* FINAL VERSION - Concurred Resolution: D048
Title: Adoption of a "Single Payer" Universal Health Care Program
Topic:Health Care Committee: 09 - National and International Concerns
House of Initial Action: Deputies
Proposer: The Rev. Gary Commins
Resolved, the House of Bishops concurring, That the 76th Convention of the Episcopal Church urge passage of federal legislation establishing a "single payer" universal health care program which would provide health care coverage for all of the people of the United States; and be it further
Resolved, That the General Convention direct the Office of Government Relations to assess, negotiate, and deliberate the range of proposed federal health care policy options in the effort to reach the goal of universal health care coverage, and to pursue short-term, incremental, innovative, and creative approaches to universal health care until a "single payer" universal health care program is established; and be it further
Resolved, That the Episcopal Church shall work with other people of good will to finally and concretely realize the goal of universal health care coverage; and be it further
Resolved, That church members and the Office of Government Relations communicate the position of the Episcopal Church on this issue to the President and Members of Congress, and advocate passage of legislation consistent with this resolution.
In a word: YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I realize that those of you out there with the good fortune of having private insurance or access to an HMO might find universal health care coverage to be the beginning of us all wearing Nehru jackets and carrying little red books with pictures of Mao, or Stalin, or Castro. Is this a form of socialism? Yes. But is it right? You betcha!
Why? Well, consider some of the facts as the Episcopal Church considered them when adopting this resolution.
- More than 47 million people in the U. S. are currently without health insurance, more than 75 million went without for some length of time within the last two years, and millions more have inadequate coverage or are at risk of losing coverage.
- People of color, immigrants and women are denied care at disproportionate rates, while the elderly and many others must choose between necessities and life sustaining drugs and care. Unorganized workers have either no or inadequate coverage.
- The Institute of Medicine has found that each year more than 18,000 in the U. S. die because they had no health insurance.While we in the United States spend more than twice as much of our gross domestic product as other developed nations on health care ($7,129 per capita), we remain the only industrialized country without universal coverage, and the United States performs poorly in comparison on major health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunization rates.
- Almost one-third (31 percent) of the money spent on health care in the United States goes to administrative costs.
- The potential savings on paperwork, more than $350 billion per year, are enough to provide comprehensive coverage to everyone without paying any more than we already do.
Under a universal health care plan, everyone would get paid: the hospital, the doctor, the specialist. The difference is that payment would be made on a fee-for-service that is negotiated to cover the cost of the care. For the practitioner, this is similar to what we're being paid right now by the 'lovely' insurance companies that will only cover 60-percent of what we've charged. That other 40-percent goes toward the private companies "operating costs" (read: their pockets). Why must they withhold 40-percent, when the patient is already paying money to the company... to the tune of $250-$600 a month... to have health insurance to begin with?!
If everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY, could have access to health care so we can begin to prevent preventable diseases and care for people... I'm willing to take a fee-for-service negotiated rate.
Under universal health care, there would be a global budget for hospital operating expenses. Regional health planning boards would manage and approve expensive equipment purchases.
Who loses in this plan? Private insurance companies. They would go bye-bye because nobody would be making a profit on other people's pain.
Who wins? Everybody... especially those everybody's who currently face a significantly- shortened life span because they can not afford to seek medical treatment.
What does this have to do with the Church: Everything!
The call to us from God always and everywhere is to see God's presence in the world. And where there is a need... as there is so clearly one in the instance of health care... it is our mission to remove stumbling blocks, support the weak, help the sick. Instead of always asking, "What would Jesus do?"... we need to go about the business of doing it!