Only a Single Payer, Medicare for All System Can Cut Costs
Contact: Rick Fuentes
(St. Paul) – January 10, 2019 – Minnesota nurses are calling for legislators to take the advice of nurses, doctors, and now healthcare researchers to save healthcare by streamlining the system into a “single payer” program, such as Medicare for All that would cut administrative costs by 80 percent.
A recent report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that the U.S. pays five times the administrative costs for healthcare than a single payer system, such as the program used in Canada. In the U.S., the study cites, every person pays roughly $2500 for just administrative costs to run the current for-profit system. This doesn’t include anything paid on actual healthcare services. In comparison, Canadian’s pay only $500 towards the administrative costs of their single payer system. The savings to U.S. patients under a single payer plan would be more than $600 billion. The study was conducted by analyzing healthcare bills in both countries by a team of researchers from the City University of New York at Hunter College, Harvard University, and the University of Ottawa.
“In Minnesota and the United States, the health of human beings has become a lucrative business venture,” said Rose Roach, Executive Director of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Patients spend more time wading through the bureaucracy of networks, referrals, coding and copays than they do at actually healing. This is a direct reflection of the expensive and complicated system we are forced to operate in.”
The study cites the difference between public Medicare program implementation, which has an administrative cost of 2 percent, against the management of private Medicare Advantage plans, which carry an additional cost of 12 percent.
“When it comes to using our dollars wisely to actually help patients, the Medicare system is clearly the model to follow,” said Mary C. Turner, RN, President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “The bureaucracy and headaches of the private insurance industry are taking dollars away from the actual care. Before they even see a doctor or nurse, every Minnesotan is already thousands of dollars poorer, and they’re not feeling any better.”
The study recommends the proposed Medicare for All program, which has garnered support in Congress but has stalled in the US Senate. Similarly, in Minnesota, the Minnesota Health Plan would create a state based single payer model that has garnered growing support with doctors, nurses, patient advocates and the general public, but has not gained enough traction with the legislature.
“The solution is clear,” said Turner. “Take away the layers of red tape, the conditions, and the special codes imposed by the insurance companies, and let Minnesota take care of Minnesotans. Save the money for the purpose of saving lives and improving the health of everyone. Every Minnesotan deserves actual healthcare—period—without thousands of dollars of insurance company waste.”