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Green Party LogoGreen Party: Flaws in Obamacare exposed by King v. Burwell Supreme Court case should motivate new demand for a Single-Payer national health program

http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Contacts:
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-904-7614, mclarty@greens.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, starlene@gp.org

Greens warn that an adverse ruling by the Supreme Court would cancel health coverage for millions and drive up premiums for policyholders

Single-Payer's universal coverage would resolve problems caused by Obamacare and for-profit insurance bureaucracy, say Greens



WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party leaders expressed hope that King v. Burwell, now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, would be decided against the plaintiffs, since the law suit threatens more than 8 million Americans with the loss of their health insurance, but also stressed the continuing need for a Single-Payer national health care program (Medicare For All).

"Greens still advocate for Single-Payer to replace an expensive and wasteful system that favors private insurance company profits​. King v. Burwell has exposed and spotlighted the bureaucratic complexities and flaws in the Affordable Care Act. Nonetheless the system is better than what we have had and should not be dismantled causing further increases in the disenfranchisement of people in our country who need to be assured that their medical issues will be attended to," said Darryl! L.C. Moch, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

"If the federal government can provide for its employees, Congress, and the President, including former Presidents and first families, then that same system should be good enough and available to the American public," said Mr. Moch.

"The Green Party supports Medicare For All and opposed Obamacare, because we believe a health care system should guarantee all Americans high-quality, low-cost medical care rather than sustain the health insurance industry. But we don't want people to lose the coverage they currently receive through federal exchanges under Obamacare. The Competitive Enterprise Institute and Republican politicians who support the suit aren't concerned about the tens of millions of Americans who lack coverage or the millions more who might lose coverage. It's clear that they're bent on dismantling Obamacare for political purposes," said John Battista, MD, former Green candidate for state representative in Connecticut and co-author of his state's single-payer legislation in 1999 (Connecticut Health Care Security Act).

The challengers in King v. Burwell filed their suit after lawyers hired by the Competitive Enterprise Institute scoured the text of the ACA and discovered an inconsistency that seems to limit federal subsidies to those who purchase coverage on state exchanges, contrary to provisions in the rest of the legislation.

The effect of the suit, if the court decides in favor of the plaintiffs, would be revocation of subsidies for millions of middle- and low-income people who live in the 34 states that have chosen not to establish exchanges. Cancellation of the subsidies would also lead to skyrocketing rates for policyholders who don't depend on federal help (the "ACA death spiral").

"The current Supreme Court case should motivate Americans who want a better, less expensive health care system to demand Medicare For All. Obamacare balanced its modest reforms and regulations on insurance companies with the individual mandate, which ensured a financial windfall for the health insurance industry. It was clear all along that the debate over health-care reform was rigged. Democrats and Republicans disagreed on specifics but agreed on the premise that accommodating insurance companies and other health-care corporations was more important than providing universal health care," said Carl Romanelli, Pennsylvania Green Party member and former U.S. Senate candidate.

According to a press release from Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) published on March 3, "Regardless of how the court rules, the unfortunate reality is that the ACA won't be able to achieve universal coverage. It won't make care affordable or protect people from medical bankruptcy. Nor will it be able to control costs. The ACA is fundamentally flawed in these respects because, by design, it perpetuates the central role of the private insurance industry and other corporate and for-profit interests (e.g. Big Pharma) in U.S. health care. In contrast, a single-payer system -- an improved Medicare for All -- would achieve truly universal care, affordability, and effective cost control. It would be simple to administer, saving approximately $400 billion annually by slashing the administrative bloat in our private-insurance-based system. That money would be redirected to clinical care. Copays and deductibles would be eliminated." (http://pnhp.org/blog/2015/03/03/pnhp-release-on-king-v-burwell/)

Greens noted that the insurance industry contributed millions of dollars to presidential and congressional candidates of both major parties in 2008 (https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/recips.php?ind=F09&cycle=2008&recipdetail=A&sortorder=U), buying influence that resulted in Single-Payer being declared "off the table" when Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chair of the Senate Committee on Finance at the time, convened health-care reform panels in 2009.

"We need a health care system that's based on the legally sound precedent provided by Social Security, expanding Medicare to cover everyone regardless of age, employment, ability to pay, and prior medical condition," said Sanda Everette, former co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and co-chair of the Green Party of California. "Single-Payer would allow full choice of physician and hospital and drastically reduce paperwork. It would end the control over our medical care by private insurance bureaucracies that decree which physicians and hospitals we can visit and boost their profits by restricting and denying needed medical treatment. It would stimulate the economy by relieving businesses of the health-care benefit burden. Single-payer is part of the Green New Deal (http://www.gp.org/GreenNewDeal) that Green candidates have been advocating in their campaigns for public office."

See also:

The ACA and America's Health-Care Mess
By Dr. Gerald Freidman, Dollars & Sense: Real World Economics, January/February 2014
http://dollarsandsense.org/archives/2014/0114friedman.html

How Obamacare is Unsustainable: Why We Need a SIngle-Payer Solution For All Americans
Book by John Geyman, M.D., Copernicus Healthcare, January 2015, 328 pages
http://www.copernicus-healthcare.org/


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