For Immediate Release
Hearing Highlights Dysfunction of US Health Care System, Points to Need for ‘Medicare for All’
Statement of Peter Lurie, MD, MPH, Deputy Director, Health Research Group at Public Citizen
Oversight and Government Reform holds a hearing today and Thursday
titled, "Between You and Your Doctor: the Bureaucracy of Private Health
Today's hearing before House lawmakers provides a welcome
opportunity to reflect upon the dysfunction of the current U.S. health
insurance system. Even as some tout the superiority of the U.S. health
care system, they seem to forget the last time they or a family member
either had to spend hours sorting out unfathomable private health
insurance bills or received a massive bill thanks to private companies'
copays, deductibles or exclusions of those with pre-existing
conditions. Similarly, health care providers afraid of a "government
takeover" seem to have forgotten the inefficiencies of tracking the
requirements of dozens of insurance companies or the time they have
spent on the phone trying to ensure that some needed medical procedure
A typical HMO incurs an overhead of 15 to 25 percent; the overhead
for the Medicare program is a comparatively lean 3 percent. Private
health insurance companies have such high overhead because their prime
method for maximizing profits is to deny health care. To deny the
service for which the patient or their employer is paying requires an
army of insurance company bureaucrats.
There is an elephant in the room. All these problems could be
reduced or even eliminated if there was only a "Medicare-for-all"
system, also known as single-payer, for health care in this country.
We know things are bad. We know it's worth the fight.
You are part of a strong and vibrant community of thinkers and doers who believe another world is possible. Alone we are weak. Together we can make a difference. At Common Dreams, we don't look away from the world—we are not afraid—our mission is to document those doing wrong and galvanize those doing good. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. We have now launched our annual Summer Campaign. Can you pitch in today?
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.