News Release

Kennedy Plan Problems and Single-Payer Solutions

NICHOLAS SKALA
Skala, a Juris Doctor candidate and Harry L. Kinser Scholar for Health Law at Northwestern University School of Law and a former senior research associate at Physicians for a National Health Program.

He said today: “The Congressional Budget Office estimate predicts that the Senate’s HELP [Health, Education, Labor and Pensions] Committee [chaired by Sen. Edward Kennedy] proposal would cost an estimated $1 trillion over the next decade, yet only reduce the number of uninsured by about one-third, or 16 million people. Many Republicans are seizing on this to argue that there shouldn’t be any change to the status quo. But in fact, it’s a reason to examine the single-payer option.

“In contrast to the public option plan, single payer has at its core the elimination of U.S.-style private insurance, using huge administrative savings and inherent cost control mechanisms to provide comprehensive, sustainable universal coverage.

“The ‘public option’ preserves all of the systemic defects inherent in reliance on a patchwork of private insurance companies to finance health care, a system which has been a miserable failure both in providing health coverage and controlling costs.

“Elimination of U.S.-style private insurance has been a prerequisite to the achievement of universal health care in every other industrialized country in the world. In contrast, public program expansions coupled with mandates have failed everywhere they’ve been tried, both domestically and internationally.”

Skala’s recent testimony before the Congressional Progressive Caucus is here.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167