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Ralph Nader Writes Open Letter To Congressman John Conyers On HR 676 – OpEd

Ralph NaderRalph Nader

Dear Congressman Conyers,

Some of us are wondering why the 64 members of the House who have signed on to HR 676 – the single payer/full Medicare for all legislation – have not individually or collectively put this proposal on the table. Since the media is all over the drive by the Republicans to replace or repair or revoke Obamacare, there is an obvious opening to make HR 676 part of the national and Washington dialogue. After all, this proposal is more comprehensive, more humane, more efficient and greatly simpler for the millions of Americans who are fed up with complexity and trap door fine-print. Your 64 or more cosigners come from around the country, where they can make news locally on a health insurance policy that is supported by about 60 percent of the American people, according to a recent Pew survey. When 60 percent of the American people can support single payer without a major effort to publicize and support it by the Democratic Party, that’s a pretty good start wouldn’t you say?

In today’s Wall Street Journal, no friend of single payer, the lengthy lead editorial closes with these words: “The healthcare market is at a crossroads. Either it heads in a more market-based direction step by step or it moves toward single-payer step by step. If Republicans blow this chance and default to Democrats, they might as well endorse single-payer because that is where the politics will end up.”

Do the Wall Street Journal corporatist editorial writers have more faith in the energy and initiative of the cosigners of your bill than the cosigners of your bill do?

At long last, let’s get going on HR 676 besides nominal support by its cosigners.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader

About the Author

Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is a politician, activist and the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, a novel.

12 Comments on "Ralph Nader Writes Open Letter To Congressman John Conyers On HR 676 – OpEd"

  1. Medicare should be based on socialism, not capitalism which is draining resources into the hands of a few-greedy. The relationship between ‘patient-doctor’ is critical, not the ‘insurance co. or hospital’ who are for ‘profit’ and keeping ~90% of the money. So, here is what we should think of doing:

    . private Medicare (run by a Board of 25-50 one from a state: men/women, young/old, +HHS, with a director/dozen-staff)
    . all American-residents Members (child to old: members of Congress to President, and in between all ~350 million of us)
    . each Person pays a fee to the Medicare (25 pays $200/ea. month: employer pays for working-person, social-security pays for retired-person, and govt. pays for poor-person). Total revenue= ~$650 B/Yr.
    According to Medicare is costing $3.2 Trillion/Yr.—How do we cut this, and get work done for $650 B/Yr.?

    (1) Medicare should set fee for the doctor [family-practice $100/visit, specialist-practice $150/visit, and office procedure $250: 10% patient pays]
    (2) Medicare should set fee for Hospital [out-patient procedure/doctor fee $750; in-patient procedure/doctor fee/tests/drugs per day $1,500: 10% patient pays]
    (3) Medicare negotiates with Drug Manufacturers and sets all Drug-prices applicable to its Members—no matter which Doctor or Hospital the Member is provided the service.
    (4) Medicare hires several ‘non-profit Org.’ to administer the ‘Healthcare’ (Org. keeps a “fixed-fee” of 10% or less) of the ‘legitimate pay-out to a Doctor or Hospital’ on behalf of its Member”.
    All gov. Hospitals/Facilities including VA Hospitals come under Medicare along with VA budget- let VA Hospitals compete/survive like rest of well managed Hospitals.

    This is a simple logic, and it works, cuts Healthcare costs from $3.2 Trillion to $650 Billion ea. Yr.

  2. Socialized healthcare works! I lived in Europe for not quite two years, and was amazed at the quality of the care I received after an accident, even though I was not a citizen. The real surprise was that there was no charge. Not for x-rays, for bandaging, for crutches (which I returned) nor for follow-up visits. I had no idea that such a thing was possible. It is.

  3. Over 30 years experience in healthcare | March 12, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Reply

    C.M.S. already sets the reimbursement rates for physicians, offices, hospitals, etc. under Medicare. It’s called “DRG’s” or “PPS” prospective payment systems. Hospitals, Doctors, etc, are reimbursed a set fee for services. Increases are adjusted based on a patients “co-morbidities”. Medicare for all can work as you increase the contributing pool to the system and cut out largely the “profits” assumed by private insurance companies who insure the population (age 0 to 64) not currently eligible for Medicare. Many insurance companies already set their criteria based on “Interqual” which has been utilized by Medicare for years. HR 676 proposes a very reasonable tax of approximately 2.2% on personal income; and approximately a 6.7% tax on businesses. When you look at what this equates out to, the economic impact on the average American household is quit low, much lower than the current Obamacare, and significantly lower than what people currently pay to contribute their portion in many employer paid insurance coverage. The Current Average Household Income is approx. $29,000/yr. Multiply that by 2.2% or (0.022) = $638/yr/household. Multiply that by the # of households in the U.S. ($638 x 125.82 million households = $80.273 Trillion $$’s.) This does not take into account the 6.7% contributed by businesses. Medicare is a tried and true system which has been in place for many years. It is time to expand it to cover “all” Americans.
    I don’t believe in the privatization of Medicare. As soon as you start privatizing you see a cut in services as “profits” become the motive and conglomerates dictate. This is why we are seeing such a huge increase in premiums whether under Obamacare or in the external insurance healthcare market. Profit margins are more important than saving lives. CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid) has been very effective in managing Medicare costs, which dates back to the mid 80’s when DRG’s (Diagnostic Group Payments) were implemented. It’s time to reign in “profits” which are largely being seen and realized by private health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Privatization will only further add to the inequity and mismanagement of our tax $$’s. I support H.R. 676, its good for America, the people, corporations. It is the one most critical piece of legislation on the books today. In my opinion, a vote for 676 would have more power in uniting this country, economically, politically, and from a humanitarian perspective than any other piece of legislation in the recent history.

  4. There are now 65 co-sponsors (unless a few suddenly dropped out)… spanning 27 states across the country. At first there were 87, according to what I find online. Maybe those other (87 minus the 65) will come back or some have retired. My Rep, Karen Bass (D-Ca), just signed on 3/10/17 – my (and others’) efforts to encourage this maybe were factors! PEOPLE: encourage your Reps!! THANK YOU Rep. Karen Bass… Hopefully Progressive Dem Rep. Maxine Waters will follow suit.

    Link showing the present 65 co-sponsors:

    Link showing the earlier 87 co-sponsors:

    Simple marking will reveal who needs to be contacted to get back on the co-sponsor list if some withdrew and they are still serving as Reps…and some former co-sponsor Reps may be retired hence taken off the list.

    Nutshell explanation of HR-676:

    CALIFORNIA has its own effort going and getting stronger: SB 562

    Thank you, Ralph Nader!

  5. Sounds simple and good but, being on a tight ss stipen that I currently have $140 taken off the top how much more would they require us to pay or are you saying our medicare payment be reduced or eliminated, saving us the $140 ?

  6. We would be a lot closer to Medicare for All if Ralph Nader hadn’t wrecked Al Gore’s chances in 2000 election!!! I support HR676 but would rather have it funded by putting the Medicare tax on all income of $i million or more a year.

    • Robert Edwards | March 14, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Reply

      Ralph Nader DID NOT “wreck” Gore’s chance to be president. Stop spreading falsehoods!

    • I get so sick of hearing this nonsense! Hanging chads and the Florida Supreme court is what cost Gore the election. He won the popular vote.

  7. David Studer | March 13, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Reply

    Republicans have created a new opportunity for America to choose a different health plan . . .
    America must look at a Single Payer Plan as a choice . . . When they see they will get better care and most will pay less money . . . they will be fools to choose anything else . . .

  8. Maura Kelley | March 15, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Reply

    let’s get this on social media before it is too late!

  9. Dianne Wilkins | March 17, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Reply

    Thanks for voicing this about H.R. 676, I was wondering the same thing. Why aren’t these co-signers more vocal….like NOW??? Where is the companion Senate Single Payer Bill?

  10. As Susan Dorris mentioned above, I was born in France and FREE healthcare does exist there. I have lived 55 years here (American), and I am afraid that American born unfortunately, do not comprehend the system. They seem to think that it is communism. Also, many mention that taxes are higher. Yes it is. However, what do you get back here for your taxes? ZILCH! In France (and many other European countries), you get free hospitalization, free medicine, free schooling, 6 weeks for Mom with her new baby, one month vacation paid by your employer, and many more benefits. America is the only country in the world where your family and yourself will starve, will be unable to pay your mortgage, etc. if you get into an accident or just get sick. It also really is pathetic to see the frugal amounts of Social Security (which the government STEALS constantly and consider as “entitlement” – It is NOT! We paid for it). My parents retired in France at 62 and were able to live very comfortably with their “pension”. I wish every American would learn about that system. It is NOT fiction!

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