Report Summary by East End Report (Get the Full Report here)
A series of 'compelling stories' was included with the report. They relate to the experiences of our east end neighbors without adequate or with no healthcare plans.
At a meeting held at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton in December, called by the Obama 'Transition Team', 26 people including the Moderator, Dr Elaine Fox discussed what they believed to be the problems of the current health care system and what they wanted to see in a new national system.
Several questions offered by the Obama team were put before the group to discuss and the group added a question of their own.
Some of the Main Points:
The Main Problem:
The 26 answers as to the biggest problem in the health system varied around a main theme: private health insurance companies are the single biggest problem.
Unique problems of the East End:
The further east that one goes here, the less providers are actually available. This obviously limits choice of doctor. Answers ranged from those saying that there was no choice of MD here to those who said there was choice only if you could afford to pay “out of network”. Choice costs more. In the past, these decisions were based on the opinion of friends or other doctors, but now people can only choose according to their insurance.
Majority want Single Payer System:
57% of our group said that we need, and policy makers should insist on, a “single payer” health care system for our country. Three other answers were stated differently but amount to the same input (“eliminate the middleman insurance companies”, “standard national health care for all”, “Medicare Part E”). That is, 11 of 14 attendees answering this question, a full 78 %, want policy makers to address the difficulty paying medical bills by setting up a single payer health care system for our country.
How Important is Insurance Company Participation:
The group added this question: “How important is it to you that private health insurance companies continue to play a central role in health care and be part of the new health care system?”
Most people said it was not important to them, 4 people said to eliminate them entirely, 2 said they should have only minor roles, one said they were a “political reality” an implied they could not be challenged, and one said they provided competition for the public program that would be offered in the new system and that everyone would go to that public program. I pointed out that currently just the opposite was happening and that the private insurance companies were leaving the sick and costly patients to the public programs which were rapidly becoming underfunded.
As to the employer’s role in a reformed health care system, there were 2 themes. The first was to take the employers out of it altogether; employers should have no role in paying for health insurance as it is a disincentive to business and a detriment to America’s competitiveness in the world market.
We have an American system that works - Medicare. It’s not perfect, but Americans with Medicare are far happier than those with private insurance. Doctors face fewer hassles in getting paid, and Medicare has been a leader in keeping costs down. All the while, Medicare insures people with the greatest health care needs: people over 65 and the disabled. We should improve and expand Medicare to cover everyone. I discussed the single-payer “Medicare for All” system that is embodied in H.R. 676, the U.S. National Health Insurance Act, introduced by Congressman John Conyers and co-sponsored by 93 other members of Congress.