Open letter to Congressman William Pascrell: Support Single Payer/HR 676

Just now I emailed the following to my Congressperson, Bill Pascrell, who represents the 8th District of New Jersey.
Dear Congressman:
It’s time to eliminate the private health insurance industry and cover everyone with Universal Single-Payer National Health Insurance (NHI).
Under a comprehensive National “Single-Payer” Health Insurance Program, every American would be covered for all necessary medical care. All citizens would receive a National Insurance Card entitling them to care at any hospital, doctor’s office or clinic, as well as coverage for prescription drugs and supplies. The United States National Health Insurance Act, HR 676, embodies these principles and I urge you to support it.
Under NHI, a single, public insurance plan would replace the current patchwork of thousands of private plans. Eliminating the existing complex and redundant insurance bureaucracy and the paperwork burden it inflicts on doctors, nurses and hospitals would generate massive administrative savings. Overall, NHI would save about $350 billion annually on bureaucracy and profits, more than enough to pay for covering the uninsured and improving coverage for the tens of millions who are currently under-insured. (But if you aren’t convinced, I would urge you to ask the CBO to do an analysis of HR 676).
Most hospitals and clinics would remain privately owned and operated, receiving a budget from the NHI to cover all operating costs. The NHI would pay for care in private doctors’ offices, as well as in group practices and clinics.
A National Health Insurance Program is the only affordable option for universal, comprehensive coverage. Lesser reforms that retain the private insurance industry cannot streamline bureaucracy; as a result, expanding coverage inevitably means increasing costs, and reducing costs inevitably means limiting coverage. But NHI could both expand coverage and reduce costs. It would squeeze out bureaucratic waste and eliminate the perverse incentives that threaten the quality of care and the ethical foundations of medicine and nursing. For patients, NHI would assure comprehensive coverage and a free choice of doctors and hospitals. For physicians and nurses, NHI would minimize bureaucratic hassles and costs, and nurture the best traditions of these honored professions.
The so-called public option, so dreaded by the right wing and the insurance lobby, would most likely not be able to compete with the private sector except by emulating its worst characteristics: denying care and shifting costs onto consumers. We don’t need any more of that. And such a scheme has no realistic chance of “bending the cost curve.”
Medicare, on the other hand, already is a successful and efficient single-payer program that operates with 4% overhead (some sources say 3%) — unlike the private insurance industry, which consumes 30 cents on every dollar in overhead and profits while contributing nothing to the actual delivery of health care.
I am a 51-year-old healthy male with an exemplary lifestyle and relatively good insurance: Blue Cross Blue Shield federal program, “Standard Option.” Still, I spend far too many hours dealing with BCBS bureaucrats who feed me an endless stream of lies and obfuscation as they try to maximize profits by delaying or withholding benefits. And I am among the lucky ones fortunate enough to have coverage. I have had enough of this.
I do not buy the argument that Single Payer is not politically feasible. The majority of the public wants real health insurance and despises the status quo. “Not politically feasible” is at best a self-defeating, self-fulfilling prophecy �?? for if enough politicians voted for it, you’d have the votes — and at worst, a cynical subterfuge meaning “I am up to my ears in pharmaceutical and health insurance industry money.”
Single Payer is the only rational and humane solution to the crisis afflicting our country. Please do the right thing: support HR 676.
Thank you.
Postscript: some of the above text is borrowed from