Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

If you’ve been waiting for the right time to support our work—that time is now.

Our mission is simple: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good.

But without the support of our readers, this model does not work and we simply won’t survive. It’s that simple.
We must meet our Mid-Year Campaign goal but we need you now.

Please, support independent journalism today.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Doctors for the 99 Percent march in favor of single-payer healthcare. (Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr/cc)

Census Data 'Starkly Illustrates' the Time for Single Payer Is Now

"Our patients and our economy can't wait any longer for an effective remedy to our healthcare woes. The stakes are too high"

Nadia Prupis

The latest U.S. Census Bureau data clearly illustrates that the need for a single-payer, Medicare-for-all health program has never been more urgent, the advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) said Tuesday.

The census found that 29 million people went uninsured last year, including 3.7 million children, and that deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs have continued to rise well after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into law in 2010.

The data "starkly illustrates how our inefficient, private-insurance-based system of financing care is fundamentally incapable of providing universal coverage," said pediatrician and PNHP president Dr. Robert Zarr. "The fact that 29 million people remain uninsured—a figure that won't change much over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office—is totally unacceptable to me as a physician."

"Studies show that lack of insurance is linked to a higher mortality rate. Being uninsured is lethal, and currently leads to tens of thousands of deaths annually," Zarr said, citing statistics from the Congressional Budget Office (pdf) and recent PNHP research (pdf) into rates of uninsurance and mortality.

"That tens of millions of people will remain uninsured under our current arrangements is perhaps the most compelling argument for why our nation needs to swiftly adopt a single-payer system."
—Dr. Robert Zarr, PNHP

Zarr noted that the ACA did help lower rates of uninsured people by about 41 percent, which he said "could only be welcomed, since research shows that having some kind of health coverage is better than none."

However, the decrease in those rates slowed dramatically last year, with a change of only 1.3 percentage points since 2014.

And, Zarr added, the bureau neglected to mention that the quality of healthcare in the U.S. has also decreased, with rising copay and deductible costs and narrow provider networks—an effect known as "hollowing out."

"That tens of millions of people will remain uninsured under our current arrangements is perhaps the most compelling argument for why our nation needs to swiftly adopt a single-payer system, where everyone, without exception, would be covered and get first-dollar coverage for all medically necessary care," he said.

"Too many people have skimpy policies that deter them from seeking care when they should get treatment, and that leave them unprotected against financial hardship when illness or injury strikes. And their number is growing."

Meanwhile, the recent announcement by health insurance giant Aetna that it would pull out of ACA exchanges in 11 states—and similar actions by United Health Group and other private insurers—shows the corporations cannot be trusted to protect their patients' financial security, Zarr added.

"Our patients and our economy can't wait any longer for an effective remedy to our healthcare woes," he said. "The stakes are too high. We need to swiftly move beyond the ACA to a single-payer national health insurance program."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·


80+ US Prosecutors Vow Not to Be Part of Criminalizing Abortion Care

"Criminalizing and prosecuting individuals who seek or provide abortion care makes a mockery of justice," says a joint statement signed by 84 elected attorneys. "Prosecutors should not be part of that."

Kenny Stancil ·


Progressives Rebuke Dem Leadership as Clyburn Dismisses Death of Roe as 'Anticlimactic'

"The gap between the Democratic leadership, and younger progressives on the question of 'How Bad Is It?' is just enormous."

Julia Conley ·


In 10 Key US Senate Races, Here's How Top Candidates Responded to Roe Ruling

While Republicans unanimously welcomed the Supreme Court's rollback of half a century of reproductive rights, one Democrat said "it's just wrong that my granddaughter will have fewer freedoms than my grandmother did."

Brett Wilkins ·


Sanders Says End Filibuster to Combat 'Outrageous' Supreme Court Assault on Abortion Rights

"If Republicans can end the filibuster to install right-wing judges to overturn Roe v. Wade, Democrats can and must end the filibuster, codify Roe v. Wade, and make abortion legal and safe," said the Vermont senator.

Jake Johnson ·

Common Dreams Logo