WASHINGTON - A nationwide organization of doctors who favor a
single-payer health care system today rejected calls by Republican
leaders to repeal the new health law, noting that the law contains
modest benefits for patients that should not be spurned.
At the same
time, the doctors said that the enactment of a single-payer,
Medicare-for-all program is the only way to assure high quality,
comprehensive care to all Americans and the only way to rein in
skyrocketing health care costs.
"We reject the call by Republican
leaders to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
(PPACA), even as we recognize the new law is incapable of resolving our
health care morass," said Dr. Garrett Adams, president of the
18,000-member Physicians for a National Health Program.
health law is flawed because it continues our nation's reliance on an
inefficient and wasteful private-insurance-based model of financing care
- a rickety structure that denies health care access to millions,
bankrupts patients, ratchets up costs and frustrates efforts to improve
quality," he said.
"That's why we need to move to a single-payer
system," he said. "In doing so, we'll save about $400 billion annually
by cutting out the unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy inflicted on us
by the private insurers. We'll also gain the one-system bargaining
power we need to negotiate lower prices for pharmaceutical drugs and
Adams said the "modest" benefits in the
administration's health law include greater funding of community health
centers, the expansion of Medicaid coverage, and "measures to restrict
some of the most outrageous practices of the private health insurance
companies like denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions or
rescinding coverage when people get sick."
measures could have been enacted separately," Adams said. "But now that
they're part of the law, we cannot in good conscience support the repeal
of any provisions that might conceivably benefit our patients."
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said Republican leaders' call to repeal PPACA is especially
objectionable, given that they have no serious alternative to offer by
way of health care reform.
"The GOP and conservatives urge greater
reliance on the private sector and ‘free market' mechanisms, including
less regulation of the insurance industry," Adams said. "Such measures
include allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines, which
would lead them to buy junk insurance policies from companies in states
where consumer protections have been all but eviscerated. It would mean a
race to the bottom to even skimpier insurance policies than people have
He also dismissed claims by the Republican leadership that
tort reform will significantly affect the U.S. health care scene, noting
that research has shown malpractice suits have a marginal impact on the
costs of medical care.
"The proposals emanating from the GOP
leaders would do nothing to control costs or reduce the enormous
administrative waste in our current health care system," he said. "They
would do nothing to reduce the number of uninsured. In fact, the number
of uninsured, now at 51 million, would likely rise much higher -
worsening an already catastrophic situation."
Adams, a pediatric
infectious disease specialist who resides in Louisville, Ky., said that,
in his opinion, Republican leaders who are vowing to repeal the new
health law are not really aiming to do so.
"Despite their bluster,
GOP lawmakers don't really want to repeal the law because some of their
chief financial backers, the health insurance companies, like its basic
provisions," he said. "The insurers especially like PPACA's requirement
that millions of people buy insurance from them and that at least $447
billion in federal subsidies will be coming their way over the next 10
years as part of this arrangement.
"We reject such political
posturing at the expense of human suffering and human lives," Adams
said. "We call for a real, sustainable solution to our health care woes.
PPACA should be superseded by a comprehensive health reform that
provides quality, affordable care to everyone - single-payer national
health insurance, an improved Medicare for all."