THE KUCINCH PLAN
Universal Health Care
The Kucinich plan is enhanced 'Medicare for All' -- a universal, single-payer system
of national health insurance, carefully phased in over 10 years. It addresses everyone's
needs, including the 40 million Americans without coverage and those paying exorbitant
rates for health insurance. This approach to healthcare emphasizes patient choice,
and puts doctors and patients in control of the system, not insurance companies.
Coverage will be more complete than private insurance plans, encourage prevention
and include prescription drugs.
Health care is currently dominated by insurance firms and HMOS, institutions that
are more bureaucratic and costly than Medicare. People are waiting longer for appointments.
Fewer people are getting a doctor of their choice. Physicians are given monetary
incentives to deny care. Pre-existing illnesses are being used to deny coverage.
Over time, the Kucinich plan will remove private insurance companies from the system
-- along with their waste, paperwork, profits, excessive executive salaries, advertising,
sales commissions, etc -- and redirect resources to actual treatment. Insurance companies
do not heal or treat anyone, physicians and health practitioners do ...and thousands
of physicians support a single-payer system because it reduces bureaucracy and shelters
the doctor-patient relationship from HMO and insurance company encroachment.
Non-profit national health insurance will decrease total healthcare spending while
providing more treatment and services -- through reductions in bureaucracy and cost-cutting
measures such as bulk purchasing of prescriptions drugs. Funding will come primarily
from existing government healthcare spending (more than $1 trillion) and a phased-in
tax on employers of 7.7% (almost $1 trillion). The employers' tax is less than the
8.5% of payroll now paid on average by companies that provide private insurance.
For budgetary details, click here.
This type of system -- privately-delivered health care, publicly financed -- has
worked well in other countries, none of whom spend as much per capita on healthcare
as the United States. 'We're already paying for national healthcare; we're just not
getting it, says Kucinich. The cost-effectiveness of a single-payer system has been
affirmed in many studies, including those conducted by the Congressional Budget Office
and the General Accounting Office. The GAO has written
"If the US were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer,
as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs (10% to private insurers) would
be more than enough to offset the expense of universal coverage."
Over the years, groups and individuals as diverse as Consumers Union, labor unions,
the CEO of General Motors, the editorial boards of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
and St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Physicians for a National Health Program have endorsed
a single-payer approach. It is sound economics -- what actuaries call 'Spreading
the Risk' -- to extend Medicare to younger and healthier sectors of our population,
thereby putting everyone in one insurance pool. It permanently saves and improves
Medicare, while eliminating duplicative private and government bureaucracies.
While enhanced Medicare for All makes economic sense, it has not made political sense
to some, due to the power of the private insurance lobby. The streamlined Kucinich
plan is very different than the 1993 Clinton HMO-based plan, a complex proposal that
left big insurance firms in a central role. After Clinton's 'Managed Competition'
plan failed without coming up for a vote, talk-radio host Jim Hightower asked President
Clinton why he hadn't put forward a "simple, straightforward" single-payer
plan "instead of all this bureaucracy." Clinton replied, "I thought
it would be easier to pass" a bill that left the insurance industry in place.
"I guess I was wrong about that."
As we become increasingly health conscious and aware that health is a function
of lifestyle (choices), and as the business of America becomes the business of health
for our people, we shall become a peaceful nation of strong, vital, socially conscious
and creative individuals...
Through wholistic healthcare practices, eco-agriculture, and the implementation of
wholistic health insurance programs for all, we will manifest our inherent birthright:
Freedom From Dis-ease!...