For Immediate Release


Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Kennedy Plan Problems and Single-Payer Solutions

Skala, a Juris Doctor candidate and Harry L. Kinser Scholar for Health
Law at Northwestern University School of Law and a former senior
research associate at Physicians for a National Health Program.

He said today: "The Congressional Budget Office estimate predicts
that the Senate's HELP [Health, Education, Labor and Pensions]
Committee [chaired by Sen. Edward Kennedy] proposal would cost an
estimated $1 trillion over the next decade, yet only reduce the number
of uninsured by about one-third, or 16 million people. Many Republicans
are seizing on this to argue that there shouldn't be any change to the
status quo. But in fact, it's a reason to examine the single-payer

"In contrast to the public option plan, single payer has at its
core the elimination of U.S.-style private insurance, using huge
administrative savings and inherent cost control mechanisms to provide
comprehensive, sustainable universal coverage.

"The 'public option' preserves all of the systemic defects
inherent in reliance on a patchwork of private insurance companies to
finance health care, a system which has been a miserable failure both
in providing health coverage and controlling costs.

"Elimination of U.S.-style private insurance has been a
prerequisite to the achievement of universal health care in every other
industrialized country in the world. In contrast, public program
expansions coupled with mandates have failed everywhere they’ve been
tried, both domestically and internationally."

Skala's recent testimony before the Congressional Progressive Caucus is here.


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